Developer: Joy Entertainment LLC
Price: $1.99 Download on the App Store
For those with musical talent or just an appreciation of musical ability, Riff Raters is a fairly new iPhone app that combines music with social networking. Riff Raters allows users to record and upload 20-second riffs, which, as the developer says, are like musical tweets.
Categorized by instrument, including vocals, Riff Raters is simple to use and simple to browse. If you like a riff, rate it or comment on it, and keep an eye out for the top-rated riffers.
While you don’t have to have any musical talent to enjoy Riff Raters, if you do and are inclined to share your musical abilities with the world, you can get feedback, see how many listens your riff has received and even post your riffs to Facebook. Sharing music with others is quick and easy.
Instrumental categories include acoustic and electric guitar, bass, strings, piano, percussion, vocals, keyboard, ukulele, and more. All musical stylings are welcome and a range of bluegrass, hip hop, jazz, and classical are already uploaded.
Riff Raters may appear to be an app for those who want to quickly share their music, a goal that’s easily met, but quite frankly it’s great entertainment for anyone. Browsing the recordings on Riff Raters is along the lines of listening to American Idol tryouts on your iPhone. While there are a few riffers with some significant musical talent, there are others who just make you laugh. In fact, before even trying the recording aspect, Riff Raters was worth the download just to browse the riffs.
As far as the recording quality of Riff Raters, it’s pretty decent and includes adjustable reverb. It takes a little bit of practice to determine mic placement, but in most cases, the sound quality is decent enough for what it is. Once you’ve recorded a riff, you can immediately upload it to Riff Raters, share on Facebook, or save it to share later.
You’ll need to create an account to upload riffs as well as rate or comment on them, but it’s quick and free. Though developer Joy Entertainment’s Riff Off contest just ended, Riff Raters will reportedly announce the Top Riff of each week on Mondays.
Riff Raters is a pretty cool app indeed in terms of premise and execution, but needs to grow its user base and possibly extend the recording time to 30 seconds to vamp up its popularity. It’s difficult to say if new musical talent will be discovered through Riff Raters, or how its use will influence hobbyist musicians, but for the time being, Riff Raters is a fun musical and social experience featuring a glimpse at some great – and some not so great – musical individuals.
If you want to just check out the uploaded riffs, you can download the free version, which is intended to let you "listen and explore." Riff Rater Lite users can browse and listen to riffs, but not record, rate or comment. Lite users can upgrade to the full version of Riff Raters using the in-app purchase.