Surface Music Kit
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Meet the Surface Music Kit and Microsoft’s new blade concept for the Surface family

Earlier, Microsoft finally announced the second generation of the Surface family. We’ve got the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2, both of which come with a handful of new accessories. One of those is super niche, but beyond cool. The Music Kit for Surface brings out your inner DJ with a really creative keyboard. What's more, Microsoft is also doing a contest to kick things off.

The Music Kit is a keyboard in the sense that it attaches to your Surface like one. From there it’s a completely different beast. The Music Kit has 16 buttons, various sliders, and keys with specific functions like volume. As a result, the Surface Music Kit will allow you to create remixes like you’re the next Daft Punk.

When you click in the Music Kit the accompanying app will install automatically. This app works with the keyboard (or blade if you will) to allow you remixing powers that wouldn’t be possible with a touchscreen. You can make use of the loop, mute, and solo functions to make a new song. The keys are also pressure sensitive, so you can get a wide variety of outputs when using the kit. It will work with the Surface 2, Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2. 

Microsoft also took the Music Kit to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA three weeks ago. There they created the concept of blades with design students. The video below highlights the day.

Ideas like this are what we love. The Music Kit doesn’t have an availability date yet or pricing, but it’s something we can’t wait to get. Lack of music experience skills be damned, we’ll be creating our own banger before long.

What’s also cool is the contest Microsoft will have in conjunction with the Music Kit. Create a mix using a Surface Music Kit and it might end up on an official album release. Create a Vine video with the hashtag #RemixProject telling Microsoft why you deserve one and you could win a Surface Music Kit. You’ll win the Surface 2 and Surface Music Kit.

What do you think of the Music Kit concept? The idea of blades is beyond interesting and will puts a new twist on the Surface family. 

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Reader comments

Meet the Surface Music Kit and Microsoft’s new blade concept for the Surface family

75 Comments

What would be awesome is if other companies, like AKAI would make accessories for surface.. AKAI Pro makes a lot of attachments for the iPad, and has apps for both the iPhone, and iPad.. Right now AKAI, and Ableton, are two of the hottest companies around when it comes to real music production,, not just remixing.. Like the iPhone/Pad WP, and Surface need some serious music production capabilities... Here's an example of what I'm talking about...
http://www.akaipro.com/mpc

Its up to them, the API should be available now.. I completely agree. I'm thinking MS is doing this themselves first to show what type of capabilities there are. Like they were tired of OEMs lack of innovation and created the Surface line, this is (hopefully) the start. Lead by example!!! Possibilities are endless with this.

Yeah it would fold out awesome idea this would be the best for a DJ and good for music on Windows I hope they make something like this!

That would be awesome!
But i think something like that needs quite the mechanics to feel right, would probably be really thick.

Its completely touch based. You don't use actual records, but wav/mp3 files. The impression of a turntable is there to alter pitch and 'scratching' effects and FF/RW.

I'd get blistered fingers, needs a wheel. Great idea though, like the ableton live pad but more minimal...

This would be awesome. I can see a blade not much, if at all, thicker than than the Surface itself, thin as maybe 1/2".. Could have an actual fader, knobs, etc.... Use for Traktor, Virtual DJ, etc. Possibilities of utilizing the API are nearly endless.. App/program integration and utilization IS the key though.. Lets get the music away from the Fruits (except for FruityLoops which just put their W8 app out)..

It's not a decision that was made, it's a technical limitation. The original Surface RT lacks both the processor AND the accessory connector pins on the bottom (where the current covers connect) to allow the functionality.

No connectors. Nothing to attach to. They could make accessories that attach through the USB, but that is less than ideal.

I think this is fantastic.
But....I think this should be, like the Surfaces were originally touted, something to spark innovation and imagination amongst the OEMs.
That being said, are peripheral manufacturers capable or even allowed to create more of these kind of ingenius tools for the Surface?  If not, Microsoft seriously needs to open that up.

I wish they would do the same for their Windows Phone 8. That is what made the iPaq by Compaq so famous. Well at least one of the main reasons. :)

Agreed. If MS opens up the specs to the Surface I/O connector pins/pylons/bosses, the accessories will come.

MS stated back when Surface came out, that 3rd parties could access the API to create their own accessories/blades. I think the issue has been directly related to market share. The more Surfaces get sold, the more stuff we'll see. This should just be the tip of the iceberg here. I'm tricking excited!!!!!

This single accessory makes me want reconsider my retirement from DJing. I think I will buy one just for screwing around with.

It should be if this is supposed to catch on with musicians. Microsoft has an opportunity to cut into the market of stylish MIDI controllers like Native Instruments Maschine or Ableton Push. This is a huge, expanding market, and iOS music apps are blowing up left and right.
 
Had they announced this in conjunction with an RT lite version of a name brand like Ableton or Sonar or Fruity Loops, it would've been a slam dunk. But no MIDI and no VST effect apps mean they can't really get much mileage out of it. The entire guitar industry was falling over themselves to make iOS interface dongles and apps last year. RT apparently doesn't have the infrastructure to support it, much less the hardware.
 
Lame.

Yep, they need their equivelant to Garage Band. Hell even Blackberry got Animoog for their devices.

There is already a FL studio lite for RT for $5.00 -- It's okay. What I really want is Cubasis like the iPad has (though Cubasis still needs a few more features for my tastes)

I would love to carry my Surface RT around if it supported MIDI, and use the RT as a MIDI controller.  The fact that the Surface RT has USB built in already is great.
I remember when the iPad 1 came out and Korg came out with their iPad instruments:
http://www.korg.com/iPad_Apps
It was such a breakthrough for iPad music apps.  It would be AWESOME if I can carry around my digital instrument library on my device.  
 
When I was at Build this year I spoke to one Microsoft Employee that worked with device APIs and it didn't seem like it was a priiorty. I asked about MIDI and he turned it around on me and was asking me questions if I'm interested as a developer or user (prob more a user since I don't have time to write an app).  But he did mention that it has been bought up before and they still discuss about it.
It's too bad MS just can't commit to this.  So far I haven't seen one industry that has breakthrough WinRT apps (i.e., "I HAVE to get a Surface RT because I WANT to use this app").  If there were some popular music apps I think musicians would be interested in the RT.
 

Absolutely. I'm just a hobby guitarist, but seeing the abundance of apps/accessories for iPads while there is nothing for Surface is disheartening to say the least.

I guess... doesn't seem like enough.  You lose compatability with any other non-Surface device.  Also, the USB based accessory could be the same size but with a USB plug instead.

#1 Cool as HELL!!!!
#2 Seamless integration
#3 One hand to carry/move around
#4 Frees USB for other peripherals, i.e., external hard drive
#5 Cool as HELL!!!

The Blade concept potentially has endless possibilities. Nice to see Microsoft innovating. Watch out iEverything and Samdroid.

What I envision with this blade concept is having your RT or Pro connected to XBox One with Smartglass and a game specific blade. Or, how about a Wacom attachable blade for drawing, great for RT (I guess called S2 now for short) since it doesn't have a digitizer. I think this blade idea is a killer concept.

unfortunately its windows 8 only.
 
so i'm out of luck....
 
however, you can use bluestacks, install
vine to a PC/mac and then go from there.
 
too bad, it's such a pain. 
 
i do a lot of remixes, and would really like
to try this out. will consider getting one at
some point in time.

I think it was a great idea dropping "RT" from the name. Perhaps this is what it should've been named from the beginning. There probably wouldn't have been such a fallout.

RT doesn't have the MIDI support yet, it seems. It's a non-starter without it. iOS supports low-latency recording and MIDI, plus it has a lot of third party interfaces made just for it.

Well then why doesn't someone do something about that? it isn't always up to Microsoft to make these things happen... =/

I'd bet RT has horrible latency on background processes and we won't see MIDI any time soon.  Look at how the keyboard lags and that should be the quickest & easiest IO operation on the planet.

I want to see a musical keyboard like in the video. That would be awesome.  Lots of potential and great ideas there. I like what I see... might have to invest in this generation of Surface.

Yeah they really should put the bass and drums away, and dust off the 303. All one has to do is listen to Scratchin and Rollin vs. this new dribble, and it just really turns the core fans against them. I liked the first stuff, but those guys should just quit. One finger salute to Daft Punk.

As mentioned before, this Blade concept has so much potential! Business, medical, financial, artistry, research, therapy...i think that the potential uses of a dedicated Blade coupled with the right app/program on the Surface are immense. This dj blade is merely the beginning. As was possibly mentioned in the video clip, the blade becomes the physical extension of the app. I mean, how innovative and cool is that?

How about a blade that is an e-ink screen with touch so that it can become ANY conceivable input device? Okay, it won't have the haptic feedback of any particular layout, but the versatility would be amazing.

Oh snap!! That would be, well, ridiculously bad-ass!!!! One blade to rule them all?? That would be "My Precious"!!!!!

Can't wait to install Vine on my Windows Phone and get started with - oh, wait. Nevermind....

Hey man where's the crossfader? And no sync button? Oops, more write off time. Looks like MS needs to get out of the schools and into the clubs. Nice Guitar Blade. When is the Wesley Snipes Blade coming out? Oh Snap it has Office. Well I guess I can work on spread sheets while I look for the EQ knobs.

A DJing blade would be great for me. This blade I'm thinking is more for replicating pads on synth HW, think 808, 909, etc. I'm liking where this is at, but I'm loving where this could go!!!