A new DJ app called Kado has today been announced, that is designed to show you what tracks other DJs have played before or after any given track, to help with set planning and reduce the length of time spent searching for new music.
The brainchild of AJ Asver and Rob McQeen, two former Google and Twitter employees, alongside DJ Techtools’ Ean Golden, the app opens as a small window on your desktop, to which you can drop a track from your own collection and see instantly a choice of tunes that appear in set lists online from other DJs either before or after the tune you introduced. You can dig into the results, and it will offer buying links too.
“The concept of a personal DJ assistant stems from the days of record stores with clerks who got to know DJ customers on a personal and taste basis, setting aside music just for them.” say the developers.
Here’s the promo video:
• Interested in trying it? Go to the Kado website and sign up for early access. The desktop application is free for 30 days and then $9.99 per month after.
Our first thoughts
Anything that helps with music discovery is worth looking at for DJs, and for that alone, we think this is an intriguing new entrant into this area.
We had a play with it and it certainly works smoothly, and we liked the idea that you can tweak your results, as per the screenshot below. We found it worked well for more mainstream pop too, even tracks going back decades – yet struggled with some more modern dance music. However, overall the results were plentiful enough to be useful.
However, the fact that it looks for the next or previous track only, as far as we can tell, means that really it’s aiming to be a mixing tool, not a better music tool per se – we think that you should always pick the perfect next track regardless of whether it mixes well or not, and handle the mix as it comes. A world where variety in DJ mixes reduces is not one we particularly want to see. But, if it were used as part of your discovery system, not as your only tool, that’s not really an issue. (Indeed, they say as much in their PR: “The founding team stresses that Kado is not designed to eliminate the process of digging…”)
We also thought that for any track that other DJs are playing to register highly enough to count in an app like this, presumably it’ll already be blowing up. So this isn’t going to be the most upfront music. What other DJs are playing is a “trailing indicator”, not a “leading indicator” (to nick a distinction from our data bod here at Digital DJ Tips). Part of the joy of DJing is in innovating, not copying, in finding things nobody else has done yet.
On the upside though, you could construct a set pretty quickly in a genre you knew nothing about using this. Sure, that set wouldn’t know how to react to the crowd in front of you, or be particularly relevant to your town, country or continent necessarily (we couldn’t see any geo-filtering), but it’d be a good way to start exploring a new musical area.
Competition includes much existing music curation available online (Spotify playlists, Apple Music playlists, recommendations for “next tracks”, streaming radio, similar features in DJ software), and the $9.99 a month asked certainly pegs this for serious DJs, not dabblers – although there is a 30-day free trial to see if it’s for you.
Ultimately, it’ll live or die based on quality of its lists (and it remains to be seem how many DJs actually want to see their lists on here; I wonder how easy it is to “opt out”?), and its ease of use. We’ll know the answer to both questions after our full review. For now, it’s promising, intriguing, and – if used the right way – a potentially useful new asset for time-strapped DJs looking for new music.
Do you like the look of this? Do you think it would save you time? Or do you think it would take some of the fun out of music discovery for you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.