DJ With Spotify: Pacemaker iPad App Review

Makers of the now-defunct Pacemaker DJ hardware are back with a brand new iPad application that breaks down one of the biggest barriers in DJ applications, making it possible to stream music directly from a major streaming service, Spotify. Targeted at users who already use Spotfiy but with enough features to make experienced DJs happy, you’re likely to see Pacemaker at a house party near you very soon. Get the full details on the app in today’s article and video.


Streaming music from the cloud has always been a heavily requested feature, especially among new, younger DJs who already have a subscription music service that they’re paying for. Yes, previous DJ apps and desktop softwares have integrated Deezer, Soundcloud, and other single-serving services, but none have cracked open the massive libraries of streaming service majors like Rdio or Spotify.

Pacemaker finally makes this a reality – a few things to note on streaming:

  • Spotify has a 20 million track library
  • You’ll need Spotify Premium ($9.99/month) – Pacemaker comes with a 10-day trial
  • Recording is disabled when streaming tracks from Spotify (copyright issues)

(DJ Software History: Probably the largest streaming music library for DJs was early in Virtual DJ’s testing of streaming tracks from the cloud. The search engine allegedly searched directly on YouTube to stream music and audio, but had to replace it with streaming from Grooveshark due to copyright issues.)


The Pacemaker app isn’t just another casual DJing application with a painfully limited feature set that slowly gets improved over time. There’s a full array of DJ-friendly features that make it easy, fun, and interesting to mix – something that we’d expect considering the Pacemaker team’s unique hardware background.

There’s the usual requisite DJ controls – including tempo adjustment, nudge/pitch bend, and EQ. No grid adjustment if the auto-detection fails (yet!).In terms of audio routing, you can pre-cue by using a headphone splitter and splitting the output in the preferences. Simple, but it does the trick for the types of situations in which you’d likely use this app.

The full DJ feature set includes:

  • Reverb
  • Echo
  • Hi-Lo (filter)
  • Roll
  • Beatskip (beat jump / move)
  • Loop (including a granular loop-build feature that’s really fun)

To unlock all the DJ features, you’ll either need to pay $1.99 for each feature beyond a basic control, or you can spend $10 to unlock the entire thing. This keeps it free to try for casual users – but effectively means it’s a $10 app for anyone who wants to use it to realistically DJ with.


The old Tonium Pacemaker hardware (left) and new iPad app (right)

We were able to talk to the cofounders of Pacemaker, Olof Berglöf and Jonas Norberg, to find out how they landed this partnership with Spotify. The company started with the Tonium Pacemaker hardware, which launched in 2008. Prior to that, the Pacemaker team had met with Spotify, but the two companies went totally different directions – Spotify launched to incredible success, and the Tonium project went under.

In 2011 the Pacemaker original founders negotiated to buy back the intellectual property from the failed hardware venture. During negotiations with the bankruptcy manager, Blackberry called and asked the team to build them a Pacemaker app for their  Playbook tablet.

We quickly realized that [building the Blackberry app] was a very good start for us. It’s better to be a small fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big ocean. We decided to take all of this [intellectual property] from Pacemaker and port it to a tablet. We started to speak to Spotify back then. They weren’t too excited about the Blackberry Playbook […] I think they needed something bigger.

After launching on Blackberry devices, the Pacemaker team was constantly-but-politely nagging Spotify (they’re both based in Stockholm) – starting to catch their attention with early design sketches for an iOS app.

Pacemaker’s SXSW speaker – demoing an early iOS version of the app

The Pacemaker team ended up at SXSW last year, pushing around a huge blue speaker and showing an early version of Pacemaker for the iPad. On the morning of their departure, slightly hung over and waiting for their flight at the Austin airport, the team spotted Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek.

I took the iPad and went to him […] I quickly did a crazy DJ set with Michael Buble and something else strange, which I think he thought was fun. I showed him the business model with in-app purchases, and he loved it. [..] We invited him into the beta, and after that the relationship picked up speed.

Spotify ended up putting their own team of engineers on the project to begin integration and has managed much of the difficult negotiations with labels, making it possible to have the full-featured Spotify library integration present in the  app at launch.

Interested? Grab Pacemaker on the App Store here

cloud djingdj appdj with spotifyIOSipadpacemakerspotifystreaming music library
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  • bryan hogue

    I have used this app to DJ weddings however, the new version won’t even open. I’m very disappointed

  • VirginiaWSmi

    This kind of application is really helpful and useful for this can help many people in terms of making another music that would relax their mind and their heart.

  • Fabio Lopes

    Hello. I would like to ask if Pacemaker has a Split-out option. Can I pre-listen a track while playing other? And does the Traktor Cable or the Griffin Cable work with Pacemaker?
    Thanks in advance

    • deadpan

      Pacemaker has split output.

  • Djs of the round table

    W8 a minute, the guys at Pacemaker, that made this humungus fuckup and SCAM, want more money?

    They dropped the future support, upgrades for a piece of shit hardware that cost an arm and a leg.

    Yeah i can rant, as i use to own this crap for a week then returned it for a full refund, it was WORTLESS!

    What sane person would even think of djn with Spottify.

    Come on, do you really hate djs and the the profession that much?

  • Jonas M Karlsson

    Had a discussion in a local group (in FB, Sweden) about this app. Though it can be used for DJ/playing music at bars etc, accordingly to Spotify Terms and Conditions, you are not allowed to use Spotify in this way. See!/article/public-usage. The reason is that Spotify is for privat use only, not for public. As a DJ myself, Im ban Spotify when Im playing music. I have heard about people that are using Spotify premium account and the offline mode to ‘DJ’ at pubs/pre-party clubs..and I think this is embarrassing to use.

    • Djs of the round table

      Spottify, mp3 eller annan media utanför cd och vinyl får inte spelas för betalande publik, i enl med IFPI

      Spottyfiiiii mp3 or any other media beside cd or vinyl can not be played for a paying audience or guests, as both spottyfy or mp3 are not a professional standard in accordance with IFPI, somewhat similar ti us RIAA and MPAA

      If you fuel this shit, there are no turning back, and dj as a profession are seriously GONE!

      R.I.P DJ hello Professional ipoddriver!

      • Jonas M Karlsson

        Correct, the use of Spotify is not the correct way to be a proper DJ.

  • Effin Billy

    I’m still using my original Pacemaker. 😉

    • Djs of the round table

      Which is utter crap, im glad ive got rid of it

  • Spencer "Thunderball" Thayer

    I will never buy this. I own an original Pacemaker and am angry at Tonium for abandoning early adopters.

    • Perry

      I’ve got a pacemaker too. We’re not abandoned – in line with the app they released an updated firmware to get the better beatlock and scratching etc the other week. Check it out…

    • Djs of the round table

      Thats why i returned mine, no support, dropped the forum with people asking lots of questions, let the customers hanging in the wind.

      So simply put, FUCK TONIUM!

  • A-Dag-Io

    This is pretty slick! I always save one channel of the mixer for strange requests or the ultimate backup, just in case your system fails. Never happened, but never say never! Just bought an iPad Air last weeks, so this app came up just in time! Fabulous!

    • Djs of the round table

      If you refer to sick as vomit and puke, then your spot on, as a program for djs, well youd better take a good look in the mirror cause you seem confused, and i bet you cant even spell DEEJAY!

      • Wind_your_neck_in_mate

        Harsh words. This app defiantly has a place, The fact you are insulting this man’s ability to spell based on his enjoyment of an application really only does one thing, gives us all a look into your mind and how small and closed it is.

  • StevenMaude

    Cool concept; probably only a matter of time before Spotify or Grooveshark integration make it into Serato/Traktor…

    • TehObLiVioUs

      that’s what I want to happen…. oh but what about soundcloud eh?

    • Fabio Lopes

      Spotify & Traktor would be damm amazing!

  • Kyle Traveler

    Thanks for the thorough review

  • artistiq

    Definitely an interesting concept, wish it integrated with more traditional DJ setup and software though. Internet/network reliability is one concern, using a tablet is another. I don’t mind these mobile apps for Djing to explore and maybe for a quick ad-hoc party where traditional DJ equipment may not be readily available or as a supplemental device to my existing set up, but not sure I would use it as my primary equipment.

    Not trying to deviate too much from the post, but some people have commented on why Traktor/Serato don’t have streaming functionality. Until they do, PulseLocker offers a service where you “rent” songs essentially. It’s not streaming, but another alternative for accessing music you don’t want to own. You can temporarily download x amount a songs (pending on subscription plan) at a time to your local “locker” and access them via Traktor or Serato. You subscribe for a monthly fee and you have access to a wide library and then you can pull the tracks you want to DJ with for however long you want. If you don’t like them, you get rid of them from your locker.
    DJTechTools has a post about it here:

  • RolfSki

    Why not on Android and Win 8.1?

    • Fabio Lopes

      Because nobody’s uses windows for djing

      • RolfSki

        That’s not an argument and certainly not true. Android and Windows are as good as any platform for djing and certainly Windows is used a lot for this.

        • djfourmoney

          I use windows and I am IT my sh*t don’t crash and I don’t get viruses either.

  • Toontown

    Will it work with the Z1 or other external soundcards?

    • Dan White

      Not currently!

  • Dancin' Mark

    Why doesn’t NI link up with Beatport??? They are already co sponsors? That would be absolutely phenomenal!!! Traktor DJ on iPhone or iPad using Beatport content!!!

  • Andy

    One problem, this app only supports IOS 7 and Traktor DJ supports 6. According to Traktor site, there is problems with 7.

    • Disquis

      There’s no problem with iOS7. NI employees just aren’t very good programmers.

      • Andy

        Thats true, but thats a problem, you cannot install these two proggies on same iPad. Big drawback…

        • Simon Bailey

          Really? What makes you say that? I have both on my iPad (along with CrossDJ, Launchpad and Launchkey) and they all work fine.

          I have to agree with the beat grid issues though.

  • Tony

    Any cue pointing?

    • Dan White

      Just the main start cue right now- which is adjustable.

  • leavesremix

    this would be perfect for wedding and event dj’s if they were absolutely certain they’d have internet available. they’d probably want another backup, or this as a backup.
    but to have the entire spotify catalog available for all those request, etc. that would be perfect.

    • Toontown

      If the venue has wifi, I have Spotify running on my iPad and I route it through channel 4 of my mixer. This presents a cool new function of that. I’m definitely interested.

      • Ywe

        Me too, I use my ipad with spotify as a “weird request” buffer…. But now I can actually mix it in even better! I always wanted a spotify with tempo controls, and now I have it!

        • Djs of the round table

          You take requests?

          Well hello JOKEBOX

      • Djs of the round table

        ipad and dj, why not apply to a hospital and play surgeon as well, i heard they got som pretty neat new toys that you can sync for operations

        Ipads and computers are, will, never be a professional standard for djn, its the cheap asses way to get pussy and free beer.

        • Toontown

          You make it sound like getting pussy and free beer is a bad thing…

          • Knights of the round table

            If you do it as a dj when you work, you do it for the wrong reasons and have not understod the depth of djn and have no place in a booth!

            A real dj eat, shit, sleep (REPEAT) music, not drink fuck and then play!

    • Kyle Traveler

      You can also sync Spotify offiline. That would likely make it more reliable.

      • Djs of the round table

        Sync, hahaha here we go again

        • Kyle Traveler


    • YS

      With a 3g/4g ipad it’s a really nice backup


    this is pretty cool. VDJ used to have a service where you can stream tracks from Grooveshark, which I rarely used unless someone requested an obscure song. Seems like a cool app but if I’m at a house party, Id rather just set a playlist up, or a Diplo n Friends hour mix or something. This doesnt seem like it fits any needs or markets. Traktor would do everyone a favor if they aligned with Beats or Spotify.

  • Bigbeatzz

    I wish NI or Serato would do this with their products. Spotify is dope, the only thing missing is the ability to DJ with it. This is definitely a step in the right direction.

      • Dan White

        That would kind of work – if Serato or Traktor had VST support.

        • DJ_ForcedHand

          Yeah… that’s the real problem isn’t it? I guess you could use Ableton Live or Aaron’s DJ program “Livetronica Studio.”

  • chris

    nice app, man.
    this is app really for prePartying at home. But they all need some nice racks to kick them out. So this will be for ever an “Controllerist” Section, and maybe some service for the crowd.

  • DJ PC3

    Def cool for house-party situations… But nothing more. Can’t scratch, cue point aren’t thre plus a host of pretty necessary functions. Can it even pre-cue? What about tempo adjust (pitch-faders)

    • Dan White

      There’s basic platter controls – you could scratch if you had some deft touchscreen skills. You can precue and adjust tempo and nudge the tracks, but it is very much still missing cue points and grid adjustment.

      • Djs of the round table

        If you cn sync you can “play” dj