In an extraordinary statement, inMusic – the company that owns Rane, Denon DJ and Numark – has moved to reassure owners of its Serato-powered DJ gear who are worried following the takeover of Serato by rivals Pioneer DJ.
Here is the statement in full – afterwards, we’ll look at the main concerns our students who use Serato have raised with us, and share with you our thoughts on them.
The inMusic statement
“InMusic and Serato have a long and successful history of collaboration, and our partnership will carry on into the future in service of DJs around the world.
“Following the recent news of the sale of Serato to AlphaTheta, we would like all loyal RANE, Denon DJ, and Numark customers to be aware that Serato will continue its status as a standalone brand under AlphaTheta. This means its long-standing partnerships with inMusic’s brands will continue and flourish.
“inMusic’s DJ hardware that uses Serato DJ software remains fully supported by both Serato and inMusic. In addition, there will continue to be exciting new product collaborations with RANE, Numark and Denon DJ hardware.
“Serato CEO Young Ly says ‘Our partnership with inMusic; the home of Rane, Numark and Denon DJ is incredibly strong. Since the creation of the SL1 box nearly 20 years ago, Rane and Serato have been at the heart of the DJ community. This powerful partnership is only going to continue, and we’re excited for what’s next.’
“inMusic CEO, Jack O’Donnell added ‘We have some great new products coming that we have been working on with Serato over the last year. These will showcase to all DJs just how integrated our two companies are and will continue to be, long into the future.'”
While this statement does feel a little like a panicked response to say “don’t panic”, just like we said in our initial thoughts on the takeover, it underlines that in the short-term (current products, current owners, imminent new products), very little will change for users.
What are Serato users’ worries?
However, what about legitimate concerns being raised by Serato users following this takeover? Here are the main ones we are hearing over and over again, and our thinking on them…
Will my DJ gear stop working?
No. Nobody has any interest in tanking your gear. While older Serato gear has become unsupported over the years, any owners of recent gear won’t see any change here, and should your gear stop working eventually with Serato, it is not going to be as a result of this takeover.
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Will Serato disappear?
Maybe long term, but Serato couldn’t be killed by Pioneer DJ when it went all-in on its own Rekordbox controller range a few years back, and back then the company chose to continue making Serato controllers due to the big demand for them. As the saying goes, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em (or in this case, buy them!).
Serato is a big brand name and it would make no sense to kill it – think Rane being taken over by inMusic as an example of how a DJ brand has continued to thrive under a company that owns other brands, or Beats being take over by Apple.
As the DJ industry develops long term, who knows how popular Serato will continue to be, or how relevant Pioneer DJ will find it to their product line? But predicting that kind of thing is a bit like predicting the weather long-term. Our view is it’s probably more likely to disappear eventually now – but it won’t happen any time soon.
Will Serato become subscription only?
On the other hand this is much more likely, based on the fact that Pioneer DJ clearly prefers that model (based on how Rekordbox is provided to users). However, if it does, we expect current owners of the software will continue to be supported.
We are not fans of Serato’s current pricing strategy anyway, not one bit, since the company massively hiked single-sale prices and reduced options for “Expansion Pack” sales – all to the direct detriment of people not wanting to pay a subscription. (In hindsight, this has all the hallmarks of classic “fattening up” pre-sale behaviour.)
Read this next: Is DJ Software Becoming Too Expensive?
If Serato’s cut-down Lite version were to disappear and all Serato controllers would unlock a free version of the software that was actually good (as currently happens with Rekordbox Pioneer DJ controllers), with subscription offered for genuinely optional extra features, it may actually prove to be a better deal for end users.
Well, for Serato users, the software could well develop faster – while not as slow as that of once arch-rival Traktor, Serato development has not been fast traditionally. Maybe the Pioneer DJ takeover will inject more urgency into Serato as a brand/company.
For Rekordbox and for Pioneer DJ standalone users, some of Serato’s tech could well improve their products, especially around stems (Rekordbox’s being currently a poor imitation of Serato’s). Maybe we could even see Serato tech-powered stems in CDJs etc – now that would be a big upside!
Ultimately, there are of course things we don’t know, and inMusic’s statement is not really telling us anything new. It’s obvious they had to say something, and the words were not issued from a position of strength.
However, Pioneer DJ has bought Serato for a reason, and until that reason becomes clearer, we can only guess how things will pan out. But paying money to kill a brand or piss off its users is probably not one of the reasons they did it – so we’d say Serato users ought not panic, because nothing will change quickly.
As things do change of course, we’ll be here to help and advise based on what we know and our experience in this industry as the leading online DJ school since 2010 for all of these platforms and products!