5 Free and Paid Online Tools for Music Production

If you, like many other musical professionals, are dealing with the shortage in opportunities for live performances at the moment, this is still a great time to work on honing your craft, learn new skills and simply create.
27 September 2020


If you, like many other musical professionals, are dealing with the shortage in opportunities for live performances at the moment, this is still a great time to work on honing your craft, learn new skills and simply create. For all of these aspects of music production, there’s a myriad of online tools there to help you in the process.

  1. Collaborative Music-Making 

Music and collaboration go hand in hand and at this trying time, the need for artists, producers and engineers to band together and co-work creatively is greater than ever. That said, it can sometimes be hard to get outside of our bubbles and interact with the vast number of potential colleagues that are out there. Thankfully this is helped by recent developments in cloud storage capacity and faster internet connections, allowing for the use of collaborative music making websites and apps that enable you to make music with anyone, anywhere. Soundtrap is one of the easier digital audio workstations out there to use and has a free one month trial while Bandlab is completely free. 

  1. Music Visuals

Having strong visuals to backup your music is more or less essential in today’s industry. With more musicians than ever before competing for attention on the same platforms, simply releasing good music often doesn’t quite cut it if you want to stand out from the crowd. For example, having visuals paired with your music also makes it easier and more appealing to music blogs and other outlets who might share your music to the world.

You can create outstanding visualisation videos with Renderforest tools, quickly and easily. They have several visual services for musicians with a free account option as well as several paid plans to suit your needs. A picture says a thousand words, as the saying goes, and that can also be applied to music videos and animations. The power of good, personalised visuals in capturing your audience’s attention and imagination shouldn’t be overlooked.

3. Music Distribution

Music distribution is how your finished music gets from your recording studio to your fans, so it’s a pretty crucial part of music promotion. Gone are the days when music was distributed only physically and through brick and mortar establishments. Digital distribution has truly taken centre stage and the roles of distributors and record labels have changed accordingly. People spend more time online nowadays and less money on buying physical copies of music, and so digital distribution is now essential for reaching your audience. An upside to this is that by cutting out the middleman, artists can distribute music directly to platforms like Spotify, iTunes, Tidal and the hundreds of other platforms more easily than ever while keeping 100% of the royalties. Some great online tools for automated music distribution include Indiemono, (free) TuneCore, and Distrokid (both $19.99 for unlimited tracks for a year). 

4. Social Media Management

With so many social media platforms to choose from, the whole thing can seem a bit overwhelming. However, social media experts recommend that you only do what you can do well and consistently, rather than spreading yourself too thin on a long list of platforms. Just being active and personal is the goal, whether you’re on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Drooble, Soundcloud or Tik Tok or all of them. Another good tip is to think about where your audience is and follow them there. Some advantages of Soundcloud, for example, are that it’s a requirement for many music bloggers and that you can send listeners to iTunes from there to buy your music. At the very least, it might be a good idea to register your name on the most popular platforms just in case you want to use them in the future. 

Keeping on top of social media, whether you’re using one app or several, can be time consuming and difficult to stick to. That’s where social media management tools like Hootsuite can help. You can manage up to 3 profiles, schedule up to 30 posts in advance and also monitor some basic analytics to help you track followers, growth and your content stats, with both free and paid packages on offer. 

5. Streaming and Live Performances

Streaming live has become a very popular way for artists to keep a connection with fans, and for good reason. In the midst of all of the uncertainty of 2020, streaming is one of the best ways to substitute live performances and other in person events. While it’s easy to broadcast directly from Instagram, Facebook, Twitch or Zoom, for example, you can also promote your live performances with fun countdowns, graphics and teaser videos. OBS is a powerful and free open source software you can use to mix multiple audio sources, overlay graphics and have more control over your streaming.

But don’t stop there – get creative with streaming and experiment with different topics and formats. You could share insights into your music production process or show your studio for example. In lieu of real life concerts, clubs and bars, streaming online gives you the chance to get a little more social, interactive and intimate than usual, possibly allowing for even more of a connection between creators and fans.