The last remaining version of Propellerhead’s quintessential techno making masterpiece, Rebirth RB-338, has gone. In a post to their support site, Propellerhead said that Roland made a statement about Rebirth for iPad infringing on their intellectual property. Rather than refute it they’ve decided to delete the app.
It’s a sad thing. Rebirth was the first software synthesizer I ever used on PC. The perfect combination of an 808 drum machine and two 303 basslines which, being step sequenced, neatly bypassed all the trouble with soundcards and latency in the pre-ASIO era of 1996. Propellerhead later added a 909 drum machine and then Rewire to let you run it through your DAW. You could also modify the GUI and add your own samples to the drum machine. It was total, enjoyable, sonic genius which ultimately gave birth to Reason.
At the time it was blatantly infringing on Roland’s intellectual property. It wasn’t pretending to be emulating anything other than classic Roland gear. According to Wikipedia Roland gave Propellerhead an “unofficial thumbs up”. In the post Propellerhead state that they have a long-standing relationship with Roland. It’s very interesting how Roland have waited over 20 years before making a fuss about it.
Since support was discontinued in 2005 Rebirth has been available as a free download from the “Rebirth Museum”. Sadly, the website vanished last year. In 2010 it found new life as an iOS app – a perfect platform for it. It dropped off the iPhone store in 2013 but has continued on the iPad until today.
It’s taken Roland a very long time to realise the worth and value of their classic back catalogue. With the Boutique synths, RolandCloud and their line of software instruments modelled on their classics I suppose it was only a matter of time before they wanted to close any other loopholes on their stuff. It’s a shame, but it is their stuff. The app will be removed from the App Store on the 15th June 2017. So if you want a copy (assuming it will continue to function after that date) you need to pick it up now. Although I might have an original disk knocking around somewhere….
Click here for the full statement on the Propellerhead website.