Musical instrument sales and software downloads surge during coronavirus lockdown

Hands on piano keyboard
(Image credit: Future)

As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic is both a health and economic crisis, but it seems that the musical instrument sector may be holding up better than most. In fact, it turns out that it may be experiencing some significant growth. 

Rolling Stone reports that multiple US retailers are seeing more sales of the likes of guitars, synths, MIDI keyboards, drum machines and other products, while Apple has confirmed that there have been almost 13 million GarageBand sound library downloads since the start of February. The Logic Pro X user base, meanwhile, has been boosted by Apple’s decision to offer a 90-day free trial of the DAW.

Retailers are noting a particular rise in sales of studio and pro audio gear, with the likes of guitarists and drummers buying their first audio interface or microphone in a bid to make music at home using a computer. With time on their hands, players and performers are turning themselves into producers, too. 

All of this tallies with MusicRadar’s experience: we’ve seen a massive year-on-year rise in traffic to our product buying guides, with people keen to seek out the best deals on the best products.

Interest in our guide to online piano lessons has surged during the pandemic, too, as keyboard players replace face-to-face tuition with digital alternatives. If you want to start playing or recording at home, here are some of our most useful guides.

Learn to play guitar

Your first acoustic guitar lesson
Get yourself acquainted with chords and strumming

Guitar basics: learn to play powerchords
Nail rock guitar's cornerstone chord with this tab and audio lesson

Guitar basics: learn thousands of songs with the three-chord trick
Master the most important chord progression in music

Nail better barre chords in 20 minutes with this easy guitar lesson
Pass the barre and improve your rhythm playing

Learn 60 guitar chords in 20 minutes with this easy lesson
Master barre chords and open up the fretboard

Learn to play keyboard

How to position your right hand when you're playing the keyboard
Wanna learn how to play the keyboard properly? Let's start at the very beginning…

How to recognise the notes on a keyboard
If you can handle the first few letters of the alphabet, you're equipped to get your head around the piano…

How to play a C major scale on a keyboard
For your first tentative steps into keyboard mastery, you'll want to stick to just the white notes…

How to play major and minor chords on a keyboard
Once you've got a grip on scales, it's time to start stacking notes on top of each other. Now we're really getting compositional!

How to develop finger independence on a keyboard
With two hands and ten fingers to consider, learning to play keyboards requires a great deal of dexterity. This exercise will help you develop yours.


What do I need to record on a computer?
Get the lowdown on audio interfaces, DAWs, mics and more

How to plug mics and instruments into your audio interface
Make sure you get set up for recording correctly

How to set the preamp gain on your audio interface
Follow these four steps to make sure you set your preamp gain correctly every time

A step-by-step guide to recording drums
How to record and mix a full kit setup

How to get the right acoustics in your recording space
Treat your room for the best possible recording results

How to set up a single mic for recording
Get the right mic in the right position

How to set up stereo mics for recording
Sometimes, two is better than one

20 quick and dirty recording tips
Advanced techniques for making the most of your live performances, vocals and sampled sounds

How to record acoustic guitar
Learn how to use a single mic to capture an acoustic guitar

How to record vocals
Follow these three steps to get a good vocal recording every time

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.