We didn't want to believe the rumors were true, but Gibson Brands have officially ceased development of all Cakewalk products. This includes the powerful SONAR family of Windows-based DAWs, as well as soft synths such as Rapture and Z3TA+.
The first thing a lot of Cakewalk users no doubt want to know is: Where do I stand with support and continuing to use my stuff? Noel Borthwick, Chief Technology Officer for Cakewalk, had this to say:
"After 30 years of Cakewalk's long and illustrious history, I am saddened to announce that we ceased new product development and reduced overall operations this past Friday. You can read the formal announcement from Gibson here, which states that this decision was made in order to align with the company’s acquisition strategy, focused on growth in the global consumer electronics audio business.
"Working at Cakewalk has been an incredibly positive experience for all of us who worked here. This can largely be attributed to the incredible people who worked here, past and present. I've been at Cakewalk 19 years and I've never come across a more dedicated and talented group of people. Our greatest motivation was the joy in producing software for an astonishingly passionate base of artists, musicians and producers who used our software to create music on a daily basis.
"So what does this mean for you, our loyal customers who've been with us all these years? Cakewalk's servers will continue to operate, you will still have access to all of your online assets, and your software will continue to work normally. A dedicated team has been established during this transition period to continue to serve the Cakewalk community. Monthly updates to SONAR from Cakewalk will however cease during this time. We will continue to post notifications to keep you informed with any relevant developments. A sincere thank you to everyone in the Cakewalk community."
From the perspective of consumer choice, this is a bad thing. Though I (editor Stephen Fortner) was never a Cakewalk user personally, I got to know the program via longtime user and music technology guru Craig Anderton, and was consistently impressed with its power and sound quality.
That Henry J. and company are circling the wagons should come as no surprise, however. Gibson has recently experienced a major debt crisis and put its iconic Memphis location up for sale. Plus, the more grudge-prone are inclined to think Gibson has never really known what to do with techie, nerdy, synthy brands it acquires: It proved to be a Dickensian orphanage for Oberheim in the late '80s and a slaughterhouse for Opcode in the late '90s. Had things gone differently, our own biggest website might be called Studio Vision Pro Expert.
We at Synth Expert wish nothing but success to all the music and pro audio brands in the Gibson stable. But their own official statement begs the question: If Gibson's strategy is to focus on consumer electronics (and presumably guitars), what will be the fate of other pro-audio subsidiaries such as KRK and TASCAM?