It's not just Mac fans that are excited by new iLife application, GarageBand – musical instrument makers are also excited by the release.

The software transforms that Mac at home into a mini-recording studio, and instrument makers are hoping this will translate into better sales, as consumers get the music-making bug.

Macworld reported last week that UK live event attendance reached its highest figure for 90 years last year and that UK album sales have crossed another record. With iTunes Music Store for Europe reputedly set to launch in Q2 and one-in-six iPods sold selling in the UK market, this country is likely to lead the new market.

Apple's iPod music player is wending its way into many consumer pockets and healthy digital music sales are emerging online. It's possible that music has become fashionable once again, as people seek alternative entertainment to commercial TV – or so musical instrument manufacturers hope.

"We're very optimistic we'll have a record 2003 and that 2004 will continue strong," said Joe Lamond, CEO of the International Music Products Association told Reuters.

"There seems to be real growth in the hobbyist market. We're seeing multiple sales to weekend warriors who are now collecting four or five guitars each. And there seems to be a real surge with the return of the teen garage band," he said. Lamond predicts growth in his market in "single digits", he said.

Apple's vice president of applications marketing Rob Schoeben told Reuters: "For us, all of a sudden, music is the number one priority of the company. We're trying to be a part of the music evolution overall."

Inside Digital Media analyst Phil Leigh is also optimistic: "This niche market has historically been in the tens of millions of dollars," he said, "but Apple could theoretically triple the market. If it expanded it into the PC market, it could increase the market tenfold," he said.