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Cakewalk RIP

Cakewalk RIP  路  Source: Cakewalk

Gibson has announced that they are ceasing development of all Cakewalk products. Their biggest product is the range of Sonar digital audio workstations which have a huge user base. This just doesn’t make any sense!


RIP Cakewalk

It’s been 30 years since Cakewalk brought sequencing to the Windows PC. It was the first sequencer I ever used on a PC. I can’t quite wrap my head around it. According to the statement released by Gibson:

The decision was made in order to align with the company鈥檚 acquisition strategy, focused on growth in the global consumer electronics audio business.

Gibson Brands acquired Cakewalk in 2013 which always seemed a very odd fit. But then Gibson has been going slightly weird for a very long time. They do have form for this sort of thing. Back in 1998 they bought music technology firm Opcode Systems who produced the Vision sequencer for Mac and PC. A year after the purchase they shut Opcode down leaving all the users adrift.

Cakewalk users without a paddle

Noel Borthwick, Cakewalk CTO, assures us that the Cakewalk servers will continue to operate and we’ll all still have access to our online assets. But for how long? Apparently, a special team has been created to serve the community during this “transition period” – transition to what? Presumably transitioning from software being available and functional to it not being available or functional anymore?

Weirdly Cakewalk released an app called Momentum just the other week. I wonder if this will pull itself out from the heap of bodies? Or maybe it was the last hurrah, a vain attempt at being cool and trendy that was the last straw for old man Gibson.

Surely, the user base alone has to be worth something to someone. Couldn’t there be a buyer out there somewhere – Magix, Behringer, Microsoft? Sonar was the best Windows-only DAW out there. It is something of a passing of an era. Maybe it was the move to a subscription style of upgrade formula. Should that be a warning to other DAW developers of the perception change that comes with subscription聽models?

I’m just a little bit stunned. I wish all the developers and employees of Cakewalk all the best in their future ventures. I have no idea what to think about Gibson anymore.

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9 responses to “RIP Sonar! Gibson ceases development of all Cakewalk products”

  1. Alex says:

    What??? I mean… what????? Thank you business geniuses, sell your company to someone who cares instead.

  2. Lawrence Gillespie says:

    I do find this odd. Usually, the only reason you would stop production on an app (or a bunch of apps, in this case) would be if they are not profitable. Are they saying that Cakewalk was losing money? That seems improbable, but then again, I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes.

    Sonar is the only recording software I’ve used since it was released. When I look at the alternatives, they seem to pale in comparison to Sonar in a lot of ways. I guess the search is on for a new DAW.

    • Peter L says:

      The other reason is mentioned in the official statement: it no longer aligns with their strategy. But if it’s still profitable, I’d expect them to sell the project to another company. If they still want to do that, this announcement was pretty stupid, because it chases away users, making SONAR less interesting for other companies. So I’m afraid that although SONAR isn’t dead yet, it is in the process of dying.

  3. Peter L says:

    So apparently we just have to master our efforts and then switch to another DAW, hoping it will never fall prey to Gibson. Ah, you want to reuse your source materials? I’m afraid all we can do is save it as MIDI files, wave files…
    Of course SONAR will still run for some time, until it gets invalidated by windows/driver updates. The problem is, we’ll never know when that will happen.

  4. kritikosman says:

    Oh my.

  5. moebius_rising says:

    Gibson: the Electronic Arts of “pro” audio.

  6. Whoa says:

    The simplest explanation is usually the correct one: Gibson is just about to release their own DAW and bought a competing product out from the market.

  7. Eddie Smith says:

    Ok, so here’s a question that I’m sure affects more than just myself. I was on the payment plan for one of the more deluxe versions. About 7 months in, they discontinued the product. Is my software going to just shut down on me without warning at some point?

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