Gibson ends development of Cakewalk music software

In a shock move, Gibson Brands has announced that it’s “ceasing active development and production of Cakewalk branded products,” which include the Sonar DAW range for Windows and various well-regarded plugins and apps.

Explaining the move, a statement from Gibson dated 17 November says: “The decision was made to better align with the company’s acquisition strategy that is heavily focused on growth in the global consumer electronics audio business under the Philips brand.”

Last month, Gibson announced that it's planning to sell its Memphis guitar factory and move to smaller premises in the city.

Gibson acquired Cakewalk from Roland in 2013, predicting a bright future for the company’s products. However, even then, there was concern among Sonar users, many of whom were aware of what happened when Gibson acquired Opcode, creator of the Vision DAW, in 1998. Development of the software ended in 1999.

Following Gibson’s acquisition, in 2015 Cakewalk began offering a Sonar membership scheme that enabled you to pay for the software on a monthly basis, and announced that a Mac version of the software was in development the following year. Most recently, it unveiled its Momentum platform, which enables you to start songs on your phone and continue them in your DAW.

It remains to be seen if there’s a way that Cakewalk’s products can be saved, but in the short term, company CTO Noel Borthwick says that users won’t be left stranded. “Cakewalk’s servers will continue to operate, you will still have access to all of your online assets, and your software will continue to work normally,” he confirmed on the Cakewalk website.

“A dedicated team has been established during this transition period to continue to serve the Cakewalk community. Monthly updates to Sonar from Cakewalk will however cease during this time. We will continue to post notifications to keep you informed with any relevant developments. A sincere thank you to everyone in the Cakewalk community.”

The news of Cakewalk’s demise will be greeted with sadness in the music software industry. Company founder Greg Hendershott released his first Cakewalk-branded MIDI sequencer in 1987, and the company has been a significant player in the market ever since.

We’ll bring you more news on the future of Cakewalk as we get it.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

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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