The Roland Inspiration Centres, or how Roland Canada is taking experiential marketing to a whole new level.

Sometimes, I become tired of the virtual world. Sure, the convenience of having a recording studio in your laptop is life-saving, especially to the touring musicians, and without the evolution of music software I wouldn’t probably have had a career in music production, but as a genuine child of the virtual studio era, I feel that I have missed an important piece of the puzzle that is music.

Well, Roland has embarked on a journey to change this.

After the demise of the recording industry, musicians from all over the world moved their interest from making records to performing live. Roland, along with many other manufacturers of musical instruments, sensed that, and combined with the need to fight competition coming from the makers of virtual software instruments, they used the advancement of computers and digital technology to add strong performance-friendly elements to their products.

And, why not? After all, it was Roland who was responsible for releasing not only the legendary TR-808 and TR-909 drum machines, but also the TB-303 bassline, instruments that became synonymous with the genres of hip-hop, house, acid, and techno, mostly because they gave musicians of the 1980’s the freedom to manipulate sound in real-time in a uniquely musical way. Who else could be better qualified to replicate these feelings of freedom and creativity?

Thus, a new generation of Roland instruments, including the highly acclaimed AIRA series, was born, comprised of creations that focus on emulating not only the sound of the Japanese manufacturer’s legendary machines from the 1980’s, but also the freedom that these instruments gave their owners to experiment, perform, and create original music, and sounds.

So, clearly with these priorities in mind, Roland Canada decided to create two spaces, one in Toronto and the other in Vancouver, where musicians could go and get introduced to these new instruments, having the freedom to experience their uniqueness themselves.

Toronto’s Roland Inspiration Centre opened its doors on Saturday, September 10th, one day after “909 Day” when Roland, with a unique 24-hour long, worldwide, unveiling event titled “The Future Redefined”, presented more than 30 new instruments, performing another unique marketing feat.

Apart from housing the company’s new open-space offices, the two Roland Inspiration Centres allow musicians to experience the new instruments by touching them, listening to them, and play for hours and hours. And this philosophy is 100% percent compatible with the new mandate that will characterise all Roland’s creations from now on: to make instruments that are inspiring, fun, and sound incredible.

Yours truly spent two hours on the AIRA setup already, and I’m planning to go there again the first chance I get. And maybe, somewhere between the black and white keys of Roland’s new, amazing creations, I’ll find the piece my puzzle was missing.


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