The rise of digital DJing over the past decade (the ability to manipulate digital files in the same way that a DJ using turntables would) has done much for the accessibility of the once insular world of DJing. Products like Final Scratch, Serato, Traktor & Ableton Live have, in different ways, made it increasingly easy for those without high-end professional equipment (or enormous vinyl collections) to create DJ mixes, edits, blends etc. The populist thrust of these developments has opened the door to scores of new enthusiasts, sometimes to the chagrin of those who learned the artform in times when the barriers to entry were much higher.
Today, Serato takes another step towards opening the field with DJ Intro, a free, entry level software aimed at “Music Enthusiasts” (read: those who might not self apply the term “DJ” just yet). Unlike previous editions of Serato, DJ Intro doesn’t require proprietary hardware in order to function. This move has earned Serato praise for increased accessibility, though in order to utilize many of the key performance functions (blending, crossfading, tempo adjustments) a USB controller still appears to be necessary (currently a number of models from Vestax and Numark are supported).
Will DJ Intro inspire a new wave of would be DJs to join the party? There will likely be some impact, though the software’s reliance on a controller (as opposed to the ability to control everything within the computer) will probably leave some on the sidelines. Choosing and committing to a controller can be daunting for an armchair enthusiast, especially since there doesn’t seem to be an industry standard comparable to the Technic 1200 turntable or Pioneer CDJ 1000 yet.
Had a chance to play around with DJ Intro? Happy about the increased accessibility of DJ features such as mixing, looping, effects, samples? Worried that more DJs will only mean an overall decline in the quality of the artform? Let us know what you think in the comments.