Apps, Mobile & SMS

Propellerhead ‘Figure’: A $1 Music Production Studio

Propellerhead-logoGuest post by Eliot Van Buskirk of

Get ready to make music “on the bus” in a whole new way.

Propellerhead, which makes the legendary Reason desktop music software, announced and demonstrated its next product in Frankfurt, Germany on Tuesday: Figure, a one dollar music production studio for Apple’s iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch).

Created from the ground up for mobile music creation, Figure will be a multi-touch app built on the Reason engine for creating entire songs — melodies, rhythms, and sequences. According to Create Digital Music, which covered the announcement live this afternoon, Propellerhead specifically made this thing so that you’ll be able to craft masterpieces literally on the bus, although we imagine it would do equally well on a train, or perhaps at home on the sofa.


The Propellerhead office in Stockholm, Sweden (photo courtesy of Propellerhead)

CDM says Propellerhead Figure features “elegant geometric images and animations – rather than the fiddly, old-fashioned Reason UI graphics,” which is cause for early optimism. That said, the app has yet to appear in the iTunes app store, and the official Propellerhead site does not yet mention the app or include screenshots. Apparently, the company plans to post video and a text description later tonight.

Here’s the rest of what we’ve pieced together about Propellerhead Figure based on CDM’s liveblog:

  • The “Tonality control” will let music-makers enter chords in patterns.
  • Figure reinvents a new range of multi-touch control instruments that are apparently reminiscent of Lemur (itself an iOS app now). In addition, it includes all of the instruments from the desktop version of Reason.
  • According to the company, the app will sound exactly as good as Reason.
  • Propellerhead also announced a new “Rack Extensions” feature for Reason, which will allow third-party developers to build “devices” (instruments and effects) for it. Propellerhead will sell these devices in a store, with 70 percent of the revenue going to the developers and 30 percent going to Propellerhead (the same cut Apple takes from iOS app developers). Developers will be able to offer devices for free if they want, as well as offering a 30-day trial. It’s unclear whether the devices will also be available to Figure users.

From the sound of it, Propellerhead Figure will be well worth a review when it officially launches, which should be within the next week or so. Propellerhead submitted the app to Apple on Friday for approval.

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