Streaming Music: what the DJ industry really thinks

Ever wonder what folks at Pioneer DJ, Soundcloud, Denon DJ, Beatport, Dubset, and more think about the future of music in DJ booths? This year at IMS Ibiza, we got to see an awesome panel discussion on “Streaming In The DJ Booth”. A number different music and DJ-oriented companies were represented, and we asked IMS Ibiza if they would let us post the full video and lead a discussion on our own site.

We’ve trimmed down the video (below), but it’s still about half an hour and has a lot of great conversation inside of it. Either watch the full thing, or scroll down to read some of the highlights that we’ve pulled out:

Streaming Is The Future

Almost everyone onstage seemed to agree that the model of owning digital media is archaic, and that younger generations have already moved on. Soundcloud’s Jack Bridges noted that their user base is younger and “less interested in the actual downloading, mobile use is extremely high”.

Pioneer DJ’s representative Rik Parkinson noted that their internal research shows that how DJs access music tends to be about 10 years behind how consumers access music. This is because of an infrastructure problem around integrating music technologies into DJ booths (example: CDs being intensely popular in the mid-90s, but CDJs only becoming commonplace 10 years later).

Beatport’s Heiko Hoffman compares the current reaction to recent announcements about streaming in DJ technology to when Final Scratch was announced – “the reactions […] fell into two camps. One was saying ‘this is never going to happen’, [..] and the other camp was saying ‘the end is near and vinyl is going to die’ – and neither of those two things happened.” He went on to say “I think there will be a future where we look back at DJs using USB sticks like we look back at DJs using CD-Rs”.

There’s Money To Be Made

Performance Rights Organizations (companies that track and pay out royalties to artists whose music is played at events, festivals, bars, etc) are excited about the metadata coming out of DJ booths – and streaming and metadata reporting from devices like Pioneer DJ’s KUVO are solid steps in that direction.

Beatport isn’t ready to abandon their labels’ revenue stream of downloads and understands the fear that a lot of labels have about moving to a streaming-based economy of music. It seems like they really view streaming as another avenue to eventually own and download music that you really like – and that streaming (right now) is more for testing out tracks.

Denon DJ might be done with laptop-based gear

Denon DJ is fully ready to move on from laptop-based DJing, and embracing embedded streaming systems like they have on their players and Prime 4 is a big part of that strategy. “We are trying to get rid of the laptop, we are pushing technology very very hard, and it’s all about the computer being in the hardware” noted Mogran Donoghue from Denon DJ.

But What About The Company That Tried This?

One final thing that stood out: all of these companies are talking confidently about this wave of streaming music technology and how it is the future. No one onstage mentioned the late, failed Pulselocker business or the lessons from it. I suspect that there are some serious insights that apply here.

Yes, Beatport now owns that technology, but shouldn’t that be a part of the discussion?

Learn more about IMS Ibiza here on their official website.

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