Homegrown music tech

It's no surprise that a Berlin company, Bitwig, delivers one of the most highly anticipated pieces of music technology of the year, a digital audio workstation that might be making developers over at Berlin-based Ableton nervous.

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Blood, sweat, tears, founding members leaving, being basically broke… that’s how Bitwig CEO Placidus Schelbert describes the experience of building a product from scratch in the current climate of the music technology industry. On the market since March, the Prenzlauer Berg company’s DAW (digital audio workstation) software was one of the most highly anticipated releases of this year. Why all the hype? It might have something to do with its founding developers leaving what they called their “comfort zones” at Berlin-based industry giant Ableton (the standard tool used by electronic musicians and beat makers worldwide) to go it alone… as well as the fact that it has taken almost eight years to develop, something that Bitwig is immensely proud of considering their competitors take half that time just to create updates for their current products.

Why do we need yet another DAW, and why should we part with €299 of our hard earned cash for it, especially when Ableton’s intro pack is only €79? Despite recent accusations from some users that Bitwig is merely a re-hash of Ableton’s layout, producers the world over are already migrating (or considering to migrate) from their respected programs in favour of the now affectionately dubbed “new kid in town” for its ease of use, exciting new functions and its availability for Linux, filling a gap in the market that no other major DAW has done up until now. That all this is happening within the very first incarnation of Bitwig from a team of roughly 20 members should be enough to make the fatcats over at Ableton squirm in their seemingly all-too-comfy seats a little.

Bitwig | www.bitwig.com

Originally published in issue #131, October 2014.