Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Version 1.7 Coming Soon

I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season! Things have been quite busy here at OnSong as you can imagine.  November was a rough month as I moved to support iOS 4.2 including features like multitasking and printing.  Because of some mistakes I made, and some delays on Apple's launch of iOS 4.2, I had to remove the app from the app store for a time.  But after a few days, we were back up and running with OnSong 1.6.  Thank you to everyone for your patience as I got things worked out.

OnSong 1.6 had to launch without sufficient testing so I'm working hard at wrapping up version 1.7 as soon as possible.  It has just gone to my beta team who are dedicated, hard working musicians from all walks of life.  I'm confident they will put this version through it's paces.  I believe together we will create something amazing to continue to help musicians everywhere go paperless and get organized!

I can tell you that OnSong if going to be under active development for a while!  So far I have 200+ feature requests just waiting to make their way into the next version.  I'm trying to make some more time for OnSong in my busy schedule so that I can continue to break new ground in this arena.  I'm happy to report the following features coming in version 1.7!

  • Universal app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch
  • More robust Dropbox and MobileMe support
  • Support for the AirTurn BT-105 pedal
  • Updates to fix scrolling and multitasking issues
  • Better chord and lyrics rendering
  • Custom flow control of songs (V1 C V2 C C, etc)
  • Built-in database management tools
  • Improved importing of songs
So stay tuned for more!

Since this is going to be a universal binary, I will probably make it available for free for a time, allowing you to upgrade to the universal version from the standard iPad and iPhone versions.  I'm hoping to make this consolidation as seamless as possible for everyone since I'd love for you to be able to use it on any device.  Drop me a line if you have any ideas of how you'd like that to happen!

Monday, November 29, 2010

AirTurn Support Coming Soon!

Today I finally received my BT-105 AirTurn module and pedals. Within a few minutes I have support built into OnSong 1.7!  This is a great step forward for OnSong since you can now remove the USB cable and use the dock connector for external video out!  It's a great product!

OnSong 1.7 is still under continued development but I'm hoping to make a release soon.  So what's coming in this update? Check out some of the features:

  • OnSong is now a universal app that can be used with iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch
  • AirTurn BT-105 support
  • Added database tools like deduplication
  • The ability to rename books
  • Better import performance
  • Ability to mirror the navigation
  • Fixed the "Maj7" insert chord bug
  • Added the ability to create bars with chords inline
  • Added an improved ability to convert text files to OnSong
I'm hoping to release this to the beta team soon and get it out to all of you as soon as possible!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Not For Sale?

This past Friday, OnSong 1.6 was approved for sale and immediately, people started upgrading.  However, I must admit that I messed up a bit.  Version 1.6 is only compatible for iOS 4.2, and yet it wasn't "tagged" as such.  This means that people with older versions of the operating system (which is everyone because it hasn't come out yet) began to have their versions of OnSong stop working.  With the app store process, there's no easy way to go back once a version is approved.  So I had to resort to the rare instance of suspending sale of OnSong 1.6 until iOS 4.2 comes out.

Since that time I began adding some much needed features to OnSong.  Some of these should appear in the final releasable version of OnSong 1.6.  Two of these main features include the ability to organize your song collection into "books".  For instance, you can have a book for church, and one for your band.  Another feature is the ability to choose what files are imported from iTunes File Sharing.  You will also get the other features and improvements made for iOS 4.2 including wireless printing!

So please hang in there!  If you are interested in knowing when OnSong 1.6 is ready for sale, make sure you sign up for the newsletter and I'll let you know very soon!

Monday, October 11, 2010

OnSong at the National Worship Leaders Conference East

Thanks to everyone for coming out to the NWLC East and stopping by the OnSong booth!  This last month has been a busy time at OnSong.  We just released version 1.5 for both iPad and iPhone, and had our first marketing push by sponsoring this conference.  It was a great time and so much fun to meet so many worship leaders in one place! Everyone was amazed at what OnSong can do.  We also gave away 100 copies of OnSong 1.5 for both iPad and iPhone!

What's next for OnSong?  Well, we are planning another release right now which will target November and version 4.2 of iOS.  Our primary focus of the next release will be formatting and printing. We want to make the most out of the space we have on the screen, and translate that to wireless printing.  I'm sure there will be other small improvements beyond this focus, but we want to be true to the most requested features.

OnSong is also opening dialog with many publishers of quality worship music. We hope to soon be able to offer chord charts to church musicians in a way that's never been done before.  There's nothing final yet, but just know that we are all very excited about this space.

Thanks for being patient as we update our blog.  I have a personal flaw that restricts communicate when I get busy.  So thanks for sticking with OnSong as we work to make it better and better!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

OnSong Version 1.4 - In Beta!

I'm happy to report that version 1.4 has "left the building" and is now in the hands of the beta testing team. It shouldn't be long before we have this new version available for download.

So what's new in this version?

 • Support for video out for lyrics projection and stage monitors
 • Additional supported languages (German, Italian and Spanish)
 • Support for chord diagrams for guitar, bass, ukelele, mandolin, banjo and piano
 • Open supported files from email, or URLs with the onsong:// scheme
 • Better support for text import with chord recognition
 • Support for OpenSong and SongShow Plus formats
 • Time signatures with corresponding metronome ticks
 • Change the format of attached files when sharing via email
 • Better options for printing PDFs

And now, I await the much appreciated feedback of our dedicated beta testers!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

OnSong Development Delayed - For Good Reason!

I haven't been doing too much development on OnSong in the past few days.  In fact, I might just have to take about a week off.  Why you ask?  I'm a new daddy!

Eli Lucas Kichline came into our world at 8:08 AM on Saturday, July 24th.  He weighed 7 pounds 2.3 ounces (3243 grams) and was 19.5 inches long (49.53 cm). Mommy and baby (and daddy) are doing great.  He had begun losing too much weight by the time we left the hospital, so we are working hard at getting that weight back up!

Keep us in your prayers.  We are sort of new at this, but we are doing well.  My wonderful sister came to stay with us for a few days and she is helping tons!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tablature: Not just for guitar anymore

I've gotten a lot of feedback from people lately requesting support for more than just six-string guitar tablature. It seems people play quite an assortment of instruments who use OnSong. Who knew?  I know you are all talented, but wow!

I'm pleased to report that the next version of OnSong will support a wide array of chord diagrams to help you play your music! These include:

 • Banjo
 • Bass (4-string)
 • Bass (5-string)
 • Guitar
 • Mandolin
 • Piano
 • Ukulele
 • Hammered Dulcimer*

* OK, just kidding, but anyone interested?  If so check out iDulcimer on the app store and let me know if you'd like to see this!

I have had a few people request drum notation.  Even though I'm a drummer, I haven't seen this used in common practice and would love for someone to guide me as to how this should look and be accomplished.  So drummers out there... let me know!

Here are some screen shots for your viewing pleasure:

Monday, July 12, 2010

OnSong Version 1.4 Coming To iPhone

I put together a little video demonstrating the external video capabilities of the iPhone4 when combined with OnSong version 1.4 beta.  No longer does the size of the screen effect readability for stage use.  Just plug into the external video adapter and you can see large lyrics on any VGA monitor. You can also switch to project lyrics too.

There are a few glitches that are apparent in the video, such as switching to lyrics mode or selecting a background image, but that is a work in progress.  Some of you may also notice lowercase chords in the stage monitor view.  This is an experimental german chord representation where minor chords are displayed as lowercase letters.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lyrics Projection Coming to OnSong Version 1.4

Check out what we are working on for the next version! This is a demonstration of lyrics projection using the iPad VGA adapter. It's all built in and configurable. The next step is to allow you to use a stage monitor as your output mode.  The would essentially display what is in OnSong for other musicians.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Version 1.3 Available!

OnSong version 1.3 has just been approved on the app store.  This is a huge update and fixes many performance issues that people have had in version 1.2.  We have also added many top requested features to make this the best version yet!

To find out what's new, check out this entry.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Version 1.3 Submitted to the App Store

I'm pleased to announce that version 1.3 has been submitted to the App Store for approval. This is a huge release and I want to thank our hardworking beta testers and translators for making this all possible.

Here's an overview of what's new in version 1.3!
  • Support for English, Dutch, French and Swedish.
  • USB pedal support using the iPad Camera Connection Kit lets you navigate your set hands-free!
  • Built-in help documentation with automatic updates.
  • More formatting features for chord size, color and style.
  • Set a capo on the song so guitarists and other instruments can play off the same sheet.
  • Auto scroll pages and turn the metronome on and off with a single tap, or with the foot pedal.
  • More iPod-like song selection with the ability to view songs without adding them to a set.
  • Microsoft Word and iWork Pages files now display correctly.
  • Improved song viewer performance that allows you to have bigger sets and more songs.
  • Set your own music in your iPod library to your chord sheets.
  • Preview songs before you import them from repositories.
  • Fixed a bunch of bugs including the set reordering issue.
  • Much improved import support, including better support for ChordPro files.
  • More export options including the ability to export your entire OnSong database for backup.

Monday, June 21, 2010

OnSong Version 1.3 Heading to Beta!

We are getting ready to send out OnSong version 1.3 to the lucky beta community today.  This is a huge update and probably the most significant since the original release.  We had tremendous outpouring of appreciation and feedback from our users.  That's why we do what we do, to help musicians!

Of course, OnSong version 1.2 wasn't without it's issues.  We think we squashed many of those bugs this time around, and added the most requested features that users had asked for.  We are not nearly done with OnSong yet, and have some really exciting things coming soon!

Here's a list of the corrected issues and added features that OnSong 1.3 contains.

Live Features

  • Added the ability to completely navigate a set hands-free with USB foot pedel integration.
  • Added auto scroll pages for songs based on the tempo. This can be toggled using a foot pedal.
  • Decreased the file size of the application by optimizing images and sound assets for faster boot times and less memory footprint.

Song Display Enhancements

  • Increased the performance of song displaying by only drawing the visible and soon-to-be visible songs. This allows sets to be much larger than before.
  • Formatting and notes are now applied to a song directly, as well as the set.
  • Added the ability to adjust how much a page is scrolled when tapped in Settings.
  • Added support for Swedish and other international characters

Improved Song Navigator

  • Updated the user song navigator to have more iPod-like features.
  • Made lots of refinements to the song navigator to make it more solid and easier to use.
  • Users can now select and view a song without putting the song in a set.
  • Users can now divide songs up by category in a new feature called "By Topic".  This searches the user's song library for keywords.
  • Added the ability to browse by song name, artist, key and theme (topic)
  • Added a feature where selecting a song in the viewer highlights the song in navigation to aid in visualizing where the user is in the set.

More Display Preferences

  • Added a feature to allow the user to change the chord font size for chords, color and style independent of lyrics.
  • Added a feature where a capo amount may be set and optionally turned on for guitar players.  This automatically transposes the song.
  • Added the ability to toggle the title and configuration of a song.
  • Increased the maximum font size for lyrics and chords to 30 points from 20 points.

Playback Enhancements

  • Added a toolbar item to quickly start and stop the metronome.
  • Added a "tap to set tempo" feature in the playback area
  • Added a feature that let's users selected a song from their  iPod library manually.


  • Users can now export files write from the song/set viewer.
  • Users can now reimport songs without having to delete song first
  • Added a preview feature to review songs prior to importing from the Internet.
  • Added the ability to export the entire OnSong database to file sharing.
  • Added better handling of importing ChordPro documents.

Built-In Help System

  • Added a brand new help screen with topics. Will be adding topics during the beta period.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed an issue where Pages and Word docs would display, and then disappear immediately. This has been corrected allowing users to view these file formats.
  • Fixed an issue where "Null" was set as title when importing more than one song
  • Fixed an issue where songs in larger set order themselves.
  • Fixed an issue where tapping too quickly made page navigation confusing.
  • Fixed an issue where if a user tapped too fast, they would go to the beginning of the set.
  • Fixed an issue where users would received a "Database Locked" error when sharing a set twice with the same song.
  • Fixed an issue in the chord builder where selecting a major 7th chord (like Fmaj7) resulted in a dominant 7 (in this case F7) being placed.
  • Fixed issues to make sure that after editing the song chords, the changes where persisted and drawn correctly on the screen.
  • Fixed an issue where after selecting certain chords, the chord selection of the bass note was defaulting to a strange note the next time it is opened. For example, after inserting an Esus4, the chord selection window opens to Esus4/Db, or something similar. This has been resolved.
  • Fixed an issue where the app did not recognize the chord Cb.
  • Fixed an issue where pinching to zoom caused some display issues.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Foot Pedal Navigation Demo

I finally got my iPad Camera Connection Kit in the mail and started right away working on integrating the USB foot pedal I bought. It was easier than I thought it would be.  Check out the YouTube video demo below.

I'm hoping to ship this in version 1.3.  To make this work, you'll need the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit and the Versa Dual Foot Pedal from

Take a look and tell me what you think!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Next Version in Active Development

We are happy to announce that OnSong v1.3 is now under activei development!  We have a really long list of features and issues that we are working on, but progress is being made.  We are focusing on the most requested features first. These are primarily navigation and scrolling during a performance.

Navigation is proceeding well and we are adopting a more iPod-like navigation method.  This means that you can view all songs, songs by keyword, artist and key.  You can use keywords as you want for topics or genres.  It's really flexible and it's up to you.

We have had a couple of complaints regarding performance, especially with long set lists.  We think this is fixed and will be testing soon.  We also have heard of reordering issues which have also been addressed.

One feature request that has been made is to use a foot pedal for navigating between songs and scrolling.  We are currently developing a solution that will use a USB foot pedal and the iPad Camera Connection kit to accomplish this.  The app will then support configuring your foot pedal to scroll and flip pages!  These pedals are widely available and are built really well.  I ordered this one for testing:

We are also looking for volunteers to help translate OnSong into other languages.  If you want OnSong in a different language, please let us know!  We are interested in reaching out to the world with our product.

Thanks to you all who have made OnSong possible.  We are really excited for the next version!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Version 1.2 Is Out!

Phew! It has been a challenge, but we now have a solid version 1.2 of OnSong available on the app store!  It is currently reporting as version 1.11, but once you install or upgrade, it should report as version 1.2 on the loading screen.

This version has been tested by our dedicated beta testers for a few weeks now.  It seems to be a very stable build that fixes a number of issues, as well as adding some handy features!  Upgrade today!

This version fixes many stability and usability issues including:

  • Fixed crashing when picking songs
  • Fixed crashing when picking chords
  • Fixed an issue where users of version 1.0 had original song sets default "Display Chords" to off. It now defaults to "on".  This was causing chords to not be displayed.
  • Fixed the tap to scroll vertically feature so it scrolls down to the another screen instead of to the top or bottom.
  • Fixed an Issue when transposing, the key info doesn't change.
  • Fixed an issue when changing the orientation of the iPad the set list went back to the 1st song in the set list.
  • Fixed an issue during navigation that caused overscrolling.
  • Fixed an issue where the song disappears when there are no chords and you change the font size.

This version includes many enhancements including:

  • You can now add files to OnSong via file sharing in iTunes and view them in OnSong.
  • You can now convert files imported to text.
  • Rudimentary support for the ChordPro format.
  • Emailing the set sends PDF versions of each song in your set for printing.
  • Visualize the metronome as flashing in the navigation bar.
  • The ability to rename sets.
  • The ability to choose between different versions of songs to play from your iPod library.
  • When navigating to a new song, it always starts at the top of the song.
  • Added a left-hand guitar tabs option in settings.
  • Added a low light mode in settings.  This displays OnSong formatted songs with white text on a black background.
  • Added the ability to turn off lyrics.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Version 1.3 Roadmap

We have gotten so much great feedback on OnSong.  It is exciting to see how people are using OnSong and encourages us to improve the offering even more.  We are waiting for version 1.2 to be approved by Apple to begin the next version.

The following is what we intend to include in version 1.3.  In general it will focus on these main areas:

We will focus on making OnSong easier to use. In particular, we have had many requests to just display songs without the need to make a set.  In addition, users want to be able to set display preferences and notes on songs so no matter what set they go into, those notes and formatting carries over as the default.  To do this, we are going to make song management the focal point of the navigation menu.  From there you can switch to "set mode" to create sets.

While version 1.2 fixes many crashes, there are still reports that the application crashes when too many songs are being displayed at once.  This is really because OnSong draws pretty inefficiently.  We are going to rewrite the drawing engine to address this issue and only draw songs that are visible.  This should make OnSong much more "snappy" feeling.

Live Features
OnSong is meant to be used live.  This puts extra pressure on us developers since we need to make it rock solid, and usable too.  Each musician is different and we are working hard to make sure we can make OnSong something you can use daily.  Version 1.3 will include features to reduce the amount of scrolling for a song, as well as auto-scroll.  We are also working on a feature that could eventually allow for a foot pedal to be used.  In all, we want to focus on you, the musician.

So tell us what you think.  I'd detail all of the features we are working on, but there are a lot.  This is shaping up to be a big project so it might not come immediately, but we are dedicated to making this software something you love.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Version 1.2 Coming Soon

I apologize for the delay in getting version 1.2 out to all of you.  It's been a few weeks since the initial build was ready and I am working with Apple to get it though as soon as possible.  The good news is, the longer it takes, the more solid the end product becomes, so I'm confident we will have success shortly.

Thanks again for all your patience!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Version 1.2 Being Approved

I am really excited about where OnSong is going. The first two version of the software were very rough, primarily because it was rushed in both cases to get a version out to everyone.  Version 1.2 has been tested by a handful of dedicated beta testers who gave great input and put the software through real-world tests.  I continue to get plenty of feature requests and the occasional usability issue, but it is making progress.  Here's what one beta tester had to say:

I used OnSong tonight for the first time with the team for a service. I will now not use anything else because of the progress you have made with the updates. I'm still learning things and have a major suggestion that I think will be very easy to implement.

My team members are all moving to iPads. I've sold all my Freehand MusicPad's except one that is still on eBay for auction.  I've kept my team in the loop with OnSong and they are excited about it.

The new features and bug fixes are numerous and I can't wait to get it into the hands of everyone.  I will need to update the tutorial section to highlight the new features.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

OnSong version 1.1 has been approved!

The latest version of OnSong has just been approved by Apple so you should be getting an update soon.  This one is very stable and usable from what I have found so far. I was also able to send it out to some early adopters and have had great feedback.  Now on to the next version.

Note: it sometimes times up to a day for the version to become available so be patient!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

PDF Generation On The Way

I just successfully generated a PDF document from the song set.  This means that soon, emailing the set will contain a PDF document that will retain the formatting found in OnSong.  I'm still working on getting the generated guitar tablature displaying, but otherwise it's all there including fonts, size and highlight colors.  I chose not to print the sticky notes in the PDF.

One thing to note with this update (when it becomes available), is that it changes the way font sizes are interpreted.  The original version of OnSong really didn't respect point size versus pixel size.  In order to normalize the print version and screen version, the font sizes had to be adapted to work better.  This means that when the update is installed, the fonts in your songs may be bigger than you want.  I think that's a small price to pay for being able to send PDFs.

The Blog Is Live

We just launched a blog to keep everyone up-to-date with development efforts for OnSong.  We will keep you up to speed with how things are progressing, how to make the most out of OnSong, and how others are having success.  Stay tuned for more!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Version 1.1 Submitted to the App Store

Version 1.1 has finally been submitted to the App Store for approval. I had a version up over the weekend that had gotten rejected due to breaking some user interface guidelines. This version fixes all of that. Please keep it in prayer that it will be approved as soon as possible. I hope to begin a bigger marketing push one it's approved.

So what does version 1.1 do exactly? Here's a general overview:

* Fixed a ton of bugs including the app crash when picking songs
* Fixed transposition and made it much faster, including all key signatures
* Major navigational improvements including touch zones for scrolling
* Added help on the initial screen and when you touch the title
* Added guitar tablature option to view tabs on the page
* Improved the editor with a chord builder
* Added sound effects for auditory feedback
* Settings panel for setting default visual options
* Import multiple songs at once
* Add songs directly to the song set
* Rearranged the toolbar to make more sense
* The ability to load songs from a URL

I am dedicated to making this the best app possible for worship leaders. Please continue to give me feedback, issues, features and ideas and I will work on getting them in the next release.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Working Hard: Next Release

First of all, I want to send a big thank you to those who have downloaded OnSong and are beginning to use it for their worship sets. There has been a lot of feedback and an outpouring of support. But I've also learned that there is a lot of work to do to make OnSong the best possible app for live musicians.

One thing that is apparent is that the original release is buggy. It was difficult trying to build an application in little more than a week for a device that didn't even exist yet for an audience that hadn't really used such a device. After having this version out in the "wild", I have been able to see more clearly what needs to be done.

To those who have OnSong currently: I will not let you down. I know you have paid good money for this product. Please rest assured that an update is coming that will fix the initial release. In fact, I'm adding a lot of new features too that you early adopters have suggested! I love all of you and am dedicated to you.

To those who haven't purchased OnSong: now that the current version is buggy and I'd wait until version 1.1. If you do happen to buy it, don't worry, you'll upgrade to the next version just fine. I just want you to have the very bet experiences.

Again, thanks to everyone for the outpouring of support and seeing the potential of this app. I think it will soon be a hit.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Song Conversion Service Update

The most requested feature for OnSong has been to convert your existing library of worship music into OnSong. It seems you all have text, HTML, Microsoft Word, Apple Pages and PDF documents that you want to put into OnSong. The question for all of you is "when". The question for me is "how"!

The way I want to accomplish this is pretty simple. You would visit a web site on the computer that contains all the files. Then you would upload a ZIP file of your documents to convert. The OnSong server wold then extract the files, convert them to text, translate them into the OnSong format and email you a link. You would thence able to tap that link on your iPad to automatically import them into your library. Makes sense right?

Many of you have sent me sample chord sheets. The trouble is, they are all various formats. I think I can convert most to text. Detecting chords is not a problem, but the text conversion tool does not respect spacing in those documents which means the chords end up as just a line of chords.

Another issue I have found is that PDF files printed from SongSelect tend to not contain any text. They are more like a picture of the chords! This means that the OnSong service would have to offer an OCR translation of the page. I think I have a solution for that, but again, the issue is more that the chords are not positioned correctly.

I think one option is to do my best for the server to interpret the song content, and then provide an easy-to-use interface for quickly altering those songs on the desktop computer. Then, once you have saved your changes, let you email the link to yourself.

Version 1.1 will have the ability to import songs for this service, but the actual service will take some work. Please be patient!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It's Been Approved

OnSong version 1.0 has been approved on the App Store. Please check it out! There are so many features that are possible and this is just the beginning folks. Thank you to everyone for the encouragement and for finally seeing this project come to light.