Hum: The ultimate smartphone app for songwriters?


When inspiration strikes, you need to catch it quick -- on a bar napkin, the back of an envelope, a whiteboard, or a smartphone. For songwriters, that means capturing that elusive melody or writing down the perfect lyric before it floats away into the ether.

Countless musicians have used their iPhone's notes app and the voice memo function for these purposes, but how about something that's actually geared for their creations? A Minneapolis group is debuting an app called Hum, a faster, smarter, better way to capture and organize your songwriting ideas.

On Monday, January 27, three designers/musicians -- founders Aaron Shekey and Joseph Kuefler, along with the app's back end architect Ellen Shapiro -- will launch Hum, a new app that seamlessly combines those many different tasks into one terrific new tool for songwriters.

"So many apps focus on automating the musical experience. It's easy to find synths or drum machines or looping apps, but no one seems to be focusing on the songwriter," explains Kuefler. "The guy sitting in his room with a guitar trying to find that next chord. The girl on the bus with a melody stuck in her head. These are the people we're focused on."

The fact that both Shekey (the Usual Things) and Kuefler (the Alarmists) are musicians as well as designers helped them pinpoint precisely what a songwriter needs in an app, as well as what was currently lacking in the marketplace. So they crafted an app that satisfies all of a songwriters' disparate needs, conveniently storing song sketches all in one place, while also seamlessly combining lyrics, melodies, and song structures into one sortable space that you can easily share with your bandmates and friends.

They worked directly with a bunch of local musicians while they were developing the app, who helped them focus on the distinctive needs of musicians and how best to clearly and cleanly integrate what they were looking for directly into their app. "Hum was tested by established members of the local and national scenes, young songwriters at McNally, even a Current DJ," explains Kuefler appreciatively. "To our surprise, word spread pretty quickly and we soon had requests coming in from other states like California and Utah -- even as far abroad as Australia and Germany. Every tester helped to make Hum better, and we're forever grateful to them."


See a shot of Hum on the next page.


And while San Francisco is clearly the tech hub of the United States, they were determined to launch their product and their company here in Minneapolis. "We could have launched Hum from San Francisco like so many other tech companies. San Francisco would have afforded us all that Silicon Valley has to offer. There was one problem with that: We love Minneapolis," says Kuefler. "We love its people and humility. We love its intelligence and creative spirit. Most importantly for Hum, we love its musicians. Hum is a music company first and a tech company second. And there's no better city for launching an app and company for musicians than Minneapolis."

They launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the launch of the app last June, but when they didn't reach their desired contribution level, they decided to forge ahead on their own, and are now ready to launch Hum on Monday, January 27. To find out more information about the app, its creators, and its capabilities, please check out Hum's sleek website, and be sure to download the app on Monday.