A New User-Friendly Way to Produce Music: Stagelight Review

by Tom Bagstevold

June 17, 2016

Summary

Stagelight by Open Labs is an extremely user friendly software that can introduce anyone to the wonderful world of music within a non-intimidating and fun environment.

Intuitive and useful

Stagelight by Open Labs is an intuitive DAW but it’s so much more than a selection of fancy buttons and controls. Stagelight is useful, because its ease of use can give so many aspiring artists a good and comfortable tool to turn their creative ideas into reality. The fact that it’s free means it’s easy for you to start right away!

Actually, go to their webpage and download it while you read this! There’s a free version to start out on that doesn’t have any huge limitations like most free DAWs will.

Stagelight1

With that being said, Stagelight is useful for professionals too. I mean, they have a full DAW available for android devices. Yes, a full DAW…on your phone! I remember playing Snake in color on my Nokia and thinking that was as good as it’s gonna get. You can just imagine how excited I was to have access fully-loaded DAW at my fingertips!

But to be honest, fellow professionals and veteran music buddies, this review isn’t so much for you. It’s not because the software has limations or anything like that. As I said, It’s super powerful. But let’s face it: we’re all used to our own individual hammers, the DAW we decided to stick with after a few dozen to a hundred projects. We’re stuck in our ways, and a new and flashy DAW isn’t going to convince many of us to switch over.

But we all started out once. We were all clueless, inquisitive, and dropped into a huge world with countless technical terms and intimidating software. This article is for those of you out there, the true beginners, who want to get into music but don’t know where to start.

Bottom line, if you’re in the decision process to choose a piece of software to produce music on, Stagelight is an exceptional place to start.

Stagelight-features

Stagelight Gets You Started

When I first opened Stagelight, I was prompted to choose a style. I chose the hard rock style. My hair is long enough, I thought.

Within a few minutes, Stagelight taught me its most basic functionality, setting up loops, choosing them, and structuring a basic song. But still, within just a few minutes, Stagelight had me making something.

Their tutorials extend beyond different styles. You’ll learn about Stagelight’s features, and how to edit and create songs within an evening. Stagelight is designed to make these things easy, and implements some genius features like the keylock: this feature makes it impossible for you to play off key. It’s pretty amazing.

The tutorials are extremely hard to mess up, and take you through processes that will become like breathing by the time you’re on your 50th song. It’s important stuff, and Stagelight makes it easy to learn it.

The free version, which you should’ve downloaded by now, is pretty barebones. It teaches you the basics, but locks away many of the advanced features.

“Aw man! What a rip off! All the cool stuff is locked away behind a paywall!” You say?

Let me ask you, my beginning buddy: what do you need all the cool stuff for?

If you’re worried about paying for the upgrades, please read on. You may find that Stagelight’s locked features are more than worth paying for.

Stagelight-store

Learn To Love The Pricing Structure

I get it, it feels like you’ve been had, but hear me out. You’re just starting out. Stagelight lets you test some things out, play around and make some simple, but complete songs before you decide to move forward. Myself and my veteran music buddies I spoke of earlier can all attest to dropping serious cash on our hobby.

Making music can be very expensive, and Stagelight lets you try it out for free to see if this really is what you want to do. Then, all it asks from you is like, 10 dollars. That’s nothing in the music world especially when compared to other solutions. It really isn’t.

The power of Stagelight for its low price makes it an extraordinarily good deal.

The pricing structure therefore scales very well with your own development as a musician. You aren’t given anything you aren’t ready for, until you’re ready to pay for it and invest a (tiny) bit.

Here also lies my only bit of critique about Stagelight: it has really good tutorials for the basic functionality, which is available to free users, but it doesn’t include new tutorials for the functionality you can unlock. You’ve already done great with making the other tutorials, so please do this too, Open Labs. It would be a great addition. 

But functionality isn’t the only thing you can buy: Stagelight has a store with lots of neat sound packages you can start messing with and make some sweet jams immediately. Each pack costs between 2 to 9 dollars. 

“Wait, it has in-app purchases?!”

Yes, and that’s amazing. Myself and other sound guys can attest to the price they’re asking from you being very cheap. Similar packs for other DAWs can run you quite a lot higher than two dollars. Open Labs has been smart, and have put everything you need as an aspiring musician into their DAW, new sounds included.

Feel better about dropping money on some stuff? Good, because they also have a rewards system where you can get sounds and other things without having to drop money on it. If I would’ve told you about that first, you would still feel icky about the purchases, but now you can rest easy knowing you can save some cash by just using the DAW.

With their store, Open Labs makes it easy for you to get new, quality sounds into your repertoire. Instead of having to hunt down the most obscure torrents at 3 AM, only to download a shady .exe you wouldn’t click unless you had the computer skills of your grandmother.

Stagelight-song

Free To Ultimate: The Path From Beginner To Artist

Eventually, you’ll start to get the hang of things. You’ll begin to take full advantage of what Stagelight can offer you, and you’ll want more advanced functionality. As you develop as an artist, so will your needs, and Stagelight have set up a few bundles that take you through all the stages, carefully introducing a little more functionality with each one.

Eventually, you’ll be so in love with making music that dropping 50 dollars on the ultimate bundle seems like nothing. Because now, you are beginning to become one of us. Making music is no longer this abstract dream, it’s something you’ve been doing every day, with great help from your wonderful friend, and your own personal hammer: Stagelight.

The Ultimate version opens up all the things you’d expect from any other DAW. You can finally use VSTs, and just like that, the big, open world of music making is open to you, and it’s up to you to do what the rest of us are already doing – hunting down the most obscure torrents at 3 AM. 

Stagelight-drumkit

A Great Entry Into A Wonderful World

Stagelight lets you begin an easy, user-friendly, well thought out and extremely reasonably priced journey into the world of music production. The tools you need aren’t introduced too soon, and the new and exciting sounds you’re looking for are available within their own ecosystem.

Stagelight also boasts an interesting social feature, which allows you to post songs to Soundcloud directly from the program. It’s not something I would ever feel comfortable with, but that’s just a personal hangup. You do you, dude.

Finally, you can use their android app on the go, so you won’t have to try and record song ideas by making sounds into your phone while people stare in public. Unfortunately, my phone was too old to run it, so I’m going to keep doo-woping on my phone while on the subway.

So, in essence, Stagelight is the perfect way for you to get into music. Whether you’ll stay with Stagelight for years, or move on to other DAWs as you’ve “graduated” from what they can offer, there is no doubt that Open Labs have given the music world a blessing: a fun, non-threatening way to begin one of the most wonderful journeys anyone can take.

So, you did download the software, right? Go open it! Have fun, and I can’t wait to hear your amazingly groovy sweet saxophone sex jams on Soundcloud later.

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