The Best Music Creation Apps of 2021

Best Music Creation Apps Badge

Cubasis is our top mobile music creation app, thanks to its high-quality plugins, a large selection of presets, virtual instruments, and comprehensive mixing console. But if you’re looking for something beginner-friendly or want to explore your options, we found nine other great music-making mobile apps. Here are the 10 best music creation apps available.

Top 10 Music Creation Apps to Try

How We Chose the Best Music Creation Apps

When researching music creation apps, we looked for ones that offer one or more of four key features, a large library of virtual instruments and effects, live audio support, version history, and collaboration tools. Music-making apps with these features easily enable users to create and share original music with others.

Choose the music creation app that’s right for you

Many of the apps on our list offer the same core features, so choosing the right music app comes down to two key factors, your price range and your experience level. Cubasis, for example, is our top pick for the best overall music creation app, but at $25 plus in-app purchases, it may not be ideal for beginners that want to try their hand at music production. A free app, like GarageBand, might be better in this case.

Connect your instruments

Most of the apps on our list allow users to connect external instruments, synthesizers, and drum machines to record music. By doing this, experienced musicians with their instruments can unlock the full potential of these apps and avoid the in-app purchases required to get additional virtual instruments.

Our Music Creation App Reviews

Steinberg Cubasis — Top Pick

Steinberg Cubasis App feature

Download: Android | iOS

Cubasis by Steinberg is our pick for the best overall mobile music creation app. Many of the apps on our list are condensed versions of desktop-based music creation software, but Cubasis aims to be a full-featured mobile music-making app. While the app does not offer a free version, the $25 purchase price gives you access to a large library of effects, presets, and virtual instruments. The app has a full-screen mixing console, real-time time-stretching and pitch-shifting, a sampler to let you create your own instruments, and MIDI support. Cubasis also offers version history features, allowing users to go back to older versions of their songs to undo their mistakes.

Notable features:

  • A free version not available
  • In-app purchases: $4.99 to $19.99 per item
  • Support available: Email, Chat, Phone, Forums, Help Center
Steinberg Cubasis Pros & Cons
What we like What we don’t like
A large library of presets and effects No free version
Built-in sampler  
Version history support  

Zenbeats by Roland — Best Free Version

Zenbeats by Roland App feature

Download: Android | iOS

Zenbeats by Roland is a beginner-friendly digital audio workstation (DAW) that offers generous features in its free version. The app offers several free instruments, including the ZC1, a plugin synthesizer with 60 presets. SampleVerse enables users to record and sample sounds from outside of the app. Beginners can use features like beat-sync and key-lock to easily create beats and instrumentals without any experience. Unlike most of the apps on our list, Zenbeats provides lessons for beginners to get used to the software. Users can subscribe to Roland Cloud for $2.99 per month, or $29.99 per year, to unlock all of the app’s additional features, including instruments, presets, loops, and sounds.

Notable features:

  • Free version available
  • Subscription plans: Core: $29.99/year; Pro: $99/year; Ultimate: $199/year
  • Support available: Email, Phone, FAQs, Knowledge Base
Zenbeats by Roland Pros & Cons
What we like What we don’t like
Full-featured free version No collaboration tools
Beginner-friendly lessons  

Reason Compact — Best for Beginners

Reason Compact App feature

Download: iOS

Reason Compact is the perfect mobile music creation software for beginners or experienced music producers that use the app’s full-featured desktop counterpart. The app utilizes intuitive touch controls, making it easy for new users to get familiar with the music-making process. To get started, beginners can choose one of the app’s genre-based demo songs to modify. Reason Compact connects with other music apps using Audiobus, and producers that use Reason on desktop can migrate tracks to the desktop version to take advantage of its more advanced features. The app is free to download and comes with three instruments, 16 drum kits, and the Europa synthesizer. To unlock additional features and instruments, you will have to purchase them through the app.

Notable features:

  • Free version available
  • In-app purchases: $0.99 to $9.99 per item
  • Support available: Chat, Help Center, Forum, Feedback Form
Reason Compact Pros & Cons
What we like What we don’t like
Beginner-friendly features Only comes with three free instruments
Connects with other music apps  
Compatible with Reason on desktop  

Apple GarageBand — Best for iOS

Apple GarageBand App feature

Download: iOS

GarageBand is Apple’s own music creation app designed specifically for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. While not the most advanced mobile DAW available, it is free to download and use and offers a large library of instruments, sounds, and presets. GarageBand supports third-party plugins and live audio recording, and beginners can take advantage of the app’s instrument lessons and free artist lessons to learn new skills and production techniques. One of the app’s most unique features is the ‘Drummer’ feature. Users can add a virtual drummer to their tracks to automatically play realistic drum patterns alongside the music they created. The app also features live loops, smart instruments that automatically play with you, and you can easily share your finished tracks on YouTube, Facebook, and SoundCloud.

Notable features:

  • Free version available
  • In-app purchases: None
  • Support available: Apple Support, Forum, User Guides
Apple GarageBand Pros & Cons
What we like What we don’t like
Completely free to use No mixing console
Virtual drummer  
Free instrument lessons  

BandLab — Best for Collaboration

BandLab App feature

Download: Android | iOS

BandLab is a free music creation app that emphasizes collaboration. The app uses a multi-track mix editor, allowing users to record, edit, and remix tracks before sharing them with others. The app features 10,000 royalty-free loops, over 300 instruments, a sampler, automatic pitch correction, over 180 presets, and unlike other music creation apps, a built-in automated mastering tool to prepare your tracks for release. For collaboration, users can use the Creator Connect feature to find artists to work with, including singers, producers, beatmakers, and more. Each project can have up to 50 collaborators, and once finished, you can publish your tracks to your profile for visibility.

Notable features:

  • Free version available
  • In-app purchases: None
  • Support available: Email, Help Center
BandLab Pros & Cons
What we like What we don’t like
Completely free to use Limited mastering options
Great collaboration tools  
Large library of loops and instruments  

FL Studio Mobile — Best for High-Quality Recording

FL Studio Mobile App feature

Download: Android | iOS

Like Reason Compact, FL Studio Mobile is a condensed version of its popular desktop counterpart. There is no free version of the app, but for $13.99, you unlock everything you need to create high-quality instrumentals, including multi-track audio, MIDI support, several virtual instruments and presets, 16 effects, and a drum sampler. FL Studio offers training videos to help users get acquainted with the interface, and when using FL Studio on desktop, you can easily migrate your tracks to take advantage of the desktop version’s more advanced features. Unlike similar apps, FL Studio Mobile supports WAV and FLAC files, allowing users to save and export high-quality audio files.

Notable features:

  • Free version not available
  • In-app purchases: $0.99 – $13.99 per item
  • Support available: Email, Forums, FAQs, Knowledge Base, Manuals & Tutorials
FL Studio Mobile Pros & Cons
What we like What we don’t like
Supports WAV and FLAC files No free version
Large library of instruments and presets  

Caustic — Best Virtual Synthesizer

Caustic App feature

Download: Android | iOS

While most of the apps on our list function as mobile DAWs, Caustic is a rack-mounted synthesizer emulator, allowing users to create custom synthesizer racks for music creation. The app includes 14 machines to add to your virtual synthesizer rack, and users can choose from 20 effects to add to each machine. Caustic also features a mixer desk, a mastering console, and a song sequencer. Caustic is compatible with Audiobus to allow users to connect with other music apps, and users can upload their own WAV files for use with some of the app’s synthesizers and effects. If you want to take your work to your computer, Caustic is available for free on desktop. The app is free to download on Android but costs $9.99 on iOS.

Notable features:

  • Free version available
  • In-app purchases: None
  • Support available: Email, Forum, Contact Form
Caustic Pros & Cons
What we like What we don’t like
Virtual synthesizer rack Only free on Android
Supports WAV files  
Free desktop version  

Korg iElectribe — Best Rhythm Machine

Korg iElectribe App feature

Download: iOS

Korg iElectribe is a digital version of the Electribe rhythm machine. Users can get started with one of the app’s 64 presets and 32 templates or create a track from scratch. There are over 300 rhythm patterns spanning several genres, including electro, house, techno, drum’n’bass, dubstep, hip hop, techno-pop, and IDM. There are several effects to choose from, though users can only add one at a time to each track. These effects include two different delays, reverb, a chorus effect, a low-pass filter, a talking modulator, and others. Your finished beats can be transferred to a DAW via audio export.

Notable features:

  • Free version not available
  • In-app purchases: None
  • Support available: Help Center, FAQs
Korg iElectribe Pros & Cons
What we like What we don’t like
Large library of presets and templates No free version
300 rhythm patterns Can only add one effect at a time

Soundtrap — Best for Podcasts

Soundtrap App feature

Download: Android | iOS

Developed by Spotify, Soundtrap is a collaborative mobile recording studio with hundreds of software instruments and thousands of high-quality loops. Compared to other music-making apps on our list, Soundtrap offers several competitive features, including real-time collaboration features, real-time audio manipulation, a large library of effects, and more. In addition to music recording, Soundtrap is the only app on our list to emphasize podcast recording. Users can join sessions to record and edit podcasts together from their mobile devices. You can take advantage of features like AutoTune, automated mixing and mastering, and presets to create and share high-quality tracks.

Notable features:

  • Free version available
  • Subscription plans: Music Makers Premium: $9.99/month; Music Makers Supreme: $14.99/month; Storytellers: $14.99/month; Complete: $17.99/month
  • Support available: Email, Help Center, Ticket
Soundtrap Pros & Cons
What we like What we don’t like
Podcast recording Not compatible with third-party plugins
Collaborative features  
Thousands of loops  

Akai iMPC Pro 2 — Best for Sampling

Akai iMPC Pro 2 App feature

Download: iOS

Akai iMPC Pro 2 is a sampler, beatmaker, and song creation tool all in one. The app includes a library of built-in sounds, and users can download up to five extra sound packs for free. Users can record audio tracks with their external microphones, manipulate audio tracks in real-time, and warp tracks to match tempo. iMPC Pro 2 stands out from other apps on our list because of its sampling capabilities. Users can sample sounds directly from music apps like Spotify, and the ‘chop-shop’ feature makes it easy to edit samples as needed to fit your track. When you buy the app, you will gain access to iMPC University, a tutorial series designed to teach you everything you need to know about song creation.

Notable features:

  • Free version not available
  • In-app purchases: None
  • Support available: Phone, Knowledge Base, Contact Form
Akai iMPC Pro 2 Pros & Cons
What we like What we don’t like
Large library of built-in sounds No free version
Five free sound packs  
Great sampling capabilities  

Music Creation Apps: Features Summary Table

Music Creation Apps Comparison Table
App Subscription Fees or In-App Purchases Features
Steinberg Cubasis — Top Pick $4.99 to $19.99 per item Virtual Instruments
Live Audio
Version History
Collaboration Tools
Zenbeats by Roland — Best Free Version Core: $29.99/year
Pro: $99/year
Ultimate: $199/year
Virtual Instruments
Live Audio
Version History
X Collaboration Tools
Reason Compact — Best for Beginners $0.99 to $9.99 per item Virtual Instruments
Live Audio
Version History
Collaboration Tools
Apple GarageBand — Best for iOS None Virtual Instruments
Live Audio
Version History
Collaboration Tools
BandLab — Best for Collaboration None Virtual Instruments
Live Audio
Version History
Collaboration Tools
FL Studio Mobile — Best for High-Quality Recording $0.99 to $13.99 per item Virtual Instruments
Live Audio
Version History
X Collaboration Tools
Caustic — Best Virtual Synthesizer None Virtual Instruments
X Live Audio
Version History
X Collaboration Tools
Korg iElectribe — Best Rhythm Machine None Virtual Instruments
X Live Audio
Version History
X Collaboration Tools
Soundtrap — Best for Podcasts Music Makers Premium: $9.99/month
Music Makers Supreme: $14.99/month
Storytellers: $14.99/month
Complete: $17.99/month
Virtual Instruments
Live Audio
Version History
Collaboration Tools
Akai iMPC Pro 2 — Best for Sampling None Virtual Instruments
Live Audio
Version History
Collaboration Tools