Roland Corporation just released Roland Zenbeats. This appears to be a Roland themed version of Open Labs Stagelight. In addition to the visual similarities, one of the very few people following the official Twitter account is Open Labs marketer Travis Gallagher. Travis probably set up the account. The location is listed as Austin, which is home to Open Labs, not Roland.
As jumpercollins noted on the Audiobus forum, "It even crashes like Stagelight when scanning my AUs!"
Ordinarily I find the Audiobus forum to be unnecessarily grumpy, but in this case I think Roland has earned the ire. I'm personally feeling pretty pissy about their bullshit "Store Points" currency. Instead of just saying a sample pack is $4, they say it is 4 Points. This is the same kind of "spacebucks" nonsense games do to trick people into paying more for garbage. Open Labs is at least upfront about all of the pricing in Stagelight, but I hope they got paid well for this because the backlash won't stop at Roland's door.
The launch has also been mishandled. There was no press release, nor even a single demo video, from either company. Thanks to reader Simon for doing Roland's job, and letting me know about it this morning!
Update: Roland has released a short promo video. In the 1 minute and 23 seconds of the video, you only see the app clearly for 17 seconds. For contrast there are 8 seconds where we just see a dude walking.
Roland Zenbeats App Store Description:Find Your Creative Flow.
Roland Zenbeats is a music creation app designed to keep you in an effortless artistic flow. Get started on any device or platform. With its collection of both modern and legendary sounds, Zenbeats brings Roland’s history of innovation into a dynamic, accessible environment.
Music Shouldn’t Feel Like Work—It Should Feel Like Play
Whether you’re an emerging musician or an established producer, Zenbeats makes music creation easy. Make beats, access lessons, and sample the world around you. Wherever you are, no matter what platform or device you use, capture your creative spark with Zenbeats.
Fresh Sounds—Fresh Ideas
The Zenbeats store is packed with sounds, loops, and creative tools to expand your musical palette. Search by specific genre or access the entire collection with “Ultimate” to unlock everything inside Zenbeats.
Classic Roland Sounds and Themes
Awaken your music’s possibilities with signature sounds from Roland’s legendary TR-808, TR-909, and TR-707. Choose custom skins to match the vibe of your Zenbeats mobile or home studio. Launch themes include “808 Nights" and “909 Days,” with many more to come.
Touch the Future
Roland Zenbeats’ touchscreen interface places you in a tactile music-making zone. Zenbeats arrives pre-loaded with on-screen controllers, instruments, and effects. Tap, swipe, modulate, and pitch bend sounds using gestures with Zenbeats’ on-screen instruments including drum pads, keys, and ultra-flexible note grid.
Experience core versions of all nine instruments and 14 effects with your free membership. Then, upgrade to “Ultimate” to unlock external plugin support, automation graphs, and other features.
Sample the Universe
With its phrase arpeggiator, multiple oscillators, and powerful filters, SampleVerse makes musical possibilities infinite. Play, edit, and capture sounds from your world, including acoustic instruments and live vocals.
Incorporating MIDI Polyphonic Expression, Zenbeats gives you control of each note’s parameters. MPE, paired with an intuitive touchscreen interface, makes working in Zenbeats a uniquely expressive experience.
Roland Zenbeats provides access to beatmaking tools and comes with a collection of kits and pattern presets. Craft rhythms with classic Roland sounds, kits, and grooves. Audition and sequence drum sounds, then swipe from left to right to create fills, double-time hits, and ratchet effects.
Manage the Magic
Streamline your creative process by accessing and recalling song templates from a single dashboard interface. With Zenbeats, you can open, search, rename, even add personalized art to your songs. Save your work to GoogleDrive, OneDrive, and other cloud-based locations. Share tracks with your musical partners and collaborate. Finally, when the time is right, show your work off online via SoundCloud.
Beginner’s Mind Meets Professional Power
Features like loop-building, beat-sync, and key lock make Zenbeats the perfect platform for aspiring songwriters, beatmakers, and producers.
As a bonus, included with Zenbeats are tutorials like “Using the Loop Browser,” “Using the Audio Editor,” and others to elevate your music-making.
Start using Zenbeats for free. Then, upgrade to unlock more features.
-Unlimited audio and MIDI tracks
-Nine instruments with full features
-Basic song sharing
Zenbeats iOS Unlock V1 ($14.99)
-Unlock Zenbeats for your iPhone and iPad devices.
-All 23 instruments and effects fully unlocked
-Sampleverse plus 500MB content pack
-Unlocked mixing features
-Pro export options including stems
Zenbeats Ultimate V1 ($149.99)
Get an all-access VIP pass to Zenbeats and every loop and preset pack. Ultimate unlocks all Zenbeats features across all platforms and devices.
-All in-app loop packs included
-All in-app preset packs included
-Over 6000 sounds