EDITOR’S NOTE: Apologies for not posting this sooner — my fault entirely. But there’s just 20 hours left on this project, and they’ll appreciate any additional funding.  

Modularity continues to be popular amongst producers and DJs, despite the plethora of all-in-one solutions that provide everything you might need, and more. Arguably, the flexibility of pick-n-mix (no pun intended) controls, plus the view that they’re still seen as pro-level or ’aspirational’, compared to all-in-ones, captures the imaginations of the community.

The Grid Modular MIDI Controller System allows you to run one primary square module via USB-C cable, and let you hot-swap more controls of different configurations to any of the three other edges on the unit, with up to 16 modules on one system. Each module features an aluminium face plate and a magnetic interface for connection.

You’ll be able to choose from three different module types:

  • The PO16 has 16 potentiometer encoders, each with a RGB LED
  • The BO16 has 16 buttons with RGB LEDs
  • The PBF4 has four buttons with RGB LEDs, four linear faders, and four encoders with RGB LEDs

My thoughts

This might sound jaded, but “another month, another MIDI controller crowd fund” was my first thought regarding this project. Over the course of a year, we see a lot of these types of crowdfund campaigns. Fairly niche, boutique designs aimed at producers or DJs. That’s not to say I don’t like the look of the concept. Every one of these projects gets a nod of approval from one or more of us on the DJWORX team, if not some form of investment.

But they’re likely doomed projects.

If you take a look at the stats that Kickstarter helpfully provides about the crowdfunding platform, you will see that the ‘technology’ category has a 20% success rate. Only one in five projects hits the funding target asked for. Just looking back (with no prejudice) at previous projects we reported on, they all fell well short of their goals.

Why is this, do we think? All those ideas are clever, well constructed, and realistic. They’re also not ridiculously expensive for customers. I think the reality is that there just isn’t the market of early adopters to support the product, and that the hurdle of production cost is just too high to build a convincing case for those on the fence or more traditionalist that may convert in time.

There’s also the general fatigue with crowdfunding as funding platforms mature… It used to be that people thought sticking a project on Kickstarter would mean investment from users, but it seems the expectation from naive backers has been that they’re essentially preordering the product, a view that hasn’t been helped by the language projects have used. This is most evident with many of the backer tiers, promising product for the money provided.

I suspect that for niche products like this, asking for less from crowdfunding and finding other means of investment to further support the project would help hugely. But perhaps crowdfunding is the purest example of both socialism and capitalism laid bare?

Your thoughts

Do the Grid: Modular MIDI Controllers inspire you to help fund the project?

Help make the project a reality over on Indiegogo, by pitching in some cash or backing a tier that gives you cold, hard nextlevelness.


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