The DJ community has been left spinning this week after the shock news that Pioneer DJ’s parent company has acquired Serato. AlphaTheta Corporation who owns Pioneer DJ and Rekordbox have announced that they have bought 100% of Seratos Stock.

Serato, a New Zealand-based company, just need the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office to sign off on the deal. Once approved AlphaTheta will almost certainly be the dominating force in the world of Digital DJing.

This news follows last month’s announcement that the iconic Moog music had been bought out by the InMusic group.

Serato’s story

Serato was founded in 1998 and is now regarded as the leader in digital vinyl system (DVS) DJ technology. The rock-solid reliability of their software has helped establish them as the most popular DJing software globally.

Despite Initially focusing on time-stretching software, in 2004 Serato revolutionised the DJing landscape with the launch of Serato Scratch. Serato has always been ahead of the curve with innovative DJing tools and solutions. Most recently they introduced live stem separation into its flagship Serato DJ Pro software.

Serato has also branched into the world of music production with their DAW Serato Studio and popular Serato Sample software sampler.

Despite being a software company Serato has over the years forged strong links with 3rd party manufacturers. Their software can be found integrated into mixers and controllers for companies including; Rane, Denon, Numark, Reloop, Roland and of course Pioneer DJ. Despite integration with over 90 controllers and mixers, to date, Serato has not produced its own DJing hardware.

What could this mean for the future of Serato/Pioneer DJ?

It’s fair to say both Serato and Pioneer DJ are market leaders in their respective fields. For example, Serato and Rekordbox currently represent a combined 78% share of the DJ software market. Therefore the coming together of these two forces will undoubtedly have repercussions on the whole industry.

Much like the recent acquisition of Moog, AlphaTheta Corporation has stated that they intend to maintain both Pioneer and Serato’s independent identities. In a press release, AlphaTheta CEO Yoshinori Kataoka stated; “Bringing Serato into the AlphaTheta Group will lead to new synergies and significant technological innovations, adding continued value to the community.”

Only time will tell what such collaborations will bring. One thing that has been open to speculation is the future of Rekordbox. Rekordbox is Pioneers exclusive DJing and music filing software that is currently integrated into all of their controllers and mixers. Although there are distinct differences, fundamentally Serato and Rekordbox perform the same function i.e. DJing software.

Eventually, it’s not inconceivable that Rekordbox and Serato will merge. A move such as this will need to be well considered and executed as many DJs will have spent years organizing and arranging their entire music collections. I predict that in the short term, we may well see better integration of cloud-based services into Seratos software. An area where Rekordbox currently outperforms Serato.

The DJ Community reacts

Image courtesy of DJ Tech tools

Full disclosure. As a DJ of over 30 years, I have spent over 15 years using Serato and for the past 6 years, I’ve been using a Pioneer DJM S9 mixer. With many DJ friends, It’s fair to say my socials have been bustling with reaction to this news. I have noticed a distinct split in opinion between DJs who currently rock a Serato/Pioneer set-up and those that don’t.

For example, @ASkillzofficial posted a video stating that “He doesn’t know what this will mean but he’s glad that he owns a pioneer mixer and uses Serato as this will hopefully prevent himself from getting stitched up!” One commenter likened the move to Microsoft buying Call Of Duty.

Meanwhile on YouTube Phil Morse of the Digital DJ Tips channel gave his initial reactions. He likened the move to a potential monopoly. He suggested that industry giant InMusic, who own DJ tech firms Rane, Reloop, Dennon and Numark might not feel so happy paying to licence Serato from their largest competitor Pioneer. Instead, Phil speculated that InMusic may concentrate on developing their own Engine DJ software and integrate that into their products.

MoJaxx of DJCityTV also posted his initial reactions. Like Phil Morse he also saw a conflict of interest with InMusic brands. On the flipside, Mojaxx expressed excitement at the prospect of Rekordbox Serato integration bringing the best of both worlds to DJs.

In general, there has been a mixed response from the DJ community. Much speculation is abound but only time will tell how this will all pan out. Who knows, The New Zealand government may even block the whole deal from happening in the first place. Watch this space!

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