A New Era For Cakewalk (an open letter from CTO Noel Borthwick)

Why we introduced Lifetime Updates

With the introduction of Lifetime Updates for SONAR Platinum, there have been many theories as to why Cakewalk would take such a bold move. For us it’s simple—it’s better for customers, it’s better for us, and we believe this way of doing business is the future, so we’re embracing it today.

Some history: In the past (pre 2015), we followed a more traditional annual upgrade cycle where we released a single version of SONAR each year. This model was flawed on many levels, both for developers and end users. As developers, we’re under extreme pressure to finish a product by a certain date to meet a revenue goal – often regardless of whether it’s ready or not.

SONAR-Platinum-Lifetime-Updates

Adding a lot of features to a product in a short cycle can create problems even skilled QA teams and beta testers won’t find. Furthermore, end users have to try and learn a huge amount of information at once—which is much less efficient than learning features at one’s own pace over time.

Rolling Updates: So we did away with annual versions of SONAR and decided to work on one version —continuously. We can make smaller incremental changes at a faster pace without disrupting the end user’s stability and workflow, as well as react more quickly to user requests. No more waiting until the next version to get problems resolved as is the case with many other products. We call this model “Rolling Updates” and as a developer and CTO of Cakewalk, I love it!

Rolling Updates also provides benefits beyond making new features available as soon as they’re ready. If something needs fixing or improving, we can just fix it and ship it without your having to wait a whole year. For example the Mix Recall, Patch Points, and Upsampling features all benefited from this interaction with end users. And doing features incrementally, in shorter time periods, promotes better stability and performance.

Although it’s never easy to do something disruptive in an industry that’s resistant to change (remember the outcry when Netflix decided to focus on streaming instead of DVDs?), the response has been decisive and positive. We didn’t want to end up like the record companies who refused to acknowledge the emergence of MP3s and digital media as a distribution model, and became almost irrelevant in the process.

Doing Rolling Updates for the past year-and-a-half has convinced us this approach is far superior to the huge yearly update—so much so, that for a limited time, we’ve made the bold decision to offer Lifetime Updates for SONAR Platinum, giving you all future SONAR updates for free.

Lifetime Updates shake up the mix even more, and offer a better way of doing business that benefits everyone. One great side effect is you get to help us improve SONAR during this process with your feedback and suggestions, creating a partnership with a common goal: You want to use the finest software in the world, and we want to create it.  That’s why we are doubling down by offering the opportunity to join us on this journey.

With SONAR Analytics now at our disposal, and a responsive feedback portal on its way, we’ll be monitoring your comments, feedback, and requests closely so we can respond quickly and ensure that your experience with SONAR is…awesome. At Cakewalk, we believe that there’s no better way to succeed than by having happy customers. It really is that simple.

SONAR OS X Alpha for Mac

OS X Compatibility Coming

What’s more, SONAR will soon be available to a brand new audience of music creators with our SONAR OS X Alpha, coming this Fall.

With Windows and Mac split almost evenly among musicians, it made no sense to ignore half the market—or ignore the numerous requests over the years from music creators who’ve wanted to experience SONAR’s superior workflow, audio quality, and tools on the Mac.

For PC users who wonder if we will keep up the same pace of Windows development, the answer is an emphatic “yes”—we will never give up our lineage as a Windows-based DAW.

Since our announcement, I’ve received many e-mail’s from industry peers showing genuine excitement about SONAR on the Mac. In fact, having more people using SONAR will benefit Cakewalk long-term and improve the product as a whole. However we are still in the early stages of the Mac development project, so please be patient :)

All of this may seem too good to be true, and some people wonder if there’s a catch. But we’ve put a lot of thought into how we can make changes that benefit everyone. Cakewalk has experienced a major rejuvenation, and we want nothing more than to continue what has brought us to this point. We love the new Rolling Updates model, and even many users who resisted the idea at first have become converts after experiencing the many benefits.

Welcome to a better way to produce and experience music software, and thank you for joining us on this journey of innovation and excitement. We couldn’t have gotten to where we are without you.

Thank you for reading.

Sincerely,

Noel Borthwick
CTO, Cakewalk

[Noel Borthwick started at Cakewalk 18 years ago and has actively contributed to SONAR development since its inception. He is also a jazz guitar player and a SONAR user.]

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HOW The Duke Western USES SONAR TO CREATE MUSIC FOR DUCK DYNASTY (AND MORE)

Here at Cakewalk we are fortunate to have an external team of rocket scientists who help test out SONAR beta releases.  This team is dedicated, passionate and most of all appreciated by all of us internally here at the Cake shop.  Recently I received a general email from one of my esteemed colleagues mentioning that one of our trustworthy beta soldiers was jumping off the beta-battlefield in lieu of another SONAR related activity.  Huh?  This peaked my curiosity and I felt obliged to dig a bit deeper on the subject.  What could “another SONAR related activity” involve?  SONAR Olympics? SONAR CPU Racing? SONAR Academy?

Featured Music Placements on Discovery Channel, History Channel, CBS, Bravo Network

(more…)

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How iLan Bluestone used SONAR Platinum on his new track “Bigger Than Love” (#1 on Beatport)

Just a few short years ago, we learned of a new up-and-coming artist who was using SONAR.  After introducing ourselves and learning more, the one thing that kept resonating were the infectious melodies and counterparts embedded into his tracks.  We were delighted to witness him working in SONAR, but at the same time very intrigued that he was using SONAR 8.5.

Soon after being in touch with iLan, we were able to catch up with him face to face in his studio just north of London for a night where we introduced SONAR X3 to him.  It was a fun night and very interesting to watch a pro’s reactions going from 8.5 to X3 considering that undoubtedly the platforms are truly different.  There were some moments of, “Whooaaah… that will save me a ton of time,” and there were moments of, “Ummm…that will take a while to get used to.”  Leaving iLan to his own devices we were really unsure where he would take it.

 

 

Toggling back and forth from 8.5 to X3 for a while, iLan finally found his stride with SONAR Platinum.  He told us, “After working on both 8.5 and X3, once I was on Platinum there was no going back.  The basic features alone like the smart tool and Mix Recall not only save me a lot of time, but allow me to create things I could not create in 8.5. With the amount of tracks I create and pace of my workflow, the fact that Platinum is rock solid and really fast means everything to me.  8.5 always allowed me to ‘not’ sound like everyone else in my genre, and Platinum just continues that path for me.”  iLan’s first full production in SONAR Platinum titled “Bigger Than Love,” a collaboration with singer/songwriter/artist Giuseppe de Luca was recently released on Anjunabeats and quickly found its way up the charts to the #1 spot on Beatport.

(more…)

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Completing the RPM Challenge with SONAR

RPM Challenge

Every February, a group of folks who can be described as ambitious, crazy, or some combination of the two undertake a challenge that few of us have ever considered. The challenge itself, at least in description, is simple. In twenty-eight days, or twenty-nine in this case, an album must be written and recorded in its entirety. Pre-existing material is not considered eligible, nor are covers. Yet despite this seemingly insurmountable workload, this challenge grows in participation by the year.

The challenge in question is known as the RPM Challenge. Created by the New Hampshire alternative newspaper The Wire in 2006, the RPM Challenge has proven year after year to be an irresistible hurdle for an ever-growing number of songwriters. After giving them some time to rest, we spoke with some SONAR users who participated in the 2016 edition of the challenge to get their take on the experience.

RPM Challenge SONAR Album 1Matt O’Grady participated with his project, The Wasted Miracles. Citing an immense amount of support from the RPM community via their forums and blogs, Matt has actually participated in multiple RPM Challenges. He finds the process to be exhausting (fair enough) but also incredibly rewarding. “Even the years in which I haven’t completed the challenge, I’ve walked away with one or two more songs than I normally would have,” he added.

Gary Fox also took part, and as someone who thrives under pressure he particularly enjoyed the tail end of the process. “I enjoy the marathon recording sessions of the very end. This tends be when the random moments of inspiration happen, where an idea for a part of song just kind of occurs that make the entire song,” he said, adding that after conferring with fellow RPM participants that this is a common experience. (more…)

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Create the trailer for Just Cause 3

Do you think you have what it takes to create the Just Cause 3 Launch Trailer? Now is your chance to prove it! Show us what you can do in a one to two-minute video. Square Enix is giving you complete freedom to come up with your own unique trailer, and the winner will become the official Just Cause 3 launch trailer!

Download the free, fully-functional SONAR Steam Edition demo and enter for a chance to win a Gibson music studio kit, including prizes from Cakewalk, Tascam, Neat Microphones and Epiphone – and a top spec gaming PC-rig!. Submission deadline is November 12th, 2015.

Visit the official Just Cause 3 Trailer Contest page

Here’s an example video that SoundtRec created using SONAR Steam Edition: (download the actual SONAR Project File to see how it was created)

Plus don’t forget to check out SONAR Steam Edition, now available on Steam!

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What Windows 10 Means for Music Creators

Windows 10 is here, and our trusted code-commanders have been working closely with Microsoft to ensure an enhanced experience for our valued Cakewalk community.  Our benchmark testing has shown the new operating system to be very efficient with a lighter footprint.  In general, Windows 10 has outperformed Windows 8 in all of our tests in terms of performance and efficiency.  Subjectively speaking, the “look and feel” of this free upgrade is a much welcomed improvement over the “Metro” landscape of the previous operating system.  But what does this mean for music creators?

1.)    More responsive: Out of the gate people will notice a much snappier operating system.  The tweaks Microsoft made to the kernel and other parts of the OS in general have given it a responsive overhaul.

2.)    Upgrade ease:  Moving into Windows 10 is a very quick and easy upgrade.

3.)    Unified OS:  The best elements of Win 7, Win 8, and Win 8.1 have been combined into a streamlined experience with Win 10.  Store Apps and Desktop Apps seamlessly run side by side for a smooth universal experience.

4.)    New MIDI API available across all devices:  The new API allows multi-client access to single MIDI hardware and new jitter-free operation.  Microsoft worked hard on bringing this all together for better MIDI implementation.

5.)    Enhancements to the kernel: Microsoft has made changes in the multimedia scheduler and kernel components to minimize spikes – this can make a big difference in low-latency streaming apps like SONAR.

6.)    FLAC and ALAC Support:  Windows 10 has native support for these two codecs.  Both “Apple Lossless Audio Codec” and FLAC  could mean great things for Windows audio moving forward.

7.)    Much faster boot-time:  A lower footprint in memory combined with some new optimization techniques will get you up and running and making music faster than ever.

8.)    Runs smoother on older machines:  The lower memory footprint and optimization tweaks will also allow Win 10 to run more efficiently on older machines.  This is great news for Wn 7 users who never upgraded to Win 8.

9.)    Lower Latency:  15ms lower roundtrip latency using WASAPI (shared mode).

10.)  Core isolation: Drivers and applications can now isolate and dedicate low latency audio processing to a single CPU core.  This can minimize the effect of DPC latency spiking from networking, Bluetooth, or other DPC spiking processes by preventing interruptions to audio processing.

At Cakewalk, we are dedicated to staying on the forefront of technology.  Our CTO (featured below) and his team worked closely with Microsoft to make sure our products run smoothly on Windows 10.  We are very excited about this free update, and highly recommend it to our customers. Try SONAR with Windows 10 today for the ultimate music creation experience.

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How Norman Matthew and Murder FM got their Recent Record Deal (Sony/RED)

Congratulations to SONAR user Norman Matthew and his band Murder FM for their first major-affiliated record released just last week.  Entitled Happily Neverafter, the 12 song full-length album was tracked mostly in SONAR over a period of time.  As many commercial records these days, this recording project started out as a demo and then as fate would have it, ended up in the hands of a label and a real-deal mixer (Famous/Sony Red and Beau Hill).

Murder FM have been on the fence about signing with different labels over the years since they debuted a video on http://www.revolvermag.com that shot out of nowhere.   In 2013, the track/video “We the Evil” took over the top spots surpassing major label artists next to Rob Zombie, and projected the band into the public eye as well as the industry eye.  The video alone had 150k views within a short time of it being released and is now up to 320k globally.

Finally, and recently, the band found the right label partner with Famous Records Global (Sony/Red) and the final touches were made which includes a death-defying remix of the focus-single-track by Tommy Lee of Motley Crue.  Interestingly enough, many of the tracks mixed by Beau Hill on the record were created by Norman in his SONAR studio stemming from demos he created over the years.

“SONAR allowed me to capture a lot of great moments where there was really no need to go back to the drawing board.”

Already sharing stages with bands such as Black Veil Brides, Orgy, Halestorm, Powerman 5000, Young Guns, Korn, The Used, The Birthday Massacre, Sick Puppies, Trapt, Rob Zombie, Deftones, Avatar, Five Finger Death Punch, and The Pretty Reckless to name just a few, they embark on touring in support of the new record for the rest of 2015.  As MFM supports their first official global release distributed by Sony/Red, the future is wide open and arena rock will live and breathe again in the fiery form of Murder FM!

For more information on Murder FM visit http://www.murderfmmusic.com

The all new SONAR comes in 3 different versions and can truly help you to create your own artist story.  Click here to try SONAR for free

Last week’s interview on 97.1 The Eagle/Dallas

We the Evil Official Video

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Cakewalk Participates at the New Music Seminar: June 22/23 NYC

Cakewalk and Gibson Brands will be participating in the New Music Seminar this week, so if you happen to be in NYC please make sure to stop in and say hello.  The New Music Seminar is one of the most prestigious music conferences in the United States, and is held annually each June in New York City.  It originally ran from 1980 – 1995 and was re-launched in 2009 with great reception by the music community. The conference features over 150 CEOs, Presidents, Executives, and leaders in the emerging music business along with over 100 artist performances. The mission of the New Music Seminar is to grow a sustainable and better music business to allow creators the best opportunity to succeed. The NMS strives to enable more artists to achieve success and encourages new levels of investment in music and artists.

Please join Cakewalk and Gibson Brands at New Music Seminar:

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Monday June 22, 2015 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
How to Train Your Computer to be a Songwriting Partner
Gibson Showroom
421 W 54th Studio 5
New York, NY 10019

Come join a private in-studio session at the Gibson Showroom [Cakewalk] Studio 5 NYC:  In a world of zeros and ones, where does the computer fit into traditional songwriting? Songwriter/producer, Mark Hudson, (“Living on the Edge,” Aerosmith – amongst other hits) and digital pioneer, Craig Anderton, along with producer/songwriter Jimmy R. Landry will interactively cover new approaches to songwriting for the modern-day musician.

 

 

 

Tuesday June 23, 2015 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Leveraging The Relationship: Artist and Brand Alignment:
Gramercy Park Suite
Wyndham New Yorker Hotel
481 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001

With the shifting paradigm of the music industry and how artists engage with fans, the importance of relationship management is more imperative than ever. What’s the protocol for artists approaching companies and brands, and once that relationship is established how can it be leveraged for the benefit of both? This panel will dive into strategic plans for artists looking for endorsements and partnerships, while also dissecting past examples that have resulted in success.

Conductor: Jimmy Landry (Head of Artist and Public Relations, Gibson Brands)

Players: Perry Greenspan (Director of Strategy, Platinum Rye Entertainment), Elliot A. Resnick, Esq. (Attorney at Law, SAHWH, LLP), Aimee Berger (Founder/Partner Camplified/ItACampThing, Primary Wave Entertainment), Amaechi Uzoigwe (Manager, RUN THE JEWELS), Ryan Fitch (VP Sync Licensing & Brand Partnerships, MAC Presents)

 

Tuesday 2:30 pm – 2:45 pm  - NMS Intensive:

Grand Ballroom
Wyndham New Yorker Hotel
481 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001

Hi-Res Audio: So What?

Conductor: Craig Anderton (Executive Vice President, Evangelist, Gibson)

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SONAR User Norman Matthew brings in CJ Pierce of DROWNING POOL to his “Sound Foundation” Music School

SONAR Platinum user Norman Matthew of Murder FM has been making some serious musical strides on many fronts.  Since touring internationally and becoming a new dad wasn’t enough, he decided to open a “School of Rock” so to speak in what tiny bit of spare time he could squeeze.  ”The Sound Foundation” which houses SONAR Platinum at the core, is based on teaching kids the side of music that one generally will not learn in a class room.  ”This is about teaching kids how to find their heart and spirit through music,” Norman told me at #Namm2015 when we caught up for a bit.  ”The changes I see in the confidence of these kids through the process is amazing.  Each student is treated uniquely to identify exactly what is needed to reach their musical goals.  What happens throughout that process is simply magical to witness, and really what makes this place so special.  SONAR is a big part of this place.  These kids love it and recording some great music on their own thanks to the simplicity of the program.”

Quite frankly, The Sound Foundation is picking up where the labels are falling short on the Artist Development side of the coin.  Since the fall of the Major Label system, the words “Artist Development” are rarely heard.  A lot of people don’t realize that a good amount of money that was coming into the labels back-in-the-day was going right back into developing new artists.  Labels were actually gambling on 150k deals here and there knowing that 1 out of 5 newly signed artists may break long term.  Those days are long gone, and this is where people like Norman Matthew are picking up the slack.

This model is working, and to drive home the point Norman has recently brought on CJ Pierce of Platinum selling Artist DROWNING POOL to join The Sound Foundation.  ”This is a big deal for me.  I have always had so much respect for CJ and Drowning Pool – and to have a guy of this caliber involved with our program is priceless.”

CBS Dallas has bought into Norman’s educational process and ran a piece on The Sound Foundation today:


The Ford Company has also taken notice of Norman’s work ethic and has featured The Sound Foundation on Episode #1 of their Good Works Series:

For more information on The Sound Foundation visit http://www.thesoundfoundationdallas.com/

For more information on the new SONAR family visit https://www.cakewalk.com/products/SONAR/

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How SONAR user Bobbi Tammaro won a SESAC award over many Major Label Artists

Respect and credibility

A few weeks ago SESAC announced their 2013 Jazz Award recipients, and SONAR X3 user Bobbi “Funkeeboy” Tommaro was one of the well-deserved artists on the list.  I have been fortunate to get to know Bobbi in the last few years on and off the SONAR playing-field, and the first word that comes to mind is “respect.”  These days considering the state of the music industry, the word respect has more meaning than ever and Bobbi has earned it from his music peers along with just about everyone else that hears his story.  Besides respect, he has earned much credibility in the Smooth Jazz world from being a repeat-offender on the Billboard charts as an independent artist.

Bobbi who is also PKA “Funkee Boy” has amassed an impressive amount of credits throughout his music career. At the young age of 15 he was already making a name for himself winning the Connecticut State Organ Championship and also opening for national acts such as Spyro Gyra.  As he progressed he scored numerous chart hits across multiple music genres, as well as, several top Billboard chart hits/Top 5 Smooth Jazz hits, and licensing deals on television networks such as ABC, FOX, NBC, CBS, SHOWTIME, VH1, etc.

Before making his own records his music has [and continues to in terms of residuals] appear on some of the most popular and well respected shows ever such as Beverly Hills 90210, General Hospital, All My Children, Sunset Beach, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, Love Boat, One Life To Live, Young & The Restless, They Call Me Sirr, Soul Food.  Stepping out from behind the scenes as a songwriter/producer & into the forefront as a Smooth Jazz Artist, Bobbi’s track record progressed and continued to impress.

Most recently, starting off 2014 by releasing his 3rd CD “Soul Purpose”, the smooth jazz keyboardist/producer combined his talents with assembling a stellar line up of A-List recording artists. The newest award-winning record “Soul Purpose” features guest appearances from Warren Hill, Najee, Bob Baldwin, Cindy Bradley, Nick Colionne, LEILA, Surface, Lamone, Timmy Maia, Tevin Michael and more!!!

Chalk one up for the hard working jugglers. 

A few key elements set Bobbi apart from the pack that keeps him successful.  The obvious one is the raw talent of songwriting and performing his instrument, but if you go a few levels deeper, you will find a multi-instrumentalist, producer, mixing and mastering engineer.  Peeling back a few more layers exposes an organized machine who literally “does not need a label” to hit the Billboard Top 5 Smooth Jazz Chart.  In fact Bobbi has had many labels approach him and has respectfully declined any offers to do business.  Why?… because he has cracked the code and found a formula that works for himself as an independent artist competing in the major leagues.

It’s not easy

Hitting the Top 5 on any Billboard Chart is not an easy thing to do.  Besides the songs and production alone (which he does ALL in SONAR INCLUDING Mastering), Bobbi also has to oversee the efforts for Radio Promotion, Publicity, Social Media, Sales and Marketing.  If you ask me, this is a very rare skill-set to have as an artist considering just the time it takes alone to write and record a [great] full length record.  Bobbi does have help from his wife Leila who is also a very credible artist, and the two of them seem to have a great formula for getting the music out to the masses as if they were a Major Label.

Cakewalk:          It’s pretty amazing that you do so much to get your music out, can you describe the short-form version of a typical record release?

Bobbi Tammaro:            Sure, it’s hard to keep it short form because so much goes into it… So here goes (more…)

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