So Serato has released Serato Scratch Live (SSL) 2.4.4, a maintenance upgrade to fix some bugs and glitches. Serato Scratch Live is for digital vinyl users of course, as opposed to Serato DJ which is for controller users, but what caught my attention is that in the publicity material, Serato is showing the software with the waveforms horizontally, not vertically.
Why is this significant? Because SSL was always by default presented with two vertical waveforms on the screen. But now, Serato is pushing the horizontal look for SSL, while at the same time Serato DJ is a big step towards the look and feel of SSL over its predecessor, Serato ITCH (like SSL, Serato DJ has counters in the "decks", coloured cues on screen in the same place, a similar waveform view....). It all begs the question: When are the two softwares going to merge?
I don't think anyone's in any doubt that they are (Serato hinted as much in the original Serato DJ press release), but it definitely looks to me like the company is smoothing the way for this to happen now. So if the software becomes one, what will that mean for hardware and the exclusivity relationship between Rane and Serato when it comes to digital vinyl?
Will we see other manufacturers allowed to offer digital vinyl control of Serato software, or licensed to build scratch-compatible audio interfaces into their gear? I have no inside info on this, and so we'll just have to wait and see... but whenever it comes, it's my view that such a move will only strengthen Serato's offering in the market - something the company has to do, of course, in the face of the ever-more unified (but different) message coming from its big rival, Traktor.
Is 2013 going to be all about consolidation?
With the flood of new controllers definitely slowing down, and manufacturers looking again at their product lines seemingly with the aim of simplifying them, consolidation seems to be the name of the game in 2013 - both within and between brands.
My view is that if this makes it easier for those who buy and use the gear to choose, it can only be a good thing. Because one of the paradoxes of digital DJing is that while it has put immense power into the hands of more potential DJs than ever before, it's harder than ever to know where to start nowadays - something that I know from our mailbox is a huge pain point for many beginners.
• Watch this space from more consolidation news from the industry as and when we get it...
Do you agree that Serato is planning on merging its two software titles into one? Have you noticed the DJ industry slowing down and rationalising behind certain products this year? What do you think the next 12 months will bring for the big digital brands? Please share your thoughts in the comments.