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Investment fund of Late Microsoft's Co-founder Paul Allen invests $65M in Bandlab

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Yet, theres no mention of Cakewalk. That is why they are two different products. Bandlab should not be confused with Cakewalk. 

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Well, it clearly mentioned the interested of its social and media attractions from bandlab the online product that its users are exposing in their tiktok videos, etc. So the interests in the investment is on the that product only, which also happened to be the name of the company way before cakewalk was in the picture. 

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I have figured the free ride will end someday. Otherwise why do they have the 6 month activation policy. It's pretty clear to me. Make it free. , Pay the old crew to work the bugs out and make it as awesome as possible.  Get 4 Million people using it because it's free.  Then?  Will most of us leave if they ask for money? I doubt it.  It makes for good business if you ask me. 

Sell it for $50 x 2,000,000 = 100,000,000 not bad 

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Disclaimer: Despite my prior involvement with Cakewalk, I have no insider knowledge about what's going on. Although I still use Cakewalk, I haven't had a relationship with the company since it was purchased. So the following might be 100% wrong...but that won't keep me from speculating :)

In my experience, Asian companies in general take a longer-term, more strategic view of business. It's not just about what's happening in the next quarter. Several "hit" products from a variety of companies have grown out of obscure, money-losing "proof of concept"-type research. Also, bear in mind that Meng is on a mission about music. My sense is that  he wants to make money in the process, but he's motivated by more than just money.

DAWs like Cakewalk will never be mass-market items. Even GarageBand, basically a dumbed-down version of Logic (not an insult), has relatively high adoption but it's still not a mass-market product.

It doesn't cost BandLab all that much to keep Cakewalk alive. In return, they have a technology platform that could be of tremendous value someday, either because parts of it get ported over to BandLab, or it provides a path for the BandLab users who become serious about music. If BandLab saw Cakewalk as a vehicle for making money, they would have opened a Cakewalk online store with plug-ins, presets, etc. Clearly, they have much bigger fish to fry. But by keeping Cakewalk on the rear burner, they'll be able to get it up to temperature quickly, should the need arise. That would be far better than having to start something from scratch.

Bottom line is I don't see Cakewalk going away any time soon, nor do I expect to see BandLab start charging Cakewalk users. If they want to make money from Cakewalk, it would be much easier to sell add-ons to existing users instead of trying to do customer acquisition. Making it free, and still being around, seems to be all that's needed for customer acquisition.

 

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Posted (edited)

Wow, I think at some point when trying to explain how it can be free, I may have mentioned Paul Allen's investments in certain things because he through they were cool and wanted to leave a legacy. Cinerama Theater in Seattle, for one. I haven't seen the books, but if a single screen movie theater can earn its keep in this day and age, I want the recipe.

This model of producing a free product in order to spread brand good will was by no means new when Kuok Meng adopted it for Cakewalk; it wasn't even new to his company. They were already producing and distributing 3 other freeware DAW's before the Cakewalk acquisition. Meng doesn't need to pay the rent with Cakewalk or the other Bandlab DAW's, other parts of his business are paying the rent. The things that are business expenses, like the development of Cakewalk and their other DAW's are expenses that are written off. It's a promotional item, like a nice canvas tote bag you get at a trade show to hold your literature. It's an advertising premium, that's all. There doesn't need to be any more justification than that.

I guess it's hard to see Cakewalk that way if one had become used to it being a commercial product, whose sales supported a whole company of administrative people, accounting, sales staff, marketing staff, layers of management, etc. If you've ever walked around a software company and thought to yourself, as I have "these 5 engineers are the ones who actually create the product, and the rest of us are overhead that is necessary for there to be a company around it," well, Bandlab got the code and the 5 engineers.

After 30 years of existence and adoption, it didn't need to be marketed except by word of mouth. The basic code and design and UI and everything were already there.

Anything can happen, of course, but Bandlab suddenly deciding to start charging for Cakewalk is not likely to happen. It's not even donationware, there is no way to pay for it even if we wanted to. I'd LOVE to have Cakewalk logo t-shirts and laptop stickers available for purchase.

Why not believe the head developer when he says the reason for the 6 month validation is because they want to know how many people are using it and want to make sure that people at least have the opportunity to get upgrades to their prestige premium product? If there were plans to take it back to payware, why have Bandlab seemingly not spent a dime on advertising or promotion to grow the user base in preparation for the big change?

Edited by Starship Krupa
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Well, the link talks about it all as a 'funding round', which in short simply means rolling over maturing loans and continuing to borrow shed loads of money.  And those agreeing to lend often want a say in how things are run.  

Ah well, back to our real concern, whither Bandlab and will anything change with Cakewalk?  I've never understood how the costs of Noel and team (bless them all) have been funded, obviously cross-subsidised from other parts of the BL empire.  But one day perhaps someone will make a decision based on a credo told to me many years ago by a then boss: "The quickest way to make profit is to stop doing things that lose money."  BandLab stopped publishing Guitar Magazine here in the UK in January, opting for a 'digital version'.  I wonder if they were losing money after acquiring it and failing to compete with Guitarist magazine?            

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39 minutes ago, Skyline_UK said:

  BandLab stopped publishing Guitar Magazine here in the UK in January, opting for a 'digital version'.  I wonder if they were losing money after acquiring it and failing to compete with Guitarist magazine?            

I think this has more to do with Asia going green on its environment. That Gretchen girl was on fire in that world conference with world leaders that was held in November.

Or, it could be that people weren't buying it as much anymore so they were losing on profits - who knows. Everyone is going digital these days anyhow.

e-books are not bad. 

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13 hours ago, Craig Anderton said:

 

In my experience, Asian companies in general take a longer-term, more strategic view of business. It's not just about what's happening in the next quarter. Several "hit" products from a variety of companies have grown out of obscure, money-losing "proof of concept"-type research. Also, bear in mind that Meng is on a mission about music. My sense is that  he wants to make money in the process, but he's motivated by more than just money.

DAWs like Cakewalk will never be mass-market items. Even GarageBand, basically a dumbed-down version of Logic (not an insult), has relatively high adoption but it's still not a mass-market product.

It doesn't cost BandLab all that much to keep Cakewalk alive. In return, they have a technology platform that could be of tremendous value someday, either because parts of it get ported over to BandLab, or it provides a path for the BandLab users who become serious about music. If BandLab saw Cakewalk as a vehicle for making money, they would have opened a Cakewalk online store with plug-ins, presets, etc. Clearly, they have much bigger fish to fry. But by keeping Cakewalk on the rear burner, they'll be able to get it up to temperature quickly, should the need arise. That would be far better than having to start something from scratch.

Bottom line is I don't see Cakewalk going away any time soon, nor do I expect to see BandLab start charging Cakewalk users. If they want to make money from Cakewalk, it would be much easier to sell add-ons to existing users instead of trying to do customer acquisition. Making it free, and still being around, seems to be all that's needed for customer acquisition.

 

....and this is why the Bakers would be wise to up the ante in the notation end of Cake.  Notation is always going to be there.  The technology is going to change and morph constantly.   In the long run, musicians will learn and communicate with notation, if nothing else chord charts. In the short run musicians will create loops and beats.

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52 minutes ago, Jimbo 88 said:

....and this is why the Bakers would be wise to up the ante in the notation end of Cake.  Notation is always going to be there.  The technology is going to change and morph constantly.   In the long run, musicians will learn and communicate with notation, if nothing else chord charts. In the short run musicians will create loops and beats.

You have a great point on the notation side. I'm surprised Bandlab hasn't invested the resources to update this part of the program as I'm with you that it is needed for the educational market. 

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6 hours ago, Skyline_UK said:

BandLab stopped publishing Guitar Magazine here in the UK in January, opting for a 'digital version'.  I wonder if they were losing money after acquiring it and failing to compete with Guitarist magazine?            

The cost of doing print is out of control. I've stopped doing paper books completely, everything is a downloadable PDF. It just makes so much sense on so many levels, but in my case, the main one is being able to update technology-oriented books by just switching out a file, and having virtually no negative environmental impact.

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22 minutes ago, InstrEd said:

Did he invest too?   ;)

You can always call him and ask. 

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4 minutes ago, Will. said:

You can always call him and ask. 

Really? His number is listed 🤣🤣🤣🤣

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Paul Allen is a musician, and $65M is pocket change to him. It could be as simple as that. Wouldn't you donate some pocket change to help a developer you appreciated?

I happily paid for SONAR for years. I'd happily pay for CbB, too, although I think Craig's analysis is correct. 

Then again, I'd probably have been content to keep using SONAR 8.5 forever. IMO everything that's come along since has been frosting on the cake.

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Now I have a taste for Portellos Chocolate Cake. Thanks Dave 😊

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Posted (edited)

More information about the $65M investment can be found at Caldecott Music Group  (Bandlab's parent company).

Apparently, the $65M investment was led by Vulcan, Inc.  -- a company cofounded by Paul Allen to manage his businesses, assets, etc.  Paul Allen, who also cofounded Microsoft, passed away a few years ago.  

Edited by Tom B
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Someone mentioned notation as a long-standing means of how musicians can communicate. True. My observation is the trend in DAW development is not focusing on musicians but the opposite.
 

The Bandlab App is a good example. Anything that uses loops is made so none musicians can have fun creating music. 
 

And even among real musicians the ability to read notation has almost disappeared completely.  
Music Theory I believe is more important than sight reading and even that gets ignored by many very accomplished musicians. 

My disappointment with the trend towards looping and button pushing is young kids are now aspiring to do that and not taking up an instrument. And no wonder. Send a kid to piano lessons and the first thing that is taught is notation! Think on that for a minute in the mind of modern day kid.  

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