Roland is to dance music what electricity is to the world. Roland fueled all the other electronic drum machines and keyboards that came to further artists in their bedrooms and basements to make music without putting the band back together and that changed the world of music forever
Lots of companies have put in the work to define their “company culture” – that ambiguous notion that a company is greater than the sum of its parts, and all of the people and all of the things they’ve done leave some lasting impression, invisible but tangible.
Apple certainly has the most mythologized company culture, but Roland has created nearly as many iconic products – and, more importantly, had people make things with their products – as any existing company. The 808 documentary is likely the first but not the last documentary to be made about Roland’s world-changing product line, which the company (after some years of resistance) has on display at Roland’s Research & Development center in Hamamatsu, Japan.
The Roland Museum is a “private” museum and not open to the general public, but they’ve created a 360 Tour. (Note: This video apparently has trouble with Safari, but should work with other browsers. On a smartphone, you can change views by moving your phone around. On a computer, drag the screen with your mouse.)