Denon Launches Music Streaming For Its Standalone Prime DJ Gear

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 3 mins
Last updated 18 September, 2020

As long predicted by Digital DJ Tips, the days of walking up to DJ gear and logging in instead of plugging in are here! As of this summer, DJs using Denon DJ’s standalone gear will be able to spin solely from streaming service accounts if they wish.

Today we’ve got the full news story, Denon’s promo video, and a recording of our live show broadcast within 60 minutes of the announcement answering all your questions about this. Here it all is…

The news in full

Denon DJ today announced that its Prime 4 system, alongside its SC5000 and SC5000M Prime media players, will work with TIDAL, Beatport LINK, Beatsource LINK, and SoundCloud, giving DJs access to hundreds of millions of tracks direct from these services on their standalone devices, without the need for a laptop or any other external hardware.

Not only will streaming work without external hardware, but DJs won’t even need a wired internet connection. Although the units will work with Ethernet directly wired to any internet-enabled router, it turns out that Denon DJ has built WiFi into all these units from the off.

This news also means that all buyers of this hardware right from the beginning will be able to take advantage of this, via a firmware upgrade.

The partners

Denon DJ has announced the following partners:

  • SoundCloud – Subscribers to SoundCloud Go+ will be able to instantly stream and mix SoundCloud’s catalogue of more than 200 million tracks from over 20 million creators
  • Beatport LINK & Beatsource LINK – Beatport’s new LINK technology, a development of the Pulselocker streaming service that the company bought last year, will enable an offline storage mode for public performance of tracks from both the Beatport (electronic) and Beatsource (open format/urban) catalogues, at $40/month for 50 tracks and $60/month for 100 tracks*
  • TIDAL – the most “mainstream” of the services announced, TIDAL is also notable for being currently available in Serato, too

Tracks will buffer in memory meaning once loaded to a deck they can be safely played without the internet, and it will be possible to add hot cues and loop points to streamed tracks, although we couldn’t confirm whether these will be saved for future use. Search will be available direct from the hardware screens.

Denon DJ’s promo video

Our first thoughts

Denon DJ is right to tout this as a turning point, at least technologically. In our view though this is not quite the turning point culturally, mainly because Denon DJ’s hardware still has relatively small market penetration, and the biggest services – Spotify and Apple Music – are notably missing.

However it is is hard now not to see Pioneer DJ responding with similar hardware, which would be where this truly would storm towards becoming an expected option in all DJ booths. From a business point of view, it will be interesting to see how much of a lead Denon DJ steals against Pioneer DJ before this happens.

Check out our guide to the Best DJ Music Streaming Services

It’s notable that at this stage any offline option – allowing DJs to cache music locally, negating the need for reliable internet at all – is only available in the Beatport offerings. At $40/month for 50 tracks offline or $60/month for 100 tracks offline*, it is puzzlingly expensive and currently doesn’t make much sense, as it would usually prove cheaper just to buy the tracks. Presumably this price will drop substantially over time, but currently this will be seen by many as a disappointment.

All your questions answered live…

This is a recording of our Tuesday Tips Live show, broadcast to our community on our Global DJ Network private Facebook Group. To join the group for free, go to our public Facebook Page, hit “Message”, and send us the word “Join”.

One other thing worth pointing out that may prove to be a huge influence on DJs and their playlists is that with these services right at DJs’ fingertips in the booth, the roles of curated playlists will grow: It will become completely possible, for better or worse, for a DJ to load a chart, DJ playlist or genre selection and DJ straight from that, just as consumers choose “mood” playlists rather than self-select the tracks they want to hear.

While this means artists will be able to bypass record labels entirely and put their tracks right on the control screen of DJs in booths worldwide, easily and cheaply, conversely it also means some DJs will inevitably simply load pre-prepared sets from the streaming services, avoiding the need to crate dig at all, to the obvious detriment of musical diversity.

With 100s of millions of tunes in the booth and available to the modern DJ, instead of just, say, 80 in a vinyl box, as was the norm a mere 20 years ago, this would be a somewhat ironic outcome of all of this innovation, and means as a culture we will need to reinforce the importance of looking “outside of the box” for your music and sometimes taking risks with what you play.

* Beatport has been in touch to say that contrary to what was in Denon DJ’s PR, this price is not confirmed at this point, so presumably they are insinuating it may be cheaper upon arrival. Watch this space for more details; we certainly hope it does come in at a lower rate.

• Final streaming service partnership details will be formally announced this summer, with firmware also rolling out around the same time.

What do you think? Has streaming’s day finally arrived? Is this indeed a turning point? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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