Garageband is a music recording, editing and production program that is part of Apple's iLife suite of applications. It comes bundled with every new Macintosh computer that Apple sells, so for Mac users interested in music software it's a no-brainer choice, not only because it's essentially free, but because it's simple to use and remarkably powerful. It's popularity among amateur music makers is legendary, but I'm often asked if there's a version of Garageband for PC. The answer is no, Apple does not make one, but yes, thankfully there are Garageband for PC alternatives that will impress Windows users just as much.
Why Apple will never make Garageband for PC (some educated guesses)
I don't work for Apple, but there are some reasonable assumptions to be made about why there's no version of Garageband for PC. I should point out that it's wrong to assume that Apple don't make any software that works on PCs because iTunes, Mobile Me, Quicktime and Safari were all developed by Apple to run on both Mac and Windows platforms.
The thing that's different about Garageband is that it's part of the iLife suite I mentioned earlier - a bundled software package that comes included with every Mac and contains iPhoto, iMovie, Garageband, iDVD and iWeb. Why does this matter? In a nutshell:
- These programs have a creative focus around photography, film and music, so as far as software goes that makes them quite attractive, cool and popular (especially compared to Microsoft Excel!).
- The iLife suite is really well integrated, so it's easy to drop iPhoto images into iMovie, or Garageband files into an iPhoto slideshow.
- All the software is simple and intuitive to use, has a really attractive interface, and can produce quite stunning, creative results from software that is basically free.
For these reasons, many folks (especially those with a creative bent such as musicians, designers, photographers and cinematographers) purchase a Mac on the strength of the iLife suite that comes bundled with the computer. If Apple was to make a version of Garageband for PC, then they'd lose the exclusivity of the iLife suite and probably cannibalise a fair share of their own market who buy computers for the software, and not the other way around.
Garageband for PC alternatives
Don't fear if you're a Windows user, because there are some exceptionally savvy companies out there who have done a brilliant job of filling the gap in the market for Garageband for PC alternatives. There is one product in particular that very closely resembles Garageband (namely Mixcraft 5 by Acoustica), so it's certainly worth exploring your options before considering switching platforms just to access Garageband.
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