New free GarageBand Sound Pack from Lady Gaga and top producers

Image Credit: Apple

Learn to remix for free and get new artist sound packs including Producer Packs from Mark Ronson and Tom Misch with the latest update for GarageBand.

With the latest GarageBand iOS and iPadOS update Apple has debuted new Sound Packs from top producers in the music industry, all available to download for free. GarageBand offers a route into music production that’s easy and accessible for beginners, and with this update users can learn to remix and create songs with exclusive new beats, loops and instruments.

The seven new Producer Packs on offer include hundreds of royalty-free sounds and instruments created by the likes of Tom Misch, TRAKGIRL and Ariana Grande producer Oak Felder.

Image Credit: Apple

Andra Day producer TRAKGIRL said: “It’s been an important mission of mine to help young women break into music making, and GarageBand is a powerful creative tool that everyone has access to. I hope my Producer Pack will inspire people globally to embrace their creativity and show that anyone can follow their dreams and get involved in music production.”

A separate Pack acts as a companion to producer Mark Ronson’s docuseries Watch the Sound With Mark Ronson, available on Apple TV+. Users can play around with sampling, drum machines, synths and effects inspired by the music on the Apple Original show.

Also included in the update are two new Remix Sessions, aimed at letting users have a go at remixing songs through a fun, easy platform. Following the video instructions, GarageBand app users can remix Lady Gaga’s “Free Woman” and “Break My Heart” by Dua Lipa using the stems of the songs – the beats, vocals and instruments – to take the tracks in a whole new direction.

Image Credit: Apple

Dua Lipa said: “It’s amazing to see Apple bringing my music to life in GarageBand, so now anyone can experience how I made ‘Break My Heart’ no matter where they are. Music has the power to bring people together, and this is doing that in such an exciting way. I personally can’t wait for people to have a lot of fun experimenting and coming up with different versions of my song.”

The GarageBand app is a great gateway DAW for Apple users. The new Producer Packs and Remix Sessions can be downloaded from GarageBand’s Sound Library for free.

Best DAWs for Hip-hop

What’s the best DAW for beat making? Check out these six examples of the best hip-hop producer software available in 2021.

To get started making hip-hop beats, you need a Digital Audio Workstation for creating backing tracks and recording rap verses. The problem is, there’s lots of DAWs for hip-hop producers to choose from, all promising different things. Which DAW is best for creating and recording rap music?

When inspiration strikes, you want a smooth workflow so you can get your bars down before they disappear from your mind. Which DAW is best for hip-hip for you as a producer will depend on your workflow and budget. Here are six DAWs to consider to get you started.

Image Credit: Reason

Reason Studios has an analog feel that connects you to the beatmaking process. It’s got a big sound bank and great drum designer, loop editing and mixing capabilities. Drop samples right into audio tracks for super-fast manipulation.

Reason can be used as a plugin in other DAWs, to bring its sound packs and effects to a workflow you prefer. Available for a $19.99 a month subscription, it’s an affordable option for beginner hip-hop producers.

bandlab free DAW
Image Credit: BandLab

Brilliant for beginners, BandLab has a super-simple interface but also a huge library of royalty-free sounds and a great easy sampler. The cloud-based setup means there’s nothing to download – and everything is completely free. Share your beats instantly to the platform for feedback and encouragement from the community, as well as collaboration opportunities.

BandLab also make CakeWalk, a DAW with really impressive capabilities considering it’s also available for free.

Ableton Live
Image Credit: Ableton Live

Designed for electronic music, Ableton Live’s clip view means you can get ideas and loops down fast and swap ideas around. Due to its origins as an instrument, Ableton is highly intuitive for performing at live shows. Its powerful features let you flip samples and make drum racks quickly.

Accessing full features will set you back $449, although you can grab the stripped back Intro version for $99.

FL Studio
FL Studio 20
Image Credit: Image-Line

Once you’re up to speed with the layout and keyboard shortcuts of FL Studio, beats can be assembled in a flash. The step sequencer channel rack allows you to get stuck in stacking up beats right away. The vocal recording takes a little getting used to, but the FL Studio piano roll is one of the best, so even if you have no music theory background you can get to work editing and arranging virtual instrumental parts by clicking in MIDI notes with your mouse.

FL was built for electronic music, affordable at $99 for the light version, and its popularity means there’s hundreds – if not thousands – of tutorials out there.

Bitwig Studio
Image Credit: Bitwig Studio

An intuitive visually pleasing DAW with easy drag-and-drop abilities and easy to move between arranging, editing and mixing your project. Quick sampling abilities and renowned audio editing capabilities make for a streamlined experience.

Bitwig starts at $99 for the entry version – and you can try in Demo mode without a time limit.

Logic Pro
Mac mini Logic Pro
Image Credit: Apple

Logic’s Live Loops let you arrange loops and samples in an accessible grid for swift beatmaking. The Apple-only DAW also makes vocal comping easy, and the step sequencer lets you build beats and bassline patterns in an intuitive way.

At $199, Logic is the grown-up version of GarageBand. On that note – there’s nothing wrong with GarageBand if you’re an Apple user who wants to practice recording your flow and have a go at making your own rap beats.

Most modern DAWs can be used to make hip-hop music – so it comes down to which you feel most at home working in. Happily, you can download all the DAWs on this list for a free trial before you commit to any music software.

There’s more out there to discover, too. Do you want to buy and master a professional DAW like Pro Tools, or explore a free DAW like Tracktion Waveform first?

Which DAW do you recommend for making beats? Let us know what you use in the comments.

Already recorded your first hip-hop track, and proud of it? Have you thought about releasing your song to Spotify? Using RouteNote’s free distribution you can upload your track to all the big streaming services for FREE. You keep all the rights to your music, and make money every time your track gets played. Find out more and sign up today here.

How much mobile data does Spotify use?

Image credit: Fixelgraphy

Depending on your streaming quality and content Spotify can use a fair bit of mobile data, here’s some settings to check to avoid you going over your allotted amount.

When you listen to Spotify on your mobile device without a wifi connection it will use your mobile data, some contracts will only have a limited amount. Although streaming music via Spotify doesn’t use as much as video streaming it can still rack up usage, especially you have it set at the highest quality, not to mention podcasts. Spotify offers five different sound quality settings in the app which will either lower or raise how much data it consumes.

You can access these options by going to ‘Settings’ and scrolling to ‘Music Quality’, here you will find five different options that include: 

  • Low (24kbps) 
  • Normal (96kbps)
  • High (160kbps)
  • Very High (320kbps)
  • Automatic 

Automatic will choose a sound quality option based on your network connection, which can be risky if you have limited data. However, it is important to remember that you can download your music to listen to in offline mode if you have Spotify Premium. 

How much data does Spotify use? 

So, depending on the quality of the stream the app can use anything between 0.5 MB to 8 MB for a song. A full hour of streaming music can use upwards of 150 MB of data, meaning that a single hour of streaming per day can add up to over 6 GB of data usage. Which if you have unlimited is not an issue, but those without less so. 

Low (24kbps) – 0.18 MB per minute 

Normal (96kbps) – 0.72 MB per minute 

High (160kbps) 1.2 MB per minute 

Very High (320kbps) (Premium only) – 2.4 MB per minute 

If you are on a limited data plan with your mobile phone contract then you can avoid going over by downloading your music on your wifi before going out to listen in offline mode (premium subscription only). Or you can turn on Spotify’s ‘Data Saver’ option which keeps audio streams at 24kbps and disables Spotify’s canvas feature. According to Spotify, this option can reduce Spotify data use by up to 85%. 

BandLab update brings powerful new tools for all music creators

Image Credit: BandLab

A fresh look and new Sampler and Mastering tools make the BandLab update an even more tempting prospect for beginner music producers looking for free music software.

Social music making platform BandLab has just had an upgrade, aiming to give emerging producers everything they need in one free platform. BandLab 10.0 adds more music tools and social elements, including direct uploads to TikTok.

BandLab is a massively popular and ever-growing place to make music online, now boasting over 37 million users around the world. Its appeal stems from its unpretentious easy-to-master music production tools, its cloud-based software, and also the social nature of the platform which means users can share their creations instantly and collaborate with other people on BandLab online. And, crucially, the platform is completely free to use.

BandLab 10.0 update
Image Credit: BandLab

The update, BandLab 10.0, gives the platform a fresh look with a dark mode option, bringing with it a brand new Sampler and upgrades to the automated Mastering tool.

The sampler is an add-on to its Mix Editor, letting users create their own samples. Creators can now import up to a minute of their own audio or video to make beats from, or choose from the library of royalty free BandLab Sounds.

The updated Mastering feature meanwhile can now render tracks ten times as fast as its competitors. Developed by GRAMMY Award-winning engineers, the tool gives a professional final touch to songs.

Online Mastering is touted by BandLab as a serious tool, not a gimmick, and the update gives it a powerful upgrade. In keeping with BandLab’s mission to level the playing field for all artists, the tool can be used by all users including those on smartphones and tablets.

BandLab update 10.0 free music software
Image Credit: BandLab

BandLab CEO Meng Ru Kuok said: “This is a major milestone release. We envision BandLab evolving beyond helping creators make music, to helping them earn a living and grow their audience. We are the best cross-platform, accessible place to make music, and we want to keep pushing the boundaries of music creation to the next level.

“The new sampler and other functions, the new look and social features, are designed to take their creativity to another place. It’s part of what we see as a continuing investment in the broader music creation ecosystem.”

Kuok said BandLab’s aim reaches beyond making “cool tools,” ultimately hoping to help music creators overlooked by the professional world of music production to thrive. The social tools are a big element of this, letting users share their creative process with other creators and fans. As part of the update, users can now directly upload their sounds to TikTok so songs can be discovered outside of the app.

As BandLab continues to streamline and add more features, whilst still retaining its accessibility, the platform is only going to see a continued rise in popularity. We’re watching with interest.

99 Drum Samples I and II are currently free from 99Sounds

Image Credit: 99Sounds

Both premium-quality sample pack libraries are currently on a pay-what-you-want basis with no minimum payment.

Indie sound design label 99Sounds have released their follow-up to 99 Drum Samples and dropped their minimum $9.99 requirement for both collections of drum samples. 99 Drum Samples I and 99 Drum Samples II are multi-genre, royalty-free drum libraries containing 99 and 110 individual samples respectively. In Drum Samples I you’ll find 6 claps, 1 cowbell, 4 crash cymbals, 11 closed hi-hats, 26 kick drum samples, 5 open hi-hats,10 percussions, 2 ride cymbals, 3 shakers, 22 snare drums and 9 toms. Drum Samples II is packed with 11 claps, 13 hi-hats, 37 kicks, 13 percussions and 36 snares.

With over 450,000 downloads, 99 Drum Samples I is the most popular 99Sounds library to date. Five years later, 99Sounds are releasing their sequel, 99 Drum Samples II. 99 Drum Samples II is the must-have unique drum collection for all producers. As with the previous pack, 99 Drum Samples II is suitable for various music styles such as hip-hop, trap, dubstep, electronic, synthwave, lo-fi, pop and much more.

99Sounds says their sample packs are crafted using various analogue and digital synthesizers, acoustic drums, classic drum machines and field recordings, then processed and cleaned using multiple onboard effects and studio gear. 99Sounds “used analog distortion, high-end preamps, cheap tape recorders, field recorders, guitar amps, a spring reverb, an old Tascam PortaStudio 4-track, a vinyl deck, and a vintage tape delay unit.” They even used a Game Boy to resample some of the sounds from the retro console.

“The samples have been carefully edited, trimmed, and normalized to -0.3 dB (except for some of the cymbal hits, which are peaking around -3 dB).” All individual samples are in 24-bit WAV format, ready to be dropped into your next big track. Download both packs for $0 or make a donation to support their future work and cover hosting costs. Simply head here, click Part 1 and Part 2, enter your price and an email address to access the download.

Being royalty-free means you can use the samples in your next commercial music project without fear of getting a copyright strike. Head to RouteNote, to upload your track to all major stores, streaming services and social platforms for free with just a few clicks.

Instagram is testing link sharing via stories for all its users

Image credit: Instagram

Instagram is now testing allowing its users share links via their story with the new linking sticker.

Up until now Instagram limited who can post swipe-up links in their stories, normally you would need that coveted blue tick or have 10,000 followers. However, all Instagram users will now be able to add a link sticker, which can be found stickers tab when creating a story. It will work the same way that the swipe-up does, but you will double tap on the sticker instead of a swipe. 

The test is designed to learn how people will take advantage of the link sticker and Instagram will be watching for the types of links people post, keeping a close eye on misinformation or spam. Stickers also align to how people are currently using the platform, according to Instagram’s Head of Product, who in a recent interview with The Verge said: “That is the sort of future system we would like to get to.” Adding: “And that’s what we hope to roll out, if we’re able to make this work.”

Links will be limited to stories with no plan to bring them to the feed or any other area of the app. 

This is a great addition to the app and will empower content creators on the platform. Allowing them to use the platform to push viewers to their blogs, shops, and charities. 

Slate Digital’s SEISMIC is a free drum sample pack, with 800 royalty-free drum samples

These free drum loops, percussion loops, one shots and construction kits are perfect for your pop, hip-hop, dance and electronic tracks.

SEISMIC from Slate Digital is full of loops and one shots with hard hitting snares and kicks, construction kits to layer, cut and mix, and more. In this pack you’ll find:

  • 229 modern drum loops
  • 187 modern drum one shots
  • 153 world percussion loops
  • 152 world percussion one shots
  • 80 signature percussion loops

All samples are free to download, royalty-free to use in your commercial projects and in WAV format ready to drop into your next release. Simply head here to download, enter your email address and mobile number, and Slate Digital will email you once your sample pack is ready to download.

Listen to the demo below.

Once you’ve enhanced your tracks with these samples, upload them to all major stores and streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, TIDAL and many more, with just a few clicks thanks to RouteNote’s free distribution.

Free plugin alert – T-RackS Classic Clipper

Image Credit: IK Multimedia

Get free music software T-RackS Classic Clipper from IK Multimedia – a free plugin usually worth $50.

The good folks at IK Multimedia are offering a free plugin, and all you have to do is subscribe to their newsletter. The free music software is the T-RackS Classic Clipper, a mastering soft clipper that would usually set you back $50 but is currently being offered as a free gift.

First off, the Classic Clipper has a sweet look, with a cool orange vintage design. The free plugin offers you control over dynamics at the mastering stage, utilising peak clipping to control peaks instead of using peak limiting.

free plugin t-racks classic clipper mastering plugin
Image Credit: IK Multimedia

Give your track some personality or lend it distortion effects. IK Multimedia said: “A good example of this can be a snare track, or bass track which may be weak or dynamically inconsistent: running them through the Clipper and raising the level will saturate them nicely making them more present and bold in the mix.”

Controls are super-simple, with Slope, Gain and Output controls. The T-RackS Clipper can be used in the free T-RackS 5 CS and the T-RackS 5, either as a DAW plugin or standalone.

Find out more and get your free plugin here. Be quick – the promotion ends on 29 June.

Free VST – spring reverb plugin from Fuse Audio Labs

Image Credit: Fuse Audio Labs

Get bouncy with the VREV-666 free reverb plugin, available to download now.

Fuse Audio Labs’ VREV-666 free plugin captures the vintage character of the Grampian 666 spring reverb, originally built for the BBC in the 1960s.

What is spring reverb? In pre-digital times, a coiled spring was used as a cheaper version of artificial plate reverb, with a transducer and a pickup at either end. The Hammond organ first used spring reverb – it’s common in guitar amplifiers. Spring reverb has a synthetic “bouncy” effect, as the coils vibrate and bounce the echoes inside the unit along the spring back to the transducer.  

The original Grampian 666 reverb is very rare, with only a few hardware units remaining. Luckily the free VST means you can experience the sound of the spring reverb in your DAW.

The spring reverb plugin features a limiter to tame peaks, a mix stage, pre-delay and a tone EQ. It’s available for PC and Mac in VST/AU/AAX formats.

Just sign up for a free Fuse Audio Labs account here to grab your free plugin.

How many views do you need to make money on YouTube

Image credit: Jenny Ueberberg

YouTube is a great place to monetize your content, however there are some prerequisites you will need to reach first.

Creating content on YouTube is a great way to generate income and is used by creators and musicians alike. However, you can’t just hop on to YouTube, create any content and wait for the money to flow. There are certain criteria you need to be able to achieve before YouTube will start paying you for your content.

To get paid by YouTube, you will need to generate $100 or more from views, and to achieve this you will need to hit 20,000 views to receive roughly $5 per 1,000 views. To make this happen, YouTube created the YouTube Partner Program, which allows you to get paid through advertisements on your videos. To join this you will need the following:

  • Have at least 1000 subscribers
  • Reach 4000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months
  • Sign and agree to the terms and conditions
  • Have an AdSense account
  • Get reviewed and approved

Once you’re in the partner’s program you can start generating income through advertisements. This is done in two ways, either cost per thousand views (CPM) or cost per click (CPC). With CPM, you can earn money based on every 1,000 views you accumulate, while with CPC, you can earn money based on the number of people that click on the ad placed on your page or video.

However, it’s worth noting that Google will give you 68% of the revenue when displaying ads with AdSense. So, for example, if a video generates $1,000 from AdSense revenue, you will receive $680.