There might be industry-wide plugin formats - VST, AU, etc - but seamless sharing of projects between different DAWs has always been a no-no. That could be about to change, though, thanks to the launch of Bitwig and PreSonus’s new open DAWproject file format.
It’s an idea so good that it really should have been implemented before: create a single format that’s compatible with all DAWs. DAWproject files contain all information related to time, tracks and channels, along with note and automation data. Both audio and MIDI data is supported, and even the state of plugins used can be carried across (providing everyone has the requisite instrument and effects installed, of course).
Bitwig has posted a handy DAWproject FAQ that details the key features of the format and compares it to sharing projects as Standard MIDI Files or AAFs. Unsurprisingly, it’s far more comprehensive and flexible than either of these file types.
Assuming it works reliably, then, DAWproject could be an extremely elegant solution that could save producers from having to export their projects as audio stems (the traditional way of doing things if you want someone with a different DAW to be able to work on them).
There is a catch, though; as things stand, the only software to support DAWproject is Bitwig Studio 5.09 and PreSonus Studio One 6.5. It’ll only become a standard if other developers choose to implement it in their DAWs, too.
The good news is that they can do this for free - the specs and documentation are available now on GitHub - so the only question is how many of them will pick up the baton.
From a user perspective, industry-wide adoption would be a great thing, but it remains to be seen if that will happen. Bitwig has already had a go at releasing an open plugin standard, CLAP, as an alternative to the likes of VST and AU, but it’s been ignored by the likes of Apple, Ableton and Steinberg up to now.
Here’s hoping that DAWproject fares better - you can find out more on the Bitwig website.