8 Types of Software To Help You Produce Music

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published September 29, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Modern music production often includes the significant use of digital tools and software. Music production software can help you improve the quality of your recordings and offer the ability to modify your recordings and supplement them with computer-generated sounds. Learning the different types of software can help you find the best options to help you create music you love.

In this article, we discuss eight music production software programs, including what they do and why they're important if you're creating music.

8 music production software programs

If you're interested in creating music, these eight music production software programs are important for understanding the tools at your disposal:

1. Digital audio workstation

A digital audio workstation is a primary hub for digital music production. A digital audio workstation allows you to complete a range of music production tasks from recording to editing to mixing and producing a final product. When creating music digitally, it's common to use a digital audio workstation as the basis of your work, and supplement with additional software products and add-ons.

Inputting audio data, such as recording an instrument or a singer's voice, into a digital audio workstation converts it into a digitized format. This allows you to manipulate it on your computer, such as cutting it, rearranging it or altering the sound of a section.

Related: Everything You Need to Know for How To Become a Music Producer

2. Recording software

When creating new music, a high-quality recording of your source audio is important. Recording software allows you to digitally record musicians and singers as they perform. This creates a high-quality digital rendition of their performance.

Digital recording software makes the process of recording easier and more adaptable. When using recording software, you often have control over the format for your recordings, allowing you to choose the fidelity and file size which best matches your needs.

3. Editing software

Editing is a key phase in the music production process, in which you take your raw audio files and alter and arrange them to create your final musical product. Editing software provides you with tools to make it easier to manipulate your recordings and adjust them to meet your desires for the final product.

Editing software commonly provides the ability to enter music files into multiple channels, allowing you to cut and arrange the files independently from each other while also hearing their sound when played combined. This helps you construct the relationship between the different components of your song to create a cohesive and appealing final product.

Related: Music Producer Skills: Definition and Examples

4. Virtual instruments

Virtual instrument software allows you to produce a complete musical production without having access to all or any of the instruments you require. Virtual instruments may be part of your other software packages, such as editing software or your digital audio workstation, or may exist as a standalone software product. Standalone virtual instrument software can create sound files you import into other production software during the production process.

A virtual instrument allows you to create music for your song, often in the form of digital sheet music or tabs. The virtual instrument software interprets the musical notation you create and automatically generates a synthesized version of your chosen instrument. Often, virtual instrument software comes with a broad range of instruments and tunings for the instruments, allowing you to customize the sound to meet your needs on a music project.

5. Compression plug-ins

Sound compression is an important consideration when recording voices or instruments for a musical production. When recording loud sources, it can result in reaching the limits of your recorder, which may harm audio quality. You may also choose to use compression to minimize the overall range of volume on a recording, equalizing it to produce a more consistent sound.

Compression software often exists as a plug-in you can add to other music production software platforms, such as your digital audio workstation. Many workstations and editing suites provide basic compression tools, however, you may choose to seek an advanced option in a third-party compression plug-in.

Related: How To Become a Musician: Steps and FAQs

6. Equalization plug-ins

Equalization is the process of adjusting the volumes of different frequencies within a sound recording. For example, you may choose to emphasize the bass tones of a vocal recording by increasing their volume while slightly reducing the volume of the higher frequencies in the voice. This results in the lower frequencies in the recorded voice gaining increased prominence relative to the higher tones of the singer.

As with compression, many digital audio workstations provide equalization, but you may choose to seek a standalone plug-in. Software developers create their own plug-ins for equalization designed to work with the most popular digital audio workstations and may provide advanced features or improved equalization quality, resulting in richer tones for your recordings.

7. Sound-tone plug-ins

Modifying the tone of instruments or voices in a musical recording is a popular way to create a unique sound. There are many types of sound tone adjustment, with reverb, delay and modulation among the most popular options. Using sound tone plugins can help you adjust the sound of your song to make it more unique or more closely match your desired final product.

Plug-in developers create software packages designed to integrate into editing suites and digital audio workstations. Finding a sound-tone plug-in that matches your goals for a song can provide the final polish that makes it a complete production.

Related: How To Become a Music Producer

8. Publishing software

When creating music for public release, it may be beneficial to use publishing software to help you release your music onto accessible networks. Publishing software can make the process easier by automating the upload and management of your songs on popular streaming services and into databases for commercial use.

Publishing software may also help with guidance through the process of copywriting the music you produce. It can store information about songs, such as contributors, rights holders and other key considerations when seeking to publish your work. Publishing software may also include tools to help you pitch the music you produce, such as when seeking a contract with a recording company.

Explore more articles