No one else has published actual data on what the most popular DAW is. But I set out to find out. In this article, I will share my findings so you will know what the most popular ones are. I found this out by using statistics from Google Trends as well as data from other sources. Here are the results of my research.
The Number One
FL Studio is the most popular DAW in the world. According to Image-line, the creator of the software. They’ve sold over 5 million copies and the software is being downloaded 30.000 every day.
Here are the most popular DAWs in order of starting with the most popular. This result is based on Google Trends, Forum statistics, sales numbers as well as other data points. If you wanna see the breakdown of the data, it’s provided further down the page.
- FL Studio
- Logic Pro
- Pro Tools
- Studio One
What’s the Reason FL Studio is the most popular DAW?
There are multiple factors contributing to FL Studio’s success. Those factors include reputation, recognizability, useability, price, and timing. FL Studio didn’t become the most popular DAW overnight. It’s taken over 20 years for Image-Line to build up its userbase to what it is today.
FL Studio became very famous around the time when bedroom production became a thing, and I personally believe this is when most users decided to jump on the train and start producing music. Therefore, Image-Line managed to grab its share of users when there were the most users around.
It also has a few tricks up its sleeve, such as being a good alternative for beginners. This is because it’s generally regarded as one of the easier software to use, and it’s also one of the most cost-effective ones. As it comes with free lifetime updates.
However, a big thing that has contributed to its current success is all of the things that made it popular in the past plus that it’s now the go-to software for making beats for rap and hip-hop.
Here you see Google Trends data on the popularity of 5 DAWs. I compared every other software out there. But those that you see were the most popular.
The most notable finding is that Ableton and FL Studio are the most popular DAWs by far. They share a unique space, as being the 2 most googled DAWs.
Google Trends helped me narrow my research down to Ableton and FL Studio. Here on SocialBlade, which is a comparison site for social media channels. We can see that FL Studios Youtube channel got around 130k more views over the past 30 days.
I tried comparing the other DAW maker’s channels and let me tell you. No one even comes close to the viewership that Ableton and Image-Line have. FYI, Logic Pro which is the third most popular DAW doesn’t even have a dedicated channel.
However, those statistics really reinforce the validity of my previous finding that FL Studio is the most popular DAW.
As a third measure of popularity. I turned to the forums to find out, who has the bigger numbers? Unfortunately, the websites responsible for keeping track of subreddits are very dubious, as they have data errors all over. This made the forum user amount the only actually valid metric I could use in this case.
I know the number of forum members is a weak metric in and of itself. But coupled with all the other data it helped me make my mind up.
Website Forum Members
- Ableton 113.3k
- FL Studio 1948k
- Reaper 123k
- Pro Tools 179.3k
- Reason (Reasontalk) 14.4k
- Bitwig (KVR) – (No Data)
- Cubase Steinberg 303k
- LMMS 7.7k
- Studio One 94k
- Adobe Audition (No Data)
- Logic Pro (No Data)
- Reason 1.8k
- Pro Tools 30.3k
- Logic Pro r/LogicPro 24.5k + /r/Logic_Studio/ 61.7k = 86.2K
- Reaper 43.2k
- FL Studio 263k
- Bitwig 8.2k
- Ableton + /r abletonlive 39.7k + /r ableton 250k = 389.7k
- Cubase 13.0k
- LMMS 6.1k
- Adobe Audition 6.2k
- Studio One 11.0k
Finally, I compared some of the top lists on other websites. Neither of those two that I looked at provided me accurate data, but I thought I’d look at them at least just for good measure.
FL Studios Forum (Requires registration to view while others don’t)
Ableton (Bundled with many audio-related products, do they count this as sales?) This makes any number Ableton would ever give on their sales highly dubious. Many users will get Abletons Lite versions in bundles and never use them.
Studio One, Reaper, Reason, and Logic may all have unclean data on Google trends. Logic, or Logic Pro, is also may get a slight unclean result. This is because, someone may be googling for “logic daw”, but if you search for the popularity of the word “logic” only. It’s impossible to filter out queries on the DAW, if you’re not using the keyword “Logic Pro”.