Free for Musicians During COVID: Shows, Apps, DAW Plugins and More!
September 25, 2020
COVID-19 quarantines have made artists around the world pretty poor, pretty bored, and with a lot of time on their hands. That's why we've assembled a fairly short list of a lot of great free stuff. From programs to lessons to just cool things to do, this list of free for COVID things should keep any creative DIY musician busy for a long, long time.
Here's to you, artists of the world! Enjoy!
Free for COVID: Live Shows from A-List Musicians Everywhere!
Free for COVID during quarantine are all kinds of amazing live performances. The free live entertainment for quarantine includes festivals such as Hip-Hop 4 Peace (just ended), Bonnaroo (ongoing now!), and the Monterrey Jazz Festival (also ongoing now!). It also includes singer-songwriter spots, DJ shows, and shows from performers ranging from Rufus Wainwright to Avril Lavigne to the Killers.
Fans of smaller acts and indie artists should check official social media pages and accounts of the bands they love for upcoming appearances.
Fans of pop music and widely recognized artists can check Billboard's constantly updated list here.
Free Music Lessons During Quarantine!
Even harder to believe than all those totally free e-concerts is Elliot Cole's online classes on the Ableton DAW platform. One of pro music's most popular and respected programs, Ableton can make a famous EDM composer out of you as it has legends like Skrillex, Deadmau5, Diplo and Flume.
Mr. Cole's classes happen three times a week and are intended for beginning and intermediate artists. He charges by donation, only, so there's no reason to miss them unless you're, like, too busy or too good at it, or something.
Free for Quarantine: Advice for Musicians from Pro Musicians!
Free for COVID are whole categories of professional advice for career musicians and amateur musicians alike, straight from industry experts. The info is catalogued and presented by your friends at Help Musicians because they love music artists like yourself and want you to do well in these trying times.
From Help Musicians themselves:
This website was created following a discussion between Help Musicians, the Incorporated Society of Musicians, the Ivors Academy, the Musicians’ Union, the Music Managers Forum, the Music Producers Guild and UK Music. Our aim is to create one easy-to-use place where musicians can find all the help, advice and signposting they need to support them through the coronavirus outbreak. Many other music organisations will be invited to contribute content to this website too. Musicians love to collaborate and so do we!
With such a round collection of facts and figures to help you on your way to the top, who could fail?
More Art Resources During Quarantine from Artspan
Also free for quarantine are all these resources collected in a nice, fat list by your friends at Artspan. Many/most/all musicians are artists in more ways than one, and this collezione of fun, clever, educational and surprisingly useful tools and things to do is one of the best of the lists online.
There are resources for free artistic games, lessons, tours, tools, and even ways to get financial relief for artists meeting the requirements.
We can't say enough about this resource of resources. Honestly everyone should check it out, not just musicians. Send it to your brothers, sisters, parents, friends, and basically everyone.
You can find it all here.
Free for COVID: Cherry Audio's Voltage Modular Nucleus
Generating headlines like "Stay at home and learn to master modular synthesis," the masterminds at Cherry Audio have made their virtual modular hardware rack free for everyone since the start of quarantine.
MusicRadar says of Voltage Modular Nucleus:
Driven by Doepfer’s hardware Eurorack system, and the mini-industry of module builders that’s grown up around it, modular has captured the imaginations of musicians the world over, from hobbyists and dabblers to high-brow electronica artists and dance music producers.
If you have a DAW or an audio/MIDI standalone interface, this is a shoo-in purchase at standard price, let alone on sale, let alone totally-stupid free. But they want to make you happy, so get yourself a download and go crazy.
Oh, and if you don't have a DAW...
Free for COVID: the New Serato DAW
Free for COVID is also this cool little DAW program, Serato. It's mellow, it's minimal, and it's totally user-friendly. Intended to bridge the distance between the DJ booth and the music studio, Serato tries to make the overbearing digital dials more intuitive for people used to DJing parties. And not accidentally, they've also made the thing easier for everyone else.
MusicRadar quotes Nick Maclaren of Serato:
By building on what DJs already know, we’ve reduced that steep learning curve commonly associated with music production, which means less time hitting technical roadblocks and more time actually making music.
Sound good to you? Sounds great to us.
And Speaking of DJs...
If you'd like to learn how to DJ for live performances, Native Instuments has made their Traktor DJ 2 free for desktop and iPad. If you've got an ear for tunes and some time to spare (basically everyone who visits this blog) then you can learn to match beats, crossfade tracks, emcee like an old-skool wax scratcher, and basically everything else you need to start working your neighbor's next party. What's wrong with that? Absolutely nothing.
Free for Quarantine: Roland’s Zenbeats MiniDAW for iOS & Android
Free for quarantine is Roland's Zenbeats app. It has been called a cross-platform mini music studio with the goal of making "music creation easy." It's got drum samples from Roland's famed TR series of sounds as well as a whole bunch of other effects and instrumentation.
Whether you're screwing around, seriously composing, or somewhere kinda between, Zenbeats was purchased by Roland in 2019 to give artists like you something fun to write with, and it works. If you really want to get into it, AudioBus has a great tutorial for you here.
Free for COVID: Bonus Section!
Free for COVID also are these last few resources we noticed after the publication of this post. They've just been tacked on willy-nilly to help you out because it'd be a shame not to mention them.
Launchpad App for iPhone
If you've got an iPhone and some time on the bus or something (earbuds recommended, lolz) you can work on original music or remixes with the Launchpad app. It only works on iOS, but at least it's 100% gratis. No reason to not install.
Edjing Mix App for Android
Edjing is a DJ application that makes running a show seem laughably simple. BPM detection and adjustment, queuing, interface with all your libraries ... It's ridiculous.
DJ Tech Tools says it "offers the same capability of a pro DJ software except with the convenience of being on a device that fits in a pocket." Oh, and it's free for COVID.
Spitfire's Audio Labs Plugin
Spitfire calls this totally free for COVID plugin "An infinite series of free software instruments, made by musicians and sampling experts in London, for anyone, anywhere. Presented in our own plug-in, they are easy to use and compatible with any DAW. And in case you missed it — they're all free.
Free for Quarantine: More than You Can Use in a Year!
Free for quarantine and COVID19 are all these resources and plenty more. If you happen to see something truly fantastic, don't hesitate to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm always happy to add another great freebie for DIY artists everywhere!
As always, cheers to you! And happy creating!