BandLab confirms that it plans to discontinue its current free Cakewalk DAW and bring back a new version of Sonar

Cakewalk software
(Image credit: BandLab)

BandLab Technologies has confirmed that Cakewalk by BandLab, its free DAW, is set to be discontinued. It will be replaced by two new products - Cakewalk Sonar and Cakewalk Next - the pricing of which is set to be revealed in due course.

BandLab ditched the Sonar name in 2018, when it acquired Cakewalk from Gibson. However, this will now return in an updated DAW - Cakewalk Sonar - that offers a refreshed UI and scope for ongoing feature development. It will also be compatible with legacy Sonar and Cakewalk by BandLab projects.

Cakewalk Next, meanwhile, is a new piece of music production software that promises “next-generation music creation tools designed to fuel creativity and streamline your workflow”. It’s currently in beta and you can request access on the Cakewalk website.

Although Cakewalk by BandLab is currently still available as a free download, an FAQ on the BandLab website states that “it will soon be phased out”. This will no doubt come as a disappointment to the software’s users, but BandLab also states that “We will continue providing community support and maintenance for Cakewalk by BandLab until both Cakewalk Next and Sonar become publicly available.” Release dates for these two products are currently unknown.

Elsewhere in the FAQ, BandLab says: “We will continue providing community support and maintenance for Cakewalk by BandLab until Cakewalk Sonar becomes publicly available. At some point after the release of Sonar, Cakewalk by BandLab will no longer be supported. Note that existing Cakewalk by BandLab users will be able to continue using the software after the release of Cakewalk Sonar.”

On the subject of the new pricing strategy, BandLab says: “Next and Sonar will be offered at price points designed to meet the needs of different customers. More information will be provided as we approach the launch date for these new products.”

Find out more on the Cakewalk website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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