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Craig....is this true?


nat whilk II

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The economic model DAWs operated on doesn't work.

 

Today I downloaded a DAW, Presonus Studio One. It was free, as were the plugs and instrument patches. It was bundled in hardware-free - that I paid my money for.

 

DAWs got too complicated and too expensive. The economic model stopped working.

There weren't enough buyers to sustain it. Anybody should have seen this coming. I sure did 7 or 8 years ago when I stopped buying DAWs. And I posted about it here.

 

Presonus right now has a model that seems to work. Bundle the software with hardware you manufacture. We'll see how well that model works into the future.

 

But my modest proposal remains the same -- DAW-makers should pay musicians, not the reverse.

 

I was hoping this would be the model given Cakewalk was acquired by Gibson who also owns Tascam.

Sadly, that never happened.

 

Presonus is is like the Avid for Windows Systems.

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As a general rule, hardware companies don't do well with software products. Often times the fit seems to be logical and the synergies appear strong, but there is a different mindset with hardware manufacturers than there is with software developers. Before Gibson, Cakewalk was owned for a while by Roland, another successful hardware company, who also seemed to struggle to understand the mindset of Cakewalk.

 

I think that the professional DAW market is a niche market where much of the growth potential is not only finite, but also relies a great deal on converting the users of competing products. The conundrum in this market is that the clear market leader has major product shortcomings, lacks many features and is owned by a company who is notoriously difficult to deal with. Through effective marketing and sheer inertia that company has, thus far, retained its market dominance. Other DAW developers have recognized the shortcomings of the incumbent product and tried to leverage those to build a better product and displace the recognized brand. Unfortunately, they seem to only vie against each other for some remaining market share while the incumbent stays firmly entrenched.

 

Many professional users of DAW software also recognize those shortcomings but, understandably, don't want to have to spend the energy needed to convince potential customers that the 'name brand (buzzword)' product has little bearing on the quality of the work produced and may actually work to the detriment of achieving the desired outcome within the available budget. So, they say, "Yes, I use *******." It is much easier than trying to educate a potential customer as to why the tool is not as important as the resulting product. I don't think they are wrong. It is the competing software developers' job to make the question irrelevant.

 

Sonar Platinum, Cakewalk's top-of-the-line product, has features and workflow approaches for audio production, mixing, MIDI and track creation that are much more advanced than the incumbent's. We all know, however, that a better product doesn't necessarily mean a more successful product. I am sure that users of Cubase, Logic, Reaper, Pro Studio, etc. know exactly what I mean.

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The economic model DAWs operated on doesn't work.

 

Today I downloaded a DAW, Presonus Studio One. It was free, as were the plugs and instrument patches. It was bundled in hardware-free - that I paid my money for.

 

Presonus right now has a model that seems to work. Bundle the software with hardware you manufacture. We'll see how well that model works into the future.

 

This isn't so new. When I reviewed the Echo Gina in Recording back in 1998, it came with a copy of Cool Edit Pro. Mackie bundled Tracktion with their interfaces even before they bought (and later sold) the software company - and I think they still include Tracktion with their interfaces. Focusrite is including, I think these days, Abelton Live with their project studio level interfaces. And the copy of Sonar that I have came along with the Allen & Heath Zed R16. And for a long time, the only way you could get Pro Tools (or at least make it run) was to buy a Digidesign computer audio interface.

 

It's a good idea. You buy the hardware and you can immediately start using it with fully functional software. Maybe you'll get hooked on the software, maybe you'll investigate other software, maybe buy Pro Tools because that's what all the pros have.

 

 

 

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My post was about Craig having left Gibson. I knew that word had spread about it; but when I didn't see anything here, I thought I'd better delete my post and leave it up to him to post about it. I see now that he already has, albeit elsewhere.

 

And he still hasn't said anything about it here. But jobs and the reasons why we move on can be very personal. I didn't get the word that he had left Gibson until this tread started. I was surprised that he took the job, but he didn't talk very much about what he was doing there, or, more significant and better kept quiet, what he expected to do and what he ended up doing and not doing. We're just nosy.

 

Craig will always be Craig. I hope he didn't make any industry enemies during his stay at Gibson. It hapens.

 

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Correct. But I maintain the economic model was doomed as far back as 1998. Where is Cool Edit Pro today? It was fine software back in the day. I used it for awhile.

 

DAWs became too cumbersome, difficult-to-use and expensive. As they moved in that direction, there were not enough new buyers who wanted the product.

 

Lite versions of the software never solved the customer dilemma for them.

I saw this coming a long time ago.

 

I suspect the lite versions were carved from from the feature-heavy DAW's, rather than the reverse. And there you have the nub of the problem. Every DAW maker was building Porsches rather than Volkswagens.

 

A better model might have to first put a Volkswagen-model DAW in every musician's driveway and build super-charged Porsches from the foundation of the stripped down original.

 

Build it from the ground up rather than from the top down.

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I think the original idea when Gibson acquired Cakewalk was something along the lines of hardware/software synergy - not that FAQs and press releases are necessary the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, but the following is from the initial announcement when Gibson first took over:

 

Can we expect to see Cakewalk’s software expertise in products from other Gibson Brands?

 

Yes. One of the main strengths of Gibson Brands is the constant dialog among its divisions. As just one example, the possibilities of combining TASCAM’s leadership in professional audio hardware with Cakewalk’s industry-leading software are virtually unlimited.

 

The initial FAQ regarding the buyout is here.

 

nat

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That synergy might have worked if Gibson had followed through and bundled Cake software within Gibson hardware. It didn't happen I guess.

 

Anyway DAWs are not an isolated market. Electric guitar sales began to tank. Demographics do not look so good to North American DAW manufacturers or to manufacturers of electric guitars.

 

I regret Sonar is folding before Steinberg/Cubase. I always preferred Cake to Cubase.

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Cakewalk always reminded me of the programming Software PHP.

PHP was called Personal Home Page Tools, designed for the enthusiasts and hobbyist but never really took off interns of enterprise software development. Maybe 1 out of 50 jobs has a PHP requirement. They simply never broke through like.

 

There is a danger here for companies, and like human development, you have to be prepared to jump into other territories.

 

I think Cakewalk and Sonar did great initially but remained stuck at the "Now what?" stage.

 

If you do a sampling of Sonar users, majority are hobbyist, such as myself. These are not people making music for a living or running commercial studios. This can be great because you have extreme loyal customers, the bad is, you never developed beyond that.

Unlike Pro-tools, most users of Sonar are not willing to spend large amounts of cash for music production, so the company's growth becomes stagnant. Funds are generated from new users, not new software giving no one want's to spend money.

 

None of this is new, I have expressed these views in the Cakewalk forum and I was almost eaten alive, people forget that if you need to grow, then you need to do things differently. Apart from the improvement of Sonar, I did not see anything else coming down the line that could corner the market.

 

Cakewalk was always a great artist without a hit record.

 

They just never got there.

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And he still hasn't said anything about it here. But jobs and the reasons why we move on can be very personal. I didn't get the word that he had left Gibson until this tread started. I was surprised that he took the job, but he didn't talk very much about what he was doing there, or, more significant and better kept quiet, what he expected to do and what he ended up doing and not doing. We're just nosy.

 

Craig will always be Craig. I hope he didn't make any industry enemies during his stay at Gibson. It hapens.

 

Well, he can always come here if he gets bored ;)

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Lots of speculations and extrapolations from the same on offer. My armchair, totally instinctive (versus informed) guess is that it was the competition of newer, faster moving products versus an older, slowly evolving behemoth, that put the kibosh on Cakewalk.

 

I thought grabbing the hobbyist, home studio user base was the goose that laid the golden eggs.....professional studios are either on life support or already under a block of granite for the most part from all I ever hear.

 

Sonar is difficult for the newbie. Craig kept bringing that up in threads - must have been a reason. And cost a bit. And not as cool as Ableton or whatever. Studio One and Reaper must have hit really hard at the Cakewalk market. And Sonar is oldish code - needed a re-write from the ground up IMHO. Or maybe IMIO - my ignorant opinion.

 

nat

 

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Lots of speculations and extrapolations from the same on offer. My armchair, totally instinctive (versus informed) guess is that it was the competition of newer, faster moving products versus an older, slowly evolving behemoth, that put the kibosh on Cakewalk.

 

I thought grabbing the hobbyist, home studio user base was the goose that laid the golden eggs.....professional studios are either on life support or already under a block of granite for the most part from all I ever hear.

 

Sonar is difficult for the newbie. Craig kept bringing that up in threads - must have been a reason. And cost a bit. And not as cool as Ableton or whatever. Studio One and Reaper must have hit really hard at the Cakewalk market. And Sonar is oldish code - needed a re-write from the ground up IMHO. Or maybe IMIO - my ignorant opinion.

 

nat

 

Sonar difficult for the newbie? NO SH*T Sherlock! truer words never spoken. I've had it for a year and I still don't understand most of it, and have no recording made with it I'd let see the light of day. I'm a bit of a digital idiot however...Ok...I'm just a bit of an idiot period...But Sonar makes it really hard for someone not versed in DAW's to get around in it.

 

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Hey all, sorry for the delayed response. I really don't want to get too deep into this, but I will say a few things.

  • Gibson treated me very well during my tenure there, no regrets at all. I learned a huge amount and met some great people. Henry wanted me to continue being an industry person on some level; I was a brand as well as an employee. The fact that I expected to stay for a year but stuck around for four and half probably says all I need to say about whether I liked the gig or not. I was told that once the company stabilizes, I was on the top of the list to be re-hired although at this point, I have enough new and interesting commitments that would be difficult
  • IMHO Gibson didn't kill Cakewalk. Cakewalk was an independent division in charge of its own fate. A little over a year ago, there was a change in management and I did not agree at all with the direction they wanted to take the company. I'm not saying Cakewalk would still be around if they'd listened to me, but it's clear the direction they chose didn't work. I'm also sure some people at Cakewalk would disagree with my assessment, so take it with a grain of salt. Or pepper, if you like spicy stories :)
  • Cakewalk was a money-losing proposition under Roland. It was starting to get better under Gibson but in the last year, the losses started piling up again so the handwriting was on the wall.
  • A lot of software companies are being kept afloat by their corresponding hardware. Cakewalk is a software-only company, and that's a tough situation to be in.

As to me, I have a lot going on. The people I worked with before joining Gibson have reached out, as have some new clients. I'll certainly be fine. There is one very big project in particular I've wanted to do for 30 years, and now I'll finally get to do it, with a company that's super-excited about the concept. It also looks a line of my effects will be coming out next year. I think these are quite innovative and when I made my proposal, the company was in "when can you start?" mode.

 

As to involvement with Harmony Central, Dendy, Phil, and Chris managed to keep it alive during the dark ages with Guitar Center and I believe they will continue to do so. I would like to remain involved but given how many companies are willing to pay for my time, and given that time is in short supply, it's going to be hard to justify too much pro bono work unless I don't want to sleep. But HC is in my DNA so we'll see what happens.

 

Finally, I'm continuing to do music. I just did a new song, my first that's part English and part Spanish. I haven't made it public yet but I'd love to share it with y'all, I'm proud of both the music and the video. Part of my post-Gibson life involves more time in the studio, because I have a lot of R&D I need to do for some of the new clients...and the the only way to do that is by making music :)

 

Onward and upward! Life is good.

 

 

 

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All the best to you Maestro...It's been a great honor to get to know you a bit, and to glean some of your knowledge.

 

I'll still be around, in fact I may actually have more time to spend here than I did when I was with Gibson. You can't get rid of me that easily :)

 

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Congrats on your new opportunities, Craig! When the time is right, I'm eager to hear more about the project you've wanted to do for 30 years.

 

Thanks for sharing what you could about Cakewalk and Gibson and for sharing your music. I enjoyed "Lilianna."

 

I'm especially glad to hear you'll still be around, posting at SSS. Looking forward to the next chapter.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

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This is the second time Gibson has burned me this way. I loved Opcode's Vision, which they also killed. I noticed that the company Magix http://www.magix.com/us/ is keeping Acid and Sound Forge alive. Perhaps they can preserve Sonar also.

 

I think part of the problem with the music software industry is the pressure to add new features every year. In most cases, for me, doing an update is not worth the installation effort, learning period and disruption that result. I wish there was more emphasis on making software reliable rather than continually piling on new features or rearranging the user interface. (However, I will admit that I have not had many stability issues in recent years.)

 

Generally, the user can add a feature as needed by adding a plug-in.

 

Perhaps, the subscription method for software as adopted by Adobe and Avid will help keep software makers financially stable. I just hope that buying the product rather than leasing remains an option.

 

When I started to hate Apple due to their constant system changes that required replacing functioning hardware (peripherals) too often, I switched to PCs and Sonar. (largely due to Craig's recommendation). It has been a much smoother and more stable situation since I made that move. Largely. because I no longer try to make new software run on an older computer. Now I generally only use software bought within a couple of years after the computer was manufactured.

 

After using Vision and Performer, I found Sonar fairly similar and easy to learn.

 

I'll probably keep my current rig for a couple more years (hardware willing) and then upgrade the computer and move to Performer, which I liked on the Mac and would have used on the PC if it was available when I made the switch away from Macs. I'll gamble that selling hardware will keep MOTU and their software alive for awhile.

 

I will be avoiding Gibson products in the future. They seem more pre-occupied with leveraging their "legendary" brand for maximum profit rather than providing good value for the money.

 

 

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From what I've been hearing Gibson and Fender were suffering some big losses themselves especially this year. So have the big retailers (GC Sam Ash etc.) so all in all I'm not surprised whatever the reason. Music related sales all around have been taking a hit including music itself. Like Craig, I've been involved in music a long time since 1963. Luckily I've played with some really big names so I still get actual royalties from re-issues from time to time. Anyway I started with Cakewalk early like some here and and will continue to use an older version (8.5) until it wears out. I bought the latest version and put it on my Win 10 internet laptop to support the company and to dabble with it but I don't like the new direction since version X and can't find comfort so I continue to use 8.5 on my Win 7 desktop for serious work until they carry me away.

 

Cakewalk started as a small independant company out of Boston so who knows? Maybe they'll re-emerge that way again in a few years. I mean Reaper is a 1 man independant operation and still is. If not it won't be the end of me or my music creating. If it becomes too impractical to use years down the road I'll switch to something else. Cakewalk may have shut down but I haven't. And I'm sure Craig hasn't either. Things change.

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Best,

 

Geoff

 

Hi Geoff. Long time. I haven't been around much (health problems but ok now) but it's nice to see some names from the past. Hope everythings ok with you. Happy Holidays. :thu: And Happy Holidays to Craig and Phil and everyone else here.

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The fate of Sonar looks uncertain to me. The statement on Cakewalk website now says that Sonar is unaffected. However, the very next sentence says that no further updates will be developed. It is unclear whether that sentence applies to Cakewalk and Sonar, or just Cakewalk. I don't know if this is intentionally imprecise or just sloppiness.

 

Today we say Thank You to all of our users past and present, for helping make Cakewalk a staple in the world of digital audio for 30 years. Gibson Brands has officially announced the end of active development of Cakewalk branded products, but our site and servers will remain active for those who have made our products a part of their workflow. If you’re using SONAR, you will remain unaffected. While we are no longer releasing updates, we are not changing how you can access your products.
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I think the bottom line is you can still keep using Sonar as long as you want (or Windows breaks it), but no more development or bug fixes. I think concerns about Windows breaking it are probably not all that justified, given how many people are using ancient versions of Sonar with Windows 10.

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