It was like déjà vu all over again. Gibson announced that it was discontinuing development of Cakewalk software, one of the more popular Windows-based DAWs. I still have bad memories of the time when Gibson acquired Opcode, publisher of my then-favorite DAW, Studio Vision and promptly shut the company down and discontinued the programs. Gibson also did something similar with Oberheim, one of the great analog synthesizer companies.
But this time it’s a little different. Gibson is said to be cash-strapped right now, so it was just announced that they have sold Cakewalk to Bandlab Technologies.
I’m not a Cakewalk user now, but I have a soft spot for it as it was my very first sequencer back in the mid-80s. Back then Cakewalk was a DOS program and by today’s standard, it was pretty primitive. But it worked quite well and introduced me to the world of computer-based sequencing. When I switched to Mac, I left Cakewalk behind as well, but I’ve followed the program through the years and it remained one of the better options on PCs until Gibson pulled the plug a few months back.
Fortunately, Bandlab has stepped up. I also have an indirect connection with them as well. Bandlab is a Singapore-based company owned by SE Asia’s largest music retailer, Swee Lee Company. Bandlab is a free, cloud-based DAW coupled with a social media platform. There’s also an education version which was recently selected best new education product at NAMM.
Cloud-based sequencers have been improving quite a bit in recent years, but they’re still far behind professional DAWs. So the Cakewalk-acquisition, which mainly includes the intellectual property, is quite intriguing. Along with a pro-level DAW, Cakewalk also had a good lineup of virtual instruments. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, from Cakewalk shows up in Bandlab. In any event, I do hope they intend to continue to market the standalone products as well.