Woah! Am I ever underqualified to speak to this one! But let me go into some details about some of the free shit, and also let me be very clear: should you decide to pirate anything, these days, make sure you are using a dedicated machine which does not share any particular permissions with anything else. There are people who will suggest that you can start with the options that will not let you save projects, like demo (full but no save) versions of fruityloops or ableton. There are people who will suggest that https://bedroomproducersblog.com/2015/11/11/free-daw-software/ is the way to go.
Regardless, sooner or later you will spend money, and there’s a popular opinion that you will not get serious until you do so.
Even if you don’t spend on software (which is unlikely) then keep in mind that midi controllers (while some interact with your phone, like FL Studio’s Image-Line Controller or some 3rd party apps) are often the best way to input multiple settings at once (faders, dials, chords, velocity, etc) and you will probably spend money sooner or later to improve your workflow.
There are also people who will suggest that you can’t really move forward until you start getting things like better quality samples. To be honest, I don’t know too much about this. I’m starting to get a bit of a feeling for “stock” sounds, like things that just don’t sound Interesting enough.
I think that the biggest cost is time. Even if you watch videos for weeks on end, practice constantly, even if you have a music background and a social media presence and people working with you to come up with a polished and finished set of first outings, (and there are lots of communities that are supporting to help you along the way) the learning curve starts steep in a lot of ways and only goes up from there. Then there’s the glut of work out there and the difficulty of getting attention.
It easily costs you everything you have and gives very little. BUT! That’s music, right? That’s art? Suffering? Rarely, success?
And if you make it, then, well, passive income in the form of “this is how I made it” and review videos, sample packs, beats, residuals from previous gigs, etc. But you have to give up some portion of your privacy in most versions, even if you’re Marshmello, Daft Punk, or Deadmau5. I would say that music producer is the most expensive thing I have yet reviewed, although really if you do make it big then it pays for itself – but that’s a little like winning the lottery, isn’t it?
The talent and hard work lottery? Just keep trying! Every day do something produceractive. Productive by being active, that’s the best advice. Free packs are given away by people who want you on their marketing e-mail lists, so pick which email you want to get your (sometimes free!) offers at and check out places like cymatics and WA and your favourite producer’s blogs, search engine recommendations of best plugins and stuff.