As the name suggests, originally developed as a performance tool for electronic artists, Live soon also found its way into many studios as creative artists found its clip based cyclical workflow an inspiring alternative to the more linear staples from Emagic and Steinberg. Inspired by old music trackers like Amiga’s Ultimate Soundtracker, Ableton Live adopted a vertical cyclical base layout using audio clips. Originally Ableton Live accepted only audio files but with Live 4, MIDI was introduced transforming Ableton into one of the most flexible and powerful DAW, allowing for the creation of elaborate performances and compositions using hardware synthesizers as well as virtual instruments.
You're now just as likely to see someone using Live and Ableton's Push controller on stage, as in the studio or in the DJ booths. Artists like Gotye and Sterling Fox are well known for their use of Ableton’s sequencer for recording ideas and transform them into full blown productions
Before Live arrived on the scene, electronic acts such as Orbital and Moby would have to brave the stage with at most a couple of Alesis MMT-8 step sequencers locked together by MIDI clock to recreate their classic tracks for an audience - nowadays all it takes is a laptop, a copy of Ableton Live and a little inspiration to keep any crowd on their feet.