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Propellerheads to pull ReBirth following legal claim from Roland

By | Published on Wednesday 14 June 2017


Music software company Propellerheads has announced the discontinuation of its ReBirth iPad app following a legal claim by instrument maker Roland.

Originally launched in 1996 as software for desktop computers, licensed by Roland, ReBirth is an emulator for Roland’s TB-303 synthesizer and TR-808/TR-909 drum machines. Although previously discontinued in 2005, it was relaunched for the iPad in 2010.

In a statement this week, Propellerheads said: “We have decided to discontinue ReBirth for iPad. The decision comes after a statement from Roland that the product infringes on the company’s intellectual property rights. Rather than refuting this claim, we have decided to honour our longstanding relationship with Roland Corporation and have, therefore, come to the conclusion that the best path forward is to discontinue the product”.

Roland has previously allowed ReBirth and other similar software and hardware to be sold, seemingly because – although popular in electronic music – the synthesizers they emulate were actually only in production for a short time in the 1980s. However, in recent years the company has launched new versions of the hardware that ReBirth mimics, which is likely the reason it is now cracking down on rivals.

A spokesperson for Roland confirmed to CMU that “as a result of recent consultation between Roland and Propellerheads regarding ReBirth (for iPad)” both companies have “mutually agreed” the Propellerheads will cease selling the software.

UPDATE 16 Jun: Amended to include statement from Roland, and also to clarify that the original ReBirth software was licensed by Roland.