Exactly 15 years ago to this day, Ableton Live 1 was released - on October 30, 2001. The Session View with the grid layout for clips and scenes was a fundamental change in the approach to working with music. As the name Live indicates, Robert Henke and Gerhard Behles, back then performing as Monolake together, had the vision to create a tool that allowed them to perform and improvise music on stage.

Screenshot by Robert Henke

Ableton Live Alpha - Screenshot by Robert Henke

As Robert Henke put it:

The main and revolutionary idea was: The computer is the instrument itself and the musician, too. The person operating it, is the conductor and performer of this new type of instrument.

Before that, all DAWs worked with the concept of arranging along the timeline as if we were still dealing with tape machines and analogue gear. Ableton Live offers this possibility as well with the Arrangement View, but it simply went further with the Session View.

Live 1 wasn't the fully fledged DAW we know now. It offered no MIDI sequencing features, but kept the focus squarely on audio with loops and sample manipulation, including warping.

These days, it's hard to imagine the music tech world without Ableton Live as it's been shaped so much by this software. All the controllers and apps that use the grid layout these days, do so with Ableton Live in mind. Most of the time you see a computer used on stage, Ableton Live will be the software running on it.

Free AbleFifteen Live Pack

To celebrate the anniversary, I've got a special Live Pack for you. It's self-installing, and contains a generative Live Set that shows very nicely what can be achieved with follow actions and dummy clips. You can of course use all clips and presets in your own productions.


Download the free AbleFifteen Live Pack

Questions or suggestions? Please leave me a comment below.

Check out the other free Sonic Bloom Live Packs.