Our Collaboration with Ableton


At this year’s Musikmesse, Ableton announced it has entered into a strategic partnership with Cycling ’74 to develop new products. You can read Ableton’s story about this partnership here.

I wanted to share my perspective on what this partnership will mean (as well as what it will not mean) for Cycling ’74 users.

First, I want to emphasize that we are speaking about a relationship that will produce new products by integrating the two companies’ technologies. We aren’t making any announcement of what the products are at this point, but I can say that we’ve already started the work to create them, and we know what we are going to do! Cycling ’74 is an engineering-driven company and we typically don’t spend a lot of time talking to other companies unless it has something to do with product development that we think is worth doing.

Second, the thing we are making with Ableton is not going to replace Max/MSP/Jitter. In fact, we are hard at work on a new version of Max (version 5) that will be most significant and dramatic transformation of the software in its twenty-year history. As I said in the Ableton story, we have been strongly influenced by Ableton’s attention to detail in the Live user experience, and I think you will see that influence reflected in Max 5. But, just to make sure you understand, Max 5 is not the project we are doing with Ableton.

Finally, I recognize that while all of our users are trying to do something out of the ordinary with digital media, there are an incredible variety of materials, approaches, and aesthetics represented. Cycling ’74 is a small company and with our limited resources, we are making an attempt as best we can to provide tools to cover as many creative approaches as we can. But we’ll never be able to do everything for everyone. We try to get around this cold hard reality in two ways. First, we try to make our software open, flexible, and extensible. But the second way we try to address the needs of our community is by collaborating with others and trying to address as many standards as we can. With each new standard we support, we extend our community to include a new group of people who can benefit from what Max has to offer. This is what I hope to accomplish with our collaboration with Ableton. Besides the opportunity to work with a great company full of incredibly smart people, when the project is finished, Cycling ’74 will start to gain some new friends, and we will give our old friends access to some powerful new tools and approaches.