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Pulselocker & Serato DJ 1.9 Review

Last updated 13 September, 2017

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The Lowdown

Serato DJ now has a streaming music service baked in, in the shape of DJ-centric startup Pulselocker. And it works well enough. It’s far from perfect, but usable, and the offline files option is a godsend for pro DJs. A promising start.

First Impressions / Setting up

Pulselocker is a DJ-focused streaming music service that is now available in Serato DJ software, as of version 1.9 which has just been released. Serato is good at making things smooth and reliable, and Pulselocker claims to be the only fully legal, DJ focused service of this type,with one killer feature: Offline files. Let’s see how the partnership shapes up…

Over on the Pulselocker website, it is easy to search new releases, add them to playlists, your library or favourites - although you'll need Flash to play them.
Over on the Pulselocker website, it is easy to search new releases, add them to playlists, your library or favourites – although you’ll need Flash to play them.

Serato DJ 1.9 is offering a free two week trial for every user in the United States, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and The Netherlands – all the places where it is currently available. Clicking on the new Pulselocker folder in your file tree activates a window where you can sign up. The Facebook integration was totally broken on my screen (logged me into Facebook itself, including showing me my timeline, then just stopped working) but I registered just fine using my email address eventually.

Meanwhile, over on the Pulselocker website, you can also log in using the same username and password, and here, everything feels like Google Play, but for DJs; you can search, discover, get stuff played to you, check out new releases, and add things to your own music as well as make playlists. The bad thing here is that you need Flash. Come on, let’s have HTML5, not least because we could browse on our iOS devices (there are no mobile apps as of now, which would be an obvious addition).

In Use

Back to our DJ software then. Once we are all signed in, it is pretty simple to us. There’s a small cloud by the search box that lets you search on/off the “cloud”, and two buttons above the library let you add or remove any selected song from your local storage. You can drag Pulselocker tunes into your own Serato crates, alter their metadata, analyse them, beatgrid them, add cues, make flips… it’s all pretty impressive. Offline tunes are shown with a little arrow in your library, streaming tunes with a cloud so you don’t lose track.

Within the Pulselocker folder are two extra folders, one called “Offline music” which is where you can find all your local stuff, and another called “Playlists”, within which you’ll find any pre-determined playlists from your Pulselocker account online. Think of these like iTunes playlists, in that they’re imported, but “Read only” – you can’t delete, add to or do anything else with them.

The number of duplicates when I searched was annoying, and despite being 44 million tracks, I found gaps that were strange, even within the collections of individual artists represented, but Pulselocker itself is at the time of writing still in beta even if the Serato integration isn’t so hopefully this stuff will be sorted out. It’s certainly usable as it is.

Conclusion

I’d never rely on this for my complete collection, as of course changes in licensing and the health of the company behind it are not within your control, but as an addition to your local library, it’s pretty impressive: bottom line is it’s brave, and it works. It’s not cheap, at least not cheap compared to Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer and the rest ($20 for the offline integration you’ll want, and indeed this is the only option available to Serato users) – but this is definitely the future.

The BeatSelector on the Pulselocker site attempts to be your go-to playlist of interesting new stuff in your chosen genres (this was 80s club, by the way, hence the track from 35 years ago...), although it'd be far better on mobile for this kind of thing.
The BeatSelector on the Pulselocker site attempts to be your go-to playlist of interesting new stuff in your chosen genres (this was 80s club, by the way, hence the track from 35 years ago…), although it’d be far better on mobile for this kind of thing.

It feels like Pulselocker is definitely a 1.0, even though Serato has done a good job of the integration, though, so let’s hope Pulselocker ditches the Flash, tidies up the catalogue, and gets some mobile apps out there. If it does, and one or two more big names take up the service (Rekordbox is coming, for instance), this could become the industry standard streaming service for DJs. As it is, it’s a good start by Pulselocker, and a good initial integration by Serato.

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