Serato users will soon be able to DJ with music streamed directly from the internet, thanks to the company’s new partnership with DJ-focused streaming music subscription service, Pulselocker. As of the forthcoming Serato DJ 1.9, subscribers to Pulselocker Pro will be able to search for, play, and keep offline copies of any tracks in Pulselocker’s 44 million-strong library, for use within Serato’s software.
Tracks will be provided at 320kbps MP3 quality (or 256kbps where that is the best provided by the record label), and the killer feature here is that DJs can easily keep offline libraries of music from Pulselocker, which they can use for DJing with within Serato DJ.
One of the big criticisms of offering streaming within DJ software is that an active internet connection may be required, but in this system, the ability to keep local, cached copies of music you choose to play means complete DJ sets can be prepared ahead of time in Serato DJ’s offline player, downloaded, and then performed without an internet connection.
Where there is an internet connection available, DJs will be able to search both their local music collections and Pulselocker’s library from the same search bar in Serato, and the software will stream then cache any music selected that doesn’t exist locally.
Pulselocker’s CEO, Ben Harris says: “The concept is simple; sign up for a Pulselocker account and discover, listen, organize and play with our entire catalogue of music within Serato DJ. With the unprecedented capabilities of Pulselocker such as unlimited offline storage, we look forward to seeing this integrated tightly into the Serato DJ software.”
Serato CEO, AJ Bertenshaw says: “At Serato, we always try to carefully choose each feature to be aimed at the professional DJ. When it came to connecting to a subscription music service, we wanted to make sure our offering was the very best available. With unlimited offline storage, and a deep catalogue of music pulled from an incredible range of independent and major labels, we believe Pulselocker is the ideal choice for the working DJ.”
How else is this different?
Such services have been brought to DJ software before, of course, with Virtual DJ, Pacemaker, DJ Player, djay 2 and djay Pro all partnering with consumer streaming services. But often, there’s a licensing sticking point with making offline versions of the music available to DJs, or with the legality/reliability of the streaming services chosen, especially for public performance.
The notable points here (apart from the offline availability) are the size of the library available (basically, pretty much all the world’s music), the fact that the about-to-be-relaunched Pulselocker (we first covered them back in 2012) is a DJ-focused streaming service, which should ensure features that appeal to DJs – and complete transparency about legality: It has been stated right from the off that this music is fully legal for DJing with in public. For these reasons, this could turn out to be a watershed moment for streaming music among DJs.
Is Serato creating a streaming ecosystem?
What’s especially interesting is that Serato also now has a “consumer” music payer, announced a couple of weeks ago, for iOS (and presumably at some point, Android). Currently only available in Serato’s native New Zealand, but to be launched to the world by the end of the year, Pyro has a focus on making listening to music fun for the masses (and that would definitely include DJs trawling though lots of new music) – and with the deal now done for Serato DJ, it’s by no means a huge leap to imagine Pulselocker coming to that app, too.
So it would then be possible to discover music and create playlists on your mobile phone, get to know the songs by playing them at home or when out and about, and access the same playlists within Serato DJ’s offline player when preparing a DJ set. Finally, of course, you’d be able to perform from the same playlists at your gigs.
In other words, it’s possible now to see the road to a future where DJs discover, shortlist, learn, prepare, pack and then perform with music that is entirely managed “in the cloud”, with app-specific local copies downloaded only when needed. It’s a future that Serato appears to be pacing itself right at the forefront of.
What we don’t know
At this stage we don’t know the price of a subscription to Pulselocker (expect it to be more than the $10 for consumer services like Spotify), and how it will work – will you subscribe from within the app, for instance? We also don’t know whether this is an exclusive deal with Serato, or if we’re likely to see Pulselocker happening inside other DJ programs, too.
We also don’t know how well saved cues, loops, track analysis data and DJs’ comments will be handled with streamed tracks (the app saves them locally, according to Serato); we feel this will have to be seamless for this streaming feature to be a total success for DJs, who will want to feel no difference between playing with Pulselocker tracks and with their local music. Spotify on Algoriddim’s djay has key info for tracks before you download them; we are not sure if the Serato/Pulselocker tie-in will offer the same.
Finally, of course, we also don’t know how receptive the sometimes notoriously conservative DJ community will be to such an idea. Often-cited objections include: What happens to DJs’ playlists if the record labels license tracks only for a short time to the streaming service, or if deals change (no DJ is going to want to see tracks disappearing); the fact that DJs by their very nature want exclusives (so will search for tracks NOT on such services); and that, for some, even 320kbps MP3s aren’t up there with uncompressed WAVs for sound quality.
But nonetheless, this is sure to excite many, if not as an out-and-out replacement for a coveted local music library, at the very least for fulfilling requests. Serato and Pulselocker will be hoping it becomes more than that, however, with DJs seeing it as an exciting new stream of tracks to work with, incorporate into their DJ sets – and maybe buy the very best to add to their local collections later on.
• Pulselocker will be available within Serato DJ as of v1.9, which is forthcoming. Learn more about the integration here.
Good move for Serato? Is this something you think you’d sign up for? Does this counter your objections to streaming music in DJ software? We’d love you to share your thoughts in the comments.