Business of Music

Making music on a budget- How to improve your music with apps that cost less

Making music can be hard and a tad expensive.. so Harmattan Rain did some research and read tons of reviews and knocked heads with a lot of experts, did tests and experiments , went through Mordor, discovered the cure for mumble rap (accidentally),…. to bring you this short list of apps.

From voice training all the way to Mastering, we’ve got you covered.



iOS ($14.99)

This personalised, electronic voice coach gives you the ability to train your voice, pitch and even train breath control. You can monitoring your progress and move at your own pace with this app. And for just $15 you could be singing like Mariah Carey.




iOS (free)

Vox Technologies wants to share their knowledge of vocal technique with you in 15 minutes of free private lesson.









Andriod/iOS (free)



With warm-ups for beginners, scale pattern creation for performers, and theory exercises and other instructional aides for teachers, Swift Scales is a great free app for training your vocals.









  • Magix Music Maker Jam (Free + IAP)

Android / iOS
This app helps you arrange loops and samples – as well as your own vocal recordings – into songs. There’s a catalogue of samples to choose from.







  • DM1 – The Drum Machine (£4.99)

If you’re interested in touchscreen music-making, any of developer Fingerlab’s music apps are worth buying: the company is one of the most inventive in this area. DM1 is a good introduction: a drum machine that combines faithful sounds with intuitive controls: fun to mess around with, but also a good app for working on early ideas if you’re a more experienced musician.

  • Figure (Free)

Figure is the work of one of the most respected music/tech companies, Propellerhead Software, but Figure is for everyone though: a tactile treat of an app to create electronic loops using drums, bass and lead melodies, with no prior knowledge required. You can also check out and remix other peoples’ loops, and share your own.





  • iMaschine ($4.99)


iMaschine is a pretty cool way to create a beat on 16 pads with a keyboard there to add a melody. You can sample directly from your iTunes library, as well as record one-shot samples through the microphone. It’s simpler than some DJ production tools, but that makes it an ideal starting point.



  • Pro Metronome (free)

iOS/ Android

Sure, other tuning apps include metronomes, but this one is far superior. The user can choose between many timing styles. Users can “access subdivisions, poly-rhythm settings, and create complex patterns with triplets, dotted notes, and non-standard time signatures” if they purchase the Pro version. It’s also more precise than a real, mechanical metronome, as it’s not affected by friction, air resistance and other natural factors.

  • Steinberg Cubasis ($34.99)


Cubasis is Steinberg’s version of Cubase for iPad and it’s AMAZING. It’s the most expensive on our list and with good reason. It’s practically a whole studio in your pocket.

There are ten effects processors that can be assigned both to individual tracks and to the master channel for mastering, and Core Audio and MIDI are both supported for getting sound and MIDI in and out. Audiobus is also supported. As well as mastering it’s basically a supremely capable all-round music production app.



  • Songwriter’s Pad ($9.99)


Songwriter’s Pad is there for the songwriter suffering from writer’s block. It uses an emotion-based word and phrase generator to help you with ideas, plus there’s a rhyming dictionary for helping you get things on point. You can easily insert chords too.






  • Audio Mastering Studio ($4.99)


If you’re looking to get a professional master of your iPad projects, this is well worth a look. Has all the bells and whistles and is basically your portable studio.


  • Steinberg Cubasis ($34.99)


Steinberg makes an appearance here and with good reason. Studio know your pocket remember. It may be expensive (VERY) but it’s got everything you need.





  • Postive Grid Final Touch ($13.99)


Final Touch is one of the best mastering tools for mobile apps you can fine. It enabled you to perfectly tune and master.

You get pre- and post-linear phase EQs each with eight bands and five filter types, multiband dynamics with four independent bands of compression / limiting, a stereo imager, reverb, maximise, dithering and noise shaping. To add to the pro-level lineup of tools there’s stereo mid-side processing and a full waveform overview.
Hope you get a pick of the litter. You don’t need a million dollars and change to develop your sound or get better. Start small.



So there you have it, some pretty cool apps to keep you creating on a minimum budget. There’s so much technology can offer if you keep looking.


credit : appcrawler, the guardian, mashable, music radar. 

Benewaah is the lead curator and editor at Harmattan Rain. Her love for music is closely rivaled by her love for plantain.