BandLab, the mobile-first music creation and sharing platform, has caught up to GarageBand in mobile downloads, according to data from SensorTower. The app, available for Android and iOS, was installed more than 1.2 million times in March 2021 according to SensorTower, while GarageBand saw 1M installs.
"GarageBand set the standard for independent at-home recording, showing what home studios could produce," notes BandLab CEO Meng Ru Kuok. "We have strived to take this process one step farther, breaking down barriers for even more potential music makers. BandLab has made the creation process even simpler and more streamlined, in ways that reflect how music is being made today. Our goal has always been to help creators with their journey, whether they are recording their first track or their thousandth, and then help them grow as musicians."
Being neck and neck with the established player marks a natural evolution in music production tools, from feature-heavy DAWs based on analog studio consoles to more dynamic mobile-first playgrounds that unlock musical potential for a wider range of users. "We have an easy-to-use product that encompasses recording, mixing, mastering, and sharing tracks," Kuok explains. "GarageBand is massive, incorporating numerous tools aimed at a variety of different types of users. But complex and technical doesn't always mean better for all creators. Our focus is on user experience and creativity at its most elemental."
That BandLab has lapped a long-standing leader in new downloads speaks to the app's appeal, In some of the world's largest markets (US, UK), as well as in markets where access to expensive hardware or phones may present challenges. Many iOS devices come with GarageBand pre-installed, so these numbers do not reflect total devices with GarageBand installed. However, a significant differentiator is that BandLab is available for Android devices, opening up mobile music creation and editing to billions of users who cannot access GarageBand on Android. In the US, BandLab's biggest market, BandLab has outpaced GarageBand, even on its home turf, the App Store. And where Android dominates, such as the UK, India, and Philippines, so does BandLab.
BandLab differs from GarageBand and other DAWs on multiple fronts. It was built from the ground up with a new type of user in mind. BandLab works across devices, using real-time updates and version control like Google Docs instead of static files. Users can edit on one device, then switch to another. They can fork multiple versions, leaning into today's predisposition for remixes, versions, and custom soundtracks. Users can also collaborate (and do it in real time on the web app version). All on the device already in your pocket or in a web browser on your desktop.
Additional features where BandLab outperforms traditional audio editing software include a tens of thousands of musician-created royalty-free beats, samples, and loops called BandLab Sounds; a newsfeed social experience for sharing tracks, finding new collaborators, and building your reputation and following; and easy-to-use vocal presets, special audio effects, and noise reduction.
"BandLab is growing swiftly. We're reaching the next generation of musicians, the creators who may be experimenting today to create that next big hit tomorrow, and who create more than ten million new tracks a month on Bandlab," says Kuok. "We've given them the high-quality but accessible tools and a community to practice and play around using whatever device they have already."