New features in Native Instruments’ DJ software, Traktor Pro 3, have been relatively slow to release until a recent public beta that hinted at even more upcoming functionality. We speculated that maybe even NKS support was behind it. But today, the Traktor team has announced that major new features being built in this development cycle will be behind an add-on subscription, called Traktor Pro Plus.
Traktor Pro Plus
Since there’s not very much information out yet, we’ll largely quote from Traktor’s press release hidden inside of their Beta update. Essentially, NI is using this Pro Plus tier of subscribers to allow early access to features instead of waiting until a major version is released (and charging for that upgrade then). The types of features that will be behind the subscription model are expected to be sound and performance-based features influenced by other teams in Soundwide (the parent company of NI, which now includes iZotope, Plugin Alliance, and Brainworx).
The pricing will be $4.99 monthly or $49.99 annually. The yearly subscription includes a Beatport Steaming subscription for three months, while the monthly includes a free first month. According to the FAQ, there will be “3-4 new features released through the subscription model each year”.
What about people who have paid for the full software? NI writes:
TRAKTOR isn’t planning to abandon the regular perpetual licenses as you know them. If you’re not interested in subscribing, you can continue using your current TRAKTOR PRO 3 base version you received with the hardware you originally purchased. [..]
As a non-subscribing user [..] you won’t have access to the series of new features but will continue to receive regular free compatibility updates and bug fixes in your standard TRAKTOR PRO 3 license. We will also continue to release major paid updates periodically in order to roll out these new features in one large chunk, as well as update the core functionality and technology of TRAKTOR PRO.
What are the new features at launch?
In addition to the Ozone Maximizer (read about it in the previous article here), there will be a new Pattern Player feature added – which allows you to use “built-in sound packs to create custom percussion loops to complement your sets, mappable to your hardware of choice”. It seems like it’s pretty much the exact same concept that we include with the built-in sequencer functionality on the Midi Fighter Twister, but mappable to other hardware.
Other than that, there’s no new features being announced right away. Instead, they’re looking to give away 6 months free of Plus access to signups during the beta: “We will grant 6 months of free TRAKTOR PRO Plus access to every user that signs up during the first two weeks of the beta phase. All users can cancel their subscription at any time. Thereafter the subscription will revert to a regular monthly payment.”
Subscription-only Models and DJ software, what’s the deal?
What’s the best type of revenue? Automatically reoccurring revenue, of course, is what every MBA (real or wannabe) will tell you. If you’ve watched the landscape of pro DJ software over the last 5 years, it’s pretty clear that subscription sales are top-of-mind for many in the field.
- Rekordbox has their performance mode and paid packs (lighting, DVS Control, video, cloud library support, etc) – that ranges from $9.99 to $29.99 a month. Some of the basic performance features are accessible via hardware unlock with the right device. There’s no outright purchase of these features available.
- Serato DJ Pro keeps most of their killer features (Play, FX, Flip, Pitch ‘n Time, Video) hidden behind a paid tier that ranges from $10 to $15 month. You can buy it outright for $200 – $400 as well, or unlock it with DJ hardware.
- Djay Pro relaunched with a subscription model in 2018, with the current pricing $49/year (which includes their Neural Mix / Stem Separation functionality)
- Virtual DJ is $299 if you buy it outright, or it’s $19/month for all of their features
- Traktor previously was only available for $99 outright prior to the introduction of their $4.99 monthly plan today.
It’s a pretty rough go of it for DJs who are trying to avoid paying subscription fees, especially in an economic era where good-paying gigs seem to come and go at the drop of a hat. I’d be remiss in not mentioning that there is an open source DJ software out there that has and will always cost nothing, Mixxx – but of course you’ll have to decide if switching is really worth it.
I’d be lying if I said I weren’t disappointed – but I’m certainly not surprised that Traktor went this route. They were the last hold out in the industry to not have a subscription package. That said, it somewhat sucks for customers who already have purchased Traktor Pro 3 outright (this generation of software), who won’t get the new features unless they subscribe.