A DJ buys his weekly music from his smartphone, tablet PC or laptop, adding it straight to his cloud storage online. He then uses a version of his DJ software on any of his devices to add cue points and analyse and fix BPMs on the songs he just bought. Again, it all syncs automatically to the cloud. When he’s next DJing, he again fires up one of his devices (doesn’t matter which) to DJ from. His fully updated library is waiting for him, all of his previously added cues and BPMs present and correct…
Sound like magic? With today’s update to djay for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, combined with Apple’s iCloud (launched yesterday), all of this is now possible. DJing from the cloud just became a reality. Let’s explain exactly how it works…
The iCloud DJ: Welcome to your workflow…
This is what you do day-to-day when you add to your library and play your gigs:
- Your main music library stops being on any one computer, and instead moves to iCloud – Apple makes it easy by scanning your current hard drive for music, and replacing it with 256kbps AACs in the cloud – no need to upload. For stuff it hasn’t got, you can upload manually. It costs US$24.99 a year (note that some of this functionality is due later this month from Apple)
- iCloud automatically syncs your library to all of your devices – Here’s the bit people sometimes don’t understand. They think you’re literally DJing “from the cloud” – that you need an internet connection to DJ. That’s not true; what happens is that your library is kept synchronised across wi-fi between all of your devices – your Mac, your iPhone, your iPad, your iPod Touch. So while there is a local copy of your music on every machine, it is just that – a copy. The “master” copy is in the cloud. A bit like DropBox, for instance
- You have algoriddim’s djay software running on all of your devices – the latest versions of djay for iOS 5 devices (and we can guess that djay 4 for Mac, a long-anticipated update to the current djay 3 for Mac, will also include the feature), allows you to work on cue points and analyse BPMs, tapping the BPM manually if you wish, and automatically syncs them to the cloud. You can do this on your iPhone on the train on the way to work, or on your iPad in your lunch hour, for instance – wherever is convenient. The point is, the second you make a change on any device, it updates across all connected devices. It even happens while you have a song open in djay on another device, instantly!
- You choose which device to DJ from depending upon your gig, always playing from the same library – Spinning at an impromptu room party or at someone’s house after a night out? Do it from your iPhone. Playing a family party? Use your iPad either on its own or with a compatible home controller like Numark’s iDJ. Playing down your local bar in your weekly residency? Use your Vestax Spin controller with your Mac laptop or your iPad. Choice is yours. Same music, different hardware/computer set-ups
Issues and limitations…
While there are still plainly some limitations at this stage (your tunes will still be analysed on every device individually, for instance), our main one – syncing personal metadata about the music, as highlighted in our earlier iCloud DJing article – seems to have been addressed. This is the start of what’s to come without a doubt, across all software and all platforms. I asked Karim Morsy, CEO of djay makers, Algoriddim, where this is taking the company:
“In this initial release djay syncs the user-generated per-song data over the cloud; that is, cue point(s) and edited/tapped BPMs. In other words, any information that the app cannot recreate itself.
“That being said, we’ll add more synchable data in subsequent updates. Using the Mac’s horsepower for instance to analyse a whole library, and have all beatgrids, BPMs, waveforms etc shared via iCloud would certainly be a really nice treat!”
More about djay for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch
All of this has been made possible by Algoriddim’s decision to incorporate iCloud functionality into djay right from the launch of the service. But the latest version of this popular DJ software adds more features above iCloud integration.
There are effects (bit crusher, echo, filters, flanger, gate and phaser), enhanced AirPlay integration, long-requested sort-by-BPM in the library, and the ability to cut and paste audio from other iOS 5 apps right onto the decks of djay. This platform is getting more and more interesting to forward-thinking DJs with every release.
However it’s fair to say it’s the iCloud integration that we think is the most exciting development. For the first time, you can store your compete DJ collection, with your own changes, and make it accessible to all of your devices, using the same standard library platform and DJ software. We’ve been talking about this for quite a while, naming it in our 2011 predictions way back in January, and now it’s official: Cloud DJing has most definitely arrived.
Are you excited about the possibilities of keeping your music in the cloud, independent of any one device? Can you see this technology developing into the norm? Or do you think DJs will always want to keep their collections well away from online storage? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.