The 25 Best Things You Learned About Music in 2021

InspirationMusic Theory
The 25 Best Things You Learned About Music in 2021

Here’s to another year coming to an end! Congratulations are in order—to you.

Over the past 12 months you’ve learned more than ever and improved your music in incredible ways. Hopefully, the LANDR Blog has been part of it.

But this post isn’t about us, it’s about the best things you learned about music in 2021.

Today we’re breaking down the top LANDR Blog articles of the year according to you.

So in case you missed it, here’s our year in the rearview—and everything you did to grow as a creator in 2021.

You got the best free tools

Free plugins are eternal. The thrill of downloading a fun new plugin at no charge will always be compelling.

This year, there were plenty of exciting free releases for your plugin folder. 

From wild synths based on math to some of the best analog emulations ever made available for free, there was something on offer for every producer in 2021.

Take a look back through our monthly roundups or head on over to our 2021 list for the year’s top picks.

My top choice for the best free plugins of the year? The wonderful library from Analog Obsession.

Technically these plugins are available via subscription on Patreon, but payment is optional. Try them for free and you might be convinced to open your wallet!

Plugin Picks: The 9 Best Free VST Plugins of 2021

Staff Picks: LANDR Distribution Artists We Loved in 2021

You released incredible music

This year we wanted to highlight our incredible artist community more than ever.

With so many releases deployed to more than 150 streaming platforms in 2021, we’re proud to be part of the next generation of developing artists.

What’s more, we listen to every single release we receive. With so much great material coming out, our staff finds plenty of gems that deserve a shoutout.

That’s why we take a moment every month to highlight five special releases from the LANDR Distribution catalogue.

Check out our monthly series or head over to our 2021 best picks—you might find your next favorite up-and-comer.

You built your audience and learned the industry

Growing your music isn’t just about creating tracks and getting better at production.

Music promotion is essential for connecting to your audience and getting your work into the world.

In fact, many creators find it the toughest part of the process. But you didn’t let that get in your way this year.

From music industry roles to striking out on your own, here are your favorite music promotion resources from 2021.

A&R: How Artist and Repertoire Works in 2021


Why Fake Streams Hurt Every Developing Artist


How to Start a Record Label in 2021 (On a Budget)


Pre-Save Campaigns: How to Build Early Traction on Spotify

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You upgraded your home studio

Getting the right equipment is essential to creating your unique sound.

Like most producers, you were on a mission to build your perfect home studio this year. 

Our classic gear guides saw plenty of interest in 2021, but the newest entries were just as popular.

From computers to studio accessories to mixers of all kinds, here’s the gear you couldn’t live without in 2021.

What is a DI Box? The 8 Best DIs for Recording


The 10 Best Analog Mixers For Home Studios


The 10 Best DJ Mixers for Any DJ at Any Budget


The 8 Best Audio Recording Computers For Your Studio

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You got serious about software

While free VSTs showed no sign of slowing down, there were plenty of pro plugins on your list in 2021.

Somewhere in between, free presets for Xfer’s smash-hit Serum synth were in high demand.

But for critical sounds like vocals, guitar and orchestra, you consulted our ranked lists for the essential picks.

Here’s our top software and plugin roundups from 2021.

The 12 Best Vocal Plugins on the Market Today


The 10 Best Free Serum Presets for Music Production


The 6 Best Guitar VSTs for Great Tone in Your DAW


The 7 Best Auto-Tune VST Plugins at any Budget Right Now


The 10 Best Free Orchestral VSTs for Epic Cinematic Sound

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You brushed up on music theory

Every time you learn a new concept in music theory, you add another tool to your songwriter’s toolkit.

This year you conquered plenty of fresh topics. 

From chords and scales and progressions to unique rhythms, here’s a look at the top picks from 2021.

Lofi Chord Progressions: 11 Easy Ways to Build Nostalgic Lo-Fi Chords


How to Find the Key of a Song: The Two Best Methods


What is the Supertonic? How to Use an Essential Scale Degree


Polyrhythms: How to Use Addictive Rhythmic Patterns In Your Music

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You learned new production techniques

No producer is ever done learning—especially when it comes to fundamental production techniques.

This year you made big strides with your DAW skills and tackled some tough concepts in audio.

Here’s a look at the top production tips from 2021:

Signal Chain: How to Put Your Effects in the Right Order


Synth Bass: 7 Bass Types and How to Build Them


Mono vs. Stereo: How and When to Use Each Track Type


master bus

Master Bus: What It Is and How to Work with It in Your Mix


What Is Phantom Power and Why Do You Need It?


Sample Rate and Bit Depth: How File Quality Affects Your Sound

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Make this year your best ever

Your progress as a creator is measured in personal bests.

That’s why you should make moving forward your goal for the new year—no matter where you’re at the end of 2021.

Whether you’re a veteran producer or just getting started, come visit the LANDR Blog any time you need advice, inspiration or help levelling up—we’ll be here next year too!

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Various contributors from the LANDR team of music mentors.


Gear guides, tips, tutorials, inspiration and more—delivered weekly.

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