Popular Loop-Based Software
Looping hit the home recording market in 1998 with the introduction of a software program called ACID, then owned by Sonic Foundry and now owned by Sony. ACID was unique because it was extremely easy to use and provided a generous loop library. The user could simply drag and drop loops from the library onto audio tracks in ACID. ACID would take care of matching the tempo of the loops so that compositions always sounded smooth. Looping isn't new, but ACID's ability to understand the tempo of loops and make sure that they all worked together in a composition was nothing short of revolutionary. If a loop contained pitch information (don't think of loops as being exclusively for drums), ACID would make sure that the pitches transposed properly so that their keys would synchronize no matter what was combined on an audio track. This democratized music making and allowed home studio musicians to pump out professional-quality tracks. The ACID Loop was the native loop format for ACID and many third party companies offered additional loops that could be dropped into an ACID composition. ACID loop functionality is still available in ACID Pro 7, multitrack audio recording software for Windows PCs.
In 2004, Apple released GarageBand as part of its iLife suite. Apple had acquired Logic, a very popular DAW from the German company Emagic. GarageBand was a result of the combination of Emagic's history and skill with audio programs and Apple's understanding of consumer markets. GarageBand was a loop-based software that was designed for anyone and everyone. Its simple interface empowered any user (musician or not) to start making music. GarageBand ’09 is shown in Figure 7-1.
Figure 7-1: GarageBand ’09