Next Generation DAW: A Comprehensive Guide to Getting Started with Soundtrap
Discover music production with Soundtrap.

In today's digital age, music production is more accessible than ever. Thanks to innovative tools like Soundtrap and BandLab, aspiring musicians and producers can bring their creative visions to life from anywhere using their web browsers and phones. Whether you're a seasoned pro or you're just getting started, this guide will help you get acquainted with what could be the music industry's next-generation DAW: Soundtrap.

What is Soundtrap? And where did it come from?

Developed and distributed by Spotify, Soundtrap is a web-based DAW that empowers artists to create, collaborate, and share music from their web browsers. Its user-friendly interface makes it the ideal choice for musicians of all skill levels, and it is often used in classrooms to teach music production. It's cloud-based, which allows you to work on your projects from anywhere with an internet connection.

Creating Your SoundTrap Account

Getting started with Soundtrap is easy. To begin, sign up for a free Soundtrap account ( Depending on your needs and budget, you can choose between a free plan or a premium subscription. Soundtrap offers a variety of premium plans at various price points, starting at $10 per month, and their most expensive plan at the time of writing, Soundtrap Complete, is $18 per month.

Getting Rolling

After registering for an account, you can start exploring. All of your work is collected into "Projects." As you work on music or podcasts in Soundtrap (Soundtrap is excellent for podcast editing, too), it will appear in "Projects." Soundtrap even provides demo projects, which are great if you're beginning to learn music production. Exploring demo projects is a great way to pick up tricks and techniques when you're getting started and can be helpful even for experienced pros when learning a new DAW like Soundtrap.

Starting Your First Project

With Soundtrap, creating your first project is straightforward. Click on the "Enter Studio" button, and choose one of two options: "Music" or "Podcast." You can also select a template to kickstart your project, ranging from hip-hop to classical music.

Recording in Soundtrap

Recording in Soundtrap is a lot like recording in other DAWs. Select an empty track, arm it for recording, and hit "Record." You can record with your computer's microphone or an external microphone. Set your computer's audio input to your audio interface to configure an external microphone, and use Soundtrap's input selector to select your desired input before recording.

Editing and arranging

Once you've recorded your initial ideas, it's time to edit and arrange your composition. SoundTrap's drag-and-drop interface lets you quickly move and arrange audio and MIDI clips. This flexibility is a massive benefit to modern music production. Experimentation with different instruments, drums, and melodies can be the difference between "good enough" and "great" and take your music to the next level.

Mixing and Effects

A crucial aspect of music production is the mixing process. Demos and work tapes in today's music industry are carefully mixed and polished by producers, knowing that first impressions have a huge impact and can be the difference between an artist cutting a song and a song never evolving beyond a demo. Soundtrap provides an array of built-in effects and virtual instruments to enhance your tracks and help you find that "polish" that is the hallmark of modern music. Soundtrap has a complete set of built-in plugins from EQ to reverb to sculpt each track. The mixer view offers precise control over each track's volume, panning, and effects, giving you what you need in the browser, remarkably anywhere with an internet connection, to nail your vision quickly.

Collaborating with Others

Real-time collaboration is the most notable and next-generation feature of Soundtrap. One day soon, real-time remote music collaboration will be the norm, but for the time being, it's still a novel and early-stage technology. Soundtrap is one of the first DAWs to offer real-time collaboration, and we're here for it. You can invite other musicians, vocalists, or producers to work on your project via a link or their email address. You can do so via the "Share" button in the top right-hand corner of Soundtrap.

Exporting and Sharing Your Music

Once you've completed your track, Soundtrap makes it easy to export your music in various formats, including industry-standard MP3 and WAVs. You can also share your tracks on social media platforms and, uniquely, directly to Spotify (depending on your Soundtrap plan).

Final Thoughts

In the evolving world of DAWs, SoundTrap stands as a powerful and accessible tool for aspiring artists and seasoned professionals alike and a vision of what the future holds. Real-time collaboration, direct-to-DSP publishing, and web-based music production are the future of an industry looking to the future. If you're looking for a DAW as polished and powerful as Logic, Ableton, or ProTools, Soundtrap will not meet your expectations in certain areas. But, as a supplemental tool for on-the-go work, Soundtrap is an incredible resource. For producers, musicians, and podcasters with less demanding workflows, Soundtrap could be the perfect affordable, easy-to-learn DAW. If Soundtrap illustrates the future of music production technology, however distant, there is reason to be excited.

What you should do now
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Crate is the easiest way to store, organize, and share unreleased music. With Crate, your unreleased music syncs across your devices. Available for iOS and desktop.
Rylan Talerico
September 15, 2023
Before founding Crate, Rylan Talerico was signed to Warner Records as a recording artist, producer, and songwriter. These days, Rylan enjoys spending time with his family and working on Crate building tools to empower musicians to be more creative and connected.
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