5 DJing Predictions For 2013

Electrix Tweaker

The Electrix Tweaker was a bold new controller that hit at the end of 2012, but we think we'll see a slowdown in controller technology this year as attention moves to other areas.

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.

Algoriddim djay 1.5

djay is a well loved and excellent DJ program, and has taken a large chunk of the still-new iOS DJ app market. How will the 'big boys' respond in 2013?

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.

 

Comments

  1. I so agree on #1.

    I still think NAMM 2013 will have much more new innovation in tablet-based DJing.

    I dunno if Android will ever catch up, but my hope is Windows 8 will be able to handle it…thus become a powerful competition to the iPad.

    • Ubuntu for Phone was just shown, it’s not too long before you’ll be able to run Ubuntu on any android device, and Mixxx already runs on Linux. That may be the key.

      • already runs on every OS

      • synthet1c says:

        The linux version you are referring to is run on an ARM processor as is android and windows 8 RT. There are major restrictions in the API compared to x86 and x64 processors. The main thing that is of concern is that you need manufactures to make their drivers ARM compatible which is pretty unlikely considering there is no software, but there is no software because there is no hardware…

  2. Point 5 is spot on. I bought a bunch of lighting over the last year along with a couple of speakers. I hope to get a powered sub sometime this year too. DJs that can pick music correctly and beatmatch/sync are getting more in demand for all types of bookings. Used to be beatmatching wasn’t important in a wedding type setting for instance but that tide is turning. Not necessarily for the whole of the event but being able to tie songs together and use effects tastefully is becoming more expected. I know of a dj that got booked on a wedding just because of those two things despite having zero presence on the mic and being an awful announcer. “and now for the mother/daughter dance” in a monotone voice… ugh. Remember to learn to use your voice people!

    • DJ Forced Hand says:

      I think we’re starting to see the second-coming of multi-media artists and artist-collectives/teams… however this time, everything will be “live.” Being an A/V tech by day, I still see the importance of NOT including the lights inside the speaker housing (there’s too much rattling and they can be hard to repair in the field), but it makes a lot of sense to use external lights that are sound-activated (this already exists) and/or programmable (this too already exists)… You don’t have to search long to find those neat/silly Christmas Lights houses with lights synched to sound. I’m curious as to why people haven’t already done this in clubs.

  3. shuga*foot says:

    I hope all bashing ends in 2013. Enough trashing the SYNC button!

    • It not bashing, only stating facts. The button should never have been inserted in the software or hardware in the first place. QED: You’re not actually flying a plane when the autopilot button is engaged! Nuff said :)

      • Only if you believe DJing and holding two tunes manually on the beat are synonymous.

      • Lol! I’ll think about that comment tonight whilst I’m using the sync button.

      • Sync is only a sequencer. While I don’t advise DJs to totally rely on it, I honestly like it exists. Plus what do we do then if we end up seeing the “decks” vanish more? Meaning more headliners show up with controllers that simply fire clips or sequenced tracks?

        My viewpoint: http://d-jam.com/tAfIrBt

        DJing is way beyond manual beatmatching, and I honestly think if the pioneers had sync back in the 70s/80s, they would have used it, then spent their brainpower on picking tunes.

      • Prediction (wish) 6. People will move on from the ridiculous and pointless sync button debate.

      • Even that new planes can take off and land with autopilot
        FAA require someone (pilot) behind the controllers.

      • DJ Forced Hand says:

        That’s a really simplistic way of viewing things. People used to make that remark about automatic transmissions and calculators. Only elitists care anymore. Most people are at DJ events to be entertained and if a person is scratching, that’s performance, not manual beat-matching. As DJs learn how to entertain the crowd more (and yeah, I was thinking about writing a book… no, more like pamphlet on this) they’re going to incorporate more eye candy for the crowd to “Ooh and Ahh” about and in a few years no one will even care enough to say “Hey, I think that guy/gal is pressing the Synch button… that’s cheating.” The simple fact is that the Synch button is there to help, it doesn’t work all the time and you certainly should be prepared (and know what to do) if Auto-synch doesn’t work… just like the live pilot that’s sitting behind the Auto-pilot button. Is that a fair assessment?

      • Deruben says:

        I actually like to beatmatch. It’s really chilling while you are in the hustle of playing a set…

    • No kidding, right? And honestly, if your CDJ has a BPM reader, it’s not a whole lot different from a sync button… come on guys.

      … I’ve been DJing for about 3 years now… I still consider myself amateur even though I’ve held a residency, consistently DJed in 3 states and have a podcast that has 80k subscribers…. BUT, I still feel the bashing from the city I live in now because I’m new to THIS city.

      I’m just now getting into producing so of course they don’t know who I am… it’s like starting all over… Day 1.

  4. I think all these predictions are safe to make, although I see the vinyl printing coming along more successfully in about three to five years.

    • DJ Forced Hand says:

      What’s stopping people from getting better materials (like aluminum or brass) and using that? There are makerbots out there that can accurately create the spiral of sound and there HAS to be a better way to cut grooves than how they did it years ago.

  5. Simon Bailey says:

    I’ve been following the iOS apps and one for me, that you missed off, is CrossDJ for iPad and iPhone/iPod.

    It offers basically a the experience if Mixvibes CrossDJ product on iDevices.

    It’s the forerunner for me at the moment.

    P.S remember that Mixvibes powers Rekordbox!

  6. Robert Wulfman says:

    I don’t know about number 2. As far as touchscreens go, sure that’s bound to rise but I don’t think motion operated devices will really start to catch on until at least 2014.

    • DJ Forced Hand says:

      Right. Anyone who’s actually used a gesture-based system, they know that it needs a lot of work. I wouldn’t honestly even want to try one again unless it had some force-feedback on a special glove that helped you feel what you’re doing.

    • Cliff Whitney says:

      Motion control was a big part of the MC-505 D-Beam control….. 1998….
      Used in many big name studio’s over the years….

      If it’s being incorporated into the gear of tomorrow well lets just say its about time

      • I’ve no idea why the D-Beam didn’t catch on. There’s a band in my town that use a D-Beam in their shows. People love it when they realise that a waving hand is controlling the sound, yet online, I’ve only ever seen the D-Beam ridiculed.

  7. foldabledisco says:

    2013, the year that everybody is going to protect their ears against hearing damage. When I see and hear (young) people use headphone and monitoring volume… It breaks my ehhh ears.
    For myself it’s to late, I’ve got a nice and steady tinnitus screaming around my head. Let me tell you this, you don’t want that, it’s horror!
    So please lower your cue and monitor levels, and buy a pair of those fancy protective earbuds.

  8. wasn’t there one mixxx tablet already couple years ago? then again, you can install any of those on win 8 tablet.

  9. For motion control gesture systems check out the iMoov iPhone app. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9Zr68Tict4

  10. Autosync will be default on within 2 years time…
    The gap between dry and wet mixers is gooing to get huge…

  11. Will windows 8 touchscreen becoming standard on laptop /tablet hybrids i can c some interesting developments, no controller.

    • Yes, your controller will never go out of date again!
      Software developers will sell you new versions of their touch optimised wares and that will drive (touch) hardware sales, so it will happen. People may complain of losing the tactile feedback but that never stopped the relentless development of tech. Ask your old phone with physical keys. Besides, it will be completely intuitive, see a control – touch it!

    • DJ Forced Hand says:

      Traktor already is touch-screen compliant, but the prediction was for “Tablets.” So technically, you *COULD* say this already happened, but it’s not on a Mac and even if you use a fancy Acer Iconia, it’s technically a two touch-screen laptop not a tablet.

  12. Android’s bad audio latencies will keep app developers away from the platform. When it’s there most likely all the other tables/phone OS app platforms have already taken over all of the important market share.

    • I thought they sorted that out ages ago? I remember reading that they’d improved latency with the release of the Galaxy Nexus and Android 4, which was in 2011 I think. I stand corrected.

  13. Yes, your controller will never go out of date again!
    Software developers will sell you new versions of their touch optimised wares and that will drive (touch) hardware sales, so it will happen. People may complain of losing the tactile feedback but that never stopped the relentless development of tech. Ask your old phone with physical keys. Besides, it will be completely intuitive, see a control – touch it!

  14. DJ Forced Hand says:

    I’m making these following predictions:

    1) This year we will see a rise in acceptance of in-ear headphones for DJs. Reason: Someone will wear something on their head that would not allow the traditional headphones to be there)… it’s totally a fashion thing.

    2) There will be at least one program you can use in Ableton to DJ with while also using Ableton Live itself (eliminating the need for synching between two programs). Reason: People are tired of waiting for big name Software DJ companies to get their act straight and give people what they have been demanding… without the need for specific hardware. (Oh, and the ReMOTE Zero and APC 40 are already set for this).

    3) Some software company will modify their software so that the DJ can manipulate intelligent lighting through MIDI (i.e. LED Likos, LED Pars and Moving-head lights). Reason: Big-name performers are probably going to demand that these expensive systems which sync their playing decks to their MIDI control decks (for lighting, smoke and video events).

    4) Digital DJ software will come with add-on software for Spatial Sound. Reason: This has existed in the Production world in movies for at least a decade and a half. The rich sound moving through space is notably different and truly makes a soundscape that much more compelling. DJ software is already using a lot of the Production tricks, I think this year will be the year for Dolby 5.1.

    5) Micro-events (less than 50 people) will begin to grow in popularity as the proving-grounds for up-and-coming DJs. Reason: Clubs are expensive places to operate and one bad DJ can make-or-break a night, especially if they’re on early. Micro-events have already grown in popularity as genres push toward ever-more defined sub-genres. They’re also a great way to “come up” (as in the Minor Leagues to the Big Leagues) as a way to cut your teeth with a crowd. I think fewer promoters are willing to risk their nights on an unknown DJ with a mixcloud mix, but they will check out talent where they see potential.

    6a) We will see MORE side-car (or add-on) controllers being made for specific purposes but we will see them better integrated with software. Reason: With the DDJ-SX I believe we have seen the all-in-one become so large it doesn’t serve everyone’s needs. It’s a great controller, but it’s not the custom route a lot of people are headed in AND it’s a lot of money to plunk down all at once.

    6b) We will see MORE side-car (or add-on) controllers, drum machines and keyboards being used in live DJ performances. Reason: Controllerism is maturing and becoming it’s own thing and people are stepping up to the challenge of doing more.

    7) We will see a rise in Talent Agents for Controllerists/DJs. Reason: People are becoming very good at picking songs, mixing tracks, triggering loops and every little effect and tweak they can do with music, but it’s too much to do everything anymore. Talent agents will focus on getting their team more gigs, at better rates for more money. The artists will be quite alright with that because it’s more time to do what they love and they’ll be paying their agents with money they otherwise wouldn’t get.

    8) The rise of the D.I.Y. controller. Reason: A lot of people look at the technology around them and see cheap Computer brains (Arduino, RaspberryPi etc.), buttons, sliders and knobs, makerbots (to make the custom case), LEDs and even LCD screens and deciding “Hey, if Moldover did this a few years ago and things are a lot easier to do now and I can customize my interface the way I want, why not try it?” We may even see the rise of Micro-brew, (boutique) controller shops.

    I think that’s enough predictions for now. Tell me if you agree/disagree or think I’m completely mental for thinking any of this could happen this year.

    • I’m liking 3 but mostly 5. Small, intimate events, perhaps invitation only where everyone is on the same wavelength. It’s more about enjoying yourself than making money

      • DJ Forced Hand says:

        I’m right there with you. In this setting, everything can be all about being the Multi-Media Artist you are and you won’t be making much money here. Honestly, I see these spaces as proving grounds but they are the perfect environment for playing a sub-genre of a sub-genre that even the Hipsters haven’t even heard of… AND they can happen anywhere, like pop-up stores… home garages, small apartments, urban roof-tops, parking lots, derelict buildings, etc. I would really LOVE to see a rise in renegade Warehouse punk and Rave parties again… but for the sake of this article, I think the value of a smaller, more intimate settings means there’s less to lose if you experiment so YEAH, you can experiment more while risking less and these micro-events are the perfect place for people to build their skills.

    • Nr 3. : DMX programs used to control lighting are already operated via MIDI. Nothing prevents you from mapping your dj controller as your DMX controller too.

      • DJ Forced Hand says:

        You are correct that nothing stops you from mapping your DJ controller to the lighting so we already are seeing some of this now… just in separate boxes. I honestly think that lighting controllers like leprecons are great, but integration from inside the DJ software can give the DJ more to work with via programmable events in the song, mainly because DJs don’t always want to play every song they had in their set list in order (or they want to replace the song based on how the crowd reacts that night)… and of course, with that we’ll be wondering where to put all that information in the music file.

    • I think that’s a great list – I particular feel the”lighting control within Dj software” is likely to happen soon.

      • Has been possible with VirtualDJ and VenueMagic for over a year via their plug-in integration. Also there is plug-in available for FreeStyler.

    • DJ Forced Hand says:

      I have a lot of experience running club nights and underground events (you can reference my articles on this site if you want). I’m thinking of writing a book that will help people organize their micro-events, but… I’ll only do it if I have enough interest. As Phil will tell you, it takes a lot of time and energy to write a publication.

      I will tell you this, there’s nothing as exciting as making a renegade club come together and happen… and you *can* make it happen in just a couple of hours if you know what you’re doing.

  15. I predict that there will be more controllers with the wireless option that the Pioneer XDJ-AERO has and more affordable. I would love to just use my smartphone instead of my laptop.

  16. I can definately see the rise of micro-parties too. In general, I think people are just getting sick of the hassle of going to clubs, overpriced drinks, douchebags that are just there to be seen/not dance, shitty staff, garbage top 40, overcrowding…..I can definately see smaller, more right knit edm communities popping up everwhere which I LOVE!!!!

    • YES to micro parties. I couldn’t agree more with this comment. Would you rather be at a packed club in vegas with 1000 people who are there because it’s “cool” and so they can say OMG I partied in Vegas or would you rather have a small club with 100 people who are all down for the music and have established a little community in that club. Micro Parties FTW.

      Also can’t help but comment on the sync debate. It all comes down respect and it goes both ways. I have a lot of respect for those that came before me and started this whole culture, who had to beat match, who had to dig, and who had to spend $15 on a single piece of vinyl. I started off just using sync, then I learned to beat match, and now do a combination of both. If you use sync just remember that there are people who laid the groundwork and your job is now 10x easier compared to back in the day. And for the the purists that are totally against using sync, that’s perfectly fine it’s your preference. But to hate on sync is to hate on every other tool made in the name of progress.

      That’s like hating on snow plows or snow blowers (I’m from Canada). I’m sure happy the city doesn’t stick to “real snow plowing”. Otherwise it would take days to clear all the damn streets! Hell even Craze uses sync cause it allows him to do more.

      • haha that’s a funny way to think about it (I’m from Canada too).
        Anyways, I started with vinyl about twelve years ago. Now I use sync. Why? Now this is gonna sound weird, but laziness AND it gives me extra time to enjoy my own music! Sure, it only takes about 20 seconds to beatmatch, but I like rocking out behind the decks! It gives me extra time to dance, have a drink, talk to people, whatever!!

      • zzzuperfly says:

        I love lunchbeat – it is by far the best music experience for me in a long time, the reasons: no drugs, no sex – just people who love to dance. Somehow I would like to see something like that in the night as well – I would dj for free just to be part of that energy :) (If It’s Your First Time at Lunch Beat, You Have To Dance (lunchbeat.org))

  17. Vinyl is def making a big resurgence. On the house music scene especially people are realising the sound benefits for this type of music. When i go clubbing i can tell When a DJ is playing vinyl. Its not for everyone but i think it’s agood thing that we have a variety in the scene and welcome the comeback. Whilst not being accesable for everyone i think for certain types of dance music it still offers the best sound. this year will see a better Harmony between the different formats and equipment I hope. Its all about personal preference and what you think works best for your style and sound.

  18. Love hearing vinyl is “on the up and up”. I haven’t bought any wax in about a year. I would play my vinyl out more often if there was more of a 90’s/ underground hip hop scene where I live (which is what my vinyl collection mostly consists of).

  19. I think Windows 8 has great potential, there are exciting tablet/laptop hybrids already being advertised. The touch screen will dispense the need for a separate controller, the hybrid devices have full power intel chips so they will be more capable for effects. For NI, Serato and Atomix, it means they dont have to develop and maintain separate versions of their code, just enable a touch screen mode. For a change Microsoft have finally got one over on Apple, who need to up there game rather than defending old patents with Samsung, get back to innovating. For software company they have to maintain not only OSX but IOS, still a small market, much easier to do Win 8 and you got both bases covered. Apple really do need to converge IOS and OSX.

  20. My predictions for 2013
    1. Traktor S5 to launch with wireless iPad support (e.g no need for a laptop)
    2. Traktor pro software to include key detection (move in on mixed in key dominance)
    3. Cross genre DJs to rise in popularity in mainstream clubs and bars, conversely underground genre specific nights will explode and the next generation of big Djs will come though this route.
    4. Rise of the DIY mix. (Buying tunes on beat port will include musical parts which can be remixed through software (logic, GarageBand) or hardware (Traktor F1).
    5. This is a bit out there but, Remote clubbing using the next gen of consoles e.g Xbox. I can see live DJ performances being streamed into living rooms with Kinect functionality being used to control visuals on your tv and projected into the living room using Kinect V2 hardware.

  21. I am old school DJ who has embrace new school technology and I love it. I can do so much more with less, plus, the quality of sound has improved greatly. Great Article.

  22. Well, #1 just came true: 1. “One of the big three DJ programs will make the jump to tablets.” Native Instruments just announced that Tracktor on the iPad and Richie Hawtin is debuting it. http://www.facebook.com/traktorpro

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