Apple used the Macworld CreativePro event in New York this week to announce its plans to ship its music production tool Soundtrack as a standalone product, beginning in August.

Soundtrack has until now been available as a component of Apple's £799 Final Cut Pro 4 video-editing system. It will be available for £249 (including VAT).

Soundtrack includes over 4,000 royalty-free instrument loops and sound effects, which can be combined swiftly on the fly to create music for video, DVD or Web projects. The product scales to meet the needs of audio producers, DJs and remix artists, who can launch a project in Soundtrack for later development in such audio applications as Pro Tools or Logic.

Huge hit Apple senior vice president of applications Sina Tamaddon said: "Soundtrack is a huge hit with final cut Pro 4 users and has enabled video editors without music backgrounds to save time and money by producing their own high-quality, royalty-free music scores.

"Customers tell us the need for producing original, royalty-free music is everywhere, and we think other creative professionals such as Web developers and DVD authors are going to find it the easiest and most affordable tool for musicians and non-musicians alike."

Through an easy-to-navigate user interface, Soundtrack treats each loop as an audio building block users simply need to drag-&-drop into a composition. The application will match the audio loops and sound effects within a composition in real-time, regardless of the key or tempo in which the loop was originally recorded. It makes all the constituent parts sound harmonious instantly.

It also offers a search engine whichj helps users locate sounds by instrument, genre or mood using a new open audio format called Apple Looops, or any AIFF, WAV or Acid format audio file.

Plug-ins Soundtrack ships with over 30 professional, high-quality audio plug-ins from Apple and Emagic. Plug-ins like Platinum Verb, SpectralGate, Multiband Compressor and AutoFilter allow users to combine effects with individual tracks to make sounds.

It also supports OS X's Audio Units architecture, so users can add other third-party effects that support Audio Units. Soundtrack users can also distribute, broadcast and resell their music creations without having to pay any additional fees.

"I'm totally blown away by the extreme music creation abilities of Soundtrack," said Charlie Clouser, producer, keyboardist and remixer for artists such as Nine Inch Nails, David Bowie, The Deftones and Rob Zombie.

"From the way it automatically blends musical elements on-the-fly, to its super intelligent loop searching, Soundtrack is more powerful than any other loop-based audio software out there, giving professional musicians and music editors a must-have tool in their arsenal," he said.