PRIME VS. PLAYBACK | Which app is best for your worship ministry?

Are you trying to decide which app to use
to run a click and tracks for your worship ministry? On this video, I’m going to give you a side
by side comparison with Prime by Loop Community and Playback by I’m gonna walk you through the pros and cons
of each of these really powerful and easy to use iOS apps and hopefully by the end of
this video, you’ll have a much clearer understanding of which one is the best fit for your worship
ministry coming up. This video’s brought to you by Worship Leader
School, where you’re gonna find all the essential training, advice and support you need to plan
and lead worship. Click the link in the description to learn
more. If we haven’t met yet, my name’s Jake Gosselin. I’m the creator of, helping
you lead gospel centered and tech savvy worship. If you haven’t already, subscribe to the channel
so you don’t miss out on any of our latest content to help you grow yourself and grow
your church. The two most popular apps that are being used
by worship bands to run a click and tracks in worship are Prime by Loop Community and
Playback by Of course, when I refer to app, I’m talking
about apps that run on mobile devices and iOS devices specifically, like an iPad or
an iPhone. I personally use Ableton Live to run a click,
tracks and automate lighting and lyrics in our worship gatherings at the church plant
where I lead, but Prime and Playback, while they might not have the power and capability
of Ableton Live, they sure can accomplish a whole lot for your worship band. It can be hard to know which of these two
apps is the best choice for your ministry. So on the rest of this video, I’m gonna walk
you through all the criteria that you need to be thinking about and all the pros and
cons of these two apps that help you really understand which one is best for your context. I believe that both of these apps are super
powerful, super user friendly and a great fit for a lot of worship ministries. It really comes down to your own personal
preferences when it comes to the user design as well as which ecosystem do you want to
be in. Before I dive in, let me know below in the
comments which one of these two apps are you using at your church or have you been dabbling
in, and let me know why you chose one over the other. Let’s go ahead and dive into this comparison. First, let’s talk about price. So, the Prime app is free. It’s really hard to beat free, right? All you have to do is go to the app store,
press the download button and, bam, you have that free app either on your iPad, iPhone
or even Mac laptop. Playback, on the other hand, starts out as
free but in order to unlock all the features that Prime has, which is already free, you
have to pay at least a five or six dollar a month subscription for Prime. With the free version of Playback, you get
a lot of the essential functions that you need, like being able to build the set list
of songs, being able to mix your songs, have some transitions. All that really basic stuff, but you have
to pay in order to be able to have the midi mapping feature, to be able to loop song sections,
to have a dynamic guide queue, and to be able to route audio to different buses for an external
audio device. All of those things, Prime does for free. Since for this video I want to compare these
two apps at their best, I went ahead and subscribed to the six dollar a month premium version
of Playback. While it’s kind of a pain you have to pay
for Playback versus it’s free for Prime, in the end, what you get in Playback, I think
it’s worth six dollars a month. Prime could be charging the same or more for
their app as well. It’s totally up to those two companies, what
they want to charge for it, but six dollars a month, it’s like the price of a latte once
a month. It’s not very much. Next, let’s talk about the platforms these
apps are available on. Both apps run on iOS devices like an iPad
or an iPhone, but Prime can also run on Mac OS which can be really great if you rather
build your sets and work on a full laptop, a Mac laptop rather than doing everything
on an iPad or iPhone. Playback, on the other hand, does not have
a Mac OS version of its app. Next, let’s talk about the user experience
of each of these apps. This criteria, I believe, is completely up
to personal preference, but I’ll show you what they look like side by side. So, here we have the Prime app and I’m a big
fan of this layout. On the left side of the screen, you see all
of our tracks. I don’t have to scroll around to see the different
tracks and on the right side I see my set list of songs. Then when I have a song selected, I see the
whole song on the top portion of the app from beginning to end, and I can even zoom in to
see if it’s just the song sections. A little bit closer up I like being able to
just see where the play head is over the course of the whole song. Then on the bottom right you have your controls
like play, stop, fade out, go to next song. You can easily transpose a song or change
the tempo as well. Now we’re looking at the Playback app. The user interface is a little different. Starting at the top, that’s where you have
your transport controls, a play, fade out, the back button. I like having those controls at the top. It’s my own personal preference. I feel like it’s common in digital audio workstations. Then below that you have your set lists of
songs laid out horizontally. You could see what your transitions are in
between each song and then below that, whatever song you have selected, you’ll see the audio
file of the song laid out horizontally in a timeline. You’ll also see a grid that denotes the different
bars and beats within a song. Then underneath that, you have your mixer
for your tracks, and then on the bottom right you have some buttons for looping and also
to control your master volume. When comparing this user interface to Prime,
the thing I don’t like about Playback is I don’t like having to scroll through the song
timeline like this. I like how in Prime you can view the whole
timeline at once, and then I also am not a huge fan of having to scroll through my different
tracks to see them. So, that’s the thing. I think in Prime it’s easier to quickly get
to where you need to go to control things, but when it comes to this user interface,
it really depends on your personal preference. Now let’s talk about the most common task
that you’re gonna be trying to accomplish within these apps. So, the first portion is building out your
set list of songs. In both apps, it only takes seconds to find
a song within your loop community count or account, and load them into
the playlist. In both apps, it’s really easy to import songs. It only takes a few seconds to import your
tracks from your Loop Community account or your account. It’s also equally just as easy in each of
the apps to edit your set list. You can edit the order of songs, so you can
do it that way in the Prime app, or if you’re in the Playback app, you just hit the edit
button here and then you can start clicking and dragging your songs around into different
orders. In both apps you can also add songs in that
contain just a click track. Maybe you didn’t want to buy multitracks for
a particular song, or you can have a click in pads, and I love doing that. I love having click in pads in between certain
songs in my set list. That kind of allows me to engage the congregation
and just still keep that ambient atmosphere feel supporting us and supporting the band. It’s also really easy to edit song arrangements
in both of these apps, so you can easily add song sections. You can delete song sections. That’s what it looks like in the Playback
app and then in the Prime app, same thing. So, go to edit song, edit arrangement, and
then here I can just hold down the different sections. I can drag them around. When I double click on a section, I can delete
that section or I can add a new section right after it. Both apps, editing arrangements, basically
the same functionality. Now let’s talk about the transitions feature. This is a very important features, and both
of these apps have come a long way in adding this functionality so that you can have some
nice, smooth transitions between songs. So, in both apps, you could have it so it’ll
automatically go to the next song once you’ve done a song or you can also cross fade songs
so it’ll fade out song A and it’ll fade in song B and kind of cross fade that and make
it sound nice and smooth, or you can just overlap the end of song A with the beginning
of song B, and it’s not gonna fade out either of these parts but it’s just gonna simply
overlap them and that also sounds really smooth in a lot of cases. One thing that the Prime app does that the
Playback app doesn’t do is this feature where it’ll just keep playing the click track once
you’ve done a song. So, if you have it on that little icon right
there, what’s gonna happen if I go to the end of this song? Three, four … It’s not gonna go to the next song. It’s just gonna keep that click going at 110
beats per minute, so you can see the play head gets to the end of the song and just
keeps going. I think this is a really handy feature especially
if you just wanted to kind of vamp, have some spontaneous moments. It’s really powerful to have that. Let’s talk a little bit more about the click
tracks for each of the apps. So, in Prime you can go to the gear icon on
top right and you can select your click sound. I really like the digital sound. Not a big fan of the default sound, and then
you can add in subdivisions, so I like having eighth notes in there to subdivide the beat. It really helps our band stay on time and
I wish these click settings were global, like that it would apply to all songs, but I realize
as I started changing the settings, I had to go through and change it for each song,
which is kind of a pain. But in the Playback app underneath the click
sounds section, whenever you select a different sound, that will actually apply to all the
songs. It’s a global setting within the app. One key difference between these two apps
is how quickly you can change the key of a song and the tempo of a song within the app. So, in the Prime app it’s actually really
quick and easy to do. I can even be playing a song … [crosstalk 00:09:35] Two, three, four … … and I can alter the tempo down here, or
I can change the key as well, whereas in the Playback app, if I go to the settings of the
song and I go to key, I’ll select a new key. Then I have to press “update.” It has to download new files for that song,
and it takes a few minutes to do that. So, if you ever plan on having to change the
key on a fly during band rehearsal and you’re using Playback, just make sure you know it’s
gonna take a minute or two or three for it to do this. The Playback app, what I think is happening
is it’s actually downloading new audio stems into the app and switching them out with the
old one. That’s what I guess is happening in this process,
and maybe there are some advantages to the way they do this in Playback by actually replacing
the audio files. Maybe there’s not as much warping going on
so you’ll have a better, cleaner sound with the transposed files. The next feature I want to compare with these
two apps is the control that you have while you’re playing through the songs during worship. Again, these apps are very similar when it
comes to this feature set. I’m gonna go ahead and play this song here
in Prime and a couple cool things you can do, you can hit the loop button. Hit it the first time. It’s just gonna loop once and then go through
the end, but if you hit it again, it will just keep looping it infinitely. I’m gonna go ahead and turn that off, I don’t
need it to loop right now. Then another cool feature is that you can
easily skip to different song sections, so I’ll just click on the chorus. It’s gonna jump to the chorus and it also
has a dynamic guide that’s gonna tell me which section is coming up next. Then finally I can easily fade out the tracks
or I can fade them back in. Playback’s control is very similar, so I’ll
just select a song here. I’ll go ahead and play “Look to the Son.” If I want to jump to different song sections,
I just double tap it and it’s gonna be blinking. It’s saying it’s queuing up that section. It’s gonna wait til it finishes the previous
song section and it gives the dynamic guide queue as well, just like the Prime app. You can also fade out your backing tracks
or fade them back in a fly, and then Playback also has the looping functionality as well,
so I can have the loop once button triggered here and that’s all it’s gonna do is loop
back to this section and then it will just keep playing through the end of it, or I can
turn on the infinite loop button and it’ll just keep looping that section until I disable
that. So, when it comes to controlling your tracks,
jumping around, looping sections, these apps function basically the same. Now let’s talk about some more advanced features. When you’re getting started with running a
click in tracks, the most basic setup is to put your click in guide on audio output one
or the left side of the stereo output and then put your backing tracks on audio output
two or the right side of your stereo output, but when you want to get fancy, you want to
have more control over your mix at your front of house console, you could start using multiple
outputs, using like an audio interface, like the iConnectivity audio interface are great
for both of these apps. Both apps have that same functionality where
you can go in and set up the buses and what tracks are going to which outputs. Then the other more advanced feature that
both apps has is midi functionality, so you can trigger your songs. You can loop songs. All the different control features you have
in here, they could be triggered by an external MIDI device. Let’s say for example you’re using like a
foot switch, like the Looptimus foot pedal or other MIDI foot controllers. You can easily map MIDI notes to the different
songs and to the different controls so you can just control everything with your feet. Finally I want to talk about the ecosystem
for each of the apps. This is one of the big factors that you’re
gonna have to side on. Which one makes the most sense for you. Both and,
their main business is distributing and selling the master tracks and backing tracks that
we use in our worship bands, and what they’ve done in building both of these apps is not
only have they made it easy to play the backing tracks you buy from them, but they also put
some financial incentive in there that’s gonna make it more affordable for your worship band
to build up a library of songs. First, let’s look at and the
ecosystem they offer. One of the latest things that they’ve come
up with, and it’s pretty exciting for churches that you don’t have any backing tracks but
you’d like to make the switch in the short term but you also don’t want to drop thousands
of dollars on full backing track stems for your worship ministry. Multitracks has a rental program where you
can rent up to 15, 20, 25 songs per month for a relatively low monthly fee. So let’s say you have four worship services
a month at your church and you do four songs a month. Well, with their 16 song a month plan it only
costs you 60 bucks to have full backing track stems for all those songs. Now, the downside is that you have to use
the Playback app. You don’t actually get to download the audio
files onto your own computer and use them in software like Ableton. So that’s the one big con about the rental
program, but if you’re just using this app, then the rental program could work great for
you. I just want to help you think through some
of these numbers. Let’s say at my church we would need at least
20 songs a month that we could rent, so that’s $75 a month, so 75 times 12, that’s $900 per
year to have 20 unique songs every month. If I were to buy the master tracks for 25
songs at $39 apiece, 25 times 39, that’s 975 dollars just for one month worth of songs,
and of course, though, in a church setting, we’re often repeating the same songs over
and over, so are we spending $975 a month at my church right now to buy master tracks? No. We probably end up buying $1,000 worth a year
in backing tracks, but that’s because I’ve been building up a library over the years,
so we’re not always having to buy new ones for every song we do, every single week, but
it I were just getting started and I wanted to have backing tracks for all my songs and
I knew I was just gonna use the Playback app, then that rental program sure is really attractive,
and it’s gonna save you a ton of money. Now let’s talk about the Prime ecosystem. So, when you go to’s website,
you can purchase all the master tracks and premium tracks and community tracks that they
have available there, and Loop Community has most of the master tracks for most of the
songs that we use on a Sunday. Unfortunately they don’t have all the master
tracks and the big one is that they don’t have the master tracks from Hillsong, like
the original audio stems from the labels. apparently has exclusive rights
to distribute those, but creates premium tracks, which they have their
own professional studio musicians create those tracks and honestly they sound identical. Like, you can tell there’s maybe a little
bit of difference, but I use a lot of Loop Community’s premium tracks and the great thing
about that is it’s often at quite a reduced price when you compare them to the master
tracks from Loop Community also has their community tracks
which are even cheaper, which usually run about $20 apiece. Then Prime has also built in financial incentive
for you to use the Prime app and buy your tracks that way. Whether you’re buying the master tracks, premium
tracks or the community tracks, it’s usually about $5 cheaper for you to buy the Prime
version of those tracks. The downside is you don’t actually get the
audio files themself. Like if you want to start using them in Ableton,
you have to buy the full multitrack stems from their website to have that ownership
of them. Loop Community’s tracks are generally less
expensive than’s full multitrack stems, but then has that rental
program which can be really attractive for a lot of churches. In the end, I think it comes down to what
is your personal preference when it comes to user experience? Do you like the layout of the Prime app or
do you like the layout of the playback app? Then the second big factor is what’s your
overall plan when it comes to building your backing track library? Do you want to be in the ecosystem that Multitracks
has where you can just rent songs every month but then you never own the stems yourself
or do you want to be in the Prime ecosystem where you can, again, save money by buying
the Prime tracks but not be able to use those audio files for anything else or even just
buy the full audio stems through Loop Community and still have access to them through the
Prime app? So, the choice is yours, but I hope this side
by side comparison just helps you figure out which one is best for your worship ministry. If you’re using one of these apps or trying
one of them out, let me know below in the comments which one you picked and why, and
finally I want to invite you to check out Worship Leader School, where you’re gonna
find all the essential training, advice and support you need to plan and lead worship. Click the link in the description or visit Thanks so much for watching this video. If you found it helpful, hit that thumbs up
button and share it with your friends in worship ministry. You can check out some related videos right
over here, and don’t forget to subscribe to the Churchfront channel so you can continue
to receive all of our latest content to help you grow yourself and grow your church.

Leave a Reply