7 Free (or Cheap) Music Software Programs

Music and technology have become inseparable friends, and more and more often musicians are using software to create original music rather than doing it purely organically. But accessing that software can be difficult, in particular because most musicians – especially if they’re just starting out – are on a pretty tight budget for investing in the tools they need to create.

However, a big range of digital audio workstations and software platforms that are either freeware or superbly low in price are available for musicians on a shoestring budget. Here are seven of the best free or cheap music software programs available.

Acid Pro Xpress

The Acid Pro series is produced by Sony, and its Xpress platform is free to download. While it will continually prompt you to upgrade every time you close a session and comes with a few limitations (such as ten tracks per project), it is still highly capable and will give you all the basic tools you need to create and record music projects. Ideal for musicians who are just starting out, it’s worth it to invest later in Acid Pro 9 or 10 to get a whole lot more capability, including 20+ tracks per project, sound effects, and increased mastering capability. Acid Pro is visually comprehensive, which makes it one of the easiest DAWs to use.


A free notation program for classical musicians, MuseScore has become a standard among both students and professional composers alike. It lacks a few of the bells and whistles that come with other notation programs like Finale or Sibelius, but this brilliant program provides everything you need to compose easily, including a huge range of instruments, playback function, and parts exportation. MuseScore also hosts a community of classical musicians that share their original compositions and arrangements, offering up good resources to arrange other works and collaborate with other composers.

Working on multiple mixes? Try Crowd Review’s Production Quality report to see which one fans like better.


One of the original freeware DAWs, this simple but versatile program is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems. It is best suited for editing audio tracks, but it’s highly capable – and if pushed to its limit, it is even capable of turning out professional recordings and entirely original tracks if your machine has decent hardware resources. Audacity is especially useful to audio producers who are just starting out, but electronic composers will find it useful, too.


Garageband is exclusively for Mac users, and this densely-packed DAW comes complete with 250+ track capability, MIDI function, professional audio editing tools, and everything else you might need – or want – to produce professional quality sound. Even better, Garageband is free to OSX users, and rumors of a Garageband simulator for Linux users are afoot.

Check out our uber in-depth review of 7 DAWs right here


Hydrogen is a free drum programming sequencer for Linux and OS X, and is especially handy for audio producers or anyone who does beat-heavy music, like hip hop or drum n’ bass. Hydrogen allows you to build, layer, and edit drumbeats, and even offers up swing and syncopation functions – all in a visually comprehensive environment.


Rosegarden dates to the early nineties, and was originally built for Linux. Now available on Windows machines as well, Rosegarden is a complete DAW and MIDI, making it an ideal tool for electronic composers and keyboardists. It has a bit more of a learning curve than some of the other DAWs on this list, but its robust design and capability make it well worth the effort to master.


Giada is a curious little program designed for live electronic music producers and DJs. It has a super minimalistic interface, but don’t let that fool you – you’ll want to read the FAQ for this program. It best shows its mettle with live sampling, but can also be a good supplementary tool for studio production.

All of these software programs represent a range of different applications and usability. No matter what you compose, one of these programs – or more than one – will give you what you need to produce professional quality music to share with your fans.

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Krissy7 Free (or Cheap) Music Software Programs


Join the conversation
  • Sergio Cuesta - March 28, 2017 reply

    Thanks for the info. I didn’t know most of them.

    vik - January 2, 2019 reply


  • Rock - April 2, 2017 reply

    um excuse me? Presonus Studio One has a free version. It literally destroys the last page you wrote, and leaves you with this ONE DAW. Nothing on this page compares….

  • Mike Shands - May 14, 2017 reply

    Cool thank you for the post. There’s a few of these I haven’t heard before so I’ll be sure to check them out. Giada sounds pretty noteworthy considering I am an electronic producer. I have personally used audacity to record vocals and finished many songs using it. I also recommend to my customers over at my site http://www.djshandsbeats.com Thanks again for the info and hopefully you guys make another list soon! There’s so much great music software out there!

  • James Bale - June 16, 2017 reply

    Music creation, mixing and editing is a very creative job, which requires time and resources like good musicians, instruments and high tech software. But if you are an amateur and new to this industry then it is a completely different game. For such individuals the above mentioned software are great. Among these my personal favorite one is Acid Pro xpress that provide more freedom as compared to the others.

  • Kirby Kuehl - June 25, 2017 reply

    I can’t believe reaper was not mentioned.
    It is free to try for as long as you like, and is not limited in any way. http ://www.reaper.fm

  • Jean - August 16, 2017 reply

    First of thank you so much for providing such a useful information.
    I tried all software and as per my suggestion Garageband is best software for beginners and mac users.

  • Sarah Emi - October 26, 2017 reply

    Yeah, indeed they are the “Must Have” audio tools and software everyone must have. I’ve used audacity once before, but I was not familiar with the other ones.Especially the Giada really loved it. Thanks, A lot.

  • Umer Ali - SEO Specialist - October 30, 2017 reply

    A well-written article for the multimedia and production professionals. Almost all the audio tools and software excluding the ordinary ones are mentioned, and yes, it is quite helpful and informative. Thanks..!

  • chris - January 21, 2018 reply

    thank you for the wonderful status, everyone can find good information on this topic.
    A few weeks ago I tried an app that I really liked and has really advanced features …
    You can check it here https://tinyurl.com/y8s39w2l
    Thank you once again for the post

  • Alex baker - February 2, 2018 reply

    Use music jotter for all your composing needs and the best part about it is you don’t get to pay a dime for it. Get it free from here https://www.musicjotter.com/demo/

  • Chris Barkaer - June 8, 2018 reply

    Thats nice music application. I would suggest you to install Garageband app also. Because its free and working on PC as well.

  • alex - July 5, 2018 reply

    Giada is the great i ever see it’s just amazing and easy to use i love it

  • Janet - November 8, 2018 reply

    Thank you Krissy for the wonderful software, a very nice music application software. Thanks for sharing its a helpful information for everyone.

  • oneworldrental - November 30, 2018 reply

    This is awesome.. I personally like MuseScore and thank you for covering a unique topic for us. Thanks

  • Jenesa Hills - January 30, 2019 reply

    Music itself is an art and those who can play with it are Artist. It takes enough guts to understand the music and only the passionate can create it. With the above mentioned software it can be very easy to create music for those who understands it very well, although it could be a difficult job for a freshie but with a little bit knowledge they can also create music with the softwares.

  • Webappi - February 12, 2019 reply

    Nice one

  • Robert Jones - February 25, 2019 reply

    Thanks for sharing the wonderful list of cheap music software programs. Thanks for sharing its a helpful information for everyone.

  • Ali - January 4, 2020 reply

    Thanks for sharing its a helpful information for everyone.

  • Paket Pernikahan - February 16, 2020 reply

    This is awesome. Thank you for covering a unique topic for us

  • 49ers - July 4, 2020 reply

    thanks for this wonderful post..keep posting

  • ezikweb - July 9, 2020 reply

    I have benefited a lot from reading this article. Thank you very much for doing this article.
    thanks regard.

  • Spirit Reservations - July 28, 2020 reply

    Thanks for sharing this useful information

  • Para - August 2, 2020 reply

    thank you for the wonderful status, everyone can find good information on this topic.
    A few weeks ago I tried an app that I really liked and has really advanced features

  • RANA AMIN - August 31, 2020 reply


  • ezikweb - September 17, 2020 reply

    I have benefited a lot from reading this article. Thank you very much for doing this article

  • tom - November 3, 2020 reply

    thanks this is good blog.

  • homeles - November 15, 2020 reply

    I admit, I have not been on this web page in a long time… however it was another joy to see It is such an important topic and ignored by so many, even professionals. I thank you to help making people more aware of possible issues.

  • Usama - December 1, 2020 reply

    Thanks for compiling and sharing the list with everyone

  • Peter - January 12, 2021 reply

    This is very informative krissy!

  • WebNagar - August 10, 2021 reply

    Thanks for sharing this useful information

  • muslimsrishta - August 10, 2021 reply

    Thanks this is really a good blog.

  • Olivia Rose @momslilmunchkin - August 11, 2021 reply

    Thanks for curating and sharing this useful list.

  • zone - August 16, 2021 reply

    Thanks for the valuable video for the blog commenting tips Thanks for a heplful post,

  • weddingque - August 19, 2021 reply

    nice thanks for the information

  • vendor cctv - August 19, 2021 reply

    I think Acid Pro Xpress is the most recommended

  • Best erp software in dubai - March 17, 2022 reply

    I used Audacity back in the day. Going to try other ones now.

  • ERP software in Dubai - April 18, 2022 reply

    I didn’t know most of them. will try everything.

  • Akatsuki Jacket Puffer - June 7, 2022 reply

    This is excellent article, thank you for the share! This is what I am looking for, hope in future you will continue sharing such an superb work.

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