Which app is best for recording songs?

Music recording apps have become increasingly popular over the past decade. With the rise of smartphones and tablets, musicians and music enthusiasts now have professional-grade recording studios right on their mobile devices. These apps provide features like multi-track recording, audio editing, instrument and effect plugins, and more. According to research, the global music recording market is projected to grow steadily in the coming years. Music apps now account for a significant share of this market.

Music recording apps enable users to easily capture musical ideas, record full compositions, polish recordings with editing tools, and export/share the final product. They provide many of the capabilities of a recording studio or digital audio workstation in an intuitive mobile interface. This makes high-quality music recording and production accessible to more people than ever before. Overall, these apps offer musicians more flexibility and convenience when creating music on the go.


Garageband is a digital audio workstation and music sequencer app developed by Apple. First released in 2004, Garageband comes pre-installed on all new Macs and iOS devices. According to 6sense, companies using Garageband for audio-marketing are majorly from the United States with 750 customers. 80.04% of Garageband customers are from the United States (source). Garageband allows users to create and record music using virtual instruments, premade loops, audio samples, and podcasts. It includes features like multitrack recording, audio editing, effects, virtual instruments, and sound library. While originally only available for Mac, Garageband was later released for iOS in 2011 and iPadOS in 2019.

FL Studio

FL Studio, formerly known as FruityLoops, is a digital audio workstation (DAW) developed by Image-Line Software. FL Studio was first released in 1997 for Windows. Over the past 20+ years, FL Studio has grown into one of the most popular DAWs used by music producers, DJs, and artists across genres.

FL Studio is known for its highly intuitive and flexible workflow. It utilizes a pattern-based sequencer that allows users to rapidly build arrangements through loop sequencing. FL Studio supports recording, sequencing, mixing, and mastering music projects. Its tools include drum machines, synthesizers, samplers, and virtual instruments.

According to one source, FL Studio holds an estimated 65% market share on desktop platforms for home music production (Home Studio Genie). It initially gained popularity as an affordable and accessible entry into computer-based music production. Over time, FL Studio has evolved into a sophisticated DAW used by top professional producers. Major artists who have used FL Studio include Martin Garrix, Metro Boomin, Zedd, and Porter Robinson.

FL Studio continues to have a strong user base among independent artists, beginners, and hobbyists. Its intuitive workflow and affordable pricing tiers make it an appealing choice for home studio producers and beatmakers. FL Studio’s longevity demonstrates its versatility and adaptability as a platform for music creation across genres and production styles.


Audacity is a free, open source, cross-platform audio software for recording and editing sounds. It is developed by a team of volunteers and is available for Windows, macOS, Linux and other Unix-like operating systems. Audacity was created in 2000 by Dominic Mazzoni and Roger Dannenberg at Carnegie Mellon University.

Over the years, Audacity has become one of the most popular audio editing software with over 90 million downloads. It provides an easy-to-use interface for multi-track recording and editing. Audacity allows you to record live audio, convert tapes and records into digital recordings, edit OGG, MP3, WAV and other formats, add effects like echo, change pitch and tempo, remove static noise and more.

Some key features of Audacity include:

  • Recording live audio via microphone or mixer
  • Importing and exporting WAV, AIFF, MP3, OGG and other file formats
  • Editing audio by cutting, copying, pasting, deleting sections
  • Mixing tracks and applying effects like echo, change pitch, adjust tempo
  • Supports 16-bit, 24-bit and 32-bit samples (best quality is 32-bit float)
  • Completely free and open source

Overall, Audacity has a long history of being one of the most accessible and fully-featured audio editors for personal and professional use. Its wide range of features, cross-platform availability and open source nature makes it a popular choice among audio enthusiasts.

Logic Pro

Logic Pro is a digital audio workstation and MIDI sequencer software application developed by Apple for macOS. Logic Pro first emerged in the early 1990s as Notator Logic, a product of Emagic. In 1993, Notator Logic was rebranded solely as Logic. Apple acquired Emagic in 2002 and announced a new version of Logic called Logic Pro. Since then, Logic Pro has become popular among professional artists and producers. According to Apple user forums, Reddit discussions, and industry surveys, Logic Pro has millions of users worldwide as of 2023.

Pro Tools

Pro Tools is a digital audio workstation developed and released by Avid Technology. First launched in 1991 for Mac OS, Pro Tools quickly became an industry standard for music and audio production. According to recent reports, Pro Tools currently holds a 50% market share for professional audio recording software. Known for its robust audio editing capabilities, Pro Tools is popular in professional recording studios worldwide.

The history of Pro Tools dates back to 1984 when ex-Apple engineers Evan Brooks and Peter Gotcher founded Digidesign, the company behind Pro Tools. After releasing several hardware products in the late 1980s, Digidesign launched the first version of Pro Tools software in 1991 as a Mac-only platform. Key innovations included DAE (Digidesign Audio Engine), built-in MIDI sequencing, and plug-in support. Throughout the 90s and 2000s, Pro Tools continued to add new features for multi-track recording, editing, and mixing.

In 1994, Pro Tools faced a new competitor with the launch of Steinberg’s Cubase Audio on Atari systems. However, Pro Tools held on to market leadership thanks to its reputation for stability and sound quality. The release of Pro Tools|HD in 2002 brought increased audio resolution up to 24-bit/192 kHz. And in 2003, Digidesign was acquired by Avid Technology, helping to further cement Pro Tools as an industry leader.

Ableton Live

Ableton Live is a digital audio workstation and music sequencer software developed by the Berlin-based company Ableton [1]. Ableton Live was first released in 2001 and has become popular among electronic music producers, DJs, and live performers.

Some key features of Ableton Live include:

  • Non-linear workflow allowing users to freely improvise and quickly create musical ideas.
  • Session view for live performance and clip launching.
  • Extensive MIDI sequencing, sampling, and synth capabilities.
  • VST plugin support.
  • Warping and real-time time stretching of audio clips.

Since its inception, Ableton Live has gone through several major updates adding new features and improvements. Ableton Live 11 is the current version released in 2021. Some of the most iconic Ableton Live users include electronic musicians like Deadmau5, Skrillex, Daft Punk, and Bonobo. Ableton Live is popular for its versatility in the studio and for live performance across many genres like EDM, hip hop, pop, and more [2,3].

[1] https://www.ableton.com/en/about/

[2] https://www.reddit.com/r/ableton/comments/15z86h2/who_are_some_of_the_most_iconic_ableton_users/

[3] https://www.facebook.com/groups/abletonliveusers/


Reaper was first released in 2005 by Cockos Incorporated and is known for its flexibility and low cost (DAW Software Market Size In 2023 : Forecasting Share). It has a small but dedicated user base, with an estimated 500,000 active users as of 2022 (Can Someone Estimate: How Many People Use REAPER?). The software is regularly updated with new features and improvements, and has an open plugin architecture that allows extensive customization and third-party support.

Reaper emphasizes stability, flexibility, and customization over flashy interfaces. It has a reputation for efficient code and low resource usage compared to other DAWs. While not as popular overall as tools like Ableton or ProTools, Reaper enjoys an extremely loyal userbase of musicians, podcasters, and audio engineers who appreciate its focus on workflow and stability.

Comparative Analysis

When comparing the top music recording apps, there are a few key factors to consider including platform availability, pricing, included instruments and effects, and ease of use.

In terms of platform availability, Garageband is only available for iOS and Mac users, while options like FL Studio and Audacity are available across platforms including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. This makes them more accessible for a wider range of users.

For pricing, Garageband offers its full production suite for free on iOS and Mac, making it one of the most budget-friendly options. Meanwhile, FL Studio and Pro Tools offer free trial versions but require paid subscriptions for full access to features. Reaper also has an unlimited free evaluation period.

When it comes to included instruments and effects, FL Studio provides the largest library with hundreds of plug-ins and virtual instruments available. Garageband and Logic Pro also include ample built-in sounds to get started. Options like Audacity and Reaper focus more on recording fundamentals than bundled content.

For beginners, Garageband shines in terms of ease of use with its simple and intuitive interface. FL Studio and Logic Pro have steeper learning curves but enable more advanced editing and production capabilities for experienced users. Overall the top options each cater to different experience levels and user needs.


For beginners looking for a free option, Audacity is a great open-source digital audio workstation available on Windows, macOS, and Linux. It has basic multitrack recording and editing features. While the interface is barebones, Audacity is powerful enough for simple demo recordings and podcasts.

Garageband, which comes free with all Mac computers, is another excellent choice for beginners. Its simple interface and built-in instruments/loops make songwriting approachable. Garageband offers advanced features like flex time editing and virtual amps as you gain experience. It’s great for artists dipping their toes into home recording.

For intermediate users wanting more advanced mobile recording, FL Studio Mobile gives you robust tools like audio looping, time-stretching, and over 20 synth and drum pads. You can even load it up with VST plugins. The mobile version captures the essence of the popular desktop DAW. It’s pricier but provides flexibility for recording demos and full songs on the go.

Finally, for professionals seeking a fully-featured digital audio workstation, Logic Pro for Mac and Pro Tools for Windows/Mac are industry standards. They offer deep editing tools, virtual instruments, studio effects, and customization options. If you desire to record, edit, mix and master professional-grade music, these advanced DAWs have everything needed for commercial releases.

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