The world just seems to get faster, doesn’t it?! TikTok is the ultimate fix for attention-deficient speed junkies, but you know what’s quicker than scrolling your TikTok feed? Letting us scroll through and curate the best of what we find for you!
TikTok is full of producers, songwriters and music-makers eager to share their advice, tips and tricks with the world. But this advice isn't always easy to find, and not all of it is worth taking. With that in mind, we've tested out a ton of viral TikTok music production hacks to find out if they're worth your time. What follows is the best of the bunch.
Despite the reality of the major DAWs on the market having fundamentally similar capabilities and modalities, they each have fans based on unique workflow. Getting to know your DAW of choice on a deep and meaningful level will speed up the way you make music, and burning shortcuts and invaluable knowledge drops into an unconscious and reflexive part of your brain will free up the creative part to, well... create! These little tips and tricks are perfect fodder for TikTok content.
If you’ve been using Ableton Live for a number of versions, the categorised list of devices in Ableton Live 11 might have been a welcome change, or it might just feel like an unnecessary extra step in your workflow. Did you know you can turn it off and go back to the pre-Live 11 days of a single list?! Bonus tip: give the Ableton Live 12 Beta a try, which has a redesigned browser and none of these clunky categories.
Ever been composing a chord progression in Ableton Live and lost the flow between finding a particular voicing on your keyboard and entering it into the piano roll? It’s as easy as this to print the chord you’re playing into a clip!
Assigning a tool to right click can be a game changer for workflow speed in Logic Pro. As an addition to to this, setting it to open up the tool menu is another way to speed things up with even more versatility!
FL Studio is renowned for its ability to mould to your specific workflow, and over the years, there have been so many little ways to speed up creation added to the software that finding them can take some time. Prepare to pick your jaw off the floor when you see these six incredible tips crammed into under a minute.
Reaper is one of the most configurable DAWs on the market, and the level of capability and customisability can be confusing when coming from other workflows. Ever been confused by the way that audio files can overlap each other within the same track? It’s as easy as this to get the more common one-at-a-time style track behaviour you might be used to in other DAWs.
It’s all well and good knowing your gear like the back of your hand, but it’s not the slice tool that actually makes the music, is it?! TikTok is great for getting bite-size, smart suggestions for how you can use your gear to make amazing sounds for your next track.
Somewhere between an off-label usage and a hidden feature, did you know that Serum can integrate sampling into a patch by using the noise generator?
A classic hardware hack at risk of being lost to time with so many modern musicians never getting their hands on physical knobs and dials, this video will show you why it’s common to see a jar of elastic bands next to a synth-head’s pride and joy.
Looking for something unexpected to jumpstart your creativity? Try this tip. This reminds me of Paul Stretch, the classic software that takes any sample and via extreme stretching turns it into an unpredictable pad sound — it doesn’t work in exactly the same way, but the concept of the original sample becoming something new yet completely different, is familiar.
Auto-Tune doesn’t have to be a noticeable, character-destroying effect. This clip from an in-person masterclass recommends staying in chromatic mode to avoid destroying the natural vibrato on a strong singer’s voice.
Remember those dictaphone recordings of Michael Jackson singing the instrumentation for his songs to give to the musicians and producers? Well, thankfully we don’t have to have Michael’s vocal talents or even his cohort of world-class musicians to achieve the same thing. Combining pitch-corrected melody singing with the ability to extract MIDI note information from audio and then apply it to an instrument isn’t tied to Logic Pro, but this video shows how easy it can be!
Sometimes just seeing other people creating is all it takes to ignite the flames of creativity within us, and TikTok can be a wonderful place to get straight to those nuggets of inspiration.
It’s not just unknown creators making content for TikTok. Some content isn’t even made for TikTok at all, it’s clipped from elsewhere, like this one with Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell on David Letterman’s Netflix show My Next Guest.
If you’re a one-take purist, prepare to see the granularity with which one of the world’s best-selling artist and producer pairings comp the vocals on Billie’s song Happier Than Ever to get the perfect sound.
This is something that’s easy to forget: when we talk about ‘voicing’ a chord, we can trace it back to the harmonization of singing voices. Actually pulling apart a chord and giving different instruments individual notes to play not only helps to unlock an understanding of why different voicings work well, it sounds amazing when done right.
Are you sure you need that room full of music-making gear that you put off saving up a mortgage deposit for?! Watch Charlie Puth make a room full of people cheer in amazement after only a minute of beat-making, starting with the sampled sound of a spoon hitting a cup.
Not everything has to be serious, does it?! Sometimes we just need to be reminded that we’re not alone in our endeavours… and that we’re not the only ones that have noticed some of the weirder aspects of music production culture!
So… how many almost identical kick drums do you go through before you commit to dropping one on your timeline?
Ah yes, the ‘diplomacy’ required when collaborating and providing services. This skill might be more important to your career than any virtuoso keyboard skills!
Here’s a great lampooning of the murkier end of the TikTok hacks world in a classically styled ‘had me in the first half’ type of video. Just let it play through…