MakeMusic Acquires Garritan…..still behind the competition

This was sort of a shock, but I guess it is to be expected.

Minneapolis – December 20, 2011 – MakeMusic, Inc. (NASDAQ: MMUS) today announced it has signed an agreement to acquire Garritan Corporation, the world’s leading provider of software musical instruments. Under the terms of the agreement, Garritan Corporation will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of MakeMusic. Founder Gary Garritan will be joining MakeMusic as director of instrumental sciences. Closing is subject to customary conditions and is expected to occur within the next few weeks.

Garritan was not included in the last release of Sibelius. I have used Garritan sounds in the past, and still use them. However, I think they have been eclipsed by a lot of the new libraries out. Avid includes a wealth of instruments with the latest ProTools, and Logic 9 includes excellent sounds as well. Basically, Garritan wasn’t keeping up with competition, and relying on it’s proprietary Aria player. Heck, on the product page it heralds that it works with Finale 2009/2010 (they are on 2012 now) and Microsoft Songsmith (yeah… one knows or cares about that).

I suppose this makes sense for MakeMusic as it has continually added Garritan sounds to each version of Finale for several years now. Now they own it, and can bundle it with Finale for a lesser cost (assuming). And MakeMusic’s other recent acquisition of Recordare, the maker of MusicXML I’m not sure exactly what they are thinking. This is more like a bandage on major wound.

Finale hasn’t lead in the music notation area for several years. I think the last time I’d consider them “leading” was when they introduced Linked Parts in Finale 2006 (I think? Or 2007?) which was much better than Sibelius’s implementation. Since then, they haven’t really broken any ground with new features, nor really improve or fix existing features. They do like to reintroduce things they fix as new features, such as last version (or was it this version) when they had the new note spacing, which was essentially a fixed version of the note spacing they introduced years ago.

What should they do? They NEED to put Finale in the Mac App store. Get themselves noticed. Lower the price as well. $199 for the full version. Sibelius is not in the App store…….yet. They should at least have Finale Notepad there. Or something. Time is ticking. As soon as Sibelius is in the Mac App store, I’d say it would be game over.

They couldn’t put SmartMusic in there because of Apple’s subscription guidelines for Apps and Subscriptions. Though that would be WAY better than the subscription system they use now for SmartMusic (which sucks ballz). The drum teacher where I teach at has frequent problems with SmartMusic forgetting it’s subscription status.

MakeMusic ALSO needs some sort of iOS app. Again, a version of Notepad for iPad. Or a viewer of Finale files sorta like what Avid Scorch. I’d love to see them do something like Notion…..but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

I don’t know. I really wonder about MakeMusic’s future. Sibelius? Not worried. They are owned by Avid. Avid is making a lot of good stuff right now, though they need to lower the upgrade price to ProTools 10 ($499? WTF?). I wonder what happens the day MakeMusic decides to close and my 10,000+ Finale files are in limbo. I really wish Sibelius would just OPEN Finale Files. I’d switch then.

One thought on “MakeMusic Acquires Garritan…..still behind the competition”

  1. I found this link in my RSS reader today. Seems to hold some of the opinions I have on the whole MakeMusic buying companies.

    Lets go point by point.

    1. I still don’t see the point of buying Recordare. Sibelius, once upon a time, COULD convert Finale files into Sibelius. I think Sibelius knows it is ahead/has won the notation wars and simply doesn’t care about supporting people who use Finale and want to convert their files into Sibelius.

    2. Sibelius (Avid) doesn’t need Garritan anymore. They have their own sound libraries acquired by M-Audio. In the case of Garritan, they lost a huge revenue stream. And they really are not a top notch player in the sample library wars. 5 years ago? Yes, they were. Now? No….with Kontakt going for so cheap and sounding better and better each release… the plethora of other libraries out now. I think MakeMusic saw that if Garritan was going to be bought or go under, they would be faced with higher licensing fees. And Garritan pretty much needed someone to buy them. I still don’t see Recordare as being a good buy for MakeMusic. Avid (Sibelius) could drop their support for it anytime.

    3. Avid didn’t need either Garritan or Recordare.

    4. Ok, MuseScore looks good. BUT…..there is no support for it, and it probably will, at some point, be sued by MakeMusic and/or Sibelius for some sort of look and feel or some patent for something. And either one will if they see that they are losing customers to it. Then what? It’s sort of like everyone say “This is the year of Linux”. Still waiting for that……and pigs to fly

    5. Totally. MakeMusic sounds for SmartMusic sound like 90s video games. Bad 90s video games. And they won’t let you use Garritan sounds even if you own Finale. I’d HOPE they would include Garritan sounds, but somehow I don’t see it happening. MakeMusic is really moving towards the MP3 of the song downloaded route…..for better or worse. The legacy midi type accompaniments will be phased out at some point I think.

    6. There is NO sign at all MakeMusic is interested in tablets. Avid is. Other companies are. MakeMusic…..nada. Heck, I think for SmartMusic they should allow purchases and printing of songs in there. But no…..that isn’t supported either. Another revenue stream and competitive advantage lost.

    Future purchases? No, what they need to do is get their Mac products into the App store. They need to do like what Apple has done with Logic. Lower the price and make it downloadable. SmartMusic needs to be fixed…..the interface is still horrible. Fix and refine their existing products should be the top priority.

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