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Fender Play nears 1m subscribers thanks to free lessons

Instrument maker Fender is extending a promotion offering three months of free access to its Fender Play digital guitar-lessons service.

The promo launched in April, shortly after Covid-19 lockdowns began in many countries. Fender says that the Fender Play user base has grown from 150,000 to 930,000 subscribers since then.

With the promo extended until the end of 2020, that community of learners seems set to pass one million very soon.

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Roli boss talks Lumi keyboard and music education’s evolution

Music Ally first came across Roli in 2013, when it was named as a finalist in the SXSW Music Accelerator startups contest, before we reported on its $12.8m funding round the following year from investors including Universal Music Group.

The company was focused on music instruments, with its first being the Seaboard Grand, a keyboard whose rubber keys allowed players to bend notes a bit like a guitar. It was priced for professionals, but it marked the company out as one to watch in the music hardware space.

Since then, Roli’s products have been getting more accessible and affordable: there was the Seaboard Rise in 2015; the Roli Blocks modular synth controllers in 2016; the Seaboard Block keyboard in 2017; and then the Lumi keyboard in 2019.

Lumi, which launched with a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign that drummed up £1.6m in pre-orders, was a hardware/software/service play. A keyboard that could light up with different colours, designed to be used with an app that would teach you to play piano, with access to a subscription-based library of lessons and songs.