Thursday, June 19, 2014

Reorganized Settings Screen

For every musician, there's a different way to do music. No where is that more evident than in the OnSong Settings screen.

We've been working non-stop on OnSong since it's launch in early 2010 with the idea that users should have the freedom to customize their experience. To keep OnSong easy-to-use, we've tucked most of this customization power away. Many users never venture into settings and those who have can be confused by the options that are available.

Starting in OnSong 1.987, we've completely reorganized. If you are used to things being somewhere, they most likely moved. Watch the video below to see where your settings went and our reasoning behind the new location.

For those of you that want a quick overview of the new structure, here's an overview:

We haven't moved this and it's right up top with the version of OnSong you are using.

Display Settings
Here you'll find settings that effect how songs appear on the display. Low light mode, language, sleep screen as well as song formatting and song viewer. Song formatting is used to set global settings for how your music appears.

Import Settings
Use this to adjust how Dropbox, Internet and iTunes file sharing works, as well as how to handle text files and existing songs. We've also lumped synchronization settings in here as well.

Live Settings
These have to do with the "live" or interactive features of OnSong. Chord playback, external video, live bar settings and metronome are in here. You can also toggle sound effects on and off.

Menu Settings
This menu is divided into a different section for every button on the menubar.  Use this to change how these menus operate and their default values too. For instance, Style Preferences lets you choose default font sizes and styles for new chord charts.

Navigation Settings
This menu defines how your songs and sets are navigated. Here you'll find foot pedal settings, hot corners, navigation zones, scrolling behavior and triggers.

This is the same as the original settings and contains features to help get you back on your feet.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Create and Flip Through Pages

OnSong started as a great experiment. We wanted to see if it was possible to create a great tool that would replace the binder for musicians around the world. Through the input of musicians like you, we've been able to do just that. We've reimagined how music works on stage.

One of our first goals was to get rid of the concept of pages. We thought that music is linear and shouldn't be chopped up. We wanted to rid the world of paper cuts and fumbled sheets. So since OnSong was first released in 2010, we've always allowed your music to scroll in one continuous column.  This also works great with every file type as well as features like autoscroll.

Love it or hate it, this is how things have been for years. But in OnSong 1.987, you now have the opportunity to scroll to pages.  In fact, you can also create page breaks in your text-based chord charts and scroll to those pages as well.  If you are viewing your music in landscape orientation, we even support half page scrolling automatically. How cool is that?

Watch the video below to see how to change your scroll behavior to pages and how to add page breaks in your existing OnSong or ChordPro formatted songs. Whether performing digitally or printing your text-based chord charts, this new feature will be sure to please.

Audio Playback with Crossfade

For many of us, the iPhone and iPad have completely changed the type of devices we carry with us. No longer do you need to wear a watch, or remember your portable gaming system. Portable CD players, voice recorders, notebooks, calendars, camera, camcorder, and more are a thing of the past. Oh and of course, it's a phone too.

For musicians, the utility of these devices is even greater.  Need a tuner or a metronome? No problem. There's an app for that.  You can even use your device as an instrument or a multitrack recorder.  But one thing that working musicians depend on are simple backing tracks to accompany them on stage.

OnSong makes it simple to play backing tracks linked to your chord charts. This means you no longer have to fumble with a separate playback device on stage or rely on on the sound guy to do it.  When used with an AirTurn foot pedal, you can also start and stop your tracks using a dedicated foot pedal, or when you first tap the forward pedal to scroll your song.

Starting in OnSong 1.987, you can now crossfade between songs in your music library. There is a little setup involved and you do need to use non-DRM tracks that are stored locally on your device, but otherwise it's easy to get started!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Motion Backgrounds and Lyrics Projection

We believe in doing more with less. That's why we've made OnSong a valuable tool for musicians by giving it all the features and functions you've asked for.  But we also like to do more with less, and we think you'll agree. That's why our app is so affordable.  No where is this value more evident than with our lyrics projection feature.

OnSong has always done lyrics projection and we love hearing the awesome stories of how you've put it to good use. Whether it's being used by chaplains to lead thousands of marines in a song, by underground churches in the Middle East, or by music therapists helping stroke patients sing again... we are honored to be right there with you.  Maybe that's why we've worked extra hard on a brand new version of lyrics projection with motion backgrounds.

First of all, we've made lyrics projection work even smoother. We've tightened up crossfading between lyrics text and switching between backgrounds.  It's smooth and works great whether you are using a video adapter and cable or connecting wirelessly to an HDTV or LCD projector with AirPlay. To see how to use lyrics projection, check our our video tutorial.

We didn't stop there. We've added the ability to use motion backgrounds! Why purchase expensive software to run on another computer in the back of house when you can do it all for less than the price of a decent HDMI cable. Plus, we've given you a full media library to help you quickly switch between colors, still and motion backgrounds and gradients.  Go ahead and add your own backgrounds from your photo library or browse popular background websites like Playback Media to import backgrounds from services you already use.

But what if we could make great looking presentations even easier and more affordable to make? We did that too. Purchase high-quality motion backgrounds right inside of your media library for just $2.99. That's less than a third of other sites and they are instantly available.

Watch our feature review below to see just how easy it is to do professional-grade lyrics projection.

OnSong Shift and Team Messaging

Every now and then, technology takes a new direction that changes the way we do things. Take the iPad for instance. OnSong has been an important tool for musicians since its inception in early 2010 when the first iPad shipped. Since that time, our team has been committed to making your life easier with tools that work great whether in the studio or on the stage. OnSong and the iPad together have changed how musicians approach their profession.

While the focus of OnSong is to give our users a rock-solid platform they can rely on, we occasionaly come out with new features. Some changes are incremental. Some are expected by our users. Then there are some that we think are downright awesome.

Messages is a new feature that let's you communicate with your team. You may use hand signals or musical cues to lead your band in the right direction of the song. But what if you could flash these messages on the screens already in front of them? Messages gives you the ability to create custom messages and send them to your team in real-time.

One of the limiting factors to any technology is making it easy to use. This is even more important in a live performance in front of an audience. You need something that "just works" and doesn't get in your way.  Enter OnSong Shift.

Shift works in conjunction with a four-pedal foot switch like the AirTurn BT-105 4-Pedal to let you shift gears. Each gear is a different pedal configuration. Set up your first gear to navigate through your songs and sets. Set up a second gear to send messages to your team. Maybe add a third gear to transpose or capo a song. Add as many gears as you need to get the job done.

Maybe it's not as big of a deal as we think.  We will let you be the judge!  Watch the feature review video below.

Be sure to let us know how you use OnSong Shift and Messages!  We'd love to know!