PACE Acquires JUCE Audio Development Platform From ROLI

PACE Anti-Piracy, developers of iLok, has acquired JUCE, a leading cross-platform audio development platform, from ROLI.

Originally released in 2004, JUCE has been part of ROLI since 2014. In the last few years, though, ROLI has struggled to achieve profitability and meet its debt payments.

PACE CEO Allen Cronce, notes, “This acquisition provides JUCE the opportunity to grow further within an entirely developer-focused company, to execute on an ambitious roadmap and continue to serve the needs of the audio developer community.”

“ROLI has been a great home for JUCE, helping it grow into one of the most important tools in the audio industry,” says JUCE founder Jules Storer. “Of the many companies who expressed an interest, PACE came out tops for us in terms of what a good owner of JUCE needs to offer: their culture is completely developer-focused, they’re a neutral company who are in the licensing business and already have relationships with many JUCE customers, and their motivations for owning it align with those of the JUCE team.”

Storer plans to remain at ROLI, working on the SOUL sound language.

JUCE 6 is expected to be available in June 2020. Major improvements include CMake Support; improvements to The Projucer; Webviews; and a variety of new DSP Building Blocks. See the JUCE site for details.

22 thoughts on “PACE Acquires JUCE Audio Development Platform From ROLI

  1. This also opens up the possibility of integrating iLock to JUCE-based environments. Maybe that’s one of PACE’s motives for this aquisition. Current Akai MCP standalone devices use JUCE, and probably many others..

    1. I think you’d be surprised just how many audio applications and plugins are built with JUCE. It’s a lot. I’m sure this’ll result in a new JUCE module for easy iLok integration (just like how ROLI added modules for MPE and BLOCKS) – which is a smart business move considering the number of people that already use JUCE – but i doubt they’ll try to make iLok compulsory for all JUCE based products – that would cause a huge backlash.

  2. I think Roli might be having some financial problems. They also sold BFD recently. Thus separating it from Fxpansion.

    1. If you google search ROLI and debt funding / investment you’ll find evidence that they’ve had financial issues for a while now. And when you consider how much investment they’ve raised for a fairly niche primary product range, it starts to make sense.

  3. I like that JUCE includes Linux cross-platform. I hope iLok’s purchase of JUCE doesn’t spell an end to the possibility of more native Linux audio applications. ILok hasn’t been friendly to Linux. Many developers feel DRM isn’t possible in linux. Bitwig thought otherwise. think, much like gaming, Linux audio is going to be massive once developers truly see it’s possibility. Also users will enjoy the customization it offers. Most audio nuts love streamlining their workflow. Nothing can streamline like Linux.

    1. Most if not all of Roli’s software does not support Linux nor Android. Go figure.
      People have been screaming to support more than (2 ?) android phones.
      Even then, sad to see the Apple of musical instruments in trouble.
      It happens with many companies, fund raised money never coming back.
      That’s the risk of investing. Lot’s of unnoticed bubbles snapping nowadays and under
      the current situation the rocks once under water will now become visible.
      Some companies just reach a plateau when running out of ideas. (See Arp ?)
      Go check TechChrunch, money was like water.

  4. Remember this…….

    September 2, 2016
    ROLI doesn’t make sense as a company and this just makes it more confusing. They’ve raised almost $45MM to sell niche products into a market that’s in the $500-750MM range. They would need to displace not only the other boutique vendors, but also a few heavyweights (Roland, Korg, Yamaha) to have a chance at realizing value for their raises.

    Is this acquisition just something to spend their money on to show the investors they have a plan? Or are they buying revenue? Will we see them take a roll-up strategy and try to consolidate other companies to build their market share?

    The business side of this is interesting to watch…

  5. I am utterly confused, you mean multiple rounds of financing, having two in house DJ’s, a full time chef, and a full time Sushi chef, not to mention incredibly generous pay packages and signing bonuses for new employees, and I was remiss to note that they also had an in house “artist” to inspire their engineers and now ROLI has to divest some of its most prized intellectual property rights to survive?

    The information I just shared was from an interview years ago with ROLI’s founder and CEO, Roland Lamb. I recall thinking at the time that being this generous with investors funding and behaving as though you are Google or Apple prior to having actually achieved some level of success is hubris at its finest.

    1. You get to call it hubris because it failed. When it succeeds it is genius business management. They gambled that they could expand the market for music technology, and it looks like they failed. That they spent top dollar on staff and the frills that attract and retain them has nothing to do with that gamble failing or succeeding.

      Now, it’s possible they can pivot their way into some other similar business, and make it work, but given the current financial climate that seems unlikely. Too bad. The more innovators in the field the better!

      1. I would beg to differ, this is very much akin to the tech bubble of the 2000’s when companies spent exorbitantly on superfluous costs rather than their core business. Granted, I will concede that their success or failure had less to do with these costs, yet they are interconnected.

  6. If ROLI made hardware synths in stead of controllers they probably had more change. I would’ve bought a Seaboard block if it had some i/o and synth engine build in.

      1. True, but not everyone wants to use their phone as part of an instrument. Standalone is a *huge* selling point for me.

  7. while I find some of the MPE ideas interesting like sliding up and down on keys & release velocity
    the other options are so niche – like all the pitch wobble stuff
    I didnt buy a roli controller in the end,
    like many others didnt …

    btw. hardware dongles for anti piracy are evil from a user perspective
    ilok yuck – won’t come into this household even if they had the hottest stuff on earth, no thx.

    all in all meh

  8. This is sad, I think we’re probably looking at the end of ROLI, a real pity. I worked there for 2 years, some really great people, huge talent and potential.

    Contrary to what somebody posted above I don’t think pay & working conditions were great at all, go look at glass if you want to know more about the company’s internal problems.

    The Seaboard Rise & Equator are fantastic products – I hope they won’t lose support. The JUCE acquisition was a clever strategic move, and pumped a lot of life into the project with additional resources and the hugely successful Audio Developer Conferences in London. Similarly for FXPansion.

    Let’s see what ROLI does next!

    1. I know you well Richard, and I did not say that working conditions were ideal. However the operating costs were out of control period.

    2. And to your point just read some of the comments on Glassdoor, more than half of the complaints are that the company wastes money rather than being focused and disciplined.

  9. I’ve never understood the financials of Roli and very impressed that they are still doing as well as they are today. They’ve raised more than $45M. Any potential investor would take 5 seconds to google the MI market to see it’s less than $7B, and the Electronic MI market is less than $1B. It’s tiny. Yet they still raised all this money and have made a go of it for about 10 years. They’ve certainly not made it on the back of net sales the past 10 years and it seems impossible for a company like this to catch up. I realize they have tried to expand their market but only with modest success. At some point something got to give. I like their products and hope for the best but the numbers just don’t add up.

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