What The Mac App Store Means For Musicians

mac app store music

Apple’s launch of its Mac App Store today is a major tech story – but it’s likely to have significant implications for Mac musicians, and Windows-based musicians, too.

Here’s what an OS X App Store promises:

  • The Mac App Store will become the trusted source for free Mac music software.
  • Purchasing and installing music software will become a reliable, no-brainer process.
  • OS X will help you keep your music software up-to-date.
  • If your software gets deleted or corrupted, no looking for disks, just download it again.
  • No more dongles, challenge and response authentication or insanely long serial numbers to enter.

More than anything, though, the Mac App Store will give developers a reason to develop inexpensive Mac music software. Apple, for example, is selling its own iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand media apps in the Mac App Store for $14.99 each. Other developers are likely to release new apps around this price point, too.

The Mac App Store Will Create A New Market For Music Apps

The Mac App Store promises to create a huge market for inexpensive music software.

There aren’t a lot of great $5-10 music apps for a good reason: there’s been no trusted place to buy them and there’s been no way to sell them profitably.

Do you want to look around the Internet until you find an interesting app, buy it without any trusted recommendation system, and then give your credit information to some unknown dude in a country on the other side of the world?

No – but dropping five bucks for an app in the iTunes store? For millions of people, it’s an impulse purchase.

The Mac App Store changes gives developers easy access to 50 million mac users. Make an app that appeals to 1 in 1,000 and you’ve got a hit.

Minimal up front costs, no packaging costs, no distribution costs and 70% of the profits mean that there are going to be 50,000 apps in the Mac App store within a year. Apple’s got 600,000 registered developers contemplating Mac app development, right now.

1,000 New Music Apps. Fart Pianos Included.

It’s not a stretch to imagine 1,000 new Mac music apps within a year. And yes – 100 of them will probably be fart pianos.

Some of the apps will be trivial or novelties. There’s going to be an explosion, though, of $5-10 Mac software synths, grooveboxes, sequencers and DJ apps.

More interesting, though, will be the arrival of a new generation of powerful music applications in the $10-50 range. The next Propellerhead Reason, the next Ableton Live, the next Native Instruments Komplete will probably come from a company that sees the opportunity for creating mass market “prosumer” music apps.

The Mac App Store will also encourage the creation of new types of music apps: album apps, priced like music albums, but offering new ways to experience music.

This is going to be an interesting time for Mac-based musicians. It could also be a frustrating one for Windows musicians, who may see developer attention focused on Mac platform. Many freeware developers will turn their attention to developing inexpensive Mac apps, too.

What do you think the implications of Apple’s latest announcements are for musicians? Leave a comment with your thoughts!


15 thoughts on “What The Mac App Store Means For Musicians

  1. What do you think the implications of Apple’s latest announcements are for musicians?

    that apple fanboys get rabidly aroused and predict the end of PCs, like they always do

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  2. I LOVE apple hardware but imho all the music apps I've seen come off as gadgets that put convenience before possibility, so I'm not very excited. If apple wants to make some money and change the game. Give us hd-midi!

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  3. As a Mac user, I think this is /awesome/. I love the App Store for the Ipod, and look forward to not only the music apps, but the silly little games, too. ;)

    No, I don't think this is a Windows-killer. :P

    But very, very cool.

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  4. Agreed.

    The iPhone app store has led to some music apps that are actually very cool and original – like Curtis. There's a lot of junk to wade through, though. I think we're going to see a lot of interesting new apps and more competition for DAWs and DJ apps.

    Polly – who brought up predictions about the end of PCs? That's sounds a bit paranoid.

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  5. "Apple, for example, is selling its own iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand media apps in the Mac App Store for $14.99 each."

    I had to do a double take WTF at this: They're charging $14.99 for applications I can get on my default Leopard install FOR FREE? No. Effin'. Thanks.

    Not going to bother upgrading from Leopard. So, errm, whatever.

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  6. it was hyperbolic but the basic idea is there, and specifically I was responding to the 2nd to last paragraph in the original post above

    sorry but a large percentage of apple fanboys are IMHO insufferable jackasses, and I have developed knee jerk cynicism to all their pronouncements.. of course being a apple cert tech definitely skews my perspective since I have to deal with them all day, every day

    go ahead and rate my comments -1000, Im not trying to win a popularity contest with what I have to say… its just my opinion

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  7. I can't foresee the major companies like NI, propellerhead, Arturia, FXPansion, ToonTrack, Gforce … amongst others jumping on the App Store bandwagon just yet. Time will tell. But I think it would be a smarter way to distribute the software and even cut the cost down possibly (packaging, dongles, serial # verification).

    I predict that the App Store is going to eventually change the prices of apps. Apple has already instigated this with pricing iLife apps individually, and, for a very reasonable price. Hopefully companies like NI and Adobe will realize that if they they bring the cost of their software down, they will have more users.

    Remember what happened when Apple released Logic 7? Remember how that spurred other software companies to change some of the things they were doing?

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  8. I'm still fairly torn about the existence of the App store for the Mac. It seems like a good idea and also like it can be a great outlet for smaller companies as opposed to selling straight from their respective websites. The thing that a lot of people seem to overlook is that with software like Pro Tools, Ableton, even the Adobe software is not that they want to make masses of money off of people by selling thesemincredibly high powered pieces of software for buckets of money, but that these companies spend lots and lots of money developing this software. Making good software costs these companies tons of money. Supporting the software is also expensive. If these companies don't make a profit and can't afford to make the software, the software goes away. That would mean no more Pro Tools, no more Ableton, etc. That is bad. This software that has been around for years has stuck around because the companies can afford to keep making it better and supporting the customers' needs. Well supported software is well received by users. If you try to contact the customer support and they tell you to bugger off, you probably won't be buying the next version. Also, with larger software companies, I don't see them taking the time to make their software acceptable for the app store in the first place because they can sell it either direct or through larger, trusted distributors. I can see smaller companies using this store for a very large channel of distribution, but what can you really expect out of these free-$15 music apps? We don't need anymore damned fart pianos. The iPhone and iPad apps have soared because they have a very simple platform on which they operate and don't have any competition from other distributors. For the Mac, that will be a bit different. We'll see how it goes. I just hope all the professional software I have invested in over the years will still be around and useable in two or three years.

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  9. This is GREAT!! Yes there will be silly fart pianos, but eventually really great music software will be developed. Lots of the big companies (Reason) are VERY slow to update new features, every update should not be a Big spectacle. Native Instruments is releasing a major update for, Maschine and it will be free!! They understand that updates in a timely manner and constant communication with your community is essential. The future is here, embrace change it's inevitable.

    Godvin the Great
    Kiss the Ring Bitches

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  10. the app store rules will not allow audio unit plugging. rewire or any of inter application communication needed.

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  11. commoditisation of software. about bloody time.

    it's a good thing and a bad thing.

    the consumer side of me that just wants ease of use appliance computing really likes the potential of value for money prosumer software to do professional work with.

    the anthropologist in me sees this as potentially cataclysmic with regard to freedoms and choices. of all the tech companies, who would've guessed it would be Apple making DRM socially acceptable?

    when the winds of change are blowing some will build shelters. others build windmills.

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  12. Those versions of those programs are upgrades to some people, many of which actually use them daily.

    As for upgrading from Leopard, you'll do it eventually. Or you won't, and you'll be left behind with it.

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