App Review: On Stage – For Music

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Although it works well, the iPod app for iPhone (also known as Music on the iPod touch) isn’t perfect. One of the major things that it has trouble doing is finding and displaying lyrics. With the iPod app, lyrics have to be attached to the MP3 file itself. With a lack of supporting applications that can do this automatically, including iTunes, this becomes a tedious task for people who want lyrics on their iPod. Gunther Keiser’s On Stage looks to fix this problem by using LyricWiki to receive lyrics and by providing a simpler interface that has many great additions over the standard iPod app.


On Stage aims to do one thing, and it is to replace your default media player with a simpler one that is quicker to navigate and has wider support than the default app. They seem to do this well in most instances.

If you are a person who is looking for a basic, bare-bones media player that still contains many of the features of the default media player, this is where to look. The navigation of this app is similar to that of the built-in iPod app. Although it is similar, it still offers the majority of the features of the iPod app. Focusing on the features people mainly use, this seems to work with success.

This app actually uses the iPod app to play the music. The UI is done in-app though. This allows the app to run flawlessly in the background as it doesn’t need to use its own media-playing engine. It also makes it 100% compatible with accessories and headphones that have the integrated remote and mic.

Now this app was made to add the missing, or broken, features of the iPod app. The first one is the broken lyrics integration that is already in the iPod. As said before, using lyrics in the default iPod app can be very tedious and annoying. This app will automatically search for lyrics through LyricWiki’s website for offline use. However, there is no way to change the source for searching. If LyricWiki doesn’t have the lyrics, there is essentially no way to add them. This poses a minor problem for this app. The majority of the lyrics are available right away. When listening to Rise Against last week, the lyrics for their new album End Game was up within one hour of the CD’s release. However, this app still can’t get the lyrics for a small number of my music.

This app supports lyrics that are obtained from LyricWiki

Besides lyrics, this app can get basic artist or album information by searching WikiPedia. This information is shown in a webview which isn’t a bad thing, but kind of kills the look of the app. I’d rather it just be fullscreen with no toolbars.

This app can find lyrics, artist information, and album information

These are the two main features of the app. The app does feature a lot, but is missing a lot as well. It lacks support for podcasts that are downloaded for the iPod. There is absolutely no landscape support. Scrolling lyrics would have been nice, like in LyricWiki’s iPhone app, but it’s not a deal breaker. These aren’t really that bad. I’d like to see an area about similar music by other artists as well as this app does seem to have the discovery type of deal to it with the artist and album information. The thing that bugs me the most is the advertisement in the app for Articles: The Wikipedia app.

This app is filled with features, but still has a long way to go. The advertisement on the bottom of the webviews is extremely annoying knowing that this is a paid app. A big no-no in my book. This will be an automatic half star deduction. The app is still great, but not the best it can be yet.

Features: ★★★½

Graphical User Interface

Ah, glossy iPod GUI (graphical user interface). How I hate thee; well, not really. However, the matte theme in On Stage is relaxing and refreshing coming from the default iPod GUI. It’s a black matte theme, except for the white webview. This can still use some work as I’d like to see the ability to change themes. More colors, styles, and looks would really liven up this app. The GUI contains nicely placed buttons and menus that are nicely spaced out. It’s really a joy to use too.

On Stage has a pleasing dark, matte theme that is soft on the eyes

The user interface (UI) is very simple. The menu organization is very simple. The controls are very simple. These three things make it easy to understand and easy to navigate. This app also has absolutely no learning curve like the other apps that aim to replace the built-in music player.

This app uses Apple’s GUI style which means that there is no significant learning curve to overcome as you use it

The graphical user interface on this app is brilliantly designed using Apple’s simplistic style. Besides some missing themes, this UI is just perfect in every aspect.

Graphical User Interface: ★★★★½


This app uses the built-in iPod API to produce music. It contains no sound effects, so there is no reason to score this.

Audio: N/A

Reuse Value

This app’s main goal is to add some features to the iPod app that are either broken, or non-existent. On Stage is a hit or miss when it comes to reuse value. If you are one that would like to have these features, artist information and lyric searching at a touch of a button, then you’ll continue to use this app time and time again. I’m that type of person. However, if you don’t need these features, you won’t find any reason to keep using this app as the default media player works just as well. The fact that this paid app has an advertisement can also turn users away. The advertisement comes to bring down this score by half a star again.

Reuse Value: ★★★

Value For Money

This app sells on the App Store for a big buck. I can really see something like this turning into a jailbreak tweak, which could sell for a similar price if the dev decided to sell. This app is worth the money if you plan on using this app and its features.

However, if you don’t find the need for a quicker, simpler iPod app that supports lyrics and artist information or can’t deal with the single advertisement, this won’t appeal to you. The only thing that I don’t find useful is paying for an app and finding an advertisement for an app without asking for it. Unlike other paid apps that have the “more apps” button, this one doesn’t give you a choice.

This is the notorious advertisement that I have been speaking of that brings down this app

The app is well worth the price, but it’s not for everyone. The advertisement comes back to bite the app in the behind, lowering this score by an automatic half-star. It’s still a great app if you find its features useful.

Value For Money: ★★★★

Final Thoughts

Although the advertisement does bring down the overall score of the app by half a star, it doesn’t mean it’s unusable. The app is 100% usable, even with the advertisement. It doesn’t bother me when I use it. What bothers me is the fact that I paid for the app and get ads when I don’t ask for them. The app is still very useful in finding artist information and lyrics to all your songs. It still provides a powerful interface that takes from Apple to deliver a matte theme that is easy on the eyes and requires absolutely no learning curve.

Final Scores:

  • Features: ★★★½
  • Graphical User Interface: ★★★★½
  • Audio: N/A
  • Reuse Value: ★★★
  • Value For Money: ★★★★

Cumulative Score:

† All prices are in US currency.
This review was written by the Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
All accessories, applications, themes, tweaks, or other products were purchased by iFans at their respective prices unless stated otherwise.

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