Roland marks TR-808’s 40th anniversary with a documentary and freebies

If you’re a budding musician, though, you may be most interested in the digital instruments. You can “test drive” the TR-808 virtual instrument for free through Roland Cloud now through August 31st if you have an account. Roland’s Zenbeats is also adding two 808-themed audio loop packs, one of which (Mixtape Vol. 4 “808”) is free. You can try the app for free as well.

This is clearly Roland’s big opportunity to plug its current wares and its role in music history. At the same time, there’s little doubt that the TR-808 had a major impact on the industry. Its distinctive drum and cymbal sounds have defined genres like rap, hip-hop and techno, and are still used to this day. It was important enough that groups like 808 State even based their names and sounds around it. While this certainly isn’t the only electronic instrument to have reshaped music in its image, it may be the one you’re most likely to recognize.

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