BPM 2012: 6 Things We Learned At The Show

bpm show

Read the six things we learned from the BPM show this year.

One of the best bits about going to DJ shows, such as the BPM Show 2012 that's just ended, is gauging the mood of the public and the exhibitors, spotting what's busy and what isn't, and trying to get a feel for both the current state of play in DJing, and what might be just around the corner.

In-between product demos, meetings and seminars, we made it our mission to be visible and available to as many of our readers "on the floor" as possible. As always, we feel staying close to you guys is the most important thing we can do, and a show is the perfect time to do just that. What you said, alongside discussions with industry peeps had in the bars, cafes and car parks (well, the smokers have got to smoke somewhere...), has informed this list of trends from BPM 2012.

6 things we learned from BPM 2012

  1. iPads will be a force within 12 months. We called this one early, but the iPads are arriving. They're creeping in already at the edges (Pioneer Rekordbox wirelessly connected to the XDJ-AERO, Denon's Engine software for its SC2900/SC3900 range, the Vestax Spin2, the Numark iDJ Pro), but believe us, there will be iPad perched behind many DJ controllers by this time next year, instead of laptops
  2. There are no more great leaps to come for controllers. If you've been holding off buying a controller because you think there's something big around the corner, don't worry - go and spend. What's currently available covers everything you're likely to find on a DJ controller for the foreseeable future. See point 1 above - it's what you use with your controller that'll take all the manufacturer' attention in the next 12 months. If you want to use a laptop, buy now and be safe in the knowledge that your controller will remain relevant. Maybe worth checking it's class compliant though, just in case the iPad bug bites you...
  3. Lighting and PA gear is getting smarter, smaller and cheaper. PA companies were there in force and we saw some smart, portable set-ups that are really suited to digital DJing, both in terms of portability and features (there's a group test coming up soon on the website). Meanwhile, LED lighting from the likes of Chauvet and American DJ is again small, smart and technologically advanced, with the iPad as a control surface being one theme we spotted. It's never been cheaper to own your own rig
  4. Scratching is still the best way to show off. Ask your girlfriend to pretend to be a DJ, and she'll put her hand to one ear as if to hold he headphone cup, and do a little scratch with the other hand - right? Scratching is fundamental to how the public understands DJs, and the stands with the biggest crowds wee invariably those where scratch performances went on. These tended to be Rane (showing off their mixers and Serato Scratch Live), Denon, Native Instruments, and Numark, who were showcasing how easy it is to scratch well on the iDJ Pro with iPad
  5. Early 2013 is going to be very interesting.... There's lots of clues above about what is coming next, but one thing's for sure - there's lots of it coming! We were told by several companies about plans for early next year (coinciding with the NAMM and Musikmesse music/DJ shows), and suffice to say we'll be pretty busy bringing it all to you in Q1 2013...
  6. Digital DJs want to learn. Few things exasperate me more than tired, closed-minded, frustrated "purist" DJs bemoaning how today's generation of digital DJs don't care about the craft, and don't want to get good at DJing. The seminars - be they production, remixing, "traditional" DJ skills like handling a crowd and being an entertainer, or stuff right on the edge such as creative ways to use Traktor's Remix Sets - were all packed to the gills. Make no mistake, cynical whingers, the new generation want to learn, and they're coming to get you - unless you realise there's loads of fun to be had with new gear and techniques, and that the water's warm, that is...


What took our team and me aback completely was how many of our readers there were there! From sideways "don't I know you?" glances to full-on "hi guys, I'm _______ on the forum"-type chats, we got to speak personally with more of you than at any show before - definitely into the hundreds.

It was great to see you, and if you're at all able to make it to BPM 2013 (and that goes for our stateside readers too - it's worth the effort...), please say hello! We'll be the ones always looking like we're late for something, with video gear in our hands, and our usual big, bright "digital DJ Tips" T-shirts on...

Were you one of the readers whom we were lucky enough to meet in person at BPM? If you were there, what were your overall impressions of the show, the state of DJing, and where it's all going? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments...

Get access to all our free DJ training!

Join over 150,000 Digital DJ Tips members to get exclusive free DJ training videos, articles & resources plus twice-weekly emails with the best of our tutorials, reviews and DJ news. It’s free, and you can unsubscribe at any time!


  1. I need to disagrea with:
    1. (iPad).
    It's a hype, it wil soon be gone for DJ'ing.
    Altough you probably see it more for producing.

    and 2. (controllers).
    We are only at the beginning, there is still a giant leap to make in developing and using controllers.
    But start thinking out of the box and not in a classical DJ'ng way.

    • DJ Forced Hand says:

      I agree with point 2, but point 1 is one of those "both are true" kind of things. Touching the iPad directly will not be the interface of choice for people needing to do quick changes or doing things requiring a lot of little tweaks... the interface is just too clunky for it, but it is smaller and lighter than a laptop and even though a used iPad is still more expensive than a used MacBook Pro, it will be appealing to certain people who are most concerned about the bulkiness of their equipment. I honestly think that laptops have more to offer a DJ than an iPad does, but that's my opinion.

    • iPad will soon be gone for DJing. Could you please explain what this grand, sweeping statement is based on??

    • Juwansome says:

      I remember when using a laptop seemed like a passing phase! And look at us now... And iPad is a mobile computer with a touch screen and unsurpassed stability (unless jail broken), so I firmly believe they are here to stay. I'm using one now with an idj pro, have you ever tested one? You might be surprised...

    • IPad isn't practical or useful in production. There's little screen economy and having a touch surface makes any kind of fine tuning difficult. On top of that the lack of any kind of multi-hardware interface is a big roadblock. Even if they do fix that, not having that processing power owned by a mac tower or the screen economy will always push the iPad to the rear of producing possibility.

  2. I think that as soon as digital DJing will reach android, there be be a definite hype on the tab market. I still don't get the point why this hasn't happened yet. The iPad is a great device as long as you're used to and agree to the apple way of thinking, but being a non-apple user for more than 15 years, the limitations, especially those of itunes, make me tired.

    • It's impossible to create real-time and very stable applications for Android still. Android's architecture is not able to provide these, as it's designed for totally different purposes, while iOS is based on a very stable UNIX system, and it's frameworks are not too far from it: the devs can "go really low", and their stuff isn't "disturbed" by many other things. This is the simplest I can explain for you.

      Another factor is Android's ecosystem. You can find much less users wanting to pay there, and much higher piracy. So business-wise it's also very far from iOS.

    • Android is too fragmented for manufacturers to support, I wish it wasn't as I too am an android user but this reality when it comes to open source.

  3. Hey Phil, met you on saturday morning on the benches outside.
    Loved the show, highlight for me was the lighting and sound display in the main arena, totally blown away...

    I think the ipad will take more pride of place in the market, for me it would be perfect if denon build engine to stream music too, or maybe extend the information displayed on excisting app ie; waveforms and key tab.

    See ya next year

  4. Klaus Mogensen says:

    I'm looking forward to a test of portable PA gear (if I understand you correctly)

    An if you like to expand, I wouldn't minds reading tests of LED lighting from you as well :-)

  5. The upcoming products are innovative and definitively the future, but not in demand by DJ's at this moment. Most dj's still use regular cd-players. The crowd isn't interested in gadgets or if u spin with vinyl, cd or computers, they only want good music.
    Also...this gear-production is mainly driven for manufacter profit, gear u don't actually need, becoming rapidly outdated and creating G.A.S. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:GreyCat/Gear_Acquisition_Syndrome

  6. What the hell is that white sphere the kid is playing with in the video? Looks like the kind of controller used by some creature in the Cantina in Mos Eisley.

  7. Very good read Phil!

  8. sammsousa says:

    i disagree with nº1!!!! shure more and more people start using it... some pros use it with grid app, or something, to control ableton, but thats it... amateurs think they can use just an ipad to dj, and, in theory they can! but djing with just an ipad, sucks!!!! i think its just horrible to dj, withouth any buttons, knobs or faders... sorry but thats my opinion!!

  9. I like the scratching part. It's good to know that people aren't tired of seeing some different skills otehr than just mixing and effects.

  10. Apart from the extended battery life (which is not required since electric is needed for the PA anyway) and maybe the smaller weight I cant see how an Ipad would be more preferred to a laptop (pc or mac). It lacks the processing power, storage space and connectivity (usb ports/vga/hdmi etc) compared to a laptop.

    Also the fact that mobile phones with qwerty keyboards exist proves that human fingers prefer pressing buttons/turning knobs as opposed to touching screens. Yes the ipad does have its place in the digital dj world as a secondary/supportive tool but i dont think it can totally replace a laptop with all the laptops power and features the way the ipad is at the moment. Not for professional use anyway.

    True it would be cool to show up at a friends party, the playlist is crap, and you say: "hey got the ipad in the car, do you mind if i play some music?", then u come and rock the house and turn it into a proper party. Or maybe have it hooked up on one of the channels in the booth in case the laptop decides to play up. But i cant see it as the main weapon in a dj booth.

    I cant wait for numark/pioneer etc to teem up with Dell/Hp/acer etc and create a true dedicated dj laptop maybe with a built in controller?? Cmon guys sort it out!!!

  11. DjSkittles says:

    I don't think iPads are the "way of the future" and that it will replace things. I think it will great for accessory things such as launching samples, looping, and things like that. But for an iPad to replace a controller I don't see as feasible. It's isn't accurate enough like a controller is.

  12. I see the ipad having a solid future in dj'ing as long as the controller interface accommodates creativity. I was 10 when hip hop and dj'ing were born. I broke my back carrying crates of records, huge speakers & amps and heavy coffins as I dj'ed in High School. The only effects I had were an echo chamber and whatever I could create using the mixer and decks. When Serato emerged I was a purist (largely because of the arrogance and laziness of some so called dj's who just pushed buttons and swore they were the man) until I realized the true potential and unbounded creativity that digital dj'ing offers.

    I've seen Z-Trip and Jazzy Jeff rock a large Las Vegas nightclub crowd repeatedly because they exercise their creativity while using digital tools. Would either of them use an ipad to dj with? I bet they would if they had a controller which would allow them to demonstrate the creative skills they have.

    I just bought the idj pro and while it can get the job done it does restrict me from doing things I used to do with a mixer scratch wise. At 11 lbs. it is extremely portable and a 64gb ipad is more than enough for a 6hr set. Add some great powered speakers and your ready to rock any party especially if you don't scratch.

    Some say it's all about the gear but I used to make mix tapes with 3 cassette decks. You can have your preference but a true dj can use anything to rock the party. I'll adapt my style and make the idj pro do what I want it to. After all... you have to be smarter than the tool in order to know how to use it.

  13. Would be interesting to see if IPads can take over from laptops.

    Right now I doubt it would, software like Traktor requires more CPU power than the IPad has when layering multiple effects etc.

  14. Hey Phil,

    In you opinion, would you say there is a definite move away from all in one controllers and towards modular systems? This gets discussed a lot over on the DJT... the other website's forums and I was wondering what your take was.

    • Depended where you're talking about. In clubs it's always ben modular, and recent club gear (Pioneer CDJ200nexus etc) is a basically digital gear with CD slots. At home, a controller wins hands-down for convenience. Frankly, I really don't think it matters too much - you need a couple of decks, a mixer, a great tune selection and a bit of "icing" - DJing is what you do with it, not what the gear itself is or how many parts it comes in :)

  15. Excellent post. I’m really looking forward to BPM 2013. It’s a great show and a must for any DJs in the UK. BPM is providing a lot more education than before, so there is a great opportunity to learn more.

Have Your Say