Called Fender Songs, for a monthly subscription of $4.99 or 12-month subscription of $41.99 (the app is only available in the US at launch but there are plans to bring it to the UK soon), budding musicians can practise and play along to millions of songs on either the guitar, ukulele or piano.
The app aims to improve a player’s skills at all levels, offering accurate chords and lyrics to their favourite songs.
At the core of Fender Songs is a chord detection application with an algorithm which uses digital signal processing techniques and knowledge of music theory to automatically detect the chords of every single song in Fender’s music library in only a few seconds.
Thanks to the integration with Apple Music, players can stream and play along to their favourite artists and musical genres too. You can be safe in the knowledge that you’re getting the right chords too: Fender has made deals with master rights holders, such as Warner Music Group, to ensure the chords in the app are accurate to the actual music performed by the artists.
In addition, it has inked deals with major music publishers including Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Warner Chappel Music to ensure that artists and songwriters are paid for the use of their chords on in Fender Songs. Fender says it hopes to add more tracks to the service as it procures additional licenses.
At the moment the app is only available in the US, hence the dollar price tag, though there are plans to roll it out to other markets, including the UK and Europe in the near future. As well, Fender Songs is only available on iOS, so you’ll have to wait for the Android version. The company also wants to create a specific iPadOS version too.
Fender Songs is the company’s fourth app in two years, along with Fender Play, Tone and Tune.
Fender Play, in particular, has been a big hit for the company with more than 100,000 active paying users on the app. If Play is for total novices, taking you from zero to musical hero thanks to its guided learning paths, chord charts, and video-on-demand lessons, then Songs is for when you’ve learned two or three chords and want to experiment a bit more.
Why is a guitar company investing so much in digital? General manager of Fender Digital, Ethan Kaplan, says it’s all about aiding and entertaining budding players.
“Our aim with all our digital products is to be a tool chest for players,” Kaplan tells the Standard. “The best tuner with Tune, the best lessons with Play and with Fender Songs, we know offer the easiest way to learn and play nearly any song you can think of by allowing instant access to chords and lyrics so users may forge deeper connections with their favourite artists and songs.”
Subscription services are booming too. A statement by Fender’s CEO Andy Mooney points to how Goldman Sachs predicts the number of streaming subscribers will hit 700 million in three years. This is certainly one way for Fender to capitalise on that.