The Recording Academy announced that Dave Smith and Ikutaro Kakehashi will receive the 2013 Technical Grammy Award for the development of MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface). Smith is the owner of Dave Smith Instruments, a hardware manufacturer that builds nice, affordable analog synths like the Prophet ’08, MoPho, Tetra and Evolver.
This year, the MIDI protocol is already thirty years old. Nowadays, electronic music still uses MIDI everywhere, from synthesizers, drum machines to the modern softwaresequencers. By using MIDI, synthesizers could communicate for the first time with each other.
Financially, Dave Smith has earned nothing with the development of the MIDI protocol. From the beginning he has made the protocol available for free. MIDI has stood the test of time surprisingly good. The protocol seems to have changed little or nothing.
In 1982, Dave Smith developed the MIDI protocol and MIDI interface. The Japanese hardware manufacturer Roland was the first partner to adopt the MIDI protocol in their products. At the time, Smith was employed by Sequential Circuits, where he built his famous Prophet synthesizers. The Prophet 600 was the first synthesizer with MIDI. It appeared thirty years ago on the market. During the NAMM show in January 1983, the first demonstration of MIDI communication between instruments of different manufacturers was demonstrated by Dave Smith. These were the Prophet 600 and the Roland Jupiter 6. Nowadays big money is paid for the Jupiter 6 on the auction sites.