Two Musical Minds Melt To One: Ableton Acquires Cycling ’74 (Creator of Max & Max For Live)

SYNTH ANATOMY uses affiliation & partner programs (big red buttons) to finance a part of the activity. If you use these, you support the website. Thanks! 

To be really successful nowadays, you don’t need only a perfect product but also sufficient money. A company like Ableton from Berlin has proven in the past that they can develop high-quality products (hardware and software) and can survive on the music market. It looks different in software companies, which possesses a very niche product which is not completely aimed at the market. Such products certainly have a strong meaning in the market, but are not sold as extremely much as, for example, Live by Ableton. One of these companies is Cycling ’74, the creators of the modular creative kit Max and Max for Live.

Such companies are always exposed to monetary problems because they are relatively small and are always under pressure by other companies with similar products. To be stronger on the market, Ableton today announced the acquirement of Cycling’74. Already in the past, both companies work together in several projects and know each other very good. 

In my opinion, a logical decision of both companies since Cycling’74 can continue to develop Max further without leaving behind in the idea of whether one still exists in one or two years. At the moment, the music software market is relatively straightforward. Either one is relatively successful with some products and can last longer on the market. However, if you are very talented and successful on a long-term basis, almost always big companies like Apple, Native instruments or Ableton will knock on the door to buy the companies. 

Camel Audio has been a great example in the past years of how successful independent software companies have been bought up. Similarly for the founders of Max. Although what you read from the interview with Peter Kirn, it was in this case no especially a monetary reason but more to strengthen the cooperation of both companies. It will be worthwhile to check the future of this acquirement and how Ableton Live can profit more from this technology. 

It can be that an Ableton 10 is deepened even deeper with Max / Max for live but there is my personal presentation as I see the future cooperation of both companies. I think the future of Ableton will be very interesting. Check out below the open letter of the Cycling’74 founder David Zicarelli.
On behalf of my co-workers at Cycling ’74, I am pleased to share the news of our acquisition by our good friends at Ableton. Above all, the primary goal with this new partnership is continuity, which is probably not what you typically think when you hear about acquisitions. But this is not a typical acquisition. Cycling ’74 and Ableton have a long relationship going back to the very first years of both companies in the late 1990s. Over the years, I have come to appreciate that we both share the same obsession: the incredibly hard problem of creative workflow, or how can you use technology to make something out of nothing?Making a dent in this problem requires both imagination and persistence. The obvious case in point is Max for Live. It wasn’t long after I saw the first demo of Ableton Live from Robert Henke that he told me how cool it would be if you could make Live devices with Max. From that glimmer of an idea, it would be ten years before we released the first version of Max for Live in 2009. This unlikely partnership not only added extensibility to Live, but it gave Max an important new dimension as well.

While we share a long-term commitment to improving how artists can work with technology, we also recognize that each organization works a bit differently. For example, Cycling ’74 people work from home in many different places in the world, while most Ableton employees work in an office in Berlin. Therefore, Ableton and Cycling ’74 will continue to operate independently, while we look for ways to collaborate and support each other. Perhaps most importantly, all of your friends here (including me) will be working as usual to serve the Max community, just as we have for the past 19 years. This is in no way an “exit” for me but rather an opportunity for us to continue pursuing some very challenging and exciting work that I believe will have a major impact on the world.

Check out here the CDM interview with Gerhard Behles (CEO of Ableton) and David Zicarelli (Cycling’74) Interview

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.