image Music software maker Cakewalk is now “Cakewalk by Roland” after Roland acquired a majority stake in the company. While the new logo raised a few eyebrows around the show floor, especially after full acquisitions of Steinberg and Emagic by Yamaha and Apple, respectively, this deal is more of a smaller evolution than a big change. Cakewalk’s history has been intertwined with Roland’s since the early days of its first sequencer — founder and CEO Greg Hendershott talked with us over the summer about those early days and noted early versions relied on and were even engineered specifically around Roland’s MPU-401 MIDI interface. Formal business collaborations began as early as 1995, with a specific commitment in 2003 to work on joint products and an investment by Roland.

The message from Cakewalk: it’s not a buyout, but you should be able to expect some joint hardware/software products in 2008. (What form that’ll take, they’re not saying yet.)

Greg posts a letter to customers on the Cakewalk website. The bits you won’t want to miss:

Although Roland now owns a bigger share of Cakewalk, they didn’t acquire the whole company. Cakewalk is not becoming a “division” of Roland. On the contrary, we remain committed to developing stand-alone software, as well as hardware/software products…

Our discussion forum will remain open. You will have the same high level of technical support and customer service you have come to expect from Cakewalk. And furthermore, we will stay committed to our belief in open standards, collaboration with other leaders in our industry, and not using intrusive copy protection.

Cakewalk has some additional resources, but mostly things seem not to be changing significantly. We got to hang around the Cakewalk booth a bit today, and it was mostly business as usual. The big question is what these joint projects look like — we’ll have to see later this year.

  • Jonas

    Can you define "majority stake"?

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Jonas: I haven't seen numbers, but majority stake means more then 50% ownership… so it's more than 50%, less than 100%. Greater than 50% ownership gives you control, so that's the magic threshold. In other words, Cakewalk isn't a division of Roland, but it is now accurate to say that Roland owns a "controlling" stake in Cakewalk.

  • dead_red_eyes

    Since Roland is now their majority stock holder, Calkwalk is now it's bitch.

  • Adrian Anders

    As long as they let Cakewalk do its thing with innovation, reasonable pricing, user-friendly copy protection, and continued support for WinXP I'm cool with them being owned by Roland. Let's just hope they don't pull a Sony with Cakewalk (people who remember Sonic Foundry will know what I'm talking about).

  • http://csound.wordpress.com T Scott

    Of course, the worst example of this is "Opcode by Gibson" where Gibson basically took the company out and shot it after buying it.

    Some nice business strategizin' there, Lou.

    I don't think Roland is that clueless. They (partly? mostly?) took over Edirol which seems to maintain its own independent flavor…

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