Ernst Nathorst-Böös, one of the founders of Propellerhead Software, is to leave his position as CEO of the company. He will remain a shareholder and take seat on the board, but he’ll be replaced as CEO by Niklas Agevik on 10 June. This is being described as a “planned succession”.
This marks the end of an era for Propellerhead. With ReBirth, ReCycle! and then Reason, the company did as much as anyone to demonstrate the gamechanging potential of the computer-based software studio. Nathorst-Böös has been its public face for more than two decades.
“When we started Propellerhead and made our first software synth, ReBirth, in 1997, we were true pioneers, navigating uncharted territory,” he says. “What was then reserved for a few bold early adopters has become the way music is now made in studios and bedrooms all around the globe.
“Just as proud as I am for being part of that pioneering work, I am equally convinced that this is just the beginning for Propellerhead. As my role in the company now changes, I look forward to seeing a rapid expansion into new customer groups, in new contexts and on new platforms. Niklas’s background is perfect for that endeavour and his energetic, entrepreneurial approach is an amazing fit for what we need as a company.”
The dawning of a new Agevik
Agevik cut his teeth at Ericsson, before moving into the world of “fast-paced startups”. He then founded Instabridge, whose app enables you to find and connect to free WiFi nearby. The Instabridge app has a reported 30m users.
“I’m honoured and humbled to join the team at Propellerhead,” says Agevik. “Ernst has built a company with a fantastic culture and team. Together, they have created a range of products that are hard not to love.
“I see so much potential in both the company and its products. By building upon their legacy and making music making even more accessible there is a lot of room for growth. My goal is to continue building on that foundation, growing the user base of both the desktop and mobile products.”
Despite these warm words, Reason users will inevitably have questions about the future of their DAW. Will it still be Propellerhead’s primary focus, or does Agevik’s background suggest a shift to a mobile-centric business model? The company recently re-acquired its Figure and Take apps, and it has suggested that these will be developed further in the future.
Reason Compact, an iOS version of Propellerhead’s flagship software, was released in 2018, but is essentially just a synth rather than a DAW. Again, though, we’re told that there’s more to come from this app.
Propellerhead scored a greater critical success last year with the plugin version of Europa, the lead synth from Reason 10, while Reason 10.3 was introduced in April to address “poor and erratic” VST plugin performance.