Roland Corporation

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Roland Corporation (ローランド株式会社 Rōrando Kabushiki Kaisha?) TYO: 7944 is a Japanese manufacturer of electronic musical instruments, electronic equipment and software. It was founded by Ikutaro Kakehashi in Osaka on April 18, 1972, with ¥33 million in capital. In 2005 Roland's headquarters relocated to Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture. Today it has factories in Japan, the United States, Italy, and Taiwan. As of March 31, 2005, it employed 2,233 employees[1] up from 729 employees in 2003. It has existed in different forms since 1960, making it relatively old among still-operating manufacturers of musical electronics, and has survived changes in technology to become one of the most noteworthy and widely-used brands in electronic music and production today.

Contents

Origin of the Roland name

Roland was founded after Kakehashi cut ties with Ace Electronic Industries (a company he founded in 1960) and Hammond International. As with many Japanese startups of the period, the name Roland was selected for export purposes as Kakehashi was interested in a name that was easy to pronounce for his worldwide target markets. Legend has long circulated that he named his company after the French epic poem La Chanson de Roland. In actuality, the name Roland was found in a telephone directory. Kakehashi opted for it as he was satisfied with the simple two-syllable word and its soft consonants. The letter "R" was chosen because it wasn't used by many other music equipment companies, therefore it would stand out in trade show directories and industry listings. Kakehashi didn't learn of "The Song Of Roland" until later.[2]

Brands

Roland markets products under a number of brand names, each of which are used on products geared toward a different niche.

  • Roland brand is used on a wide range of products including synthesizers, digital pianos, electronic drum systems, dance/DJ gear, guitar synthesizers, amplifiers, and recording products.
  • BOSS is a brand used for products geared toward guitar players and is used for guitar pedals, effects units, rhythm and accompaniment machines, and portable recording equipment.
  • Edirol* is a line of professional video-editing and video-presentation systems, as well as portable digital audio recorders. Edirol also has Desktop Media (DTM) products, more production-oriented, and include computer audio interfaces, mixers, and speakers.
  • RSS* is a line of commercial audio products including the V-Mixing System.
  • Rodgers was founded in 1958 as an organ company and survives today as a subsidiary of Roland, still manufacturing high-quality electric, electronic, and pipe organs.
  • Cakewalk music software company is a long-term partner of Roland’s. In Jan. 2008, Roland announced purchase of controlling interest in the company.
  • Roland DG produces computerized plotters, vinyl cutters, and printers for the production of commercial signwork and point-of-sale materials.

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