back to article Audacity 'scared and excited' to be bought and brought under Muse Group's roof, promises to stay free and open source

Veteran audio editor Audacity has been purchased by Muse Group, although its new management has pledged to keep the platform free and open source. An explanatory video was posted by Martin Keary (aka Tantacrul) at MuseScore, the content of which was confirmed by the Audacity team over the weekend. "We're scared and excited," …

  1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Is this good news?

    If it allows Audacity to continue free, or nearly so, that would be great but usually a sale like this results in the application bing wrecked as a commercial tool ...

    1. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: Is this good news?

      Worst case, it can be forked from the last version that uses the current license.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: Is this good news?

        forked, yes, but MuseScore is alrady an open source application (at least was, it was in FreeBSD ports last i checked and builds from source as far as I know).

        So the company may very well make their money selling plugins and things like that [I'll have to investigate but I believe it is the case] and audacity might be a "value add" for already paid for things. I suspect it will go well.

        Oracle still supports open source Virtual Box... yeah, who knew?

        1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: Is this good news?

          In the case of Musescore they cashed in by making subscription-only all the thousands of scores which had been created and submitted for free by users of "Evil bastards" doesn't begin to describe these people. Audacity is fucked.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is this good news?

        This story first surface on Reddit. Reddit has concerned users and forking seem a viable option.

    2. Mark 65

      Re: Is this good news?

      They vowed to keep the product free, but not "ad free". Just pointing out the alternate payment mechanism.

  2. wolfetone Silver badge

    "Make it look less Windows 95, for the love of god"

    Why? It works.

    1. karlkarl Silver badge

      Agreed. They really think Windows 10 or macOS looks "better"? They look tacky and naff!

      1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

        I still have an old MacBook running Snow Leopard. Using that is way preferable to any Mac that came afterwards, in the same way that Windows 7 is much friendlier than later versions of Windows.

        Now, when it comes to iOS... every time I see an iOS 6 phone in a movie I almost cry. The beauty we lost...

    2. DarkwavePunk

      Utterly agree. Please keep controls visually distinct from display content. That goes for any program really.

      As an aside, I didn't even realise there was a new Audacity version out. Might give it a look but my 2.whatever still does the job. Not like I'm going to chuck out my BOSS ME-80 just because there's something newer and "cool".

      1. Spoonsinger

        That "One user"...

        was a Twitter comment. Maybe if another user with a different view posted a twatter comment the articles author could update the piece to reflect the diverse and varied views available on the subject.

      2. PerlyKing

        Re: 3.0

        The big feature for me was that Lame is now included, so I didn't have to install it separately when my daughter wanted to use Audacity :-)

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Plus, the Win '95 look is 3D skeuomorphic, not 2D FLATTY FLATSO like Chrome, Firefox with Australis, Win 8/10, newer KDE, nearly all of the themes for gnome 3, yotta yotta. "Not Modern". But I digress...

      I *LOVE* 3D Skeuomorphic look - YES!!! Let's hope it STAYS!

  3. Plest Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Cash is a powerful motivator

    I think we'll see a "community edition" with most features and a Professional (read: paid ) edition.

    1. MacroRodent

      Re: Cash is a powerful motivator

      I think Audacity is popular enough that if they tried anything objectionable, there would soon be a fork. The Audacity-specific code is licensed under GPL, and it includes components with various other open-source licenses.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Cash is a powerful motivator

        It all depends on the developers who want to take up the work. This kind of sale is often because the original ones don't have the time, energy or inclination.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Cash is a powerful motivator

      well I wouldn't expect that, but again, forking is still an option... if you don't like community v pro.

      I expect pay-for on the plugin side. that's where they can really make money if they want. make the thing that USES the plugins free, and the plugins cheap enough, and it'll work.

    3. Alumoi Silver badge

      Re: Cash is a powerful motivator

      And by 'most' you mean basic features, like open and save, right?

      1. matjaggard

        Re: Cash is a powerful motivator

        I'd be happy to pay a small amount for it to support ASIO without me needing to compile it.

  4. boblongii

    Best UI

    The best UI is the one you're used to. Audacity's new UI would need to be MASSIVELY more functional to overcome decades of muscle memory.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Best UI

      In general, yes. But there can always be improvements and I think it's fair to say that UI hasn't always been the focus of Audacity. Sometimes simply updating the toolkit makes a big difference. After that all changes must be argued for.

    2. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

      Re: Best UI @boblongii

      Please print your message in 60 point text, wrap it around a stout length of clue-by-4 and take it along to every software house on earth. Apply liberally.

  5. baseh

    If it ain't broke don't fix it

    A saying proven right time after time, especially in SW

  6. Charlie van Becelaere


    produce very decent music notation software - and it's also free and open source.

    Here's hoping they'll keep both of them moving along in this same FOSS lane.

  7. jason_derp

    "Its new management has pledged to keep the platform free and open source."

    Then why did you buy it?

    1. amacater

      Re: "Its new management has pledged to keep the platform free and open source."

      As someone who got buirnt by buying a leading closed-source musical notation etc. software for daughter's education: Musescore and Audacity will make an awesome combination and could readily produce a supported version for, say, Windows charge a small amount and make money on that.

      Everybody wins with the right combinations of things - I wouldn't expect every parent to be able to install Debian to make a music workstation for their child, for example.

    2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: "Its new management has pledged to keep the platform free and open source."

      Then why did you buy it?

      Targeted ads.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: "Its new management has pledged to keep the platform free and open source."

      sometimes the people who fund these things like to donate because they get something they want for the money they spend... and in this case, maybe it's an Audacity + MuseScore thing that's beneficial to all?

      As long as it stays alive and isn't pay-walled somehow, and doesn't pop ads or nag screens into our faces while using it, I don't care _WHO_ owns it.

      (But I think this will work out just fine - I do music production stuff from time to time, and the beauty of Audacity is in the plugins, where vendors can make money if they want to)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    pledged to keep the platform free and open source.

    so, a business pays money to keep something free, just because... oh, I get it! - they just like to throw money around, like any good business has been doing since... for ever.

  9. Nastybirdy

    Start the Clock....

    "its new management has pledged to keep the platform free and open source."

    And starting the countdown until this pledge is dust in the wind....

    1. Trubbs

      Re: Start the Clock....

      There'll inevitably be another lot coming in shortly and they won't be bound by these assurances issued by a previous administration...

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Start the Clock....

      Centos got a raw deal under Red Hat/IBM stewardship...

      1. Dave559 Silver badge

        Re: Start the Clock....

        "I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further."

  10. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    Audacity has great potential: The only justification for a change in interface would be to facilitate easier multitracking. If it could be re-made to be as intuitive to use (and as stable and memory efficient) as Sonic Foundry's Acid, that would be ideal.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The official statements don't mention being bought/acquired

    Why is everyone reporting that Audacity has been bought/acquired or that money may have changed hands? I see no evidence of that in the public statements from Muse or the Audacity teams.

    AFAIK, there is nothing to acquire. Muse seem to have offered support in the form of developers and (presumably) contributing to project running costs - this will give them more influence on future direction.

    The lack of out-of-the-box ASIO integration is a licensing issue - the team believe the Steinberg interface license is incompatible with Audacity's GPL. Muse won't be able to fix this without either somehow varying one license (with permission from Steinberg or Audacity contributors) or replacement with alternative code (e.g. a cleanroom ASIO interface, or new Audacity code for contributors who don't agree).

    1. Robert Grant

      Re: The official statements don't mention being bought/acquired

      There may be the name to buy, perhaps?

  12. Robert Grant

    > Keary was keen to reassure the platform's community that it would be remaining free and open source

    What's the alternative? Isn't it GPL?

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