New features in Traktor software will be made available first to users who subscribe, as part of a new “Traktor Pro Plus” tier. That’s the latest from the Traktor camp regarding the previously announced subscription option for the software, via DJ TechTools, the site that has traditionally been closest to Traktor.
“Essentially, NI is using this Pro Plus tier of subscribers to allow early access to features instead of waiting until a major version is released (and charging for that upgrade then)” reports DJ TechTools.
“The types of features that will be behind the subscription model are expected to be sound and performance-based features influenced by other teams in Soundwide (the parent company of NI, which now includes iZotope, Plugin Alliance, and Brainworx).”
DJs will have to pay $5 monthly or $50 annually, and Traktor is sweetening the pill with a three-month Beatport Streaming subscription for annual subscribers, and an extra month’s subscription free for monthly subscribers. For this, DJs can expect “3-4 new features released through the subscription model each year”.
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What if I don’t want to subscribe?
Native Instruments states: “As a non-subscribing user … you won’t have access to the series of new features but will continue to receive regular free compatibility updates and bug fixes in your standard Traktor Pro 3 license.
“We will also continue to release major paid updates periodically in order to roll out these new features in one large chunk, as well as update the core functionality and technology of Traktor Pro.”
Like most people I would imagine, we’re divided in our opinions on subscription products in general, but ultimately, it all depends on what you’re getting for your money.
For many, when it comes to Traktor, we suspect herein will be the problem: Traktor users have been screaming for what many of them see as must-have features to be added to the software for literally years, and now are being asked to pay upfront for a vague and small set of new features, or wait even longer. (The first two features – “Traktor Pattern Player” and “Integrated iZoTope Mazimizer” seem quite esoteric, when users are still waiting for flexible beatgridding, for instance.)
Traktor has chosen $50/year as its price, which is less than everyone else, except djay Pro AI. But ironically, choosing that price will lead to comparisons with djay Pro AI – and while djay Pro AI won’t be everyone’s choice (and is only for Apple products), if you look at the speed that djay Pro AI has been developed at, it is much clearer to see where that money is going.
The same “slow development” charge could be aimed at Serato, although at least Serato still has the purchase-outright option to get the same features (albeit they are very high prices). And Virtual DJ, once you’ve chosen to either buy it or subscribe, gives everyone the same features at the same time, which seems particularly fair.
In the case of Rekordbox, while it has overall higher subscription levels (and no option to purchase outright), you’re getting cloud storage as part of the higher tiers – and everyone expects to subscribe for cloud features.
Read this next: Is DJ Software Becoming Too Expensive?
What if Traktor had done a deal with Beatport and folded in a perpetual Beatport licence, with Traktor-only curated playlists (this is only an off-the-cuff suggestion)? Well at least that kind of thing would have shown deeper thinking about what subscribers may be willing to pay for.
But for many DJs, this hobby is not rocket science, and the DJ set-up really just has to stay out of their way and let them get on with spinning those tunes. So why the subscription at all?
If you really, really don’t want to pay a subscription you could always go for open-source alternative Mixxx.
Or, you could buy standalone gear and drop software altogether. Currently at least, the software required to make the best use of standalone DJ gear is free. How long that remains the case is another question entirely…
• Learn more about Traktor Pro Plus on the Native Instruments Traktor website.