After some minor hoopla back in October, the previously announced partnership between Serato and streaming platform Pulselocker has finally hit the streets courtesy of Serato DJ public beta 1.9.

It’s a pretty seamless process — sign up for the two week trial, make playlists, and log in via Serato DJ and your playlists will appear. Tracks can be streamed or stored locally in encrypted files. They’re analysed once and the relevant data is stored locally, so at least that’s a one-time thing. So other than some setup, Pulselocker appears to work just like any other streaming service. Pulselocker will offer two tiers — $10/month for streaming, and $20/month for stream and offline play. Serato will offer support for the latter only at launch.

I haven’t played with the beta and Pulselocker for long, and this is very much of a first impressions piece. But outside of my initial “this works as expected” findings, I have a few comments to make, but I balance this by stating that this is the very first beta and definitely not ready for primetime:

  • My Pulselocker playlists only update when I quit and open Serato DJ again. So while you can search in Pulselocker for that urgent request, you’ll have to quit and restart Serato to make it appear. I hope that’s a bug because for me that makes the whole thing a non-starter.
  • Pulselocker plays music on their site with Flash, you know the old deprecated technology with viable more up to date alternatives. Considering it’s a website, can we have HTML5 players please. At least I have a nifty Chrome extension that converts Flash to HTML5 that works. Shame I use Safari.
  • In my brief testing, I downloaded Rob Base’s “It Takes Two”, only to be confronted with some godawful rerecorded version, without any indication that it was anything other than the original. The issue here is the lack of onscreen detail in the track search results — title, artist, BPM (at this point empty) and label aren’t enough. Had the album shown next to it, I would have known that it was from “101 ’80s hits”  and avoided it. I guess it’s my fault for not installing Flash to preview.
  • I searched for Marshall Jefferson, saw “Move Your Body” and added it to a list from a Trax LP playlist. The problem was that the track was actually  “Too Far Gone” by Adonis. Again, I probably should have previewed it. Should Pulselocker care to look, it’s this release, and it’s a tagging mess.

My issue right now isn’t with Serato DJ. The integration works well, bar it being all in Pulselocker and needing to be online to make changes. I do however have immediate concerns about the quality of the alleged 44 million strong Pulselocker library, and my ability to find what I need quickly. And with one third of the tracks I pulled down being poorly or incorrectly tagged, I worry about the other 43,999,994 tracks I have yet to try out. And for the record, out of the 35 results from the Rob Base search, 22 were the same version, so I’m guessing that doesn’t mean 44 million unique tracks.

Again, I have to underline that this is the first time that Pulselocker and Serato DJ have walked out in the public domain, so there’s likely to be a significant amount of people like me who need it to work better. Let’s hope they sort out the wrinkles quickly.

For those of you wanting to try it out, join the Serato beta program today. The Pulselocker beta sign-up happens inside of the Serato DJ beta software, is limited to 750 people, and is only accessible to the UK, USA, and Canada for now.


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