Survey results, The Linux Music Production Landscape

Together with a handful of Linux musicians and enthusiasts (Alf, G M Slater, soundchills) I'm currently working on a website for audio plugin developers.

Our goal is to showcase Linux as an operating system for music production. Further more, we want to make Linux an even more attractive platform for music production by helping to expand its ecosystem.

Along with the growth of the Linux desktop market share, Linux musicians have recently experienced an increase in available audio plugins for the platform. But although software like JUCE (a widely used framework for audio application and plugin development) offer Linux support, many audio plugins are still only available for Windows and macOS.

It is possible to use Windows plugins on Linux via a "compatibility layer" (namely yabridge/Wine), but still, we would like to see more native Linux audio plugins.

The planned website, among other areas, shall include know-how to make it as easy as possible for existing plugin developers to port their plugins to Linux.

Before we started working on the website, we wanted to know a bit more about what Linux musicians really want for the platform and whether their wishes match with ours. So over the last 30 days we conducted a little survey that we shared on our social media channels. A total of 109 people participated, with about 18,000 users on [r/linuxaudio], however, this is certainly not a representative fraction of the Linux Audio community; nonetheless, we would like to share the results of our survey with you in this blog post.

Note: The following is a manual summary of the survey responses, which can be downloaded in their raw form here.

Thanks to everyone who participated! You are awesome! 🤩

1. Do you use Linux for music/audio production?

  • Yes (79.82%)
  • No (16.51%)
  • Not specified (3.67%)

If you use Linux for music/audio production:

2.1 Do you mostly use free or paid software?

  • Free & paid software (44.04%)
  • Not specified (37.61%)
  • Free software only (16.51%)
  • Paid software only (1.83%)

2.2 What software do you use (the most)?

  • Ardour DAW (30)
  • Reaper DAW (18)
  • Bitwig Studio DAW (15)
  • Windows plugins via yabridge/Wine (12)
  • Audacity (11)
  • LSP plugins (10)
  • Surge XT plugin (10)
  • u-he plugins (9)
  • Mixbus DAW (8)
  • Calf plugins (7)
  • Vital plugin (7)
  • Guitarix plugin (6)
  • TAL plugins (6)
  • LMMS DAW (5)
  • VCV Rack (5)
  • x42 plugins (5)
  • Audio Assault plugins (4)
  • Airwindows plugins (4)
  • Audio Damage plugins (3)
  • Drumgizmo plugin (3)
  • Odin 2 plugin (3)
  • Renoise DAW (3)
  • discoDSP plugins (3)
  • Sinevibes plugins (3)
  • AudioThing plugins (2)
  • Cardinal plugin (2)
  • Helm plugin (2)
  • LibraZik (2)
  • Muse Score (2)
  • Qtractor DAW (2)
  • Dragonfly plugins (2)
  • Auburn Sounds plugins (2)

2.3 What improvements would you like to see regarding producing on Linux?

  • More native Linux plugins (23)
  • More officially supported audio hardware with official Linux software (10)
  • An alternative to Audacity (8)
  • Easier configuration for low latency audio (preferably via a GUI app) (7)
  • Native mastering software (3)
  • Better and more accessible documentation on how to setup pro audio on modern Linux distributions (3)
  • PipeWire improvements (3)
  • More software to directly support PipeWire (3)
  • Easier setup for JACK (3)
  • A list of audio hardware with Linux support (2)
  • Better Flatpak support for audio software (2)
  • More exposure of current Linux artists (professional and amateur) (2)
  • Native Ableton Live for Linux (2)
  • Wine and yabridge improvements (2)
  • Improved quality (less bugs) for Linux plugins (2)
  • A better specialized distribution for audio (1)
  • Ableton Live like workflow in free app (1)
  • More advanced features (like saved states) for PipeWire apps like helvum and qpwgraph (3)
  • Better QA and bug fixing for Tracktion Waveform (1)
  • Better cross platform support of DAWs like e.g. Bitwig Studio is offering (1)
  • CDJ-alike hardware with Linux support (1)
  • Professional notation and MIDI playback app (1)
  • More features tailored for electronic music production in Ardour (1)
  • Mainstage like app for Linux (1)
  • Improved MIDI features in Ardour (1)
  • Improved routing matrix in Ardour (1)

If you do not use Linux for music/audio production:

3.1 Are you interested in producing on Linux?

  • Not specified (83.49%)
  • Yes (14.68%)
  • No (1.83%)

If you are interested in producing on Linux:

4.1 What has held you back from producing on Linux?

  • Lack of plugins (8)
  • Lack of specialized software (5)
  • Lack of hardware support (2)
  • Lazyness and/or lack of time (2)
  • Complications with audio configuration (1)
  • Lack of iLok compatibility (1)
  • No native Ableton Live version (1)
  • Lack of choice regarding DAWs (1)
  • Unstable native DAWs and/or plugins (1)
  • Unsuitable form of request for donation in open source DAWs (1)
#linux, #opensource, #musicproduction
2024-06-09 (amadeus)