MUST SEE: Serato CEO talks about Serato DJ 1.5

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If you’ve waded through the extensive bundle of Serato DJ 1.5 PR in the previous story, you may still be fighting back the tears at hearing the news about the iconic Serato Scratch has been being mothballed and replaced by the young upstart that is Serato DJ 1.5. We at DJWORX feel that it’s a vital move for Serato, but one that has taken a veritable dogs age to achieve. Very tall Serato CEO Sam Gribben talks through the new release, as well as tackling some of the thornier issues.

It’s been almost 10 years since Serato Scratch Live was announced, and we covered it from NAMM 2004. 10 years? Wow. But times have changed, and very rapidly too. And with the rapid growth of Serato, as well as the constantly evolving scene, Serato made some decisions that with hindsight they were ill-equipped to handle. ITCH was their unique response to the controller boom, and with it came an entirely new and separate platform to build and develop, as well as a bunch of new partners on top of the existing and very successful one with Rane.

So Serato found themselves with 2 platforms and a lot of relationships to juggle, no easy task for a small but expanding team clearly gifted in the ways of creating cool DJ software, but perhaps less adept at the business end of things. It didn’t take too long for the Scratch Live faithful to start feeling a wee bit left out as ITCH continued to develop, and then suddenly metamorphosing into Serato DJ. Christ knows how many times I’ve shouted at the my screen at numerous disgruntled forum posts. How I wanted to type a simple “be patient – not long now”, but obviously I couldn’t.

But here’s what you have to understand — it’s not like Serato weren’t listening to your pleas. On the contrary — they’d learned harsh lessons from saying too much in the past, but really didn’t want to speak out of turn about the future. And when they took the obvious but inevitable decision to essentially demolish and rebuild the best part of their product range, changes had to be made to the company to make this happen. Serato raised their game considerably with some very important hires to not only rebuild their product, but also their brand in the market place.

So what you’re witnessing today is the culmination and distillation of lots of success, some harsh lessons learned from mistakes, plus an all new energy that will allow Serato to properly compete in a now crowded marketplace with competitors who are all jockeying for the top spot.

MUST SEE: Serato CEO talks about Serato DJ 1.5

The thorny issue of sync

Knowing that this day was coming, I wondered how Serato would  deal with the inevitable introduction of the sync button to their DVS offering. It’s obviously hard to essentially eat your own words and backtrack on your own bold stance of deliberately not having sync. But when the rest of your competitors have it, and are leading the way, it’s hard to not put it in there.

But I personally love the way Serato have approached the issue. Sync has always been a feature that you don’t have to use. I’m not going to get into the circular argument of sync, because as of today it’s totally academic, and my own feelings are well documented anyway. But for some, the very existence of it is enough to cause bad feeling with users. So not only do you not have to use it, there will even be an option to hide it completely. You’re going to have to like it or lump it, but sync is here forever.

Summing Up

So what you’re seeing now is a much leaner and focussed Serato. They’re now operating with a single product, which means a faster development cycle as well as a rapid response to fixing bugs, which in turn frees up resource to work on new ideas. The company itself has over the last 18 months redefined their brand, and now have a solid image, one which will doubtlessly develop as time marches on as well.

I’m sure many will lament the passing of Scratch Live, and indeed it’s not a decision that has been taken lightly. I can 100% relate to archiving a long established and respected brand, and fully appreciate what the Serato team went through with the decision. But it had to be done, and Serato as a company will be much better placed to get themselves focussed on delivering new hotness for the foreseeable future.

Good worth Serato. Now the fun begins… ;)