A little jealous that the developer of Bespoke gets to work on this open source side project AND get paid as a software engineer at Harmonix (recently acquired by Epic), getting paid as a software engineer in the music tech space. In my experience, that sort of arrangement with an employer is really tough to pull off.

I hate to be a downer, and this definitely a jealous take, but like, how can that last? I've seen this story play out before.

Harmonix may or may not have been a chill company in Cambridge MA, but Epic is certainly not. Bespoke is a decade old passion project with a recent boost in popularity and a community growing around. Tech companies simply don't let their software engineers do things like this without some sort of quid pro quo.

There are a few outcomes I see:

1a. I am wrong. Epic will continue to let Bespoke thrive naturally and do whatever it wants because "it's no big deal bro, chill out. Bespoke is awesome!". In this timeline, Firefly has 4 seasons will a satisfying story arc.

1b. Bespoke continues doing it's thing somehow, but community moderation becomes difficult as it grows and it leads to burnout. See: Non DAW, LMMS.

2. Epic will try to buy or sponsor Bespoke. This is a double edged sword. Short term, you see a lot of progress and changes. Long term, usually these projects stop being themselves. The original creator will stay on for a while, but they will not own it or have full control. This will cause them to eventually lose interest, burn out, and work on new projects. When this happens, Bespoke is dead. It will either get cannibalized by Epic, or sold to some other company. See: JUCE.

3. Bespoke dev will quit Epic and work on Bespoke full time. Trying to make a living developing indie FLOSS music software isn't impossible, but it's very close. Usually some kind of honest compromises are made to make ends meet. Sometimes they are well received, sometimes they are not. See: VCV Rack, Ardour.

4. Epic squeezes Bespoke from the original owner. They say fine you can have it, I'll just do it again. Owner builds a smaller more humble version, but with an enthusiastic and thriving community, and maybe gets more involved in academic circles. See: PureData.

5. Bespoke dev gets swallowed up by Epic or some other big corp, and maintenance is taken over by community. They are both there and not there. See: SuperCollider

@paul surprised to not see the Audacity debacle as one of the options in the list!


@martyn that's another case study for sure. However, in that case, Audacity was approached by a company well after it had been established as an independent project. I don't think the model fits as well for Bespoke because the dev has been working on it while simultaneously being employed by Harmonix.

@martyn Audacity is also less of a so-called "passion project" compared to Bespoke. Not to say the developers aren't passionate, it's just more utility, less creative expression and experimentation.

However, if you look into the guts of Audacity, you will see bundled with it something I'd consider a passion project: Nyquist. It's a LISP-y language the author for making computer music, and it drives many of the built in effects. Always came across as something like CLM, except not. It's got loving documentation, but I've never met anyone who *actually* uses it by choice (and if you're out there, hi I'd to meet you)

I'd be really interested to know what the state of Nyquist is amongst all this. Does anyone use it still? Care for it? What is the future of it in Audacity, now that the original owner no longer is a part of the project?

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