Nowadays, music production isn’t limited solely to expensive production studios. It’s now entirely possible to create a complete song using just your smartphone or tablet.
Android has a wide range of apps that can help you achieve your dream of becoming a music producer. This allows you to produce on the fly and gives you plenty of options to hone your production skills.
We’ve pulled together and highlighted several apps that you should install if you’re serious about becoming a music producer.
1. FL Studio Mobile
FL Studio is a full-blown DAW (digital audio workstation ). This means that you have a complete software-based music studio at your fingertips—excellent news if you want to produce music as you travel or have limited funds. It’s also useful if you don’t have the space for racks filled with hardware.
FL Studio is a powerful application. It comes loaded with instruments, effects, musical loops and samples. This way, you can start making music immediately, regardless of your style. Upon launching the app, you are presented with a blank canvas upon which you “draw” your music. Once completed, this can be saved down as high-quality audio files such as WAV and FLAC.
As mentioned, the app comes with several instruments to get you moving in the right direction. Once you’ve mastered the app’s pre-loaded instrument package, purchase further modules to take your production to the next level. You’ll be sounding like Avicii before you know it!
Download: FL Studio Mobile ($14.99)
2. Ninja Jamm
If you’re after something a little simpler (and perhaps a little more fun) than a full DAW, then Ninja Jamm should be right up your street. The app has been developed by Coldcut, founders of the globally renowned Ninja Tune record label and masters of the “cut-and-paste” sample technique of music production.
As the name suggests, the app is designed for “jamming.” This allows you to learn an easy production processes with music loops and samples from world-renowned artists. You can then move onto creating your own in a full DAW. With Ninja Jamm you can glean an understanding of how loops work in combination with each other.
As it is native to smart devices, you can also use a range of gestures to manipulate the sound. Shaking or tilting your device, for example, adds different effects to the sound, giving you a range of options to customize your jam.
The app features a paid-for version which opens up a host of additional loops and samples, as well as the apps “Share+” option. This allows you to record and save your music as lossless audio, and you can even upload to SoundCloud.
Download: Ninja Jamm (Free, premium version available)
So, you’ve crafted the perfect collection of tracks and you feel like the world needs to hear them. But how are you going to make this happen? In this instance, Bandcamp is your friend. Bandcamp is an online music marketplace that allows artists to upload their music direct to the site. Alongside artwork and liner notes, this gives you a comprehensive digital release without having to deal with publishers and distributors.
You can release music as a free Bandcamp stream, add a “pay what you like” option to your tracks, or give the tracks set prices. This is an excellent way to monetize your music and Bandcamp take only a small percentage from each sale, so you don’t need to worry about receiving micro-payments for simply streaming your music via alternatives such as Spotify or YouTube. All of your releases are fully shareable via social media, and tracks can be embedded using the handy share widget.
Another advantage of Bandcamp is the weekly chart that they release for different genres. No matter what your style, if your music is good enough to be selected, then you could potentially see it shared to the entire Bandcamp userbase. In turn you may see an increase in sales. Bandcamp is becoming an increasingly popular platform and it treats the artists that use the service fairly and respectfully.
Download: Bandcamp (Free)
If you are thinking of learning a string instrument, want to improve your singing, or fancy a go at playing the piano, then you can’t go wrong with Yousician. The app is great, because it covers everything from the beginner basics right through to professional-level musicianship.
Acting as a digital music tutor, Yousician features a huge tutorial library, songs and exercises that make learning music fun. One really cool feature of the app is the feedback element. The application will listen to you play and will offer constructive criticism on where you need to improve. Then you can go away and work on those tough barre chords or hard-to-reach upper octaves.
The advantage of self-teaching an instrument is that you can do it in your own way. Yousician is perfect for this method of learning as you can pick up your guitar, for example, when you have a spare 30 minutes, and quickly get busy adding new tricks to your repertoire.
Download: Yousician (Free, premium version available)
5. Ultimate Guitar: Chords and Tabs
One exclusively for the axe-wielders out there, Ultimate Guitar is (as you undoubtedly expect) a resource for guitar and bass players. I used this app endlessly when teaching myself to play guitar and found it very useful for learning the songs I wanted to learn. Once you have basic chord shapes nailed down, you’re good to go with learning some actual songs.
The most impressive feature of Ultimate Guitar: Chords and Tabs is the ridiculously vast collection of songs available in their library. Not only that, but it is a community-based app, meaning that other guitarists and bass players will upload chords or tablature, which are then rated for accuracy and quality by other users.
The Pro version of the app boasts a wealth of additional features, including playing along with a backing track, a guitar tuner, and interactive tabs to allow you to learn while the app plays notes at a speed comfortable for you.
Download: Ultimate Guitar: Chords and Tabs (Free, premium version available)
6. Roland ZenBeats
If you are producer, then you are likely to have heard of Roland’s line of famed drums and hardware synths. What you may not have heard of, though, is their Zenbeats app. Zenbeats allows you to create music using a range of sounds made famous by their bassline and drum synthesizers.
The app is available via three payment tiers, each one offering greater degrees of functionality as you progress through price-points. The basic free version has all you need to get started with making music, however. Features include unlimited audio tracks, nine instruments, several effects to manipulate the sound. You can even share your songs!
Roland Zenbeats has a nice, clean user interface, which is easy to navigate and simple to operate. This app is essential if you are looking to make electronic music with an authentic sound; one that comes straight from one of the most recognised names in the industry.
Download: Roland ZenBeats (Free, premium version available)
The Best Apps for Android Music Production
Android has a wide range of music production applications on offer – these are just a few. If you plan to start producing, you’re likely to need some headphones so you can listen to the output from your chosen app and tailor it if required; check out our guide to the best wired headphones to keep your productions sounding crisp and tight.