JazzMutant Lemur, RIP

JazzMutant Lemur

JazzMutant has updated their site with a sort of tombstone to their company and it’s iconic Lemur multi-touch music controller. All of JazzMutant’s remaining stock of Lemur controllers is now sold. They note, “We have cleared all our stock out and all Jazzmutant commercial activities are ceasing now.”

Less than a year ago, JazzMutant was skeptical about the prospects of the iPad as a musical tool:

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.

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.

JazzMutant’s stance reads as overly optimistic or arrogant from today’s perspective. Many would argue that the Lemur was a much more sophisticated tool than any of the current iPad apps. But JazzMutant effectively ceded multi-touch music control to a startups that didn’t have a hardware business to protect.

The Lemur had many features which have yet to be duplicated in any iPad app. In the long run, though, musicians will probably be better served by mainstream tablets, with dozens of competing controller app developers.

21 thoughts on “JazzMutant Lemur, RIP

  1. Not sure what you're reading as "apple love" in this.

    From what I've seen of the Lemur, the article seems right. – the Lemur was more sophisticated as a controller than the current generation of iPad controller apps, but it was also an expensive one-trick-pony.

  2. Ipad 500$
    Lemur 3,000$

    Enough said.

    They can't compete with such different prices. Probably more than 50% of the people that read this blog can't afford an ipad, less a Lemur.
    Apple wins this one.

  3. Actually that might be the price you pay for bad timing. Maybe Jazzmutant was just a little bit ahead of its time. They should have waited for Apple to make multi-touch mainstream (as they are doing) wait for people to get annoyed by the iPad and wish for a one purpose device that works, then launch the Lemur, probably at a lower price point (since the whole tech would have become cheaper due to larger demand) and maybe check that there are not too many bugs in the software.
    They did it the other way around…
    Question is: would we have TouchOSC or other software like this without the Lemur?

  4. Probably not..

    I'm still waiting on the plug n play feature for all this crap. When I had an iPad (sold it after a gig, didn't like it) you had to setup a network on your computer, connect touchOSC to that network then run a program to receive OSC and convert it to Midi to use in Live. Ugh.

  5. I mean, why isn't Jazzmutant just developing a UI for a variety of DAWs now? Why not take advantage of all of this?

    I'm curious how much Korg made with their various iApps. I sure gave them 40 bucks or so..

  6. I have a lemur. I have played with ipad. No comparison. Period. The lemur is easier to set up. You can tell its tailored especially for musicians. It has a bigger screen and feels meatier than the ipad, like if you drop it it wont break. There are templates that you simply could not recreate on the ipads many apps that exist. I like the ipad. I think its great. But its not a lemur. I dont think it ever will be.

    Its a shame such a unique company went out of business. I wish they could have made these at a lower price point. I paid $1800 for my lemur and it was worth every penny. Especially when you have the dual boot Dexter and MU for Ableton.

  7. The Lemur hardware is not very powerful. It should only be a matter of time until controller apps for iPad or Android tablets move way beyond what the Lemur can do. Plus they can run synths, DAWs and other apps.

    And what do you do with a Lemur if you want to hook it to a MIDI synth? With an iPad, you hook up a MIDI cable. MIDI wasn't cool enough for JazzMutant, I guess.

    The Lemur might be simpler if all you want to do is exactly what it was designed for. I'd rather save $1300, live with a little extra setup, and get a much more powerful system.

  8. I don't think that GarageBand would be running on the iPad at the moment without the Lemur. While GarageBand may not impress you, its existence should, particularly given that Steve Jobs, on medical leave took the trouble to announce it himself. It is sad that JazzMutant, a company so seminal, was not rewarded with financial success.

  9. Yeah, I've been looking for an official Lemur app, but nothing so far. It seems like they really thought they could compete, in spite of the overwhelming price difference.

  10. Reaper is adding native OSC support soon and I'm sure other DAW makers will follow suit in the interest of adding features.

  11. Even if the iPad never existed, the Lemur would be on its way out. Full multi-touch monitors and compatible operating systems are coming.

  12. I definitly believe the lemur price was the killer of the company It was too expensive, ipad is growing faster in less than a year from now they are going to release a new one as always and will do way better than a lemur because will be able to do many more things and apps.

    i see the ipad in near future as a replacement to laptops aswell it`s just a matter of time.

    jazzmutant definitly should make the soft available for ipad before someone else does a better job that the touchOSC guys then jazzmutant will be completely out of bussines and dead forever.

  13. Too many people posting that have never actually seen either product or had any real comparison, just going on articles and hearsay. Ask ANYONE who EVER used a lemur and they will tell you there is NO comparison. The things you could program with one were insane. And Yes, to even understand their potential and capability you would need to be somewhat knowledgable in their intended use. The iPad version is like a lemur for 5 year-olds, their market was just too small. You need to either have a lot of money or be very prevalent in the industry for one to make sense for you = small niche market. They were NEVER catering to the average iPad purchaser.

  14. Eric – I’ve seen statements like yours before, but nobody follows them up with specifics.

    The iPad supports hardware MIDI and has third party apps, killer features the Lemur didn’t support. It means you can use the iPad directly with just about any music app or hardware you want.

    The iPad also offers a much higher screen resolution and wireless connectivity, MIA on the Lemur.

    Hardcore users can create their own apps for the iPad, but are limited to working with Jazzmutant’s objects on the Lemur.

    That’s not even getting into the possibilities allowed by the iPad’s faster processors, larger memory or broader range of sensors.

    By any objective standard, the Lemur is an expensive, one-trick pony, by comparison.

    If you really think the Lemur is more powerful, explain why, instead of suggesting that other options are toys for five year olds.

    If you look at it objectively,

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