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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Music Software Popularity Index

Music Software Internet Popularity image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture production blog
Here's an interesting chart on the left from Digital Music Doctor that shows the popularity of DAW applications. As you can see, Pro Tools is still in the lead, but FL Studio is coming on strong, followed by Ableton Live. Last years challengers Cubase and Sonar have dropped back some.

Digital Music Doctor doesn't measure the installed base of users or even sales of software packages, they measure Internet search results, so don't misconstrue what the chart is trying to say. It's the popularity of a software package based on search activity on Google, Bing, Yahoo and AOL. The idea is that the number of searches directly correlates to the DAW's real popularity, which may or may not be the case.

As I said before, I'm no shill for Pro Tools but I can tell you that if you really want to work professionally in just about any area of the entertainment business, knowing how to use it is a necessity because that's what the majority of pros use. From music production to film and television post to voice-over work to anything else you can think of, it's a Pro Tools world for the most part. That's not to say that any of the other fine DAWs don't have their place. They're great learning and production tools, every one of them. But if you're looking for a job that has to do with audio, you'll need some Pro Tools operational skill no matter which way you cut it.

This comes from a person who started with Digital Performer version 1.0, then switched to Nuendo 1.0 (which I loved), only to go kicking and screaming into the Pro Tools world after it became just too painful transferring projects back and forth to those other platforms. I've never looked back and my projects never suffered from the change. So just a word of warning when looking at software popularity charts; they don't always tell the whole story.


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David Das said...

This isn't even close to scientific. Perhaps as accurate as calling Justin Bieber the most popular singer because he's trending on Twitter.

Hypothetically this could also be spun in the opposite direction. People tend to google for things they need answers to or help with. So perhaps an alternate way to read it is that Pro Tools and FL Studio are the most problematic or buggy of all the DAWs, and Band in a Box is the simplest or most stable.

That's not accurate either, of course, but my point is made.

Anonymous said...

You should have called this "most searched DAW on Google"... David Das is absolutely right.

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Plurgid said...

heh. this could simply mean that the less "popular" DAW's in the above chart do not illicit as many "WTF is that? let me ask google" type scenarios amongst their users.

As a rule, I pretty much don't google technical stuff unless I'm looking for answers. That's usually not a positive situation.

Jef Knight said...

I agree with David and Andrew on this.

In my job as the go-to guy for audio instruction I've found that

1)Pro Tools is a self fulfilling prophesy of "I bought it because it's the industry standard" which only reinforces that truth. It may be the "standard" but I find it a tad crappy. Only in the biggest of real world setups does it perform as a you'd like. (SSL desk etc, full HD system, secondary MIDI system ). Have they even fixed the phase problem with the summing buss yet?

2)People who use FL, Abelton and GB are all non-serious users for the most part, and will go to college or Wallmart and get a real job at some point. Used mostly by "instrument owners" as opposed to actual "musicians" or engineers.

3)Logic is used exclusively by Mac owners who, for the most part, are driven by ego more than creativity or skill. I don't know anyone who's using a Mac/Logic who is actually finishing projects. Seriously.

4)Cubase/Nuendo. These are my personal weapons of choice. They are also the tools of choice of every single serious engineer/composer that I know, other than PTHD users, who often have Steinberg stuff also.

The big packages like Cubase/Nuendo & Logic have forums for good tech info, so naturally there's less need to Google for info.

But I'd be fascinated to see the other search parameters.

I'll bet that PT, FL and Abelton all come with the added parameter of "warez", because whenever I get a call for some "amateur tech support" from one of these guys it's invariably a pirated copy.


Bobby Owsinski said...

I agree with a lot of what you said, Jeff, except

3) I do know a lot of pros that use Logic and complete projects every day because they have to.

4) While I love Nuendo myself, most every serious project here in Hollywood (music, film, television) is done on Pro Tools. You may have some composers on another platform, but it eventually goes to PT to finish it.

Jef Knight said...

The PT thing is pretty predictable,but thanks for pointing it out here.

I'm also happy to read that there are Mac users, outside the bubble that is my life, that are gittin'r done. Restores my faith in music/people that not every Mac user fits demo set out in Apple's whitepaper on the subject.



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