For years I had been messing around with various software packages, synths and plugins but never really bothered to learn how to use them properly. I would half-heartedly tinker and fiddle, making noises but never really making much of an effort.

Warez is bad umkay?

Warez is bad umkay?

This all changed about two years ago... Why? What moment of clarity gave me the motivation to get my arse in gear and start being productive?

Had I just been lazy? Did I not have access to the necessary materials to further my journey into this wonderful world of music production? Had I been using the wrong tools?

Nope. Actually I hadn't spent a single penny on any of this software, it was all 'acquired' via one of the numerous easy methods in this digital age. Long term evaluation I was telling myself but something clicked one day and I realised that having not invested was what was holding me back. I had nothing to lose, literally.

This is where it all started!

This is where it all started!

So I scraped some pennies together whilst evaluating the real demos of a few choice DAWs and settled on Ableton Live Intro.

I parted with cash: a fairly significant sum of £60 or so, not to be sniffed at but the effect it had was incredible and suddenly I couldn't get enough! I was watching YouTube videos, searching for tutorials and spending every bit of free time researching how to use my new software.

Soon I outgrew the limitations of the Intro version and found myself spending more money of course!

I upgraded to Ableton Live Suite, bought myself the amazing Sylenth 1 soft-synth and then went on to buy iZotope Ozone (not without some serious haggling with an eBay merchant in the US mind!).

Yes, yes this is MY studio... Honest...

Yes, yes this is MY studio... Honest...

It then went on to hardware; Traktor controller, Ableton Vestax controller, MIDI keyboard, more Traktor controllers, Ableton Push...! And since all of this has cost me hard earned cash the motivation to master it all and improve has never waned.

With a finite amount of money of course came the natural requirement to limit myself to only the tools I have paid for and I have been so much more productive as a result. Now I will look for ways of doing things within the tools I have rather than rushing off to download a new plugin / synth / patch. 

Okay so I'm not insisting you must spend money though, there is a vast array of free plugins and even music making software itself ( ) so there's really no excuse to download cracked illegal software of any kind. Not to mention that a lot of cracked software can be laced with trojans and other nasties, do you really know what you're downloading? 

So if you want to be more productive with music making I certainly found the best incentive to progress is to spend some money and see how motivated you become then!

Have you got any links to free plugins or software that you use? Post them in the comments! I'd be interested to hear if you've had a similar experience and gone from the 'evals' to the paid versions of software... ;-)