NAMM — World’s largest trade-only event for the music products industry. California sunshine, longtime friends and partners you only get to see (and/or party with) once or twice yearly, and one of the greatest opportunities to feast your eyes on all the new DJ products set to launch throughout this year.
I’ve just returned from SoCal after the grind, albeit a enjoyable one, that is NAMM. Now that I’ve had a chance to gather my thoughts and rest my soles after countless appointments and impromptu meetings, here’s a few rapid-fire takeaways from an awe-inspiring NAMM 2016:
- The DJ product industry is thriving, and innovation has clearly been prioritized. The major DJ brands such as Pioneer DJ, Numark, Denon DJ, and Reloop all had new DJ controllers on display, ranging from ultra-high-end to entry level. Booths were packed, interest was high and camera’s were rolling.
Years ago you could sense that DJ equipment took a backseat to more traditional music instruments. That wasn’t the theme in 2016 — some of the largest and most elbow-to-elbow packed booths were DJ specific. The DJ market as a whole is trending upward.
- A bold move towards all-in-one DJ controllers. Should this concern DJ software development companies such as ourselves? Not so fast. While it’s clear the theme of the show was “all-in-one” and “no computer required”, the consensus with DJs I discussed this with is that it’s not (yet?) an indication of a forthcoming mass exodus from laptop DJing.
With dedicated hardware, there are advantages for some but with obvious limitations. Small screens, elementary browser capabilities, minimal automation and expansion. You simply do not have the versatility you find in multi-facet DJ mixing software like DEX 3 – where you can seamlessly mix between formats, providing the full-gamut multimedia mixing experience. A DJ software upgrade can effectively alter the DJing experience, and you have your choice of control methods depending on what the gig or event requires. Laptop DJing isn’t taking a back seat anytime soon.
- Streaming music subscriptions are becoming an industry standard. PCDJ was the first to integrate with Pulselocker’s DJ-centric music subscription service, providing our users with in-app access to 44+ million songs, in all genres.
NAMM provided the opportunity to sit down with the head of product development Alvaro G. Velilla and CEO Ben Harris (of Dirty Vegas fame) and discuss some of their plans for the platform in 2016. Pulselocker has an excellent team propelling them ahead, and it starts at the top. These are solid, industry focused people.
Their development team is 50% done with ingesting Universal Music Groups massive catalog, which is searchable/usable now with a Pulselocker account. Curated lists (from top DJs throughout the globe) and further UX development are also in the works currently, with the website receiving considerable polish over the last 2 weeks. More and more DJ software vendors are coming aboard as they see the value for DJs using their product, with Pioneer DJ announcing Pulselocker integration just last week. This is a good sign that Pulselocker is finding a significant foothold in the industry, revolutionizing how DJs use and discover music.
- DJ Controller Support for PCDJ. One of our personal goals for attending NAMM this year was to ensure our users receive immediate support for DJ controllers as they hit the street. We sat down with all the major brands and they were more than willing to assist — PCDJ will now be able to provide support for popular DJ controllers more rapidly than ever
- Touchscreen based versatility. Smithson Martin showcased their new KS32 control surface; it was my first opportunity to put my little digits on it.
While some DJs may be turned off by the lack of tactile hands-on control (pushing faders, twisting knobs, etc), the versatility and application for the KS32 is fascinating.If you’re a multi-media mixing DJ that does more than just mix music — the KS32 is a product to consider. Think “modes” and panels, switching from video mixing mode, to karaoke mode and on to lighting control. Since it’s template based the flexibility is truly endless. PCDJ users rejoice, as Smithson Martin will be working on a new template for DEX 3 soon!