What to download
    17 September 2020

    Craig Wilson

    Soundtrap lets you make music or podcasts with friends, or alone, anywhere

    Not content to merely supply you with existing music, Spotify has created a tool to help you and your collaborators create and share tunes or podcasts of your own.

    As internet connectivity becomes ever more ubiquitous and mobile devices become ever more potent, a new calibre of apps and services are springing up to help creatives take advantage of mobile devices to help realise their artistic vision. The latest entrant is called Soundtrap. It’s backed by Spotify, the biggest player in streaming audio.

    Soundtrap is a digital audio workstation (DAW) that lets users jot down musical ideas on the fly, or refine them into polished, high-production-value tracks ready to share on streaming service like Spotify. Aside from offering a huge range of samples, drum sounds, multitrack recording, and the other staples of a DAW, Soundtrap shines thanks to its collaborative tools.

    Whether you’ve got a musical pen pal or a regular collaborator you can’t meet up with because of COVID-19, or perhaps you’re just looking to jot down some musical ideas alone with no need for the collaboration features, Soundtrap has you covered.


    Free to try

    While you’ll need to subscribe for the full feature set offered by Soundtrap — which, if you’re a podcaster, includes automatic transcriptions of dialogue to create interactive transcriptions of multi-party conversations — you can try out a fairly comprehensive range of its features for free.

    Even on the free version, you can create multitrack compositions that include a huge range of digital instruments, from strings, keys, and synthesizers, to a huge range of drum patterns and other percussive elements. If you decide you need the full library of almost 6 000 loops, over 650 digital instruments, auto-tune functionality, and more, they can all be yours for $18 (roughly R300) a month, or $14 a month if you pay for a year upfront.

    Alternatively, if you don’t need podcasting features and can make do with a less exhaustive library of sound effects and samples, you can cut that cost to between $8 and $10 a month.

    Ideas on the go

    Soundtrap is currently available via a browser (like Chome, Safari, or Edge) or on mobile devices (Android and iOS). While the mobile apps are fantastic for notes of ideas on the go, the browser interface lends itself better to more comprehensive finessing or tweaks. One of Soundtrap's best features, though, is how agnostic it is about platform or device. So, for instance, if you’d like to record vocals and then get a friend who plays keys to add the accompaniment after the fact, that’s incredibly easy and intuitive to do.


    Soundtrap supports most MIDI instruments, from keyboards to electronic drum kits, so if you’ve got existing hardware, chances are it’ll work with the software, regardless of whether you use Windows or Mac computers, or whichever smartphone brand you use.

    The music sounds better with you

    Once you’ve laid down a track in Soundtrap, whether it’s a single vocal recording or a complex, loop-laden composition, it’s a cinch to share it with someone else. Simply invite them to collaborate and they’ll have access not only to what you’ve recorded or created but to all of the tools Soundtrap includes, depending on which version they opt for. If you and your collaborators aren’t sure if Soundtrap is the tool for you, though, you can also try any of its versions for free for 30 days, which should be enough time to work out precisely which tools you need.

    Why Spotify?

    Like Netflix, Spotify has seen the value in not just hosting existing content, but in creating its own. Soundtrap is the company’s way to make it easier to create music or podcasts and share them via its platform. If you’ve been thinking of trying your hand at digital audio production or podcasting, Soundtrap is one of the simplest and most intuitive ways of turning your concepts into shareable content that you can upload to the biggest name in audio streaming. We wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Apple add its own Soundtrap-like features to Garageband any day now. Until it does, though, there’s no reason not to see whether Soundtrap can meet your needs.

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    Craig Wilson