Bitwig Studio, the new production and performance tool from an upstart Berlin development team, is now nearing beta. It’s the first real news we’ve seen since the product was first announced in January. Unfortunately, the latest video does little to tease new features (unless you look really closely). It still gives the impression of software with a UI paradigm modeled closely on Ableton Live, and because it’s largely a music demo, focus can easily shift to the sound of the track rather than the function of the software. That’s too bad, as we do know this software does promise some unique features, with editing capabilities like mixing audio and MIDI material and per-note automation. Here, though, it looks like Ableton Live with editing panes, and even some similarities to clip launching seen recently in SONAR. Based on what I know, I think there is probably more to the story than that, and we should see more of it as the beta becomes available.

As we wait, the YouTube comments, at least, are amusing. The pairing of the two at the top echoes what I’m hearing from potential users, anecdotally:

“where can you download this´╗┐ ableton skin?”

“Native Linux´╗┐ support: TAKE MY MONEY.”

I know users are interested, so I hope to learn more. Both those dismissing Bitwig – and those excited by it – seem to compare to Ableton. To me, then, the big question is whether Bitwig may wind up shipping after the next version of Ableton Live, and what that software will look like. (Let’s assume they’ll call it Live 9, and not go Apple on us and dub it Live X.)

We’ll be watching. My guess is, in the coming months, we’ll see a number of anticipated releases: usable Bitwig Studio, the next Ableton Live, and – as it’s in a product cadence similar to Live’s – Apple’s Logic Pro X. Guess I’d better get some time in the sunshine now.