Music Hardware Maker ROLI Acquires JUCE, A Key Music Industry Framework

ROLI, which makes the innovative Seaboard Grand, a completely new type of keyboard musical instrument, has acquired JUCE, a long-time C++ framework which has, over the last few years, come to be used by most of the leading audio companies such as Korg, Pioneer, Arturia, Akai Professional, and M-Audio. Terms were not disclosed.

The significance of this move may be lost on the average tech observer but I can assure you that anyone in the music production industry will be bowled over by this news. What it means is that ROLI now owns one of the fundamental music platforms existing today.

The acquisition will enable ROLI to both expand the Seaboard’s compatibility with existing 3rd party software, and develop JUCE as a toolkit for creating next generation interfaces for music. Julian (“Jules”) Storer, founder of Raw Materials Software which makes JUCE, will be joining the ROLI team as Head of Software Architecture and will continue as the Editor-in-Chief for all things JUCE.

Earlier this year ROLI, secured a $12.8m (£7.6m) Series A financing, led by Balderton Capital (investors in LOVEFiLM and Kobalt Music Group), alongside FirstMark Capital (investors in Pinterest and Shopify), Index Ventures (investors in Sonos and Soundcloud), as well as strategic investor Universal Music. It was one of the largest ever investments in a music hardware company.

The Seaboard GRAND has soft rubber keys which can bend a tune similarly to how you can bend the strings on a guitar. It’s a genuinely radical departure from normal keyboards and has been variously described as “the piano of the future” and won multiple awards.

ROLI CEO and Founder, Roland Lamb, made the announcement today at Slush in Helsinki, one of the largest gatherings for European startups and investors.

Lamb said: “At ROLI, our larger vision is to reshape interaction. To do that, we need to transform every technological link from where people create inputs, to where computers create outputs. That’s a tall order, but acquiring and investing in JUCE is our most significant step towards this challenging goal since we invented and developed the Seaboard.”