Ableton acquires Max for Live developer Cycling ‘74
Huge news for Ableton Live users.
Ableton has acquired Cycling ‘74, the team behind Max/MSP – one of the world’s most popular visual programming languages for building software instruments.
The news was delivered by Ableton co-founder Gerhard Behles and Cycling ‘74 founder David Zicarelli in an interview with CDM, explaining that the deal will enable closer collaboration between the two parties.
It’s not yet clear what the partnership will mean for their respective products, but the two companies have been working closely for a long time. Ableton Live was built by Behles and former Monolake partner Robert Henke using Max patches they’d developed as inspiration. Since then, Cycling ‘74 has developed Max for Live, a tool allows anyone to create instruments for the Live environment such as Henrik Schwarz’s Schwarzonator.
Detailing the partnership in the interview, Zicarelli says: “The fact that we did it as two independent organizations is an incredibly rare and special thing. Gerhard and I have [regularly] had this discussion, what would it mean if we were playing on the same team?
“We would have opportunities of making the experience of using Max and Live together more integrated, that we’ve resisted because we were independent organizations.”
“From the perspective of how we would work together, it’s really exciting for our team to have all these people to talk to now. How can we do this together and think holistically about what’s in the best interest of the person actually using this technology?”
According to Behles and Zicarelli, nothing will change with regards to Live and Max for the time being. “It’s not like anybody has an imminent need for changing stuff,” Behles says. “There’s no urgency or calamity that we need to fix. It’s really about opportunity for us – on both sides.”
The most logical result of Ableton acquiring Cycling ‘74 would be deeper Max integration within Live itself. Currently, Max for Live is currently an optional add-on that has to be purchased as part of the more expensive Live suite, but Live 10, when it does arrive, could see the Max for Live toolbox reaching more users than ever before.
Ableton’s annual Loop summit takes place in Berlin this year from November 10-12 – it seems possible that more details of their new partnership could emerge then.