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Where's Cakewalk by Bandlab headed?

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Well after my semi-humorous response, here's what I think of the current situation. Again...this is speculation on my part.

CbB is a mature program. It really doesn't lack anything that's needed to make pro-level music. You can point to features that other programs have and say "CbB doesn't have them, therefore it still needs ongoing development" but you can also point to features CbB has that other programs don't have, like Upsampling, Mix Recall, the QuadCurve EQ, etc.  And it's important to note that CbB has been receiving ongoing development. In addition to bug fixes and smaller changes, the program has implemented ARA2 and elastique pro time-stretching. Neither is trivial. And, the latest iteration of the export function hints at further integration with BandLab, which could turn into a big deal over time. 

So the bottom line is CbB does everything did SONAR did, which a lot of people thought was enough for a DAW, but it now does more. If I were BandLab, I wouldn't feel compelled to prioritize Cakewalk over introducing a new line of guitars (which I believe will be well-received) and some other current BandLab initiatives. CbB continues to evolve and be maintained, which I think says all you need to know. 

Personally, I'd like to see an online store where people could buy the "missing pieces" that were in Platinum but aren't in CbB. But what with Waves, Native Instruments, IK Mutimedia, Arturia, Melda, and a zillion other plug-in developers, it's not like we can't get work done :)

Bottom line: Don't worry, be happy, make music. 

 

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6 minutes ago, Craig Anderton said:

Well after my semi-humorous response, here's what I think of the current situation. Again...this is speculation on my part.

CbB is a mature program. It really doesn't lack anything that's needed to make pro-level music. You can point to features that other programs have and say "CbB doesn't have them, therefore it still needs ongoing development" but you can also point to features CbB has that other programs don't have, like Upsampling, Mix Recall, the QuadCurve EQ, etc.  And it's important to note that CbB has been receiving ongoing development. In addition to bug fixes and smaller changes, the program has implemented ARA2 and elastique pro time-stretching. Neither is trivial. And, the latest iteration of the export function hints at further integration with BandLab, which could turn into a big deal over time. 

So the bottom line is CbB does everything did SONAR did, which a lot of people thought was enough for a DAW, but it now does more. If I were BandLab, I wouldn't feel compelled to prioritize Cakewalk over introducing a new line of guitars (which I believe will be well-received) and some other current BandLab initiatives. CbB continues to evolve and be maintained, which I think says all you need to know. 

Personally, I'd like to see an online store where people could buy the "missing pieces" that were in Platinum but aren't in CbB. But what with Waves, Native Instruments, IK Mutimedia, Arturia, Melda, and a zillion other plug-in developers, it's not like we can't get work done :)

Bottom line: Don't worry, be happy, make music. 

 

+1 what Cakewalk offers is plenty for the future already.

The only thing I'd really like to see is some simple arrangement "chord" type of tool built into the interface.  Would be helpful to see, create chords and song structure in an easy to setup and with a sizable view.  This kind of thing (Kind of Like EZ Keys) is harder to work with as an "external" tool.  

I think this would also help bridge the gap for newer composers.  

Not needed of course, but is one of the view things I could see as a real value add to the way the whole tool could be used.

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18 minutes ago, Brian Walton said:

+1 what Cakewalk offers is plenty for the future already.

The only thing I'd really like to see is some simple arrangement "chord" type of tool built into the interface.  Would be helpful to see, create chords and song structure in an easy to setup and with a sizable view.  This kind of thing (Kind of Like EZ Keys) is harder to work with as an "external" tool.  

I think this would also help bridge the gap for newer composers.  

Not needed of course, but is one of the view things I could see as a real value add to the way the whole tool could be used.

I think that is is highly likely that the direction of available development resources will be   based on the results of this recent Cakewalk poll from @Jesse Jost

Can you guess what the top feature area voted for was?

The answer is in the poll results at the top of the linked post.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, abacab said:

I think that is is highly likely that the direction of available development resources will be   based on the results of this recent Cakewalk poll from @Jesse Jost

Can you guess what the top feature area voted for was?

The answer is in the poll results at the top of the linked post.

 

 

I had not seen that.  Good call.  Though it seems interesting to me that the community that did vote put Audio Editing development as #1.  

Outside of something like Spectral Editing, note quite sure where I expect Cakewalk to go with that one.  

There just isn't that much more that is out there (considering effects such as noise reduction, is a seperate catergory).  

Glancing through a number of comments on the subject, I'm not sure all of the users understand the scope of what that audio editing catergory would encompas.  

 

I'll also note that the vast majority of music production doesn't need better technical mixing, it needs better music and composition.  Most people don't seem to grasp that is the real improvement they need to make the music actually matter.  The technical tools we have are so far beyond what was used to record long term impactful recordings.  The challenge is far more a creative one than a technical one with what we have at our disposal.  

Edited by Brian Walton

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, Brian Walton said:

I had not seen that.  Good call.  Though it seems interesting to me that the community that did vote put Audio Editing development as #1.  

Outside of something like Spectral Editing, note quite sure where I expect Cakewalk to go with that one.  

There just isn't that much more that is out there (considering effects such as noise reduction, is a seperate catergory).  

Glancing through a number of comments on the subject, I'm not sure all of the users understand the scope of what that audio editing catergory would encompas.  

Yep, I'm with you, but everybody had the opportunity to vote.

As @Craig Anderton expressed above, "CbB is a mature program. It really doesn't lack anything that's needed to make pro-level music."

My vote would go to  MIDI editing (such as chord editing), but the audio editing area seems to have taken at least a 2:1 lead over that item. I suppose there are many that assume audio improvements would include more modern sampling and looping groove tools as in Ableton Live.

As far as workarounds for lack of MIDI editing or songwriting tools, in my opinion the best strategy at this point would be to do that workflow in another DAW that does have those features (such as chord tools), and then export the MIDI results to Cakewalk.

Those that compose with notation have long wished for a remake of the Cakewalk staff view, which was never completely ruled out under Gibson, but looks even more distant now.  At this time the only other realistic option for a full featured score editor is to use a 3rd party notation program.

 

Edited by abacab

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2 minutes ago, abacab said:

Yep, I'm with you, but everybody had the opportunity to vote.

As @Craig Anderton expressed above, "CbB is a mature program. It really doesn't lack anything that's needed to make pro-level music."

My vote would go to  MIDI editing (such as chord editing), but the audio editing area seems to have taken at least a 2:1 lead over that item.

As far as workarounds for lack of MIDI editing or songwriting tools, in my opinion the best strategy at this point would be to do that workflow in another DAW that does have those features (such as chord tools), and then export the MIDI results to Cakewalk.

Those that compose with notation have long wished for a remake of the Cakewalk staff view, which was never completely ruled out under Gibson, but looks even more distant now.  At this time the only other realistic option for a full featured score editor is to use a 3rd party notation program.

I'd like to think there are far more than 1K users (the number in that poll)   😄

My point is I think many of those that voted don't even know what they are talking about.  I'm a heavy "audio" user, but I also realize that Cakewalk doesn't have a whole lot they could develop there, so what would be the point voting for that?  

So few people use Standard Notation in an digital enviroment, I understand why it wouldn't get much attention.  

Both MIDI and Audio are at the forefront of modern prodcution and the tools to make composition easiser/better seems like low hanging fruit for a company that wants to make music production accessable to all.  A great composition has universal appeal, "technical" improvements to audio editing - seems like things that are unnecesary considering the tools we have now.  

Is it concerning to me that the majority of users don't understand what is of value in music production?  Maybe a little bit. 😂

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1 hour ago, Brian Walton said:

The only thing I'd really like to see is some simple arrangement "chord" type of tool built into the interface.  Would be helpful to see, create chords and song structure in an easy to setup and with a sizable view.  This kind of thing (Kind of Like EZ Keys) is harder to work with as an "external" tool. 

I also like this idea. It does kind of water down the seasoned composer a bit, but it would be fun to use and also like you said, bridge the gap between novice and pro. Bring in more new users.

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I agree that CbB is more than enough to create professional music (other than VST instruments, of which there are zillions of cheap / free options and zillions more not-so-cheap options anyway).   And I don't think there's any better free option right now available.  

What I was actually wondering though is how Bandlab is going to monetize CbB.  I'm thinking about it more from the business perspective.  That's on the assumption that they acquired it to help them make more money in the long run, which may be incorrect.  Perhaps they are doing it as something charitable. 

Assuming it's to make more money, then at some point they will either need users to pay or advertisers to pay for something.   I'm just trying to figure out what that would look like.  I don't think they could release Cakewalk as a paid product as-is and make much money off of it (as was shown by Sonar's predecessors).   So they are going to have to innovate and maybe introduce something disruptive to the market.

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Posted (edited)

 

12 minutes ago, Lee D said:

What I was actually wondering though is how Bandlab is going to monetize CbB.  I'm thinking about it more from the business perspective.  That's on the assumption that they acquired it to help them make more money in the long run, which may be incorrect.  Perhaps they are doing it as something charitable. 

BandLab is more than Cakewalk...it's music stores, guitars, instrument cases, interfaces, and media. In today's business environment, there are aspects of doing business that are more important than cash. How people here would have heard of BandLab if they hadn't bought Cakewalk? The acquisition cost of that number of users was probably more than what the program cost...and I bet a certain percentage of those people are at least going to buy Harmony or Heritage guitars.

Edited by Craig Anderton

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4 minutes ago, Craig Anderton said:

 

BandLab is more than Cakewalk...it's music stores, guitars, instrument cases, interfaces, and media. In today's business environment, there are aspects of doing business that are more important than cash. How people here would have heard of BandLab if they hadn't bought Cakewalk? The acquisition cost of that number of users was probably more than what the program cost...and I bet a certain percentage of those people are at least going to buy Harmony or Heritage guitars.

I guess that's theoretically possible that they are doing it as advertising and PR to sell more of their other products.  But that can't be the only driver. . . that would be a lot of money and effort just to get their brand visibility up.  Now, if their other products integrate with the free CbB better than the competition, that's a different story.

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Posted (edited)

I agree with the comment that Meng was probably more involved with communicating to this forum and the FB group in the beginning, and now that things seem to be on track and maturing nicely, he's probably stepping back a little because his regular presence isn't really necessary. That's how I've seen other businesses "introduce" new products anyway.

As far as the offering of Cakewalk for free, I'm going to agree that it's really looking a gift horse in the mouth to ask why, when someone gives you a free gift. Think about this: How easy would it be/have been for Bandlab to charge a small monthly fee? Would you pay it? I would. But they don't. Think about that. As a business decision, ever heard of a "loss leader"? That's what businesses do every day to get customers. They reduce the price of a product to get your interest in hopes of you becoming a customer and buying something more. I'm not saying that's what Bandlab is doing. What I'm saying is that people don't think twice when a company offers a special, coupon, etc. Then why wonder about CW being free? Last I checked, Meng was part of a billionaire family. I'm not worried.

Peace!

 

Edited by razor7music
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3 hours ago, Lee D said:

I guess that's theoretically possible that they are doing it as advertising and PR to sell more of their other products.  But that can't be the only driver. . . that would be a lot of money and effort just to get their brand visibility up.  Now, if their other products integrate with the free CbB better than the competition, that's a different story.

Customer acquisition and brand visibility isn't cheap. BandLab got HUGE publicity when they saved Cakewalk. That kind of positive PR is difficult to buy, at any price. 

What's more, it made a statement: "We're saving the program you love. Enjoy!" If that isn't going to make people think well of BandLab, I don't know what will. I think Meng has re-discovered a principle that too many companies have forgotten: the customer matters. Who here isn't grateful for what BandLab has done? And if you're a guitar player looking for a new guitar, or a mobile interface, or a case for carrying your gear, and there's one from one of Meng's companies - all things being equal, aren't you likely to support the guy who saved your program?

Of course, Cakewalk is part of a bigger picture which has yet to be played out. I think of Cakewalk as a race horse that's hanging out in a stable, being well-fed and groomed, while waiting in the wings for the next race...whenever and whatever that might be.

I don't hang out with Meng, but I have met him and talked with him. He's young, smart, and driven. Those kind of people tend to produce interesting results. :)

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3 hours ago, razor7music said:

I agree with the comment that Meng was probably more involved with communicating to this forum and the FB group in the beginning, and now that things seem to be on track and maturing nicely, he's probably stepping back a little because his regular presence isn't really necessary. That's how I've seen other businesses "introduce" new products anyway.

As far as the offering of Cakewalk for free, I'm going to agree that it's really looking a gift horse in the mouth to ask why, when someone gives you a free gift. Think about this: How easy would it be/have been for Bandlab to charge a small monthly fee? Would you pay it? I would. But they don't. Think about that. As a business decision, ever heard of a "loss leader"? That's what businesses do every day to get customers. They reduce the price of a product to get your interest in hopes of you becoming a customer and buying something more. I'm not saying that's what Bandlab is doing. What I'm saying is that people don't think twice when a company offers a special, coupon, etc. Then why wonder about CW being free? Last I checked, Meng was part of a billionaire family. I'm not worried.

Peace!

 

Totally agreed on the loss leader theory. But loss leader for what?  This is what I'm pondering.  

And full transparency, I have used Sonar in the past but currently don't because I prefer another DAW.  But Sonar is wonderful, especially for free.  I'd like to see it and Bandlab do very well, and I'd certainly consider trying something innovative in the future.  So I'm more of a spectator at this time, not an ungrateful recipient :)

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49 minutes ago, Lee D said:

But loss leader for what?  This is what I'm pondering.  

Not to be snarky but Anderton has already said what BandLab's other revenue streams are (more than once). 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Craig Anderton said:

Customer acquisition and brand visibility isn't cheap. BandLab got HUGE publicity when they saved Cakewalk. That kind of positive PR is difficult to buy, at any price. 

What's more, it made a statement: "We're saving the program you love. Enjoy!" If that isn't going to make people think well of BandLab, I don't know what will. I think Meng has re-discovered a principle that too many companies have forgotten: the customer matters. Who here isn't grateful for what BandLab has done? And if you're a guitar player looking for a new guitar, or a mobile interface, or a case for carrying your gear, and there's one from one of Meng's companies - all things being equal, aren't you likely to support the guy who saved your program?

Of course, Cakewalk is part of a bigger picture which has yet to be played out. I think of Cakewalk as a race horse that's hanging out in a stable, being well-fed and groomed, while waiting in the wings for the next race...whenever and whatever that might be.

I don't hang out with Meng, but I have met him and talked with him. He's young, smart, and driven. Those kind of people tend to produce interesting results. :)

I think you captured part of it.  After giving it some thought, my hypothesis is that the free services provided by Bandlab have the goal of collecting and running analytics on an increasing number of users for the purposes of:

1) Creating brand recognition and loyalty

2) Marketing other products in the Bandlab portfolio

3) Assisting with product development

4) Selling this data to 3rd party partners and services

I think that Cakewalk will be modified in the future to collect user data and to more tightly integrate with the Bandlab ecosystem.  This might even allow them to collect data on the usage of the other equipment such as the audio interfaces, guitars, etc which would give a big step up in terms of product development and marketing.

Edited by Lee D

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2 hours ago, Lee D said:

And full transparency, I have used Sonar in the past but currently don't because I prefer another DAW. 

Aha! So what you are doing here is just trolling actual users. xD

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5 minutes ago, abacab said:

Aha! So what you are doing here is just trolling actual users. xD

Actually I was just hoping to troll you.  Mission accomplished!

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Lee I'm not sure why you are here at all.  Apparently, you don't use  Cakewalk or intend to do so, so what purpose have you in asking these things and also continuing do engage? I'm not sure how this thread fits in with the idea of a peer to peer forum trying to offer help to one another. 

In effect you are attempting to read the mind of Cakewalk's owners. I can't think of anything less fruitful. 

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6 hours ago, Lee D said:

I think you captured part of it.  After giving it some thought, my hypothesis is that the free services provided by Bandlab have the goal of collecting and running analytics on an increasing number of users for the purposes of:

1) Creating brand recognition and loyalty

2) Marketing other products in the Bandlab portfolio

3) Assisting with product development

4) Selling this data to 3rd party partners and services

I think that Cakewalk will be modified in the future to collect user data and to more tightly integrate with the Bandlab ecosystem.  This might even allow them to collect data on the usage of the other equipment such as the audio interfaces, guitars, etc which would give a big step up in terms of product development and marketing.

So, yours is the Big Brother theory. Cakewalk as a big marketing Trojan. Around here we call that "conspiranoid"

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I am attracted to the "all in one" DAW, I know you can get bits and pieces here and there but I would prefer to get everything from one developer, so you just buy the DAW and away you go. I would suspect those who have sonar or other third party instruments wouldn't notice that Cakewalk doesn't really have instruments. All Cakewalk needs is a decent sample player (like halion, dimension pro or kontakt etc) and a couple of good synths and some pitch correction software then it's done and dusted. As long as it can all be authorized under one developer like Bandlab then that's it.

Keep the DAW free but then you pay for the add on pack which contains the sample player, the two good synths and the pitch correction. Don't tie them to the DAW so others can buy them for their different DAW's.

This way you keep the capability of owning a great DAW for free but then people can choose to upgrade to the premium version. I think it's a mistake to assume that everyone is using or even has third party instruments, I think people still want the "all in one" DAW at least to start with.

 

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