Ever since Napster, the world has become conditioned to want free music. Even though Napster is nowhere near the household name it used to be, there are new platforms that have taken its place, such as Youtube, Spotify, and Pandora. These websites do pay artists some royalties, but admittedly not very much.
It can be hard for artists to get fans to buy their music. (Don’t worry, it is possible to make a career as a musician though! Check out this new book by Ari Herstand about making a living in the New Music Business. This is HIGHLY recommended reading!)
So…let’s turn the tables! Musicians, let’s get equipped with some free resources. There are many great tools out there, ready for you to use. Here are seven of them that you might not know about:
1. Free DAWs
DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation, and is the software that allows musicians to easily record, edit, play virtual instruments through MIDI, and compose. One of the industry standards, Pro Tools, has a free version called Pro Tools First. It has a some minor limitations that still incentivize purchasing the full version, but someone who doesn’t need to track more than 16 inputs at once will find this a wonderful tool. MuLab is another free DAW that handles all the full features of a DAW you’d like while also offering hundreds of quality presets already built in. Audacity is a great alternative for audio recording and editing. It doesn’t have the MIDI capabilities of these other DAW’s, but it has robust audio editing features. All three DAWs work on both a Mac and a PC.
2. Free Samples
There are some great resources out there for free sounds. Cymatics has incredible vaults of free samples and foley (sound effects) that they just give away! These are extraordinarily high quality sounds that normally would cost hundreds. I’m shocked that they give it away like this, to be honest. They also have DAW presets for Logic and Ableton, that are top notch. Another incredible resource is freesound.org, which has user-uploaded samples, with a searchable database. You can find almost anything you’d imagine here! Looking for that particular sound effect for your sound design project? These are the first places I’d start.
3. Neil Patel’s Blog
This dude is absolutely brilliant. Widely regarded as the #1 marketer in the world, Neil Patel is constantly giving away invaluable advice and insights about how to maximize web visibility through social media and blogging. His marketing strategies can apply to virtually any field, including promoting your music. I personally guarantee that you will become a better, more informed, and creative promoter of any project, product, or artist by going through his free resources.
Would you like to professionally notate and engrave your music, but don’t have the cash on hand for Finale or Sibelius? Check out MuseScore. MuseScore is an open source platform, similar to Audacity, available for both Mac and PC, and will allow you to easily create fantastic looking scores.
Are you writing more music this year? Read our blog post about being a creative musician in 2017.
Of course, we’re going to give ourselves a little shoutout here. We’ve built the best way to learn chords, chord progressions, melodies, rhythms, notation, ear training, and keyboard skills, and it’s free. We believe that to truly learn music, you must be able to see, hear, and play every concept. Through Corridor, you will learn to play by ear, learn about chords through chord symbols and notation, and apply every musical concept to an instrument. We have tutorial videos, interactive games, and work on any device. We might be crazy for doing it, but we want you to be the best musician and artist you can be…for free!
Click here to learn music for FREE!
Few things are more impactful and important for a musician’s career than being able to easily connect with your fans. Through MailChimp, you can customize emails from the ground up (no coding skills required), easily build a subscriber list, and quickly send out emails to your fans. MailChimp is completely free up to 2,000 subscribers.
7. Sound Exchange
A lot of people know about ASCAP and BMI, but Sound Exchange is a company that specifically collects royalties from online streaming sources, such as Spotify and Pandora. It’s easy to register your songs, and it sure is fun to have a check show up in your mailbox from time to time.
What are some of your favorite free resources for musicians? Share them in the comments below!
About the author
Dan Musselman is a co-creator of Corridor, has earned a Ph.D. in music composition, and is a professional keyboardist. He has written five music textbooks, is the music director for The Voice finalist Kat Perkins, and has released four albums under his name.