Price drops can (literally) be music to your ears

December 20th, 2009 by Jason Jenkins

As the 2000’s come to a close, it doesn’t take reams of market analysis to realize that the last 10 years saw the dismantling the music industry as we knew it. However, a recent series of products may be an indicator of what’s to come in the near future. Of course, music-making games like Guitar Hero, Rock Band and various iPhone applications are making a significant impact, but if devices like Yamaha’s Tenori-On enter the mainstream in the next 10 years, it could cement the next decade as when the non-musical made themselves heard.

The original Tenori-On was released in the spring of 2007 to a limited audience. The 1616 LED buttons correspond to musical scales that, when pressed in any order, create a catchy tune with visual accompaniment. The originally prohibitive price tag (well over ¥100,000) meant that this toy/tool would be used solely by the rich or technophillic. However, two recently-released versions have made the device much more affordable.

The Tenori-On Orange trades in the magnesium-alloy body for plastic and eliminates the removable/rechargeable battery while leaving the original operations intact. The price tag has dropped considerably (around ¥80,000), but for the frugally minded, a stripped-down model now goes for around ¥5,000.

The Bliptronic 5000 LED Synthesizer is not made by Yamaha, but will (hopefully) garner a response next year in the form of their own budget version. Bliptronic’s simplified version has half the input buttons and does not visualize sound like its more sophisticated cousins, but along with the approachable price point, his low-end model is being marketed as a device meant to be played with others instead of as a stand-alone toy, which may help it go far in the ever-present social media landscape. And as you can see from the video above, what’s not to like?

Your move, Yamaha.

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