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If you are are relatively new to this game, the best free music production software is Garageband and Audacity. I have been writing music for television for years. When I switched from hardware to software I did all of my writing with Garageband. I then edited each track or cue on Audacity.
Television music supervisors like to have a variety of edited versions of your tracks. It makes it easier for them to place as background music in tv shows or for use in commercials. They like to have the flexibility. The more versions you give them, the better chance you have of being placed.
Garageband is an excellent place to begin. It is free when you buy a Mac. You can make studio recordings with this software. The learning curve is light and when you run into an area you are confused by, a quick search on youtube about the problem will answer your questions. This is how I started. This software is especially productive for those of you who only write instrumental tracks, as these are the most widely used on television.
The beauty of Garageband is its ease of use. If you play just guitar or keyboard, you should be all set. For those of us who are not drummers, the "Drummer" feature is phenomenal. It comes with a variety of drummers who play a variety of different grooves. You can audition them and play to them as you build your tracks. They also automatically play fills. You can manipulate how they play to suit your needs by muting certain drums and cymbals or adjusting the feel.
I always start with the drummer and feel I like. I then play my acoustic and electric guitar parts. I then play my bass part so that the feel is strongest. From there I add all of my sweetners like string and synth parts. From here I'm able to copy and paste looped parts as I see fit. The mixing controls are very intuitive and easy to use as well.
I now use Logic which is a suped up version of Garageband, however it's cost is $200. The beauty is that the learning curve is smooth as Logic is just Garageband with more bells, whistles and overall power. Many major releases have been mixed in Logic!
After Garageband I always use Audacity to edit my tracks. Audacity is free music production software that can be found at the link below. I always import my tracks into Audacity once they are finished so I can edit the beginnings and endings and to clean them up. I also use Audacity to generate alternate versions and lengths of my tracks.
Music supervisors like to have 60 second versions, 30 second versions, stings and loops that they can play with as they try to blend your track or cue with whatever mult-media setting they are in.