Yesterday, Serato announced an update to their Serato Remote app. Simply by adding a slicer feature, they effectively changed the entire hardware scenario as we know it for DJs. That’s some strong words I hear you say, but stick with me, and I’ll explain exactly what I mean.
Serato DJ is the all new knocked-down-and-rebuilt platform that Serato is using as the foundation for the rest of their DJ offerings. And while the assorted lumps of DJ hardware may have their own idiosyncrasies, Serato DJ is there in all its glory, ready to be controlled by Serato Remote. And it does a sterling job of it as well.
I have in front of me Denon’s small but perfectly formed DN-MC2000 controller. Designed specifically for Serato DJ Intro, it offers a solid feature set, but does lack the bells and whistles of the full fat Serato DJ. Upgrading to the full version unlocks all the extra goodies, all of which are seemingly available to Serato Remote. The MC2000 lacks the performance pads, yet with Serato Remote, I get a virtual version on my iPad screen.
The bigger picture beyond slicer
The first version of Serato Remote added additional functionality to hardware. Using the MC2000 as an example, it comes with 4 small buttons that shared the hot cue and sample features. But with Serato Remote, you can use samples independently of the hot cues, and the iPad gives you instant access to all 8 hot cues instead of the hardware’s 4.
But by adding slicer mode, Serato just enabled features that the hardware simply didn’t have. Suddenly, Denon owners get goodies that they would have had to look to new hardware for, and they and Denon get them for free. Granted, they’re not via squidgy velocity sensitive pads, but the iPad screen is more than good enough to handle the simple key presses that slicer mode demands.
So let’s take this a little further. In this instance, Serato gave performance pads to a controller that didn’t have them. What if Serato made virtual jog wheels for Novation’s Twitch? What if Serato started adding all manner of features to Serato DJ, and enabled them with the Remote app, or some other app specifically tailored to new features?
Why Serato Remote changed everything
Serato didn’t just add slicer to Serato Remote — they essentially changed the way that their software interacts with hardware. Should they so choose, they can develop and implement features that can be toe-dipped in the virtual touchy world independently of their hardware partners. And should these prove to be popular, they can then be turned into hardware equivalents.
At the same time, if these features are enabled via in-app purchases, Serato gets a sustained revenue stream, and your controller that cost you a kidney might just last a couple of years longer. All I can say is that this Denon DJ MC2000 just got immediately more powerful and attractive.
Did Serato just covertly slip a game changer under our noses? Is their business model likely to further evolve as they embrace the iPad? Would such a move be enough to entice you to the Apple platform? And why isn’t Serato Remote on Android yet?