JazzMutant Lemur Dead – Did The iPad Kill It, Or Was It Suicide?

Stantum Technologies has announced that the JazzMutant Lemur – the gorgeous multi-touch music controller – is dead.

Here’s the text of their announcement:

Since 2002, JazzMutant has been a acknowledged pioneer in the field of Creative Computing and Multi-touch technology, being the first-ever company to develop and bring to the market a product featuring a multi-touch screen as early as 2005. Since its market launch, the Lemur has been endorsed by a fascinating community of music and video artists. Nine Inch Nails, Richard Devine, Hot Chip, Ritchie Hawtin, Matthew Herbert, M.I.A, Mike Relm, Alva Noto, Ryuchi Sakamoto, Daft Punk, Bjork, … : The list of prestigious and influent artists who have made the Lemur their favorite pet companion on stage would be way too long to be mentioned here. Its visionary concept and groundbreaking technologies allowed the Lemur to win numerous international press awards and was recently elected “Innovation of the decade” by Future Music.

During five years and despite the new fever surrounding touch technologies, the Lemur remained the only Multi-touch device capable to meet the needs of creative people. From now on, this ecosystem is evolving quickly : powerful consumer tablet devices are becoming mainstream, bringing the power of multi-touch to everyone. In the meantime, JazzMutant, renamed Stantum in 2007, has become a technology-centric company and developed partnerships with tier-one industrial partners to speed up this democratization. As a result, the need for a high-end dedicated hardware is doomed to vanish in the near future. This is why Stantum is announcing today that it will close its JazzMutant activity unit and stop selling its legendary Lemur Multi-touch hardware controller at the end of December while the stock lasts!

Stantum goes on to say that they’re having a fire sale on the Lemur.

Unfortunately – the Lemur is dying just about the most painful death possible:

  • The JazzMutant division will cease to exist on January the 1st 2011. All commercial, marketing and development activities related to the JazzMutant music product will not be continued after this date.
  • Lemur v2.03 is last and final version of the firmware.
  • There will not be any further updates for the Dexter app. It’s now become free for all users.
  • The official Mu 1.1 version will be the last and final update for Mu.
  • The Lemur app won’t live on as an open source project. The Lemur application is based on a proprietary API (Application Program Interface), which Stantum plans to continue to develop.
  • Technical support ends at the end of 2011.

It’s a sad end to a platform which, just 5 years ago, seemed like the future.

With the announcement, not only does the Lemur hardware die, but the platform itself reaches a dead end.

What Killed The Lemur?

Did the iPad kill the JazzMutant Lemur?

Many would jump to that conclusion. The Apple iPad is less than half the price of the Lemur, yet can run software that makes it comparable. And when you’re not using it as a music controller, the iPad can run other music apps, browse the web and thousands of other things.

But the Lemur may have doomed itself with its relatively closed platform. The Lemur was sexy Рbut forced you to do things its way. And one of the most interesting music technology trends of the last few years has been the rise of malleable music platforms, like the monome.

What do you think about this news? Is the “end-of-life” for the Lemur an inevitable side effect of technology change or do you think the Lemur did itself in?


35 thoughts on “JazzMutant Lemur Dead – Did The iPad Kill It, Or Was It Suicide?

  1. Depressing. It's the only multi-touch unit you can fully customize… The ipad couldn't try to replace it if it tried… its just not powerful enough.

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  2. The problem is that while Stantum says they're having a firesale on the thing, it's still being sold on their site for a cool 1.5k, and charging over 100 bucks to ship the damn thing. On the other end of the spectrum, I can get an iPad for a third the price, and since I'm only planning on running touchOSC, I really don't have to spend over 1,500 bucks just to get it up and running. The biggest problem as well was the lack of unlimited pages, the Lemur only has 4 possible pages while the iPad has unlimited, providing you know how to make more pages in OSC and implement them into the iPad.

    If there was a firesale, and they actually dropped the pricing to a competitive level (under 500 bucks), I would buy several of them right this moment.

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  3. touchOSC should get full credit for killing the Lemur.

    I thought the lemur was neat but NEVER ever ever considered dropping $1500 for a "cool" controller.

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  4. Joey or anyone else

    Enlighten me on how the Lemur was mire powerful in any way than the iPad.

    Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems like the Lemur is a one-trick pony, and the iPad hardware is much more powerful, more compact and mire stylish.

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  5. What killed it? Price, price and perhaps consequently, small user-base.
    I and many others have looked at it, pondered if the investment and learning curve weighed up to its potential as a controller…. And perhaps concluded it was a too expensive niche product….

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  6. I don't think the iPad is completely superior to the Lemur, yet. I would like to see more apps the use midi directly, (I guess using the Line 6). I just don't trust OSC. Also, if the iPad is anything like the iPhone, it doesn't make a very good drum pad.

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  7. I personally would have had more desire to purchase it if it had been cost feasible. The thing was WAY too expensive for a controller and like some of my other cohorts above, you couldn't do much for customization like you can with the ipad. Makes me wonder if Steve Jobs almost had the Lemur in his head when they all came up with the ipad.

    Reminds me of the Technics turntable going out. They could've brought down the cost to help sell…but instead they raised the prices and no one bought. So good bye old overpriced technologies.

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  8. Apple can simply crush anything that it can remotely emulate on an iPad. They have superior buying power, this unfortunately is how business works. I read somewhere recently that they are the biggest purchaser of flash based memory so much so that it has a bearing on its price due to availability.

    It is a case of David and Goliath
    http://www.distaudio.com

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  9. Its all about cost.

    No chance of me dropping over £1000 on a controller when I already use an iPad (for stuff other than music).

    As for it being as good or better than dedicated hardware/software, well I suppose thats the difference we have seen in lost of music technology in the past 20 years. I would love a Jupiter 8 sitting in my spare room, but I make do with a good midi keyboard and Arturia J8v.

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  10. arrogance killed it, too.

    check this out:
    http://www.musicradar.com/news/tech/will-the-appl

    Jazzmutant:
    "The iPad is definitely a great product which will achieve what we all expect: a massive democratisation of touch-aware devices. The device looks beautifully designed and we believe it has the potential to revolutionise the whole creative industry. Furthermore, its aggressive pricing is definitely a huge advantage which will appeal to many consumers. That being said, it's still unclear how suitable it will be for music performance as nobody has yet seen the unit in action.

    "Our main concern is that the iPad (like the iPhone) uses capacitive technology, rather than digital resistive technology (like the Lemur), which comes with a set of disadvantages that are particularly disturbing in a live performance scenario.

    "Capacitive touchscreens do not track well with wet or sweaty fingers. With the stress and heat (and dangers posed by punters with drinks!) of a packed concert venue or club this is not good news. Reliability and consistency are two key factors for people playing live, and we are a little sceptical about the iPad's performance on stage. Not to mention that the use of wi-fi in live performance is brand new and has yet to be proved.

    "The Lemur is built for live usage. It was designed to withstand the stress of life on the road. The Lemur, adopted by many professionals, has proved itself to be extremely rugged and reliable – the iPad has yet to do this."

    "Having been at the forefront of touch innovation for seven years now, Jazzmutant has been watching the fast evolution of the multi-touch landscape. We expect to see a lot of Lemur rip-offs showing up on the App Store, as well as other multitouch capable devices. However, we believe that it's not really the same kind of product. The Lemur is a device dedicated to music and visual control. The iPad, on the other hand, is a mainstream product, a 'jack-of-all-trades' that's not specifically tailored to musicians' needs."

    and the last one:

    "The Lemur will continue to be the choice of many professionals. However, you can be sure that whatever happens, you will most definitely be hearing exciting news from JazzMutant again in the future."

    fail.

    "Multitouch hardware is only one part of the equation; at the moment there are no apps offering the power (advanced interaction, physical and scripting possibilities) and software maturity offered by the Lemur.

    "Jazzmutant are about to launch their new product Mu which uses Max for Live to offer tighter integration with Ableton Live than any iPad App (or any other controller) is likely to offer in the near future.

    "It is also true that many professionals are unwilling to become early adopters of new, untested technology so there will remain a market for Jazzmutant's tried and tested, mature technology and software."

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  11. arrogance killed it, too.

    check this out:
    http://www.musicradar.com/news/tech/will-the-appl

    Jazzmutant:
    "The iPad is definitely a great product which will achieve what we all expect: a massive democratisation of touch-aware devices. The device looks beautifully designed and we believe it has the potential to revolutionise the whole creative industry. Furthermore, its aggressive pricing is definitely a huge advantage which will appeal to many consumers. That being said, it's still unclear how suitable it will be for music performance as nobody has yet seen the unit in action.

    "Our main concern is that the iPad (like the iPhone) uses capacitive technology, rather than digital resistive technology (like the Lemur), which comes with a set of disadvantages that are particularly disturbing in a live performance scenario.

    "Capacitive touchscreens do not track well with wet or sweaty fingers. With the stress and heat (and dangers posed by punters with drinks!) of a packed concert venue or club this is not good news. Reliability and consistency are two key factors for people playing live, and we are a little sceptical about the iPad's performance on stage. Not to mention that the use of wi-fi in live performance is brand new and has yet to be proved.

    "The Lemur is built for live usage. It was designed to withstand the stress of life on the road. The Lemur, adopted by many professionals, has proved itself to be extremely rugged and reliable – the iPad has yet to do this."

    "Having been at the forefront of touch innovation for seven years now, Jazzmutant has been watching the fast evolution of the multi-touch landscape. We expect to see a lot of Lemur rip-offs showing up on the App Store, as well as other multitouch capable devices. However, we believe that it's not really the same kind of product. The Lemur is a device dedicated to music and visual control. The iPad, on the other hand, is a mainstream product, a 'jack-of-all-trades' that's not specifically tailored to musicians' needs."

    and the last one:

    "The Lemur will continue to be the choice of many professionals. However, you can be sure that whatever happens, you will most definitely be hearing exciting news from JazzMutant again in the future."

    fail.

    "Multitouch hardware is only one part of the equation; at the moment there are no apps offering the power (advanced interaction, physical and scripting possibilities) and software maturity offered by the Lemur.

    "Jazzmutant are about to launch their new product Mu which uses Max for Live to offer tighter integration with Ableton Live than any iPad App (or any other controller) is likely to offer in the near future.

    "It is also true that many professionals are unwilling to become early adopters of new, untested technology so there will remain a market for Jazzmutant's tried and tested, mature technology and software."

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  12. I think it was the price. Also we're looking at a 5 year old piece of hardware, in the computer world it's a dinosaur. A 5 year product cycle sounds pretty decent.

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  13. That's right. They could have completely owned the iPad music controller business and been better off than they are now.

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  14. The Lemur was never limited to only 4 pages. The limitation is based on the amount of available memory which, in the Lemur, is not much. As an owner of one of the very first units I can say I'm pretty pissed that Jazzmutant didn't even have the decency to fix the loads of bugs before giving the finger to all their customers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  15. hardware killer Lemur, but they should capitalise on their software know how. Look at what Korg is doing ! I bet you they will be reborn in a new form !

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  16. I have some interest in taking this system open-source. I can't see that it's that complex, and would make an interesting controller for other applications. I have v2 of the Lemur. Anyone else interested?

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  17. That would make it a lot more interesting to me.

    They should just sell the hardware cheap and users worry about the software.

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  18. I still remembered when I first used a Lemur last year. "Aren't you guys afraid of losing your consumer/customerbase Ipad and TouchOSC" – "No, real professionals will want to use our mature and tested technology instead of new untested software on other hardware like the Ipad"…..

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  19. The only thing which i don’t like is that there is no soft for iPad to make as sophisticated as patches, as on Lemur, TouchOSC haven’t even controller feedback. And 1 GHz ARM CPU, and 3d-acceleration are definitely can handle that. So the era of accessible multi-touch music controllers will begins with developing such software for iPad.

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  20. i still have it, and actually, i might keep it, – when developing things for tablet phones, it can be useful. As long as they run on OSC…

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