Joue targets novice musicians with its latest crowdfunded instrument

Brian Heater

I wrote about Joue back in January, right before the company participated in (and won) our CES pitch-off. The company was one of a handful of crowdfunded musical instrument startups at the show that were really worth getting excited about.

This week, the French startup is launch the campaign for Play, a more user-friendly version of the company’s self-titled modular MIDI controller. As I noted in the earlier piece, the system operates similarly to Sensel’s Morph system, with silicone pads that slip on top of a touch interface to mimic a variety of different instruments, including a drum pad, piano, guitar and an electronic musical interface.

Crowdfunded hardware startups are breathing fresh life into music making


The new version of the instrument aims to lower the bar with a connected mobile app that works as follows:

  • The instruments are gathered in a circle in the middle

  • The timeline shows successive musical events simply and clearly

  • The mixer lets you adjust the volume of each instrument

  • Recording is accessible directly from the Pads, for maximum reactivity 

In addition to the companion iOS/Mac/Windows app, the Play is also more than $100 cheaper than its predecessor (at least it is currently on Joue’s Kickstarter page). That price includes the board and five different silicone pads. It’s a clever product and one designed for a broader audience than the original — which went over fairly well in its own right. 

Unfortunately, the device won’t be available while we’re all still cooped up inside. It’s currently projected to launch in October.