Grid-based tech to be “instrument of the 21st century” predicts director Justin DeLay

“My hunch is that “the grid” will be considered the instrument of the 21st century, building on the legacy of the Akai MPC series.”

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Justin DeLay & Akai MPC Key 61

Justin DeLay / Akai MPC Key 61

The Director of Product Marketing, Content & Curation at instrument marketplace Reverb, Justin DeLay, in a recent interview with MusicTech, has commented upon a recent trend in grid-based music tech such as MPCs and launchpads, citing them as the “instrument of the 21st century”.

In the Show Off Your Studio interview, he says: “My hunch is that ‘the grid’ will be considered the instrument of the 21st century, building on the legacy of the Akai MPC series (and their new Force instrument), through the Novation Launchpad, the Ableton Push, the Akai and other products that leverage the non-linear approach that a grid control affords. Apple even built a grid interface in Logic to directly compete with Ableton and Bitwig, and my hunch is that we will see further enhancements to this modern workflow approach across major DAWs and instruments.”

DeLay also says how he identified a “clear trend” in purchases of hybrid instruments that combine hardware with software, such as plugins. He also says how more DJs are starting to buy drum machines, and guitarists are finding more ways to record at home.

“To me, the clear trend is towards ‘hybrid’ instruments and workflows. Companies like Ableton, Native Instruments, Akai, and more are creating products that combine the hands-on experience we love and supercharging a user’s creativity with the limitless potential of a computer/smartphone.

“Beyond the grid, we see guitarists who are learning how to record at home, and DJs picking up drum machines to start making beats. A new generation is rediscovering guitar and adding it to their digital-first aesthetic. Increasingly, the boundaries between categories and musical identities are blurring and so we work hard to support strong communities across the music-making journey.”

Read the full interview with Justin DeLay at


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