Roland goes soft with Zenbeats


After putting a lot of effort into strengthening its hardware portfolio with the launches of the MC-707 and MC-101 grooveboxes, new Fantom workstation keyboards, Jupiter-X synthand JU-06A synth, Roland is now stepping back into the software realm with the launch of Zenbeats, a cross-platform production app that promises to “make music creation easy”

Zenbeats is built on Stagelight, the music-making app by Open Labs that Roland has just acquired. The app is available on mobile, desktop and Chrome, making it one of the few truly cross-platform digital audio workstation (DAW) apps. The fact that it has a ChromeOS version is pretty unique, too.

While the basic platform is free, Zenbeats offers two additional tiers. The mid-tier, Unlock, is available on Android, Chrome and iOS for $14.99, or Windows and macOS for $49.99. That comes with eight instruments, 14 effects, plugins and additional store credit. For $149.99, users can get Ultimate access to every platform — making the app truly cross-platform — plus 40 preset packs and 40 loop packs. Existing Stagelight users can download Zenbeats and pick up where they left off.

Roland CEO and Representative Director Jun-ichi Miki says: “Roland’s mission has remained the same since it was founded in 1972 – to inspire the enjoyment of creativity for everyone. With Zenbeats, anyone can enjoy casual music-making using the devices they already own, and we are certain that our existing loyal fans will inspire us by how they bring the app into their musical lives.”

This may be Roland’s first serious attempt at a digital music-making apps, but the company has a strong track record, and since it’s building off of Stagelight, we can expect a solid product.