Music + Tech Special: Writing/Organization

We’ve all had those million dollar song ideas occur while walking down the street or using the bathroom. These apps will help ensure those brilliant couplets and melodies don’t get lost in the void.



Evernote is a cross-platform app designed for note-taking and organizing and archiving various types of information. While that sounds simple on the surface, Evernote offers a multitude of capabilities that make it useful as a tool for the songwriter and musician in terms of staying organized and not losing ideas. The program works well for storing text, photos, audio, and various kinds of notes, making it perfect as a convenient location to safely stash those once-in-a-lifetime lyrical and musical epiphanies.

Evernote is basically a souped-up version of the standard notepad, with added functionality like automatic syncing over the web between all devices on Mac/PC, and screenshotting written notes for easy transferring. The company offers a free online version for iPhone/iPad/Android, and premium and business versions are also available. Features vary among the free and paid versions of the app, so it might take a little exploring for a user to decide which plan suits him or her best. But the fees for features beyond the ones that come with the (fairly extensive) free version, such as the ability to sync across several devices, are reasonable and are worth the cost to someone who decides to use the app regularly.

Intuitive and user-friendly, Evernote can be especially useful to songwriters in co-writing or working with an entire band, with the ability to save e-mails and web pages into a personal notebook for anywhere access. Features like the ability to add photos to notes, simultaneous search capability with Google, and Web Clipper, a browser extension that allows a user to save any web page, article, or image into Evernote, make this app a winner for the writer or musician looking to organize his or her work.

An independent, privately held company headquartered in Redwood City, California, Evernote may well be the world’s leading repository of unstructured data, reportedly serving some 200 million users around the world. And while some companies are known for spamming a user’s e-mail account to death, Evernote does indeed send out an occasional e-mail, but with generally helpful ideas and links to useful tips for achieving individual goals with the program. — RICK MOORE



TabBank was designed to act quite literally as a digital notebook for songwriters. It is quick, easy and tremendously functional, so that songwriters can focus on their creative process rather than getting distracted by the setup or constraints of an app.

“I wanted to make something that was simple and got out of the user’s way without a lot of buttons on it — just something that you can have open while you’re writing to capture ideas,” said TabBank founder Chris Ladd. “It’s a place where you can write songs, hear how they sound and actually print sheet music when you’re done with it.”

Ladd grew up tediously scouring his local library for lead sheets, so he wanted to help build technology that would make finding music easy. This inspired his first app ChordBank, which gave artists digital access to music in a clean, clear way. Now, he is committed to providing songwriters with equally simple technology.

TabBank’s main audiences are songwriters actively trying to write, or people trying to put together a collection of songs. In the app, users can write songs, import music tabs, listen to audio previews and print out sheet music quickly and easily.

What sets TabBank apart from similar programs the most is its ability to aid the actual creation process, as it lets users write songs on the spot as well as curate a whole collection of originals or imported songs, Ladd says. “If I’m doing my job right, TabBank gets out of your way so that you can write songs. It really aims to be your songwriting notebook so the goal is that TabBank is as easy to write in as a piece of paper.”

A pro upgrade costs $4.99 and users can expect a beta desktop version to be released sometime in early 2018. — SARA SCANNELL

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