iWebDJ and Partycloud — DJ with a controller… in a browser



Almost 2 years ago, we introduced you to iWebDJ, which at the time was a glimpse into the near future of DJing i.e. spinning from the cloud. Well things have changed a little since then, namely that the iWebDJ technology now has a product with a wrapper called Partycloud. It has a new interface for a start, but there’s a lot of new features, ones that see it encroaching into the territory of iPads and other DJ software. The biggie for me — you can use it with a MIDI controller. Yes, you ready that right.

iWebDJ Partycloud web dj midi controller (5)

So to cover off what Partycloud is — it’s a DJ interface for the iWebDJ technology in a web browser. The layout is a familiar one, with 2 decks, 2 channels with EQ and filters plus rudimentary looping and effects. It doesn’t aim to be a pro experience, but has enough going for it for any DJ to be able to rock a party with just a laptop.

The new stuff for the impatient:

Mouse scratch — rudimentary but doable. I actually found this useful for spinbacks.

Recording, streaming and Facebook — Partycloud isn’t just a singe user experience. You can record your sets on the fly, post links to the live streams, and talk directly to a Facebook wall via a widget to spread the word of your live mix.

New audio engine — Partycloud goes multithreaded, meaning that the audio resources used are independent of anything else on your computer.

iWebDJ Partycloud web dj midi controller (4)Low audio latency — the rewritten audio engine sees much better latency, and can be configured for improved performance or better audio quality.

Headphone cueing — borrowing from the iPad, you can run headphones and master via a splitter cable. Obviously however, you can use any audio interface you can for the full stereo experience.

Sample player — a preset library of one-shot samples.

Active user list — bringing all active DJs and users together in one global window, you can see what connected Facebook user are listening to and playing.

iWebDJ Partycloud web dj midi controller (3)

But the most exciting thing for me is MIDI. In a browser. No really. A bridge app is needed to get the USB device talking to controls in the browser window, which means that all controls are hard-coded at this time. The developers say that HTML5 MIDI is probably years away from being a reality, so for the time being, you’ll have run the bridge app. And because the developers only have a MixVibes U-MIX Control at the moment, that’s the only one that works. Well, it also works with the U-MIX Control Pro 2 now thanks to some ping-pong emails to get it all up and running at this end.

iWebDJ Partycloud web dj midi controller (1)

But work it does. I don’t own a PC, so I had my iMac running Windows 7 inside Parallels and got really great performance. Switching to low latency mode is recommended, but as long as I don’t want to scratch on the jog wheels, performance was still good. Suspend your nextlevelness brainwashed minds and just have a mix — you’ll lose hours and remember just how much fun can be had with a simpler toolkit.

Is this the future?

Many pundits including myself have theorised about where this industry is going. But it’s clear that much tighter control over music distribution is on the cards. You only have to look at the recent kerfuffle cause by Germany’s GEMA to see that the audio police will be busting DJs who aren’t playing legally. While streaming from Spotify or Beatport is one possible way, iWebDJ with a custom front end is another way for companies to distribute music and offer a solid interface for playing in, knowing that only a set library is being played. It’s not for everyone, but it is one solution for establishments that only need a limited selection and not the terabytes of music that many DJs want to take everywhere.

One thing is for sure — partycloud.fm is an absolute blast. The engine works flawlessly, the sync is bang-on, and the interface offers the essentials to see yourself losing hours to the utter simplicity of mixing. For some, this may well be too cut down, but I feel that for most DJs, this offers everything that is needed. And when you plug in a controller, it just feels right. Try it and see.

iWebDJ Partycloud web dj midi controller (2)

What’s next?

iWebDJ is the technology party cloud.fm is the showcase. The tech is being constantly developed, but the future is about working with online music sellers, record labels and artists to offer branded web based solutions for playing and listening to music. This also has the potential for licensing libraries from labels, or being able to licence say just the top 100 each month from an online store to stay current. There are a lot of possibilities with this, which does at least have a solid foundation with the technology. It’ll take the manufacturers chucking controllers at the iWebDJ guys (please do) for it to truly take off and be a practical solution though. But the attraction of not having to pay for and install DJ software is a huge draw for many people. Except the makers of the DJ software of course.

Exciting times. This has the potential to be huge. DJing in a web app? Hell why not. Keep up the good work guys.

  • Jared Helfer

    As computer processors get better, we may be less stressed about running our internet connections WHILE Djing. However, at this point, it is still extremely risky, as far as I see it, to be streaming over the internet on the same machine.
    Now, that being said, if they offered a good streaming solution where I can easily connect the audio my main machine to a tablet and stream from that device right to the web easily with as little fanfare or configuration as possible, that would be amazing. Actually, I’d be more excited about that than anything else. If I felt comfortable using it internally in my machine, it would be pretty cool it be able to tap into my existing DJ app (using the Record Out in Traktor) and connect it directly to the program to stream online.
    Then again, that would require multiple audio interfaces to be accessible by software and, well, that’s not an elegant option right now either.

    • Adrien (iWebDJ)

      In your case, PartyCloud is there when you don’t have your main machine. Except of that, the streaming solution you are describing make me feel about a cloud service called Mixify, you should have look :)

      • Jared Helfer

        Oh I totally get the purpose of the service. And I don’t think it’s a bad idea. I’m just unsure of the security of any machine running internet and DJing. Yes the browser isn’t the issue, but just how it will effect the audio processor/interface and various things.

        I’ll look into Mixify, though. Thanks.
        J

  • The_KLH

    I think it is awesome that DJ worx is covering this important new product in potentially new product category. While I’m not convinced that this is the end all be all of what this product category will become, I will say that for the average person and the average people that need music at parties will look to this before looking to hire a DJ. For that reason alone we DJ’s need to be aware of this product category. Again, kudos to DJ worx.

    • Ryan Supak

      Agreed. I don’t see many people who are getting paid to play music using this at gigs, but it will be another iteration of “my friend’s iPod”. rs

  • Ryan Supak

    It seems like even if computers and internet get 100x faster, you’re still relying on either cellular internet service, or a venue’s internet router. I don’t see how it’s so much more trouble just to keep your songs local, especially since you’ll want to know them thoroughly before you play them (or is that too old fashioned in this brave new world?) ;)

    rs

    • Adrien (iWebDJ)

      This cloud solution is not intented to replace CDJ in the club, but it will rather allow you to have fun or make people dance everywhere you go. Plus, you can access (in theory) to an unlimited number of songs :)

  • http://twitter.com/DJGMacOttawa DJ GMac

    until it’s perfected… no thanks.

    • Adrien (iWebDJ)

      Are you talking about the MIDI or something else?

  • DJ_ForcedHand

    Hasn’t Traktor been able to stream content for the better part of the last decade? Is “the cloud” somehow so very different than streaming that it deserves to be hyped so much? I know very few DJs that stream their content live anymore simply because it costs money to do so and they don’t get as much out of streaming as it costs.

    • Adrien (iWebDJ)

      Streaming your set on PartyCloud is 100% free. But this is only a part of the concept, more importantly PartyCloud is there when Traktor isn’t available (in your friend unplanned party, in your hotel room, at work…).

      • DJ_ForcedHand

        So is it uploading the content to the web like Soundcloud and Mixcloud?

  • wadoud echo

    ilove this $h1t

    • wadoud echo

      lol [[459611547412092]] [[459611247412122]] [[459611364078777]] [[459335560773024]] [[458590980847482]] [[459611297412117]] [[459335560773024]] [[459611344078779]]

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  • http://www.facebook.com/alexfoxy Alex Fox

    I tried this a few weeks ago – very fun & an exciting future for DJing. Ignore all the haters, if they had their way nothing would ever get done!

    • Adrien (iWebDJ)

      Very cool to know that you had some great fun with PartyCloud! Fun, this is all what DJing is about finally :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/SlidersFromMars Sliders Mars

    Looks like a good idea, and as Adrien keeps pointing out this isn’t designed to replace pros in clubs.

    The weakest link in this setup seems to be the browser. Until someone develops one which is as stable as Serato or Traktor…

    • Adrien (iWebDJ)

      Browsers are super stable. All depends of the webapp running in it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that PartyCloud is as reliable as 2000USD CDJ player, because it is not the case. But for a unplanned friend party or to mix at home, it is stable enough :)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/laz219 Daniel Lazarus

    Just had a play with it, without a pitch bend (that I could see) it didn’t sound brilliant.
    The concept is actually interesting to me as a way to find music, being able to try it out with different tracks so quickly would be really good to find how a track would fit into your set.

    • Adrien (iWebDJ)

      You really have to press the sync button to make 2 tracks sound good. You don’t need any pitch bend, the iWebDJ player take care of it automatically. Have fun with it :)

      • Daniel Lazarus

        I did, but I found a few tracks were still audibly out of beat, even though the software thought they were in.

        • Adrien (iWebDJ)

          By any chance, do you have some title of this few tracks you are talking about? Some songs on SoundCloud are also corrupted.

          • Daniel Lazarus

            Sorry but not anymore. It was only a few I found although I did only play with it for around 15 minutes.

            • Adrien (iWebDJ)

              Ok thanks Daniel :)

  • dj AnJo

    porque no le colocan una plataforma para descargar las canciones hechas por los djs