Blend.io – Ahead of its time, imo, but what happened?

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Blend.io announcement about its closure

I was a 21 years old audiophile when Blend.io came into existence – at least the first beta version (if I recall correctly). Found some screenshots to back it up:

My first impression of the product?

"This is IT! This is what I have been waiting for, and I'm sure the world has been too."

Was the audio industry in 2013 not internet-savvy though? Pandemic hadn't hit, so of course, "No, remote work is impossible in audio!", but was it that detached from the rise of social media? SoundCloud had gotten pretty known by then. People knew where they could release their songs for family & friends with cool time-based comments floating over the waveform, even if that meant no revenue out of it. But the same didn't happen in collaborative music making.

Yes, there can be exceptions to this. Blend.io is one of them. (a quick note btw: there's no Wikipedia page on this company, yet)


FunFact: Back in the day, SoundCloud used to show a hidden message if you use the Developer Tools and see the underlying code. (Update: I just checked. It still shows the message. Here's the screenshot)

FunFact2: I'm a fan of Easter Eggs in products, and was inspired by the SoundCloud approach to add a hidden message for the visitors of my website, right here. Can you find it?


See the thing is:

I'm not just a user of audio products; I'm a fan. Over the years I've followed & admired DAWs, plugins, developers, companies, open source initiatives and everything in the audio world very closely. Really really closely. You-will-find-me-in-the-comments-section-of-every-latest-audio-product closely!

It's a personal connection with these entities. And I have one with Blend.io, despite my not regularly using it. Now that the team has declared a conclusion of the project, I think it's important to look into what this product could have been and see if we can make the world realise the potential of this idea. I feel the sun will rise again.Now, some more trivia and then we'll get to the possible next steps.


Note: The following chronology is from my point of view (I haven't Googled or cross verified the dates. This is based on how I stumbled upon these products)

Splice had started around the same time in 2013-ish. It seemed to have had the exact same product as Blend.io back then – the option to collaborate with other creatives by directly uploading your DAW projects to the cloud. I'm not sure which one was introduced to world first but I do remember signing up on Blend.io before I found Splice, within a week's time most likely. Both were in their alpha stages then.

"So I don't have to bounce the .wav file or go through the AAF nonsense?""Nope!"

Your project file would get read, all the plugins used in it would be showcased and you could easily playback the audio (even choose which tracks to play) and if you liked something, you could download it (similar to how you'd fork a GitHub repository) and start editing the track followed by publishing it back to the platform. All cool & fancy stuff. Someone even mentioned it as "GitHub for Producers" on Reddit.

I really thought this would make version-control happen in the creative audio industry!

How do you think Splice got its list of "most used" plugins (speculation)? I've seen the company pivot multiple times, firstly towards adding a plugin-store on the side with their awesome rent-to-own concept and now with so many cool things they've been doing for beat making & music creation.

But did you know, Blend.io had a plugins page as well?

I didn't see a lot of progress happening on Blend.io though.

I used to fancy browser-based apps in those days. The web-based alternative for SolidWorks had gotten released which made CAD possible from anywhere in the world. Soon there was Soundtrap, still in its early stage, away from Spotify.

Those set of years were really something. I'm not sure if it was just me witnessing it and seeing a new future unfold itself, or were there others who saw the potential of these new avenues of kickass product ideas.Syntorial by Audible Genius happened around that time too. And then there was Stagelight (now Roland Zenbeats under Roland Corporation U.S.) More on this some other day.


Coming back to the topic, in my opinion the time for this category of product has come. It's just a matter of some cool creative collaborations & a little bit of push, before things become more cohesive. I'm optimistic about it, mainly because I'm trying to initiate conversations around the idea to make something happen.

If you'd like to join me in this exploration, first, I'd recommend checking out the dawProject by Bitwig, then look into CLAP, and then let's talk. Also, come by the Audio Developer Conferenceit's the place where such potential collaborations can begin. I've witnessed (& conspired) it first hand.