The coming year will see no slowing of the pace of innovation in the DJ world, but it's going to be happening in different areas than up to now. Mobile will rise, sales of complementary DJ gear (lights, PA) will also rise, and thanks to gesture control, DJs will continue to be waving their arms in the air like they just don't care. Oh, and they just might learn to play nicely with each other once again.
Read on for all the detail of our our DJing predictions for 2013, and please use the comments to make your own, and to agree (or disagree) with ours.
5 DJing Predictions For 2013
1. One of the big three DJ programs will make the jump to tablets
From zero a couple of years ago, tablets (and we mean iPad really - Android is not good for music applications) now account for 15% of our traffic here at Digital DJ Tips. And where there are tablet-owning DJs, there is going to be DJ software.
So far, the slowest companies to respond have been the biggest existing DJ software producers, the makers of Traktor, Virtual DJ and Serato. This has allowed products such as djay and DJ Player steal the space. But respond the big boys will have to - paradigm shifts like this can crucify those who don't keep up.
Virtual DJ's maker Atomix has put its cards on the table and said Virtual DJ 8 will run on iOS as well as Mac and Windows, but it's taking its time arriving. Maybe Traktor or Serato will get there first? Or Pioneer will expand rekordbox into a standalone DJ app? Or even Denon's Engine library system will get a v2 that can be used for software DJing? You can bet on at least one of the above in 2013.
2. There will be more gesture control DJ systems
There are already devices scratching the surface of body movement control of music gear - the Midifighter Pro can be moved around to control parameters in software, and the Hercules DJ Control AIR has an infra-red beam control to do similar. And of course with Windows 8 ushering in touchscreen technology for devices other than tablets, more DJ software will start using that as well so you can do things with your fingers on the screen.
But it's going to go further - much further. There have been several proofs of concept in the last 12 months, like the Kinect-based demo above involving full body control of Midi. But with rapid advances in this technology (such as this software that already lets you control your music library software in this way), expect much more innovation. Who knows, it may bring a bit of performance back to the sometimes static world of digital DJing.
3. "Amateur bashing" will tail off
Many established, jobbing DJs sadly still really don't like to help up-and-comers - especially when it comes to analogue DJs helping digital newbies. (I always point angry protests to True Professionals Don't Fear Amateurs by Seth Godin). But this year even more old DJs will retire, quietening further the tired protests against digital newcomers. And the old-timers who are left will continue to embrace new technology and "up their game".
I personally know just how diligent, dedicated and skilful the new breed of digital DJs are, because I have taught several thousand of them via How To Digital DJ Fast, and I can tell you the majority want to "do it properly" as much as new DJs always have done, whatever their gear. Meanwhile, the new breed will continue to learn to play across different types of gear depending on the situation, while bettering themselves by absorbing the important stuff from the generation before them.
As digital settles down and continues to gain acceptance as a valid way of doing things, in 2013 the debate and effort of DJs will shift away from gear, and back to music and people - where it should be. And about time too. However...
4. Vinyl will make a modest resurgence
People, including us, have been predicting the death of vinyl for ages. And while it's now a completely niche thing, truth is it won't die in 2013. Indeed, advances in 3D printing mean it will quite likely become possible to cut your own tunes to vinyl - a kind of new-genration dub plate - to pack a truly unique record box. (There's already a proof of concept, albeit a terrible-sounding one - see video above). Meanwhile, retro scenes and pockets of "resistance" will continue to keep vinyl alive.
It is never going to grow to be a dominant force again, but until all DJs everywhere fall out of love with the techniques of turntablism, vinyl (whether DVS or the "real thing") will retain and consolidate its place alongside digital, just as print books have found their place alongside Kindles.
5. New generation digital sound and lighting gear sales will soar
It's already happening. As the resurgence of interest in DJing (thanks to digital and "EDM") continues, a whole new generation of DJs are looking at their smart new DJ controllers and thinking "I want to complete my set-up now". And they ain't going to be buying what the generation before them bought, that's for sure.
No, instead they're going for smart powered PA systems (think portability and innovative designs such as the Bose L1 for PAs) rather than amp-and-speaker separates, and a whole host of new, highly controllable and well-priced LED and laser systems to replace bulky, expensive and tired old "disco lights".
With retailers reporting these as big growth areas, and DJ controllers reaching a plateau as far as new "must have" features are concerned, expect both consumers and manufacturers to focus big-time on these areas in 2013.
Agree or disagree with any of our predictions? Got any of your own to add? Please feel free to share in the comments.