Earlier this year, we ran a piece asking what you would like to see in future versions of Traktor. And you certainly let them know in fine style. Some 176 comments later, NI had a much clearer picture of what you’d like in the next version.
And as someone reminded us in a comment a couple of weeks ago, we promised to do a similar piece about other software too. So now it’s time to give the floor over to Serato DJ users to vent their spleen, or just posit an idea or two that may help the people in New Zealand make their software that little bit better.
There is also a very timely reason for posting this now. It feels like v2 has been on the horizon for a couple years, and the release 1.9.10 told me that perhaps that horizon was further away than I thought. But last week Serato offered me a private beta of V2, along with a highly restrictive NDA, but for reasons that I laid out over three years ago, I’m not signing NDAs in my role as a journalist anymore. They’re never enforced, and when leaks happen we’re free to talk and speculate.
I also outlined to them what would happen — forum chatter, screenshots, and eventually video will surface, simply because Serato DJ V2 is too hot a cat to keep in any bag. And sure enough, two out of three of those things are already out there. And because I knew it would happen, my decision to forgo the pleasure of signing my silence over for five full years was entirely justified, and leaves me free to talk about what I know.
But I’m not a dick, nor am I a bridge burner. So instead, I’ll limit my coverage to what has already been posted (and notably not taken down) which thus falls into the realm of fair game (incidentally spotting minutes before posting this but what the hell). So…
SERATO DJ PRO is coming
That dear reader is the extent of the facts I’m willing to share. I’m sure that some of you will already have signed the NDA or ticked the box on the Serato forum that binds you to secrecy. But if you sign such a thing then you’re legally bound by it, and should respect it, even if in reality Serato will probably just exclude you from betas until the end of days rather than sue. Nobody ever sues.
But what could be coming? I’m sure we’d all love to see a heap of groundbreaking features that combat the ones found in their competitors. But the reality, whether you like it or not, is that DJ software was nailed many years ago. The vast majority of users are fully serviced, and the ability to play A to B all night cannot be done significantly better than it is is now.
Bearing this in mind, my thinking is that Serato DJ Pro will just be better and more up to date. Ground breaking game changing features are worth mo-nay, and Serato DJ has the architecture to add such killer features as expansion packs. Let’s be frank, right now Serato is only sparring with rekordbox, and is pretty much on a par feature wise with that. They don’t need to blow it out of the water — a more measured approach is more strategic right now. Besides, how on earth could anything be added to DJ software that could even begin to create more than a ripple?
So to some potential changes:
This is a given really. With Mac OS High Sierra signalling the end of 32bit software, Serato DJ has to be dragged kicking and screaming into line. I suspect it’ll mean 32 and 64-bit support — cutting of Serato users who largely stick with OSes that work wouldn’t be a terribly popular decision. But if you’re running 64-bit, look forward to installing more RAM and having better performance. That said, modern DJ software works just fine on old 32-bit machines anyway, but Serato will be able to push the performance of Serato DJ even harder now.
With Retina screens being standard on performance laptops now, I expect to see the Serato DJ interface take advantage of all those lovely pixels (hence the headline image). I don’t think there will be radical interface changes — Serato has only ever taken pigeon steps when it comes to changes in this area. I think it will probably just look more polished, responsive, and have a few things moved around, and maybe an addition or two here and there.
With updates in software usually comes some casualties. It wouldn’t surprise me if some older controllers, mixers, and computers slipped off the supported list. You can’t blame them — they can’t be expected to support everything for ever. I know you want them to, but it’s just not practical.
Aaaand I’m done. My gut is telling me to expect a decent update rather than a serious evolution in Serato DJ. I’m sure there will be a number of small features added and annoyances removed or improved. But I keep coming back to the same question over and over — what else of substance could they possibly add? Or what more could you possibly want?
For this reason, I think Serato DJ Pro will be a free update, simply because there’s nothing that can be added that would justify making you pay, especially as rekordbox pushed out v5 for free. And if they could make you pay, they’d almost certainly do it via turning those features into plugins.
So while you’re all getting antsy for some new Serato DJ stuff, I imagine that once it goes into public beta (probably right around NAMM 2018), you’ll excitedly install it, only to be left with a feeling of “is that it?”. Time will tell.
So fulfilling the internet law of headlines (if the headline ends with a question mark, then the answer is no), we expect no revolution. Definitely some evolution, but most likely just a decent update. That said, the Pro moniker does offer some tantalising opportunities, that perhaps have yet to make it to the very early private beta.
LOOKING PAST SERATO DJ PRO…
As a Serato DJ or even Scratch Live user, you probably have issues and ideas too. What are they? What could Serato add to make it exponentially better? As a Scratch Live user, how long will you hold off from making the inevitable leap to Serato DJ?