BLOG: Why GarageBand '09 isn't for music producers

Sting: used to be a teacher, now is again.
Sting: used to be a teacher, now is again. (Image credit: Image courtesy of Apple)

If you use Apple's GarageBand for music production purposes, the announcement of the 2009 version of the software probably left you feeling rather disappointed.

Truth be told, there's not much (anything?) in the update that will improve GarageBand's performance as a DAW - many of us probably won't bother to upgrade this time - and I think there are a couple of reasons why Apple has focused its attention on other aspects of the software.

On the one hand, it needs to ensure that it doesn't start to cannibalise sales of its Logic products. If Apple specs GarageBand too well, there'll be no real incentive for users to spend money on its more advanced music production software.

"Many of us probably won't bother to upgrade this time."

On the other hand, though, Apple still needs to give existing GarageBand/iLife users a reason to shell out for the new version, and it's done this by going off at something of a tangent.

By including music lessons - and the option to purchase celebrity-hosted tutorials - it's attempting to appeal to people who want to learn to play rather than record.

This, I think, is a canny move, and gives GarageBand an extra dimension. Budding guitarists will also be able to benefit from the new amps and stompboxes that are included.

That said, I do hope that this doesn't mark the end of GarageBand's evolution as a music production tool. Yes, it will always remain a consumer level product, but much of the software's considerable potential remains untapped.

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.