Can Garageband be used professionally? This is a common question that people ask, due to the fact Garageband and its users are, in a way, kind of stigmatized by other music producers.
Garageband can be used professionally; there’s no question about it, considering some big names in the industry have used the software to track entire albums and hit songs.
As an added point, it also depends on what you mean by “professionally.” I use Garageband all of the time for my music, and I do mixing and very basic mastering for clients.
Moreover, taking some of the most popular songs of the day as an example, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” is a beat that could easily be made with Garageband’s interface. You don’t even need to use a MIDI keyboard to make it, although, having an understanding of the piano would certainly help you (PianoForAll is the best for this – check it out).
There’s no shortage of artists and performers who have used Garageband to create entire albums and hit songs, especially with Apple Loops which are royalty-free. We’ll discuss some of the bigger names in the industry below.
With that said, however, there can be some issues with other artists who have also used Apple Loops, and if you upload your music to YouTube, another artist can hit you with a copyright strike, but you can dispute it using my guide as a reference.
Most people, especially those who have never used it before, are often shocked when they try it out and discover that it’s actually sophisticated in its functions and capabilities.
For instance, you can use EQ, compression; there is automation, and nearly all of the capabilities that Logic Pro X has, Garageband has as well, although, typically in a simpler format.
The primary difference between Logic Pro X and Garageband is that Logic Pro X has more sophisticated parameters of the functions Garageband has.
Using the compressor as an example, the Logic Pro X compressor has way more functionalities and settings which can be utilized for really fine-tuning your audio tracks.
Take a look at the compare-and-contrast pictures below between Logic Pro X’s default compressor and that of Garageband. You can clearly see that the Garageband compressor is far less sophisticated in its parameters, however, the function is inevitably the same.
Logic Pro X Compressor
In other words, Garageband and Logic Pro X have the same functionalities, but Logic Pro X has more in-depth functionalities with more range as well.
Logic Pro X is also a lot better at editing tracks and other recorded music, in addition to creating better sheet music with MIDI tracks.
Truthfully – and this is a point I’ve made in other articles – elitism is arguably one of the more common aspects of human nature that people typically like to engage in.
Furthermore, there have been cases where people have made successful songs using Apple Loops, that are also available in Garageband as well.
Taking the example of the song, “Umbrella,” by Rihanna, and you’ll notice this track uses the “Vintage Funk Kit 03” at approximately 90 beats-per-minute.
According to an article from Hypebot, there have been many artists who used Garageband to make popular music, including the aforementioned Rihanna, Usher, Grimes, Steve Lacy, Juliana Barwick, George Pringle, and Justice.
Justice, a producer/DJ duo from France, actually made their album, Cross, with Garageband and I find that pretty interesting because it’s probably my favorite electronic-music album of all time. This should also answer the question whether you can publish songs made with Garageband or not, which I’ve actually written about before.
Also, take into consideration that in the 1960s, for example, artists didn’t have nearly the capabilities that we do today. There was a time when everything was done using analog equipment, and editing features weren’t nearly as sophisticated as they are now.
There was a time when you literally had to re-do a part likely dozens or even hundreds of times until you got it right, and to make matters worse, over-dubbing was more complicated than it is now. Using the Quantizer function is another example of this (my guide).
Quantizing is a useful feature in which we can quickly snap MIDI notes – as well as regularly recorded tracks – and simply pull them to the grid so that they’re perfectly on time.
Nobody in the 1960s, the 70s, the 80s, or even the 90s had access to these tools, and now, users can have these amazing capabilities without even having to pay for the software! It’s truly an amazing time to be into music.
Some people also incorrectly believe that Garageband users are limited to the stock plug-ins, but as users of the software now, you can actually download other plug-ins online by using my guide.
There is a plethora of plug-ins and software that work with Garageband as well, including Amplitube 5 from Plugin Fox, which is a guitar amplifier software, as well as programs like Superior Drummer (also from Plugin Fox).
The main disadvantage, as I mentioned above, is that there is less we can do in the area of audio manipulation, but for the most part, the vast majority of the things that can be done in Logic Pro X can also be done in Garageband.
The Rolling Stone even did an article in 2019 about Garageband and what a great app it is to use on your iPhone (this is the one I recommend from Amazon, by the way). According to the outlet, T-Pain made his entire 2005 album, Rappa Ternt Sanga, using Garageband.
Fall Out Boy as well stated they preferred to use some of Garageband’s virtual instruments over the real thing.
Patrick Stump said in past interviews that they had many of the instruments created in real-time, but they ended up just using Garageband’s instruments because they liked them better.
Perhaps, one of the more interesting aspects of the software is that John Mayer reportedly played a role in its creation.
15 years ago, the guitar player stood beside Jobs and announced its unveiling to the world, and people are still using it today.
One of the primary reasons that Apple doesn’t heil Garageband as a professional software is because they want their users to purchase Logic Pro X, which I believe goes for in between $200 and $300.
According to Rolling Stone, the vice president of apps marketing for Apple, Susan Prescott, said it isn’t their goal to create Garageband as a “streamed down” version of Logic Pro X.
Their goal with it is to hit all available markets, which includes professional and just consumer-level producers.
Additionally, it seems like with each update of the software, there are more and more instruments and functionalities added all of the time. Today, there are reportedly 40x as many instruments as when it was first launched in 2004.
One producer in particular who has worked with people like Eminem and Dr. Dre, said to the outlet that there have been cases where people have come into the studio with a vocal track they recorded with just a laptop internal microphone in Garageband and they end up using it because it sounds good.
Alex Greenwald from Phantom Planet and Phases, for instance, came into the studio and much of the material he created was used with Garageband’s basic software.
So in other words, Garageband can be used professionally, as it has access to literally thousands of loops and its quantizer function, pitch-correction, and a plethora of virtual instruments make it super easy to use.
And it seems as though the iOS version of the software, the one loaded on to our phones, is getting better all of the time. The program is only getting more popular and convenient to use.
With an iRig Pro I/O which you can grab here from Amazon, which I wrote about in the respective links, all you really need is a tiny piece of gear and you can make pretty good sounding recordings on the road without having to cart around really expensive and heavy tools.
Assuming you want to get started on your journey with Garageband, I suggest you check out my beginners tutorial at the link here. In this guide, I run through some of the more basic aspects of the software and help you get started.
I hope this article was helpful to you. If you liked it, make sure to share it on social media, it would be appreciated a lot!