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Serato’s New iOS App Wants to Put a DJ in Your Pocket

DJ technology company Serato released its first consumer app Thursday: Serato’s new Pyro app, which is available for free for iPhones and iPads, allows anyone to listen to their favorite songs as if they were part of a DJ set, all the while tapping into Spotify’s catalog of 30-some million songs.

Think of it as a Spotify DJ in your pocket, if you will. Users do need a Spotify Premium subscription to make use of the music service’s catalog, but the app also allows users to automatically compile mixes based on their local iTunes library.

New Zealand-based Serato is best known for professional DJ software, which the company has developed for close to two decades. Serato’s Scratch software was one of the first to allow DJs to control MP3 files on their laptops with vinyl records that contained specially time-coded control signals, giving them the ability to physically scratch and manipulate digital audio files while the computer took care of tedious tasks like matching beats and adjusting the tempo of a track.

Serato has now taken some of that same technology and put it to use in Pyro. No, the app doesn’t come with its own vinyl records, but it’s still capable of matching the beat of two tracks to blend them seamlessly together, much in the same way a DJ would to turn two separate tracks into a continuous mix. “The music never stops — unless you stop the music,” said Serato CEO and co-founder A.J. Bertenshaw in an interview with Variety this week.

Bertenshaw explained that the app works for pretty much any style of music. “It is an algorithm. It doesn’t discriminate,” he said. However, he conceded that Pyro’s users are more likely to be into EDM or hip-hop, then, say, country.

Which brings up an interesting question: How do actual DJs feel about an app that seemingly automates their job? Bertenshaw said that the ones who had a chance to test it didn’t seem concerned. “There is so much more to being a DJ than just the mechanical mixing of tracks,” he argued, adding: “Being a DJ is an art. It’s all about reading the crowd.” But for a crowd of one, an iPhone app may just do the trick.



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