ROLI Files For Bankruptcy, Reorganizes As Luminary

ROLI, developer of the Seaboard expressive keyboard, Blocks controllers and LUMI illuminated keyboard, has announced that it has gone into administration and is reforming as ‘Luminary‘.

While ROLI has developed several innovative controllers, they never successfully closed the gap between making niche controllers and making mainstream music products and services. As a result, the growth model that justified the company’s funding never materialized.

The new company, Luminary, says that it plans to focus on developing the LUMI as a mass-market music education product, but will also continue to support ROLI’s professional products.

The company shared this FAQ on their site:

What has happened with ROLI and Luminary?

Luminary, a new music tech company setting out to revolutionize how people learn and create music, has raised funding, led by Hoxton Ventures. Luminary Ltd. is a spinout of ROLI, the music tech startup behind the award-winning Seaboard and LUMI.

Does ROLI still exist as a company?

As part of the restructure, ROLI Ltd has gone into administration. The new company, Luminary, has taken over all the IP, staff, products, brands and assets of ROLI. However, the ROLI and LUMI brands will continue as before, including, and their associated social media pages.

What will happen to my ROLI products?

All existing ROLI products will continue to be supported as before — including the Seaboard, BLOCKS, LUMI Keys, Equator2 and ROLI Studio. FXpansion synths Cypher2 and Strobe2 will also continue to be supported.

Your LUMI products will also continue to be supported — in fact this new investment ensures that we will continue to update LUMI and bring you more of the music, lessons, and games you love.

We will continue to honor all ROLI and LUMI products in warranty and provide support and technical assistance through the same channels on and

I’ve ordered a ROLI instrument. What happens to my order?

If you have pre-ordered a ROLI or LUMI instrument — or are still waiting for one to arrive — your order may arrive a little later than expected, but will be otherwise unaffected. If this is the case, we will be in touch via email to let you know your order status.

Can I still purchase ROLI or LUMI instruments?

Yes, ROLI and LUMI instruments and software are still available to purchase from and Any instruments you purchase will continue to be supported.

I have a LUMI app subscription. Do I need to transfer my billing and subscription details onto Luminary?

No. All your details will be carried over automatically from ROLI Ltd. to the new company.

What is the future for Luminary?

Luminary will not only focus on expanding LUMI to reach the growing community of home learners, but also plans to bring back the popular and award-winning Seaboard in 2022 (currently out of stock).

So there will be more exciting games, lessons and songs for LUMI learners, as well as continued support for producers and hobbyists who create music with innovative ROLI instruments.

Can you give me more details about Luminary?

Luminary’s mission is to help everyone to experience the joy of music learning and creation. The company was founded by Roland Lamb, inventor of the Seaboard and the former Founder and CEO of ROLI, alongside ROLI’s longtime Chief People Officer, Corey Harrower.

What was ROLI Ltd.?

ROLI Ltd. was known as a leading innovator in electronic musical instruments for professionals such as the Seaboard, Seaboard RISE, and BLOCKS — and a pioneer of MIDI Polyphonic Expression (MPE). As part of the 2021 restructure, Luminary will continue to manufacture ROLI’s professional and hobbyist instruments, with a relaunch of the iconic Seaboard, slated for 2022.


30 thoughts on “ROLI Files For Bankruptcy, Reorganizes As Luminary

    1. I presume you’re referring the Block. Yes it’s not great.

      However the Seaboard was and still is an extremely useful and expressive instrument. The closest thing you can get to a Continuum without breaking the bank. Continuous surface etc..

      The Linnstrument is cool but not really comparable

      I bought and sold one years ago and then re-bought a second hand Seaboard 25 recently. I initially sold because Equator wasn’t really that good at the time. It now has user sample support and a granular type playback engine. It’s extremely good. I recommend checking it out. I got Equator 2 on upgrade and on sale for like for €95

      That’s pretty good

      On top of this Ableton (my go to DAW) now fully supports MPE and pairs really well with a Seaboard.

      1. the seaboard was clearly not their focus, but it should have been if they wanted to sell to musicians

        i dont think they were able to do that, which is why they switched to bright and shiny kids toys – which also didnt sell

  1. I have wanted a lumi but the price has been just a little too high for my liking. I tried to get in on the early bird when they kickstarted but just missed it..

  2. You mean to say that having multiple chefs, a full time resident DJ, and “guest” artists carousing the premise whilst doling out obscene salaries for upper management is not a recipe for success? The excesses, posturing, and juvenile behaviour by Lamb and those he enabled were near criminal.

    I am sorry to say, yet Lamb, for all of his “brilliance” is….ill equipped to run any operation from the onset. He spoke the language of Silicon Valley without the practical knowledge to run an operation coherently! They secured more than $80 million dollars in multiple investment rounds, and yet they simply burned through capital with little to no accountability!

      1. That is only the tip of the iceberg. Lamb may wish to place a positive spin by calling their failure the result of hyper-growth strategy gone awry, yet the reality is that he fancies himself a mini Steve Jobs, Version 1.0 tragically. If there were 10 brilliant ideas, he could never distill them into 2 or 3 ideas that made sense and were in harmony with one another, rather he wanted the engineering team to tackle all 10, and then they would throw in another 2 or 3 for good measure.

        I think I have said enough.

        1. steve jobs was an insufferable asshole according to everyone who knew him

          these types of people are actually very common – even though genius level abilities are not

        2. Can vouch for this. £5m in the new firm won’t last until the end of 2021 with their habits. It’s a wonder why the new investor got involved at all.

  3. “All existing ROLI products will continue to be supported as before” – basically will continue to be not supported at all 🙂 They never had a post-warranty service, for example to change dead batteries or fix other build-quality issues, of which there were plenty. The playing surface of my seaboard block is peeling off, and when it will fall off completely, the whole device would probably have to go to garbage.

    Still it’s sad news.

  4. I feel bad for their suppliers, who probably never gonna get the money back. They do have some cool products, but the market of people willing to shell out thousands of dollars for a controller over an endorsement is too small and just about any industry vet could have told them (and probably did).

    People who really need polytonal expression could already work around that with foot pedals etc. And the dirty little secret is that once you’re playing more than 3 or more notes simultaneously, nobody can really hear the difference. Same is true in a lot of contexts, eg foley sounds: if you see one person walking on screen the sound of their footsteps better line up perfectly with their movement. Put three people on the screen and nobody cares.

    1. Tell it to a string quartet. Or a guitarist. I use polyphonic expression in a meaningful way with more than three notes all the time w a seaboard and a Linnstrument. So I guess I’m calling BS on that.

    2. There’s also the hydrasynth by ASM which also looks like a sound designer’s dream, or you can wait for the osmose by expressive e which is probably closer in spirit than the hydrasynth to a seaboard. It seems like there are some interesting options out and on the horizon.

    3. This isn’t true at all. If you can’t hear Polyphonic Expression then you are not listening.

      Can it be achieved in a studio with workarounds? Yes maybe. Will anyone know? No

      Can it be achieved in Live setting without a dedicated MPE instrument? No

      People can hear it when they see it being played

      If you’ve ever played a Seaboard or Continuum – the immediacy with which you can do certain things is the reason these instruments exist.

  5. Not a surprise to anybody who ever worked for ROLI. What a waste of truly excellent talent and a fantastic team. Equator remains a stunning synth. But the CEO was a liability. I wish everybody all the best.

  6. I encourage anyone who is still interested in MPE and especially polyphonic aftertouch to check out the excellent ASM Hydrasynth. It started off great but with the most recent updates is truly a mature and great playing (and sounding) instrument.

  7. This is frustrating. The controllers were good to use but the wobbles were obvious with poor support and everything out of stock. Someone needs to get the seaboard/keyboard manufactured at an attainable price and to a good quality. There is a market for that.

    The SynthSquad products are great. I love them and find them so useable and have an amazing sound. Who knows what will happen to them, will the promised development ever happen? The designers of these have a real talent.

    Finally, this fall/fail was predicted by most here in comments about earlier financing and supposed market valuations. The MI market for specialist expensive controllers is limited. The problem here is the market fear this has given the product. Would you want to spend on something that might not be supported in the short to mid term?

  8. Glad that that company is gone (although it will continue in another entity, I am pretty sure it will fail as well). I remember a musician who was asked to play at the company but would not get paid (no budget). Can’t remember his name but it was a pretty livid rant. If as a music company, ou don’t want to pay musicians, then there is something wrong.
    I don’t see the Lumi thing working either, how is anyone going to play proper piano on a microkey 2-octave keyboard. Better get yourself a decent piano teacher who gives real feedback.

    1. The idea behind Lumi wasn’t all bad. Actually it would been awesome and something the rest should’ve done ages ago. Ever tried to travel with a large keyboard? It always sucks and can be expensive as well.
      If I could stick a few Lumi’s in a large backpack or trolley I could save on money and frustration.

      The problem with the Lumi’s is not that they’re a bit smaller than regular keys, but that Lumi’s break down after a couple weeks use for a lot of people. If it didn’t I would’ve bought them already 100%.

      1. Also $299 for 24 spongey keys. Tried to innovate in too many directions at once and for too many audiences. RGB, portability, MPE, wireless etc. Most only want some of that, but when you pay for all of it, it’s a high priced keyboard for not great quality.

    2. Scanner is the guy with the rant. Yep.

      They’re calling Lumi peloton for piano. Only problem is I don’t see anyone winning Le Tour on a little girl bike with stabilizer wheels.

  9. My LumiKeys is pretty unusable (different keys had different aftertouch response), and the amount of software it requires to keep the thing going is insane.

  10. i don’t use the Seaboard for everything, but when i need it there is literally nothing that can replace it for certain kinds of things. i’m glad they’re keeping everything going, very best to these guys.

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