Under The Microscope

Rogue Amoeba’s 2019 Status Report

It’s the beginning of a new year, which means it’s once again time for a Rogue Amoeba status report. This post offers a look at what we did in 2018, as well as a glimpse at our plans for the future.

Impressive Release Numbers

Last year, we shipped an astonishing 65 releases, averaging well over one per week. That number represents our highest raw number of releases ever for a calendar year, and it was almost twice what we shipped in 2017. We worked hard to provide users with bug fixes, minor improvements, and compatibility with new operating systems. We were also pleased to have all of our software ready for MacOS 10.14 (Mojave) well in advance of Apple shipping it to the public.

Major Updates

2018 also saw us ship a brand-new product, a major upgrade, and major features and functionality in several of our existing applications.

In January, we unveiled Farrago, a new soundboard app that provides podcasters, theater techs, and more with an easy way to play sound bites, music clips, and audio effects. That initial release was followed Farrago 1.1 in April, which added a dark mode and undo support, and by Farrago 1.2 in July, which made it possible to control things via MIDI. If you’re looking for a great soundboard app for the Mac, be sure to check out Farrago.

Our home audio streamer Airfoil received multiple improvements to continue supporting the latest hardware and devices. Apple’s HomePod began shipping in February, and we quickly had Airfoil for Mac 5.7 available, to stream audio to the new smart speaker. In the summer, Sonos became the first third-party vendor to ship AirPlay 2 compatible speakers, and Airfoil was updated to version 5.8, with Sonos support.

Updates on the PC side took a little bit longer. In August, Airfoil for Windows 5.5 brought support for the HomePod, as well as long-awaited Chromecast support. Just a month later, Airfoil for Windows 5.6 was released, with Sonos support.

Airfoil’s been around for well over a decade on both platforms, and we continue to make it easy for you to stream audio everywhere you want, with support for new protocols and devices.

Our flagship audio recording product Audio Hijack saw a major update which brought even more value to a subset of users. In June, we shipped version 3.5, which now lets you use Audio Hijack to broadcast audio across the internet. It supports MP3 and AAC streaming to remotely hosted servers, making it a perfect tool for livecasting podcast recordings, creating the internet stream for a terrestrial radio station, and more. Anyone who used our now-retired Nicecast broadcasting tool will want to have a look at Audio Hijack. As for Nicecast, read on for more information there.

We finished up 2018 by shipping Loopback 2, a massive overhaul of our powerful audio routing tool. This update included plenty of new functionality, from more powerful audio monitoring to myriad volume controls. The biggest change, however, was seen in the user interface itself. We worked hard to redesign Loopback to be more intuitive, showing how your audio will flow, and we’ve been very gratified to hear tremendously positive feedback on this new version.

Assorted Company News

Software releases are always our main focus, but there are other things we do throughout the year.

New Revenue Streams

Farrago was actually just one of three new sources of revenue we unveiled in 2018. Though it’s not of direct use to most of our readers, software developers were pleased when we began licensing our audio capture technology for use in other Mac applications. Now, in addition to making products that solve our users’ audio needs, we’re assisting other developers in making their own products work better. From screen sharing tools to game streamers, our ACE technology is now helping several different applications on the Mac, with more on the way. If you’re a developer who needs to capture audio on the Mac, get in touch via our Licensing page.

On the consumer side, our new Ultimate Podcast Bundle has proven to be quite popular. Several of our tools have long been the go-to solutions for podcasters, and this bundle allows users to save when purchasing them together. If you’re interested in creating a podcast, the Ultimate Podcast Bundle is the place to start.

Holidays with Rogue Amoeba

While I write much of the content for this blog, we also get great contributions from the other Amoebas. This year, that included two different holiday-related posts. In April, Lee Falin described how he pranked his own children using a combination of Fission, Airfoil, and Farrago. Meanwhile, Neale Van Fleet worked alongside his young son to make a truly great Halloween setup, with help from Farrago and Airfoil. Our tools are designed to help you be productive, but mischief is definitely encouraged as well.

Other News

As I noted above, our old stand-alone broadcasting tool Nicecast has been retired. We announced this at the end of February, with a detailed post discussing the change. It’s sad to end development of a product, but Apple’s pending removal of support for 32-bit apps in MacOS combined with gradual but substantial market changes to make this the right move. We encourage all former Nicecast users to check out our post “Migrating Your Broadcast From Nicecast to Audio Hijack”. It will guide you on transitioning, and our support team is always here to help.

It wasn’t all retirements, though, as July saw the hiring of our newest employee Nathan. He’s already done solid work adding MIDI support to Farrago, and he’s now focused on a major update to SoundSource. You’ll see more of Nathan’s work in the near future.

As we marked Rogue Amoeba’s 16th anniversary in September, I took a moment to write about the long progression of part of our software, our license window. This small piece of our apps has evolved over the years, and it was interesting to review the different iterations.

Finally, we closed out 2018 as the grateful recipients of several awards and honors. We’re extremely proud to see the love people have for Audio Hijack, Farrago, and indeed, all of our products.

The State of the Mac in 2019

In recent years, Apple’s pace of updates to Mac hardware has slowed considerably. After the Worldwide Developers Conference passed in June with no new Mac announcements, we were concerned enough to write about the issue. This piece was widely shared, with many heads nodding in depressed agreement.

Happily, Apple shipped some major Mac updates in the fall, giving us renewed hope in Mac hardware. Of note for our users, the new Macs Mini and MacBooks Air both feature improved built-in audio hardware. We hope to see continued positive signs for the Mac in 2019, particularly the long-awaited new Mac Pro.

Support Improvements

We doubled the size of our support team in 2017, and that extra manpower led us to change and improve our support systems throughout 2018.

The most visible change is the re-design of our support center. Each product now has its own section, with app-specific information. As well, the underlying knowledge base is now fully searchable, providing fast access to information the goes beyond the product manual. We’re now frequently adding more knowledge base content, enabling users to find instant answers to many questions, rather than needing to email us.

Audio Hijack’s Support page, showing several Knowledge Base articles

However, if you do need to contact us directly, don’t hesitate! We strive to provide friendly and responsive support via email, and that’s only gotten better. We recently made our contact form simpler and more powerful, even providing carefully curated suggestions to knowledge base articles which could help you instantly. We’re also using a more modern support backend, Help Scout, to better process support requests. This has enabled us to integrate several tools which allow for even more rapid responses.

That covers last year pretty well. Now, let’s have a look behind the curtain to discuss our plans for 2019. We’re always busy keeping all of our current products running smoothly. That means providing support for the likely release of MacOS 10.15 (this year’s guess: Sonoma), as well as updates small and big for the entire line-up. Beyond the standard maintenance releases, we have specific plans for several larger releases.

A Major SoundSource Update

We plan to ship a major update to SoundSource in the first half of 2019, and it’s going to change the way you listen to audio on your Mac. We’re very excited to get this update out to our users, hopefully in the very near future! For now, here’s a carefully cropped sneak preview:

A vision of SoundSource to come

Focusing on Audio Hijack

We’re also hard at work on the next iterations of our flagship product, Audio Hijack. Since the initial release of Audio Hijack 3 in 2015, we’ve shipped a steady stream of large updates to add functionality and improve the product, and we have plans for much more.

We’re currently working on additional interface refinements based on user feedback and other work we’ve done. We’re also adding and improving features in ways that will please both existing users and new customers. We should have more to share about Audio Hijack updates later this year.

Loopback 2.1, and Beyond

The recently released Loopback 2.0.0 is certainly not the last update we plan for Loopback. Prior to unveiling version 2, we had a rough roadmap for additional versions, and now user feedback has helped us flesh that out further. Look for Loopback 2.1 in the coming months, as well as further updates throughout 2019.

Stay Tuned

Our software’s built-in version checking is the best way to ensure you have the very latest releases, but you can also stay up to date with Rogue Amoeba in one (or more!) of the following ways:

That’s all for now. All the folks here at Rogue Amoeba wish you a happy and healthy 2019! Stay tuned for more news from your favorite Mac audio software company.

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