So, you want to make some music on a Chromebook, eh?
In this handy guide, you’ll learn:
- Some of the best music apps that work on Chromebooks
- Websites that you can use to produce
- How to get some of the popular DAWs
- How to get Audacity
- And more
By the end of this tutorial, you should have all the best apps, sites, and programs at your disposal so you can start producing on your Chromebook.
Even though these are pretty much netbooks, you can still produce some nice beats. Especially if you’re always on-the-go!
Ready to make some bangers? Let’s do it.
Can you produce music on a Chromebook?
Yes. You can make beats using a variety of programs and websites.
While you can’t directly install any DAWs or music software, you can utilize many free and paid apps out there to make music.
Play Store apps
You have access to Android apps if you have a newer model.
This means all the popular music production apps out there can be downloaded onto your Chromebook
As you know, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of them. This lets you choose from a huge assortment of production apps.
And most of them free-to-use with premium features.
This is one way to do it.
Online music makers
The other way is to use websites that work through the browser.
All you’ll need to do is visit them on your laptop and the entire functionality is done through the web.
You don’t need to install or download any software, as it’s all cloud-based.
The cool part is that this extends beyond your Chromebook. You can start a new music track of your laptop, then move over to your desktop to finish it.
Since it’s all stored online, this gives you the flexibility to work on your tunes anywhere.
Or you can use Linux
The last option is to use professional DAWs for Chromebook. Sadly, Chrome OS doesn’t allow users to install any third-party software.
This means you can’t install software like FL Studio, Mixcraft, Pro Tools, or Audacity directly onto your Chromebook.
Even if you owned the physical disc, you have nowhere to insert it as they don’t have optical drives.
The only around this is to use Linux and WINE, both of which we’ll cover. Keep in mind that this is not guaranteed to work.
We’re basically “bypassing” the limitations of Chrome OS by using a different operating system entirely.
Thus, you can’t expect those professional programs to run smoothly- if at all. It’s really just theory that can work depending on many different factors.
Regardless, let’s go ahead and start covering these three methods.
First off, let’s talk about music apps.
Best music apps for Chromebooks
There are tons upon tons of music apps that you can download from the Play Store (Android apps). It’d take forever to actually sort through them all, so I’m just going to go over a few of my favorites to narrow down the list.
Feel free to check them out or go hunting down your own!
Please note that not all of these apps are guaranteed to work on Chrome OS.
As you know, the ability to run Android apps is relatively new on a Chromebook.
So some apps may work for you while others don’t. If one doesn’t work, try another.
On my cheap Acer, none of these were actually compatible (hence the “You don’t have any devices” messages). The update for the Play Store has yet to roll out to my device, which was a huge pain to deal with. Borrowing a laptop is never fun.
Bandpass is one of the most popular free music production apps on Google Play. It makes the interface easy to use for beginners and veterans alike.
Everything is virtualized into a “real life” representation of your workstation (hence, DAW). And the interface/UI is clean given all the functions it has built-in.
If you’re new to music production and you want to start making some beats right away, this is very easy to pick up and learn.
There are a LOT of things you can do, but it’s beginner-friendly enough to use. Most of the professional functions are completely optional, so you don’t need to use oscillators, phase offsets, tune, or modify balance. While it can do all that, there’s no reason to use it if you don’t want to.
Bandpass lets you create tracks, loops, and mix beats. By default, it has over 3000 samples you can choose from.
You can use additive synths, create your own wave shapes, use automated tracks, apply filters and effects, use TrackStacker, Vocoders, Samples, DrumSynth and more.
There are a few dozen effects like phrases, compressors, waveshapers, delays, flangers, sidechain compression, reverbs, and about 40 others.
There’s also a social aspect to Bandpass that lets you share your beats with others, or remix others’ tracks.
That’s pretty cool, though I didn’t really use it other than to listen to some tunes others have made. I just wanted to create a quick EDM intro for my YouTube videos, and this app was the first one I found on the Play Store.
All in all, it’s a very easy and flexible music production app for Chromebooks. Even if you’re a total beginner, you should have no problem using the built-in effects and samples to create something awesome.
Music Maker Jam
Next up is Music Maker Jam. This is touted to be the “number 1 rated music mix app” based on their product description.
Compared to Bandpass, I think MMJ is a lot more basic in terms of a DAW. Everything is a lot more “clean” and easier to use.
The UI is mainly through icons and symbols rather than an actual virtualized production workstation.
So if you’re a vet that has worked with a ton of different audio workstations, you may encounter a strange layout as it’s their own proprietary layout.
I think it was built this way to make it easier for beginners to learn.
The app has a bunch of high-quality loops and beats for you to start mixing.
I found samples from a variety of genres like rock, pop, house, hip hop, trap, trance, classical, EDM, drum and bass, funk, jazz, ambient, RnB, punk, and more. You just pick a few samples and start mixing.
There are a ton of loops you can use for free, or you can combine samples together to make your own unique track. Pretty cool.
You have over 2000 loops for free, and you can buy more if needed.
Though, it’s more than enough to create a professional-sounding beat to get you started.
If you’re just trying to make some music for a podcast, video, intro, outro, or just some background music, this has what you need. You can also record your own vocals and remix tracks instantly.
Most of the work is done in an 8-channel audio mixer. You’ll be spending the majority of your time here for this DAW.
As for the social aspect, you can also share your tracks for others to listen to. But I didn’t really care about that so I don’t have much to say.
This app didn’t work on my Chromebook, but I was able to demo it on my Android phone.
You can try to check if it works on your device. I think it’s because of the remix feature. It requires you to “shake” your phone to remix something.
And Chromebooks don’t have a gyroscope or accelerometer, so there’s no way for this to work properly on a Chromebook.
Groovepad is a super simple beat maker app that has a very basic UI and barely any learning curve. If all you want to do is make some simple, catchy beats, then this should do the trick.
No need for anything too fancy, right? This app basically gives you an assortment of samples based on genres. You can then create, mix, or modify melodies from them.
You can choose from all the basic genres like bass, trap, electronic, EDM, rock, dubstep, drum and bass, and more. There are also a ton of sound effects you can add like delay, filter, reverb, drum, and more.
There’s also this “live loops” feature which puts all the tracks together, which is pretty cool. It basically fits all the sounds together so it sounds good. It’s almost like computer-assisted music creation or something.
This app is easy enough to make some quick beats with. If you want a no-fuss solution, you could give this a try.
n-Track Studio Music DAW
Another one worthy of mentioning. The nice part about n-Track Studio is that it works on both mobile and there’s a downloadable version for Windows.
So you’re not limited to just your phone or Chromebook if you really need some professional editing. This one is a little more advanced compared to the others on this list.
If you don’t know anything about making music, they do have tutorials on their site. n-Track allows you to record a base track by importing it or using the built-in mic.
Then you can add effects, mix it, adjust levels, pan, equalize, or remix. You can play audio back in both stereo and mono with up to 11 channels.
There’s a built-in MIDI synth with 128 instruments to choose from, so you can really build something from scratch.
There’s also a piano MIDI editor, step sequencer, MIDI keyboard, spectrum analyzer, chromatic tuner, EQ, and both group and aux channels.
As for effects, you can choose from all the basics like echo, reverb, tremolo, pitch shift, phaser, tube amp, compression, chorus, flanger, and more.
There are also plugins that you can use to enhance your track. Plenty of tools to really make something epic.
Sadly, my limited music-making skills can’t understand half the tools offered by n-Track.
But if you’re more knowledgeable about music production, this is definitely one you’ll want to check out.
There are a lot of advanced features here and lots of software compatibility with external mics and audio devices. You can adjust sampling frequency, export up to 32 bits, and more.
Probably way more than you’ll need from a mobile app. It’s borderline professional production with a paid DAW.
The free version has 3 instrument tracks, 2 step sequencer tackers, and 5 audio tracks. You can add 2 effects per audio channel and also save it and share it online.
The app doesn’t allow you to save it locally, so you’ll have to pay to save it as an MP3 on your phone or laptop. For those with experience in production, this is one of the better music apps.
Chromebook music websites
If you don’t want to mess around with music production apps, you can try using music websites on your Chromebook.
These will work across any device, whether you’re on your Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux, Android, or Chromebook.
So they’re pretty much guaranteed to work and let you produce while you’re on-the-move!
All of these have a free plan with paid premium subscriptions. Feel free to check them out and play around with ‘em.
What is the best website to make music?
There are a few dozen of these sites out there.
And I would say that there are only a few that give you the flexibility to create your own tracks without too many restrictions.
Some of them barely let you do anything before forcing you to sign up.
So I decided to make a list of the free ones that offer enough flexibility to where you can actually make some beats online- without having to pull out your credit card.
This is a semi-professional web-based DAW that has a few thousand samples and loops for you to use.
There are plenty of templates and presets so you can get started easily. It also has a beatmaker with patterns, amplifier if you want to connect an external device, and even AutoTune to fix up your vocals.
Soundtrap works directly in your browser and functions like many of the popular production programs on the market today. It’s a little more advanced and you’ll need to have some basic knowledge of making music to use it.
But they do have a dedicated knowledge base with plenty of tutorials for you to utilize.
The base plan is free and has about 2000 loops for you to mess around. If you’re a beginner and you’re just looking for some easy software that works on Chromebooks, this is worth checking out.
You’ll have to learn how to use it, but once you make a few tracks, it’s very easy with the clean and clutter-free workspace. Definitely worth the free plan.
This is as simple as it gets. Online Sequencer is literally an online virtual music sequencer that’s literally plug and play.
You can choose from a variety of instruments, set the BPM, use multiple channels, and use other creations from other people.
This is pretty much the most straightforward way you can get your hands on a music creator tool.
There’s no signup, no fee, and no-nonsense. Of course, you’ll have to know a bit about sequencing and building a track from scratch.
There’s a forum where you can ask for help or hang out with other producers. This tool has been online for years now and it’s the fastest way to get started since you don’t need to download anything.
Bare-bones, functional, and lets you create tunes as simple or complex as you want.
Looplabs is another online music studio that works in the cloud. All your work can be accessed across all devices- anywhere that has an active Internet connection.
The difference between this and Soundtrap is that this is a lot more user-friendly for beginners. It’s a “collaborative” music studio that lets you create some bangers pretty quickly using a drag-and-drop interface.
Most of the program does exactly that. It’s a WYSIWYG DAW. You can choose from thousands of royalty-free tracks across many genres.
Out of all the Chromebook music apps and websites, Looplabs has the most by far (without paying).
You can use it to make YouTube background music, intros, outros, podcast music, or whatever other kinds of catchy beats you want!
The best part is that you can utilize other producers’ creations and build on them. It has that “social” aspect lie most of the apps and sites here. Pretty cool.
You can import your vocals or record them in real-time. The UI makes it easy to add vocals on beats or beats on vocals.
Remixing is almost automated with the sheer number of tracks you can use. Just drag the new track into the channel and modify it to sound good.
You don’t need to know any music theory to use this. So if you’re really just looking to make some music on your Chromebook for free without spending a ton of time learning how to use the DAW, Looplabs is your best friend.
There’s a strong social aspect to Looplabs and many of the producers create vocals and tracks you can use yourself.
You literally import their tunes and then remix it. You never have to start from scratch. That’s probably my favorite part of this software because I can freely use pre-created tunes that are royalty-free. This way, I don’t have to show my poor producing skills =].
The software is free to use and runs in the browser, so it works on Chromebooks pretty smoothly. I did have some trouble with privacy extensions on Chrome. You’ll have to disable or remove these (or whitelist the site) to make it work.
This is one of the best websites to make music for beginners. You don’t need any skills whatsoever to create some awesome tracks that sound professional. Definitely one of the easier online DAWs for Chromebooks out there.
DAWs for Chromebooks
Here are some of the most popular digital audio workstations and their compatibility with Chromebooks.
Unfortunately, most DAWs like FL Studio, FL Studio Mobile, Finale, and Mixcraft all don’t work on Chrome OS.
There are theoretical workarounds, but I haven’t tested them myself to see if they actually work or not.
Since these are professional DAWs and popular music production software, many people want to get them for their Chromebooks.
As you know, Chromebooks are limited for music production software to mainly apps and websites. But if you really want to try getting one of these DAWs, why not?
If I were to try, here’s what I’d do.
This is probably the most-requested DAW for Chrome OS. Sadly, there’s no easy way to get FL Studio running out-of-the-box.
Since it’s not built for Chromebooks, you’ll have to try getting Linux and WINE to emulate it. Even if you do that, you’ll probably encounter slowness, plugin, and performance issues.
Linux and WINE
Again, I haven’t tested this myself, so it’s all just theory at this point. There are videos online that this method works, but they’re dated:
CrossOver is an app that lets you run Windows programs. You can check it out here. It basically eliminates the Linux step and lets you run FL Studio through the app as an emulator.
Again, this is untested for me. But I did find videos of this working from a few years ago:
FL Studio Mobile
There is an Android version of FL Studio available on the Play Store.
Modern Chromebooks will run Android apps, so you could try downloading the mobile app from the Play Store if you already bought it.
Keep in mind it is a paid app, so don’t buy it just for the purpose of your Chromebook.
That’d be a waste of money. But, if you already own the app and you have the Play Store available on your laptop, you can try downloading the mobile version.
Also, if your Chromebook doesn’t have the Play Store yet you can try to update it.
There’s no support for Chromebooks from Acoustica, the developers behind Mixcraft. But I did find some forum posts saying that Mixcraft works through Linux and WINE.
You could try it and see how it works out. If you need directions to get Ubuntu and WINE, they’re listed above under the “Linux + WINE” section of this guide.
Reports online say that Mixcraft works well on Linux, so that’s good.
Pro Tools has no solid answer that I could find. Most of the posts were from many years ago. The software still has no solid confirmation. If I were to attempt this, I’d just roll with the Ubuntu and WINE method.
Just like Pro Tools, Finale looks like there’s been no recent activity reported that it actually works on Linux or Chromebooks. I did see some videos of it running on Linux, so there may be a chance it works.
Ableton has plenty of reports of success!
The DAW seems to work decently well on Linux and WINE or PlayOnLinux, which is a software library similar to the Ubuntu Software Center.
This means once you get Ubuntu on your Chromebook, you can just grab PlayOnLinux to install Ableton.
Of course, once again, this is all theory. But I do see recent reports from multiple people who were able to get this software running.
REAPER also has limited reports that it works with Linux and WINE.
Bitwig has support for Linux and a distro dedicated to it.
You can grab Linux on your Chromebook, then head over to Bitwig and install it. I don’t expect the performance to be smooth, and there will probably be some compatibility problems.
But from reports online, Bitwig seems to be one of the few DAWs that work on Linux, and therefore a higher chance of running on Chromebooks.
Can a Chromebook run Audacity?
No, Chromebooks can’t run Audacity because Chrome OS isn’t compatible with the software.
However, you can still get Audacity by downloading and installing Linux, which is free and secure. In fact, Chrome OS was built on Linux.
Note that you should back up your data and that this only works on Intel-based Chromebooks. So if you have ARM or MediaTek, this won’t work.
Don’t know what these mean? Find out what Chromebook model you have.
I’ve already written a comprehensive guide on downloading and installing Linux, so feel free to check it out. Follow the tutorial.
Once you have Ubuntu Linux installed, there are two methods to get Audacity on your Chromebook:
Method 1: Download Audacity through the Ubuntu Software Center
Easy and straightforward. Simply launch the Software Center (it should be pre-installed after you get Linux).
And then search for “audacity” then click the “Install” button. It works just like any other app store.
Once you have the software downloaded, just run it. You’ll find it on your Ubuntu menu.
You can search for it or find it under “Applications.”
Method 2: Use WINE
You can use WINE to get Audacity, which is basically an emulator that lets you run Windows-native programs.
WINE lets you use other Windows programs.
So if you have a creative project you’re working on (audio or video), you can also run other programs along with Audacity.
The drawback is that WINE runs a little slower because you’re running the program through another program.
However, it gives you the freedom of using Windows-based programs on your Chromebook.
If you’re familiar with the command prompt, you can compile Audacity using their source code.
Are you producing music yet?
By now, you should have everything you need to start making some beats on your Chromebook.
We covered some of the best apps, sites, and workaround to get pro software on your device.
If you have any questions, feel free to reply here. Or if you have any awesome recommendations, feel free to share.
Or if you’ve found this tutorial be helpful, let me know. Consider telling a fellow producer!
Thanks for reading.