Huge Layoffs At Native Instruments: Should You Still Use Traktor?

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 3 mins
Last updated 5 September, 2019

Traktor has, we can all agree, fallen way behind the curve over recent years, testing the loyalty of its users sorely. Last year it felt like things were finally looking up for the platform, with Native Instruments heralding a big cash injection, and with the announcement of both new hardware and software.

However, news recently broke of huge redundancies at the company (over 100 people, around 20% of its workforce), affecting key people across all areas of the business – news that Native Instruments just went public with (our friends over at DJWorx have cut & pasted the whole statement should you be interested).

Basically, the company paints a picture of wanting consolidation across its brands; there is brave talk of “a new, unified and fully integrated platform on which the company’s entire portfolio of products and services will be available next year”.

Perhaps tellingly, in its press release, the company singled out Sounds – its relatively new samples business – as something that will now be folded into this new platform.

We could speculate that Sounds has not performed how the company and its investors would have hoped, which may also be part of the reason for such drastic cost-cutting.

Whatever the reason or combination of reasons though, this is in no way good news.

It goes without saying that on a human scale such news is not welcome for the workforce and their families.

But it’s also bad news for DJs sticking to Traktor as a platform, who have invested money in Traktor hardware and who have bought into the promise of more development in the future to fix many of the longstanding issues the platform suffers from.

What now for Traktor?

For Traktor’s users there are naturally going to be big questions:

What now for Traktor? Is it time to leave? Or will development continue despite what’s just happened?

We asked Native Instruments for a statement about what all of this means specifically for Traktor, and this is what they said:

“We continue to be fully committed to our DJ platform Traktor and its passionate users. Also within the DJ domain, we are focusing on improving the software experience, building on the creative and modular legacy of Traktor for both desktop and mobile.

“Supporting this, we are also continuing to evaluate the right accompanying hardware products. In fact, Traktor users can expect a new hardware controller this year.”

That’s pretty much it as far as Traktor goes across the official statements.

So what does it mean? Well, it means Native hasn’t shelved plans for at least one piece of hardware, which was clearly being worked on before all of this (there many have been more, of course, that have been shelved…).

And the company states it will continue software development.

What this doesn’t indicate is how much the cutting back of resource has impacted any timelines for all of this.

Knowing that Native Instruments is working on a “unified platform” is not something that will thrill Traktor users. What they want is for their platform to catch up with the competition.

Traktor Pro 3 is very old software and will eventually be replaced across desktop and mobile with Traktor DJ, which is hopefully where all of Traktor Pro 3’s longstanding shortcomings and flaws will finally be fixed. This much we know – it is a stated plan.

The thing is, it always had a “long” timeline – how much longer will these changes make that timeline?

But there’s something maybe even more worrying.

The opening line of the main press release from Native Instruments describes the company as “the world’s leading provider of software and hardware for computer-based music production” – no mention of DJing.

If the company continued to struggle, would the integration of its platforms in the future also mean the cancelling of Traktor altogether, and a tighter focus on production?

Right now Native Instruments says it is “fully committed to … Komplete, Maschine and Traktor” – but with Traktor sinking into fourth place in the popularity stakes among our community, way behind leaders Serato, and also behind Virtual DJ, and newcomer Rekordbox DJ, is this a position Traktor can ever recover from?

Time will tell, but long-term sadly it doesn’t look promising.

What are your views? What have you heard? Will you be sticking with Traktor? Where did it all go wrong? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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