As of now, Pioneer DJ is a thing. The company is rapidly undergoing the necessary changes to confirm their independence, and to set out their vision for the future of their new business. Outside of everyone getting a new email address, one of the first things they’re doing is promoting KUVO, and explaining exactly what it’s about via two new videos that are being released at the Winter Music Conference.
WHAT IS KUVO?
Right now, if a DJ needs something, Pioneer DJ aims to make it for them. And KUVO is a DJ focussed social network that connects DJs and their audience in a more effective way than regular social media does.
The link is the music. DJs connect with clubbers via the tracks they play. And KUVO delivers live playlists and track info to mobile phones via the KUVO app. Communication is even possible at a track level, as DJs can add a message to individual songs. And while the info is delivered live, it remains as an archive in the DJ’s KUVO profile. The tracks also have links so that the crowd can buy the songs they liked in a particular set. That’s pretty clever, and very useful — no more Shazamming from the floor.
One thing that has been a concern for DJs is giving away track names. As you can see in the video, tracks can be made private and will only be identified as “secret”. This can be a cool buzz builder, and if necessary can be reversed later.
Obviously, there’s a lot more to it than that, so watch the video to get a better idea of how KUVO can bring DJs and clubbers closer together. If they want to that is.
THAT KUVO BLACK BOX
This is the bit that collects the track info and delivers it to the KUVO servers. The above video shows how to install and set up the box. It’s a simple hardware hub that connects laptops and DJ gear to the internet and sends all the data that Pioneer DJ requires to the KUVO servers. And it’s at this point where the detail gets sketchy.
Businesses positively crave data and market intelligence. And KUVO delivers it in droves. And while the KUVO front end is a cool connector of DJs with their audience, the real payoff for Pioneer DJ is with the data that it sends back to their servers. On one hand, this data can be used for really useful purposes.
But I think most DJs do have concerns about how this track and playlist data could be used, in particular if such data will be passed to the music police. And this particular clause in the KUVO T&Cs really does lay it out for you very clearly:
(c) By using KUVO, you hereby grant us the right to provide aggregate Track Information to third parties with which Pioneer DJ has contracts, including performance rights organizations/performing rights organizations, even if your setting for Track Information in Pioneer DJ’s music file management software (“rekordbox”) is “Private” or you are not using rekordbox.
So remember, while you can keep your track data private from your audience, Pioneer DJ may still pass it on to the music police. So if you play in a KUVO enabled club, rekordbox or not, if you enjoy the social element of KUVO then your track data is being recorded.
There is a wee bit of imbalance right now though. At the time of writing, there are 228K DJs joined up, but only 15K clubbers. Seems to me that Pioneer DJ needs to spend a bit more time explaining the benefits of KUVO, because that’s 15 DJs to every signed up club goer. And getting clubbers to install a DJ version of Facebook isn’t an easy sell.
In the clubs however, KUVO is really gaining traction. This is helped by Pioneer DJ giving the KUVO boxes away like sweets right now, a tactic used to establish CDJs and DJMs as club standards back in the day. There are three near me in Leeds alone (The Faversham, Canal Mills, and Beat Bar), and scrolling around the map shows that all key locations are covered. Ibiza has 11 installs, which is no surprise. I got this data from the KUVO app — it’s well worth a download (iOS and Android) if you’re curious.
So while the front end of KUVO is suitably glossy and clever, it’s still what’s done with the collected data that is the mystery. When fruits of Pioneer DJ’s involvement in the Association for Electronic Music becomes clearer, we’ll begin to see the wider implications of KUVO beyond being a social platform. But that social element alone makes KUVO very attractive indeed. Well… perhaps when clubbers catch on it will be.