Popular DAW Ranking Poll in Japan - 2020! We Asked 3952 People

Author: sleepfreaks

Find Out What DAW 3952 People Use

Announcing the Results for Our 2020 DAW Ranking

First lets take a look at what operating system was used.

  • Mac : 1,678 people 42.46%
  • Win : 2,363 people 63.08%

※ We have allowed users who use both os to select both Mac/Win
Because the total amount reaches 105.54%, this means that of the 3952 polls, 219 individuals use both Mac/Win.

Though not a huge difference in numbers, there were more Windows users in our poll.
Because the popular DAW “Logic X” is only available on Mac, this will inevitably effect it’s placement in the rankings as well.
In addition, we will see how “FL Studio” fits in the ranking now that it is compatible for Mac from Ver20.

Now we will move onto the DAW ranking.
Similar to last year, we will be looking at the total number of those who used the DAW as their main/sub DAW.

1st Place: Cubase 1698 Polls / Usage 43.7%

Main DAW 1,336 polls (1st Place) / Sub DAW 362 polls (2nd Place)


The winner of this year’s DAW ranking is once again Cubase.
As expected Cubase is a powerful force in Japan. We assume that its various features and ability to work for various genres as being crucial in it’s ranking.
When compared to last year’s poll, it’s usage has increased by 2.1%.

2nd Place: Studio One 1104 Polls / Usage 28.4%

Main DAW 716 Polls (2nd Place) / Sub DAW 388 Polls (1st Place)

Studio One

Studio One has risen up from it’s placement in 3rd last year to become the 2nd most popular DAW in this year’s ranking.
The usage rate has also increased by 4.8%.

The highly functional free version has most likely played a big role here.
Because of it’s mastering capabilities, it has also become a highly popular sub DAW.

3rd Place: Logic 950 Polls / Usage 24.4%

Main DAW 679 Polls (3rd Place) / Sub DAW 271 Polls (4th Place)


Logic has fallen down a rank to 3rd from it’s placement in 2nd last year.
The usage rate has decreased by -0.3%.
There have been no notable updates (i.e. Logic 11), and though it doesn’t have many flashy features, there have been consistent small updates and additions to sounds which makes it a highly supportive DAW for continuing users.
When looking at the Mac/Windows balance above, we can see that the Apple brand and this DAW remains strong and reliable.

4th Place: FL Studio 664 Polls / Usage 17.1%

Main DAW 434 Polls (4th Place) / Sub DAW 230 Polls (7th Place)


FL Studio has kept its placement in 4th place from last year.
We noted that there were many EDM style users for this DAW.

It has been about 1 year since the Mac version was released.
Out of 664 polls, 94 were Mac users, and we can expect this number to continue to grow.
The usage rate has increased 4.1% since last year as well.

5th Place: Ableton Live 503 Polls / Usage 12.9%

Main DAW 263 Polls (5th Place) / Sub DAW 240 Polls (5th Place)


Ableton Live has remained in it’s 5th place ranking since last year.
Like FL Studio, this DAW is very popular with EDM style users.
In addition, this DAW is incredibly popular outside of Japan, often ranking 1-2nd place.

6th〜10th Place

The results for 6th〜10th place are as follows:

  • 6th Place GarageBand 390 Polls / Usage 10%
    Main DAW 50 Polls (8th Place) / Sub DAW 340 Polls (3rd Place)
  • 7th Place Pro Tools 372 Polls / Usage 9.6%
    Main DAW 137 Polls (6th Place) / Sub DAW 235 Polls (6th Place)
  • 8th Place Cakewalk by BandLab 256 Polls / Usage 6.6%
    Main DAW 103 Polls (7th Place) / Sub DAW 153 Polls (8th Place)
  • 9th Place Maschine 101 Polls / Usage 2.6%
    Main DAW 15 Polls (13th Place) / Sub DAW 86 Polls (9th Place)
  • 10th Place Reaper 90 Polls / Usage 1.3%
    Main DAW 26 Polls (11th Place) / Sub DAW 64 Polls (11th Place)

Pro Tools has fallen down by 1 ranking, and Mac’s the free Garage Band is in 6th place.
GarageBand is used more as a sub DAW, while Pro Tools placed in 6th place as both a main and sub DAW.

Percentage of People Using Multiple DAW

This poll had calculated the usage of a main/sub DAW as well.
We will be focusing on the 1st〜6th place ranking main DAW, and how sub DAW relate to them.

Out of 3,952 individuals, 3,565 people used one or more of the DAW placed in 1st〜6th place.
This means that approx. 90% of individuals use the DAW that ranked in 1st〜6th placeと.

(Orange – no sub DAW / Blue – with sub DAW)

Out of the 3,565 individuals that use one of these as their main DAW, 1,982 people (55.6%) use a sub DAW as well.
On the other hand, the remaining 1,583 individuals (44.4%) use only their main DAW.

(Left – Number of polls without sub DAW / Right – percentage)

The results of the sub DAW usage rate are as shown.
Pro Tools sub DAW usage rate was 80%, meaning 4 out of 5 people used it in conjunction with another DAW as well.
Perhaps Pro Tools is used to share files back and forth with a recording studio or when recording/mixing audio, while sequencing is done in another DAW.

In addition, we can perhaps consider that if an individual isn’t using a sub DAW, they may be more satisfied by their DAW (contains enough features).

(Red – Main DAW / Blue – Sub DAW)

In addition, some notable ways in which sub DAW relate to each main DAW are shown below:

  • Pro Tools is often used together with Studio One/Logic
  • Studio One may be often used with Cubase for its mastering capabilities
  • A trend exists where Maschine is used together with Logic/FL Studio/Live
  • Another trend exists where Maschine is used with Logic/FL Studio/Live
  • With the ending of Sonar, many users most likely switched over to Cubase/StudioOne
  • GarageBand which comes for free with a Mac is often used with Logic as expected (or GarageBand is upgraded to Logic)
  • KORG Gadget is often used with Live for it’s unique synth sounds

These are some of the observations that were made.

Genre by DAW

In this poll we have also asked what genre an individual made with their DAW.
First lets look at the overall balance of genres made by all DAW (multiple genres could be selected in the poll).

(Right column – # of polls, percentage
Top Row – Idol music, Anime music, K-Pop, J-Pop, Pop, R&B, Game, Vocaloid, Rock (Hard/Metal), Alternative, Dance Music (EDM), Techno/House/Trance, Hip Hop/Trap, Classical, Film, Instrumental, Ambient, Jazz, Funk)

While struggling to determine the musical genres to include, we had made the mistake of not including “Hip-Hop/Trap”.
Because of this, the results of the genres grouped together more generally are as follows:

(Right column – # of polls, percentage
Top Row – Idol/Anime music, Pop/Vocal music, Game, Rock (guitar), All EDM styles, Orchestral/Film, Instrumental/Ambient, Jazz/Funk)

The most popular genre is POP (with vocals) with EDM following.
The genre produced by each DAW is as follows:

(Top Row – Idol/Anime music, Pop/Vocal music, Game, Rock (guitar), All EDM styles, Orchestral/Film, Instrumental/Ambient, Jazz/Funk)

Pro Tools is often used for genres with vocals and live instruments, while FL Studio and Live is popular with EDM style genres as expected.
We also noted that Cubase is very balanced with many genres. This may be a sign of how adaptable this DAW is.

Details of Our Poll Group

Lastly we will be looking at the balance of our computer music polling group.


(Orange – Female / Blue – Male)

  • Male : 3,756 – 95.04%
  • Female : 196 – 4.96%

As we had expected there is a much higher ratio of males.
We hope that the number of female computer music creators continue to increase and bring excitement to this industry.
We will continue to create content to help those who struggle with computers or are looking to start making music.


We also collected age statistics on the individuals who helped answer our poll this year.
We can also consider this the average group that utilises our sites content.

(Left column – age group / Top – # of polls, percentage)

There are many young individuals from 18〜25 years of age, making up around 40%.
17 and younger make up 7.31%, and the trend shows that the older the age, the less users we have in an age group.

(Left column – age group)

We can also see that the DAW used depends on the age group as well.

The Goal of Using a DAW/Work

(Orange – as a hobby / Green – to become a professional (make a living) / Blue – to distribute/release music as secondary income / Grey – other)

(Orange – as a hobby / Green – to become a professional (make a living) / Blue – to distribute/release music as secondary income / Grey – other)

Those who enjoy it as a hobby were the highest at 1,787 individuals or 45.22%.

Many of the individuals who noted under “other” added:

  • to contribute songs for major artists
  • to create sounds for games
  • to express themselves artistically

In addition, the most common jobs for those who answered our poll were:

  • Student: 1,214 People – 30.72%
  • Music Related: 534 People – 13.51%
  • IT/Programming: 390 People – 9.87%

There were many individuals already working music related jobs, and we were happy to see the high number of students in our poll.

Final Notes

Thank you for taking part in this years poll for our DAW ranking.
We hope to take your comments into consideration to create new and exciting content as well.
Thank you very much for your kind words of encouragement as well.