Pro Tools: Still the Biggest Digital Audio Workstation?

Not according to Digital Music Doctor, which has been tracking Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) popularity since 2004.

And the latest results are pretty surprising: instead of Pro Tools, Imageline’s FL Studio now takes the cake, both on a quarterly and yearly average basis.

One thing to keep in mind is that this is not based on actual unit sales, rather popularity across search engines (Google, Yahoo+Bing), social networks (Facebook, Twitter) and YouTube.

Also of note: Native Instruments’ Maschine just entered as a fourth-ranked package, displacing Apple’s GarageBand to number five.

Written while listening to Bassnectar and Amon Tobin.

23 Responses

  1. Visitor

    “this is not based on actual unit sales, rather popularity across search engines (Google, Yahoo+Bing), social networks (Facebook, Twitter) and YouTube.”
    I would be the first to applaud if your headline were true. But this is beyond silly…
    And is Maschine a DAW?

  2. Audio engineer

    With all due respect… this is like saying that the balsa airplanes you buy at 7-eleven are the most popular airplane, beating out the 747.

  3. Ghost of Rick Ross

    Truth hurts doesn’t it gentlemen? All empires must end.

    • Visitor

      Again, it would great if somebody took the throne from Avid.
      Just saying that nobody has been able to do it yet. And it’ll hardly be FL when it happens…

  4. MandalaSongs

    “…this is not based on actual unit sales, rather popularity across search engines (Google, Yahoo+Bing), social networks (Facebook, Twitter) and YouTube.”
    Perhaps this is becasue teens and hobbyists tweet about and do more Google searches for their projects than professionals do?

    All of the professional studios and post-production houses I’ve toured use ProTools. They would laugh me out the door if I asked if they used FL Studio (Fruity Loops.)

  5. lifer

    This is a great way to ruin a brand. Just keep posting those eyeball attracting, yet ridunculously short-sighted, headlines.

      • Audio pro

        If you walk into 10 different professional studios and find more then one fruity loop installed there I will personally pay you a $1000 if you won’t pay me a hundred that would be a fair research … professional in their mind will even look at FL , people who use it sell their arrangements ( or so called Beats ) for $50 … C’mon people , seriously?

  6. Ghost of Rick Ross

    Not one of you can say Pro Tools is selling the most. You just scream blasphemy. That’s called religion.

    • Visitor

      I don’t use, endorse or even like PT, let alone Avid, but this is ridiculous.
      Please read this again:
      “this is not based on actual unit sales”

  7. C'mon Paul!

    So what is the graphic (and study) actually showing? How many teenagers search the web for how to use Fruity Loops?
    This is beyond the normal suspect reporting, this is false advertisement. Get your sh** together Paul!

    • Adam Smith

      Maybe FL Studio was easy to krack and a bunch of kids just get it from warez sites. Who did this poll? Jeez! Reason isn’t even on there.

  8. Visitor

    This is a very bad, sloppy and inprecise article!!!

    The referenced music software popularity index is called just that, “Music Software” and NOT “DAW” index.
    Link your sources (even if they’re looking as unbelievably!!! terrible as this website):
    I’m not a journalist and even I can find so many things wrong with the “journalism” on digitalmusicnews, it’s sad.

    I’m finally deleting my bookmark.

  9. TimO'Reilly

    Yes, the headline is more than a little misleading. It could have read: “ProTools Is No Longer the Buzziest DAW.” I disagree however about the collected stats and their merit for the article. The FL placement was personally surprising, but also the low ranking of Logic. I think the data is significant from a campaign/marketing perspective–with a couple of logical follow-on questions, i.e.: how does PT retain their reputation as the “industry standard?” (I AM a long time PT user and don’t believe its based on functionality); and how much does this kind of “buzz” affect sales/use? I would be very interested in the sales stats of the same players–is that data available?

    • Visitor

      “The FL placement was personally surprising, but also the low ranking of Logic”
      Thieves don’t steal Logic as much as other daws. They have to steal computers too, and that is more risky.

  10. Jeff Robinson

    From the Musician/Engineer Survey 2009:


    Local rappers and beginners usually score Fruity Loops for free online to get started. I can’t tell you how many guys I’ve had call my studio for time that are simply cranking out primitive beats with Fruity Loop. If they stay with it, they realize how limited the program is in terms of capability. This stat isn’t surprising, it’s hard to compete with free. NONE of them have ever paid for Fruity Loops.

  11. Paul Resnikoff

    I really want to reframe this as a question, and my original intent was merely to throw this finding into the lion’s pit (which seems to have been well accomplished). Thanks for nicely ripping this apart, though I think there was an interesting question above about who is actually tracking actual DAW and music software sales. Maybe I’m missing an obvious sales tracking company here, though it would nice to have something authoritative.

    • Jeff Robinson

      Fruity Loops is almost always pirated software. All the same sites allow it to be downloaded.

      Worse, is these up and coming rappers- if they don’t know some guy with Fruity Loops making terrible sounding beats will rely on industry beats and rap over commercial instrumentals. They’ll then circulate these as what they deem mix tapes. Some guys sell them- which is obviously illegal, others see accolades from friends as their sole goal. It’s ridiculously small thinking, but free enables it.

      What’s interesting to look at about this when comparing Pro Tools to Fruity Loops is that the Musician/Engineer Survey 2009 showed that people hold Pro Tools in high regard and Fruity Loops is rated second lowest. I’m sure you’d find that stat to remain the same today.

  12. vh1

    Yet more in a consistent line of ‘no shit sherlock’ journalism.
    Why not now run a story that Line 6 are outselling Mesa Boogie?

  13. Django

    You know,
    One thing I notice is that there is a particlar reason why certain engineers scoff at the idea of Fruity Loops being a legit program, and it usually has something to do with hip-hop. It’s more of a social bias than it having anything to do with the actual software itself. It’s not the program, it’s the engineer running the session. And for people who don’t REALLY know anything about the technical side of musical production, and are novices at best, sometimes you end up sounding real silly to someone who knows what’s really going on.
    Never mind acoustics, comb filtering, modal ringing, bass traps, diffusion, mic selection and placement, nope! FLStudio is the devil , and Pro Tools is the almighty Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 🙂

  14. Visitor

    Popularity vs viability in a professional environment – they’re two completely different arguments.
    This argument is about popularity, so sorry guys, FL wins.
    I’m a professional PT user BTW.