Pioneer’s Rekordbox continues its play to be the DJ software to beat – and there’s a ton of stuff in the latest release pretty much everyone will want, from cloud and mobile sync all the way up to some powerful live visual features.
There’s a ton of stuff here, whether you’re primarily using Rekordbox as your library management tool before you play with CDJs, or if it’s what you actually play in (or run live visual shows and lights in).
Cloud sync. You can sync tracks across devices and apps with Dropbox, and integrate with Beatport Link service, so that you aren’t constantly looking for promos and tracks you’ve bought. That also includes metadata – so –
iOS Mobile Sync. You can edit tracks on the companion iOS app, with your metadata in the cloud – meaning you have a palm-sized way of adding markers and adjusting beat sync. This will be especially great when any of us can leave the house again, but maybe by then we can also wish for an Android app? (And until then, hey, lying in bed going through tracks also has some appeal.)
Integrated promos. Inflyte is already the whiz-bang promo platform to beat – basically, it gives you all you need to send press and DJs your tracks and try to get them to send you useful feedback. (It’s the new place to get “Downloaded for R Hawtin” and later claim that was “supported by.”)
Now those promos show right in Rekordbox, so presumably producers can skip the steps of DJs digging through promo inboxes when they make mixes. I have more to say on this topic soon, but for now it’s an intriguing idea.
Combine that with Beatport Link, and at least in theory, there are more ways to get your music played by DJs, though whether that becomes overwhelming or even useful to the producer is a topic for another time.
Autorelocate Tracks. Don’t know about y’all, but I think I’m more excited by this than anything else here – especially since not all my promos come from Inflyte and not all my music from Beatport.
But all my music is now scattered on my hard drive in novel ways that Rekordbox 5 couldn’t handle.
I bet I’m not alone. At the very least, if this sounds like you, I promise you a comprehensive test of what happens when someone has zero interest in organizing files and zero patience in software’s general ineptitude at, you know, search. Fingers crossed on this one.
Updated UI. Now also has light/dark skin settings to match your OS.
3Band waveform. Humankind still struggles to work out how to provide a useful visualization of sound data. This takes waveforms and breaks them up by high, mid, low. Let’s see if that’s useful.
Filter by Attribute in Collection and playlists – handy.
Plus more visual goodies
Rekordbox doesn’t just want to be the thing you use to load up your USB stick for a CDJ, or even just another DJ app to compete with Serato and TRAKTOR and their ilk.
It also wants to run your show.
Rekordbox 6 has almost as many visual/show control improvements as music and library management additions.
The Lighting panel now has an Ambient mode and DMX Direct Control.
And there’s more:
- Ability to add video files to audio playlists.
- Added [All Audio] and [All Videos] in the tree view.
- Ability to add tracks from streaming services streaming tracks to playlists.
- Blinking interval when Strobe (Middle) is selected on the Lighting panel.
- Added copy feature for venues and scenes in Lighting mode.
- Added Moving Head pan/tilt limit setting and tilt reverse setting in Lighting mode.
There are actually people out there using this stuff. That’s partly for the same reason that the CDJ and DJM are so popular, which is there’s an army of Pioneer sales, support, and venue and artist relations roaming around the world to make it happen.
You had to figure this would come at a cost. The big shift is that Rekordbox is moving to subscriptions, like so many products now.
The free version is still free – and you can unlock features with hardware, which I expect for many users will make the most sense. (You’re unlikely to use the advanced features with just a mouse and no controller, that is.)
The bad news is your old licenses don’t apply to the upgrade if you don’t have hardware that unlocks this.
The flipside is, the high-end version – with all the video and DVS – is now a better deal.
Just don’t panic – the Export mode is still in the free version, and you can actually even use performance features on PC/Mac, which means you don’t have to pay just to unlock those features when you’re away from your controller. And that’s handy – sometimes you want to try mixing two tracks together before you export them to USB.
- Export mode
- Performance features controlled via PC/Mac
Core (6.99EUR-USD a month, discounted from 9.99EUR-USD regular):
- Adds performance features
- Adds DVS control
Creative mode ($/€9.99 a month intro, regular price to be 14.99) is where the big stuff is at, and since your hardware only unlocks “core,” you might still wind up having to pay for it:
- Everything in Core, plus —
- Cloud Library Sync
- Lyric feature
- Video feature
- RMX EFFECTS
I am not normally a fan of one player dominating the market, personally, but Rekordbox solves an extraordinary set of use cases in a way its competitors don’t even touch. And hey, the computer DJ experience it offers – which was once pretty deficient – has improved a lot.
There’s an opening for competition, however. Pioneer here appears to be bundling cloud sync only with the top-tier “Creative” subscription. So you might decide simply to pay separately for another service. (Then again, some competition could be good.)
When it comes to visual features and performance, Serato remains the functionality rival. So there’s your horse race – especially because Pioneer’s advantage of being the CDJ company is for the moment erased by the fact that there are no festivals or clubs. (Ahem.)
I’ll definitely be trying this out with some mixing soon – and will talk to some of the people working with its advanced video/show features. (They’re still working away, even in the lockdown.) Stay tuned.
Don’t miss their updated macOS info:
Download and more info: