Gibson Ceases Development Of Cakewalk Products

Gibson today announced that it has ceased development and production of Cakewalk products.

Cakewalk’s line includes the DAW Sonar, Rapture Pro & Z3TA+ 2 synthesizers, and the Music Creator line.

Here’s their official statement:

Gibson Brands announced today that it is ceasing active development and production of Cakewalk branded products. 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.

Cakewalk has been an industry leader in music software for over 25 years by fusing cutting-edge technology with creative approaches to tools that create, edit, mix, and publish music for professional and amateur musicians. Gibson Brands acquired Cakewalk in 2013.

Gibson Brands, a growing company in the music and sound industries, was founded in 1894 and is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Gibson Brands is a global leader in musical instruments, consumer electronics, and professional audio, and is dedicated to bringing the finest experiences to consumers by offering exceptional products with world- recognized brands.

Cakewalk CTO Noel Borthwick says that “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. 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. “

74 thoughts on “Gibson Ceases Development Of Cakewalk Products

      1. Voyetra! Oh man, haven’t heard that name in a while. I also recall spending ages downloading a demo of WinJammer at 2400 baud from a local BBS.

  1. No need to announce it. Cakewalk stopped developing their products a long time ago. .. Well, I guess, now it is official.

    Although, they did release a fix to the Z3ta+ iOS synth not long ago.

  2. I wonder who is next for the chop from their subsidiaries list. I suspect if it can be made in China it’s probably safe.

    Baldwin Piano
    Harmony Central
    KRK Systems
    TEAC Corporation

  3. Z3TA+ was one of the original great VSTs loved the way UHE synths are loved now- just shows you how acquisition can kill a product. I feel realy sorry for the Sonar guys, especially the ones that paid for a lifetime of free updates….someone should start a class-action….

      1. You’re right. But, it is unethical when THEY know how long the company is going to be “alive” and you don’t!
        I’ve been a customer since the DOS version and bought pretty much everything associated with it, including the V-Studio 700 for a few grand.
        Class Action it is! I’m on that in a snap!!!
        What is the next DAW to jump on? Does anyone have any suggestions?

      1. > Ask any Opcodian how well that goes!

        It goes bad.

        OMS did became CoreMIDI, but it was no thanks to crazy Hank. Rogue employee left and rebuilt it from scratch for Apple. Hank didn’t sue him, so we have that to thank him for.

  4. That’s too bad. Cakewalk made the first DAW I used on a regular basis (Excluding Master Tracks Pro…yes, I’m old.) It’s where I learned the basics of using a DAW and I always enjoyed it. Switched to Digital Performer for it’s film-scoring features, but it’s still sad to hear.

  5. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO…. Been using Cakewalk since 1997. I have always loved their DAWs and found them just as capable or even better than everything else out there. WTF! This is so frustrating.

  6. I don’t think Gibson knows why they acuired Cakewalk and most other companies in the first place. Weren’t they sitting on the Oberheim brand for ages doing nothing? Seem like it’s a company run MBA guys with no passion for music. There’s alot of consolidation in the music equipment market but I fail to see the real gain as a vendor. As retail or distribution it’s another thing. Big is not always better…

    1. > Seem like it’s a company run MBA guys with no passion for music.

      It’s just one guy there. One guy with no passion for music.

  7. Sonar was my first and only PC DAW (well, Reason not being a DAW…). What I have seen with their advertising of different versions, pricing models is a very confused company. Just trying to update the Z synth (the one who must not be spelled correctly ever) is an ongoing P.I.T.A.

  8. Oberheimed. F-ing Gibson. At least ‘Music Group’ has a full heritage of sucking. “Gibson” though? What a shame.

    Hope the folks directly effected land safely. Also hope some of them move on to developing cool stuff for iOS.

  9. I briefly used Sonar in the early 2000’s as Emagic got bought by Apple and I didn’t yet have a Mac to transition into. My time with Sonar was productive and I have nothing but fond memories. Big respect.
    The first interation of Rapture was good too, minus the microscopic/hardly distinguishable GUI. Was eyeballing Z3ta for a long time and when the iPad version came out I snagged it. The first preset was “Italo 84”…that pretty much sealed the deal for me due to the Italo shout out. Proceeded to obtain the VST/AU version of it for use in Apple Logic andwhile it was damn good, it would NEVER retain the midi CC mapping. Went back and forth with tech support on it and got nowhere. Then after a while it would only be recognized as a demo edition whereas I had the paid version…this seems to have coincided with their implementation of that horrid activation/updating system that was suppose to make everything seemless.
    Also had that iPad app that was like a looper type of thing…had high hopes for that…left in limbo and never reached its full potential. Let down.
    Having always thought that the original Rapture was a quality synth minus the afore mentioned GUI displeasure, I went ahead and got that Rapture Pro, especially for the killer deal owners of the original Rapture received. I was underwhelmed by it. The levels per preset where all over the place. The external modulation assignment paradigm, for some reason, didn’t click with me. It was such an ambitious synth that on paper looked like something monsterous but instead, to me, fell flat on delivery.
    I do blame it all on Gibson. Why? They are a guitar company. Fuck humbuckers, flying v’s, & sunburst finishes.

  10. Classic board of directors, ceo’s etc idiots.
    This is what happens when you overpay golden boys in sales and management departments that produce nothing.
    Why on earth did they buy cakewalk??

  11. I’ve used Cakewalks Sonar exclusively and I started with Cakewalk back at number 6. I am a pro user and have done many major record projects with major Artist and I used Sonar simply because of the sound….nothing else touches it. I can afford and have all the major DAW software. Pro Tools,Digital Performer, Cubase, Nuendo, Studio One, Mixbuss,Reaper, Ableton,Fruity Loops, Reason…. they all don’t have the same smooth sheen-like top end that Sonar does. Nuendo and Mixbuss come the closest and for THAT reason I use Sonar. Even the great Ray Charles, who wouldn’t use digital recording only accepted and used Sonar because it sounded “right” to his discerning ears.I think I’m going to be sick now……

    1. Interesting, but as we know any difference, present or perceived, can be measured — so (let me get this straight) does it mean that if I throw my samples in Sonar and render the project, resulting top end would be different from audio files generated by the likes of Ableton et al?

      Not in any way doubting your or Ray Charles’ experience, it is just that I would be interested to find the reason behind why these (digital) programs can differ this much in sound. One other thing to clarify would be if you were talking about resulting master audio files or tracking instruments / vocals and the way Sonar records them?

      It would be surprizing actually to find final renders differ between DAW’s, because if you bypass the FX, you probably must be getting something of a WYHIWYH audio file: “what you hear is what you heard”, or in other words, 1:1 copy 🙂


      1. Not at all. Well, they all basically sound the same to my old dead ears at this point but there is *so much* math going on in any DAW that given the same inputs, they are not at all likely to produce the same string of 0s and 1s on the output. And that’s just for basic mixing (or ‘summing’) before sample rate conversion algorithms, associated dithering algorithms…

        The referenced DAWs are dated at this point but checkout

  12. I think the reason is the fact that they have no enthusiasm whatsoever about their products. Of course there are some dedicated staff here and there… But they loose – along with the users.

  13. Single biggest reason this is bad news- z3ta2. It’s a classic synth that more than holds its own today. Originally v1 released 2003 I think… still a powerful tool

  14. I tested as an autor all Sonar versions since Sonar 4 back in 2004. I also did a lot of tutorials for Sonar. So I was always a fan of Sonar cause it was always a step ahead. 64Bit, Vst bridge, internal stepsequencer, Matrix, Automation, full Surround support and so on.
    Since Roland bought Cakewalk some years ago, there was no more real development of Sonar. Also the communication with the company became extremely complicated since that time. No more free copies for testing. No answers for emails. So I stopped testing (and free promoting) Sonar some years ago. I recognized that the real development also stopped at that time. Bugs were no longer fixed. Only some new features came along.
    So I am not surprised that Sonar will be ceased. This is frustrating to me, cause it is an excellent DAW and I can work with it very productive.

    But: I think its also a chance and the right time to change to Ableton or maybe Cubase.

  15. Gibson is audio biz ebola, just a matter of time before its newly purchased subsidiary starts bleeding from every orifice and dies.

  16. Why not sell it off.? It’s obviously has a fully fledged DAW development team with a mature product under its wing. This is a lucrative and flourishing market, IMHO this is a very sellable IP, why burn it down?

    1. Maybe we have too many DAWs on the market?

      Over the last 10-15 years, Ableton Live has grown to have half a million users. A lot of those users had to come from someplace, and that was DAWs like SONAR.

      The other thing that’s happened is that Windows has stagnated while OS X has come roaring back. Even with Apple moving towards more ‘appliance’ type computer designs, their computers offer a better OS, better hardware reliability, better resale value, etc. and they won back a big slice of the creative market. And Cakewalk made the wrong bet on Windows.

      I think we’re going to see a lot of music industry companies biting the dust or getting consolidated in the next couple of years. The Eurorack market is next.

      1. > too many DAWs on the market

        Let’s see, off the top of my head and setting aside Cakewalk/Sonar,

        Pro Tools
        Studio One
        Digital Performer
        Tracktion (yes, back from the dead)
        FL Studio

        Eurorack modules at least serve different purposes. Still, choice is good. I hope the Cakewalk programming talent stays inside the industry. 🙁 I’m sorry they’re losing their jobs right before the holidays. Man.

      2. “The other thing that’s happened is that Windows has stagnated while OS X has come roaring back. Even with Apple moving towards more ‘appliance’ type computer designs, their computers offer a better OS, better hardware reliability, better resale value, etc. and they won back a big slice of the creative market. And Cakewalk made the wrong bet on Windows.”

        Sorry you lost me with your little totally unsubstantiated anti-Windows rant here. Windows computers are not “unreliable”, unlike OS X, Windows users can cherry-pick the elite hardware that is available from the motherboard up(care for a 16 core Threadripper anyone?). I can make em twice as powerful and at half the price of of the most expensive Mac. Windows still is the biggest desktop market it outnumbers the mac by approx. 3 to 1 ( ). You want a successful product, Windows is still the prime market to go to first by far.

        1. William

          You’re confusing stating easily verifiable facts with an ‘unsubstantiated anti-Windows rant’.

          Sorry if you don’t know the facts – but Apple’s products are regularly rated as some of the most reliable in the industry. The also have some of the highest user-satisfaction ratings.

          PC Week rates Apple’s laptops as more reliable than any Windows competitor, for example:


          PC Week also rates OS X higher than Windows for the 9th straight year.

          And Apple’s computers have the highest satisfaction in the industry:

          Beyond that, you’re confusing market share with market value. Developers are smarter than that.

          You either don’t know the facts, or just don’t like that the facts don’t support your position.

          Being Windows-only, or Android-only, is a huge liability for creative apps.

          1. Except of course, that everyone got really pissed off by apple pissing on pro users. Mac Pro not updated since 2013 anyone? I have seen a lot of people switch to PC because of that. I actually liked the macbook pro hardware, until now. The keyboard alone is enough to seriously piss me off (I have one at work). Interface mess, not even compatible with their own phones. High sierra has literally slowed everything down compared to El Capitan and Sierra (I run all of these at work, but we had a stop on getting Mac Hardware due to lack of customer interest (only Americans cared and even they got pissed off at mac pro policy)). Also OSX is really not that much better. It’s nice once you modify it massively with Linux backports and other 3rd party tools (can’t even do window tiling). Otherwise it’s a pain to use. Talking of hardware reliability. We had a hole bunch of top of the line mac pro machines with GPUs failing. And that was recognized as a common problem. 2016 Macbook pro had a huge lot of problems also.

  17. F off Gibson. First it was my beloved Opcode, then Oberheim… the list goes on… Why do you acquire these companies to kill them? I have a few Gibson guitars and I won’t even play them as they put a bad taste in my mouth. (plus their intonation is worse then any of my custom shop Fenders…)…. jeebus.

    1. I was a huge Opcode fan. Studio Vision was my DAW. F you Gibson.

      I own Oberheim hardware synths. F you Gibson.

      I own Zeta2 and Rapture. F you GIbson.

  18. II own a killer Cakewalk rack-extension for Reason. It’s an UA/Teletronic compressor emulation. Now I wonder if it’ll always be available for download whenever and forever, especially after reinstalling Reason.

  19. I’ve vowed to never buy a Gibson product after they killed Vision, because it was a huge blow to not be able to get authorization for my DAW to perform a fresh installation. I had difficulties for *6* blessed years attempting to install Cakewalk instruments on my Mac because they had designed Carbon-based installers (Motorola G3/G4/G5) even after Apple had told developers to migrate to Cocoa (Intel) code.

  20. The background story is that Gibson may default in July 2018 due to maturing bond among other things. News
    So before or by then they may auction of lots of their assets to pay their debts. Party time. and here is something to think about their management style any surprise such company goes belly up ?

    1. The ugly bit here is that they’re (presumably) firing a shit ton of staff (right before the holidays, classy) but hanging on to the IP. Instead of selling it at a loss, they’re hoarding it and just cutting “expenses”.

    2. So they borrowed $520 million to buy a bunch of other companies, then killed off the companies, and now the debt has come due and they don’t have any way to pay it and they’ve also annihilated the value of the assets they bought with the money they borrowed. And no doubt whoever lent them the money will shortly need a full taxpayer bailout since no one can possibly be accountable for their bad decisions at this level.

      It’s really horrible how easy money from the fed at zero interest or less feeds into a system desperate to lend it, going to the moneyed elite regardless of their sense. The system not just allows but begs for these sorts of shenanigans that destroy decades of creative work and products.

  21. This is what capitalism looks like folks. This type of behavior won’t stop, until the company goes under, or the public demands international laws that prevent software developers from locking their products from paying consumers, or requiring costly software or hardware upgrades. We were warned in the 80’s & 90’s but no one cared when the music industry was profitable. Instead we spent the last decade filling landfills around the planet with perfectly functional devices, so when people cry about this stuff, zero sympathy.

    This is why the industry adopted Avid, this is why the industry is continuing to move away from single-DAW-centric production, and this is why there is a hardware synth / DIY guitar renaissance going on. Guarantee this pattern continues until there’s one daw and one guitar company, as it does in every unregulated tech industry

  22. By the way, what’s the point of buying & then closing companies at all? Can anyone explain it, cause that doesn’t seem to make any sense? I see the ‘capitalist’ point, but ultimately companies in there are to make profits. When you cease production, your profits equal ZERO. (And that after buying a company for a good few millions of $!)

    So does it all ultimately mean that someone on Gibson is ultimately so incapable of running subsidiary businesses that they operate at loss? Or, else, I can’t see any logic. And — if former is true, — then judging by the number of companies they have shut down, it seems they have no clue, like, at all — since everything they buy, they do ruin it.

    This all is a major mystery to me.

    1. I see your point!
      I have no special informations about this specific case, but sometimes one acquires a company simply to get ahold of a special technology or patents.
      Then find the company itself is not viable or tailored for profit and simply cut the whole tree…

  23. I’ve used Cakewalk/Sonar exclusively since 1997. This is such a huge loss for me. I feel like part of me is gone. But who knows, maybe my new DAW of choice (right now leaning towards Studio One) will open me up to all new kinds of awesomeness that I never knew about. Hopefully…

  24. When Roland bought Cakewalk and then sold them soon afterwards, my thoughts were that Cakewalk must have been really struggling. So it does not surprise me that Gibson is pulling the cord. Companies often buy other companies because if they are profitable, it’s a better investment than other types like realty or stock. I bet Cakewalk couldn’t build a customer base like they hoped and they are not making money.

    I think Cakewalk has a lull in the 2000s and couldn’t recover, although the investment from Roland and Gibson helped them stay around for years. It’s too bad because I thought Cakewalk really started improving in quality the last several years.

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