Anyone who’s been even a casual follower of electronic music for the past 15 years would already be familiar with Ableton Live, the software solution that has not only become one of the leading sources of music production software, but has also helped pioneer how club music is performed in a live setting. A new report from THUMP dives into where the Berlin-based Ableton grew from and how the famous tech company helped transform electronic music.

“This game-changing software made it easier for the average person to make music and use their computer as an instrument, as well as perform live without needing to know how to program their own software,” THUMP reports.



It’s argued that the widespread adoption of the software was responsible for encouraging more producers to take their studio setup to the stage, as well as helping fuel the explosion of festival culture around the world in the decade following the software’s debut in 2001.

The report also traces the genesis of the Ableton software back to before 2001, when the company was founded in Berlin, asserting that its roots can actually be found in that city’s early ‘90s techno scene—“when the stakes were low and there was a lot of room for experimentation.” Ableton cofounders Gerhard Behles and Robert Henke formed their ideas for the software while performing as their techno outfit Monolake around the middle of the decade.

“Henke and Behles believe their involvement in Berlin’s nascent scene during the years leading up to Ableton’s release was a key factor in the program’s success,” THUMP writes. “They had personal connections with artists whose profiles were quickly rising as Berlin’s electronic music gained more traction.”

As demand for live shows increased, so too did the need for a user-friendly tool that could help make these performances possible, and “Ableton Live was an antidote to the problem.”

The report also includes a detailed interview with Behles and Henke that took place at Ableton’s annual Loop Summit in Berlin earlier this month. Above, you can watch one of the conference’s panels, featuring scene mainstay Henrik Schwarz.

Check out the report “The Untold Story of Ableton Live—the Program That Transformed Electronic Music Performance Forever” over at THUMP.


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