SONAR to success: Cakewalk lives again thanks to BandLabs

In the fast moving world of digital audio production, longevity isn’t usually a common feature. The fact that computer-based music production only really took off in the mid-2000s means it’s easy to forget that music software has existed as long as desktop computers. Right there in the early days of 1987, you could find the Cakewalk sequencer, the grand-daddy of the powerful DAWs you see today.

Over the years, Cakewalk has turned into a company in its own right, evolving into SONAR, with the company ultimately getting bought out by Singapore-based Bandlab Technologies in February. Since then, the future of the Cakewalk brand, as well as the software itself has been in doubt… until now.

Relaunched as Cakewalk by BandLab, the production software is now a free download for Windows users, and comes with added support for Microsoft’s flagship Surface studio hardware.

Here’s the press release:

SINGAPORE, 4 APRIL 2018 — Today, BandLab Technologies launched early access to ‘Cakewalk by BandLab’ – replacing SONAR, the iconic DAW developed by Cakewalk Inc. This highly anticipated product release follows BandLab Technologies’ announcement just last month that it had acquired all of Cakewalk’s IP and certain assets from Gibson Brands.

The new successor to the legendary DAW is available to download for free now at The revived DAW includes all core premium features of SONAR Platinum such as the award-winning Skylight user interface, flexible ProChannel modules, and powerful end-to-end 64-bit mix engine.

CEO of BandLab Technologies, Meng Ru Kuok said, “We are excited to be able to continue development of SONAR in its new guise as Cakewalk by BandLab and have an aggressive feature development roadmap ahead. We are making the software completely free to use to ensure that anyone, regardless of their resources, technology or stage in their career, can have access to the highest level of professional music production tools. This is part of our ongoing effort to empower musicians to make and share their music around the world. Professional products like Cakewalk are essential to those who make their living in music production and the natural next step for musicians who use platforms like BandLab to simplify their creative and collaborative process. We are very excited by the potential of Cakewalk by BandLab and think that many creators will benefit from access to a professional DAW with a long history of empowering music makers.”

Cakewalk by BandLab will continue SONAR’s track record of world-leading innovation for creatives using Microsoft Windows. Pete Brown, from Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, said “We’re thrilled that Cakewalk has found a new home with a company that understands the musician community, and that cares sincerely about digital audio production. Cakewalk has been a great partner, working to make their DAW better for their customers by quickly adopting new Windows features like pen, Bluetooth MIDI, multi-touch, Dial, and more. We look forward to working closely with BandLab to continue this innovation.” Cakewalk by BandLab will support pen, touch and Surface Dial throughout the user interface.

The Windows version of Cakewalk by BandLab is available to download now. For more information visit

About BandLab Technologies

BandLab Technologies is a collective of global music brands with a vision to connect the world of music. Together, our brands share a passion. We’re driven by integrating the physical, digital and social supply chain, to enable better experiences, opportunities, and connections for all music lovers.

BandLab, the group’s flagship digital product, is a social music platform that enables creators to make music and share the creative process with other musicians and fans. Other notable brands within the portfolio include Rolling Stone, the world’s leading voice in pop culture and music since 1967, MONO, an award-winning music lifestyle product company, and Swee Lee, Asia’s leading online retailer and distributor of musical instruments and pro-audio brands.

Established in 2016, BandLab Technologies is headquartered in Singapore. For more information about BandLab by Cakewalk, visit

SONAR to success: Cakewalk lives again thanks to BandLabs

My take

I must confess to never having even tried any Cakewalk software, but it’s had a long and distinguished life, even with getting passed round multiple owners over the years. The question remains whether there’s a place for the software in modern production. From the fierce competition in the marketplace, to the ever evolving technology, BandLab has a lot to prove.

The first question that comes to mind is “if this is free, where will they make their money?”. My guess is they’ll go for a freemium business model, with the base product as a freebie, and the ability to buy add ons in a pick n mix manner to suit your needs. In the end, a big factor in the success will be just how aggressively they embrace that model, with too much monetisation no doubt alienating a lot of potential spenders.

Your take

Are you excited about The relaunch of Cakewalk? Do you think it can compete in the modern DAW market?

The brand new Cakewalk by BandLab is a free download for Windows users, out now.

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