By now, you may have noticed that there have been some changes to the Beatport site. A new look and feel for the music store was unveiled four months ago, as a beta for Beatport Pro. During that time, users were able to switch between the old and new site as needed. For now, at least, you can still access the old site via classic.beatport.com, at least until they shut it down or something changes to break it.
Not content to sit on their laurels, SFX (the company behind Beatport) is launching an online music streaming service. Think ‘Spotify for electronic music’. Now, with the storefront rebranded as Beatport Pro, the main site has become the home for the new service, at beatport.com. Right now, the site is little more than a splash page inviting you to sign up for the closed beta
The Wall Street Journal first broke the news late last year, and now it’s finally officially official: Beatport is a streaming service. Rumours actually started waaay back in June of last year, when T-Mobile US let slip mention of the future service in a keynote.
Details are still pretty scarce, so until we get our grubby mitts on an invite to the beta, we’ll just have to look at the bigger picture. Even the screenshot on the homepage doesn’t give much away. My guess is that they’re still ironing out the details.
Music streaming isn’t #thefutureofdjing, it’s the present. Not only is it in the hearts and minds of teenage music listeners around the world, it’s creeping into our workflow as well. Music hosting site Soundcloud has been a part of Mixvibes’ popular DJ app – Cross DJ – for nearly two years now. Spotify and Algoriddim have had a deal for nearly a year already, sticking the music streaming service in djay 2 for iOS (and now, Android).
We’ve suspected it’s coming for a while. In the DJWORX team, it was bounced about back when there was talks of Spotify and Soundcloud getting integrated into DJ apps. It made sense for Beatport to leverage their catalogue for streaming. But for professionals, connectivity still isn’t there yet, and won’t be for a while. DJs need to know every part of their system works (lookin’ at you, Traktor). We can’t trust streaming, neither as an ideology, nor as a technology.
Streaming is nothing new to Dance music. Way back in 2001, I remember listening to various streaming radio stations on Winamp’s Shoutcast (then bought by AOL, now owned by Radionomy) at a blistering 56kbps bitrate… and I loved it. There’s even been a very recently launched dance music streaming service called BEATGASM. There were already plenty of options for streaming, with di.fm literally having a channel for everyone. Proton Radio and Frisky Radio are big names that have been around for a while, too.
And what of the slippery slope, further pushing customers away from ownership of digital media? There’s always a concern that services like this will be pushed on DJs, locking you in to a system you rely on where you’re at the mercy of the provider. If, somehow, DJ software started ONLY playing music from the partnered streaming service, we would have a problem. I can’t see that happening without alienating a large group of people. While moving to new software is a hassle, it’s something that happens all the time.
Realistically, there’s not a lot keeping DJs with Beatport, other than brand loyalty. There will be plenty of digital music stores to choose from, but as long as Beatport continues to cater to DJs as they currently do, with a good, easy to use site and plenty of current music to choose from, many of us will be happy to call it their go-to choice.
You can sign up for the closed beta over on the beatport.com homepage.
What do you think of this announcement? Would you use it?