Serato Pyro: Can A Casual App Take Over House Party DJing?
There’s an unspoken competition in the casual music app industry now to see who can design the best party mode / basic auto DJ mode in their music software. We’ve seen Pacemaker and Spotify both recently make their entries, and now Serato has launched their own Serato Pyro app (available in the US as of Thursday morning). Could Serato Pyro be the winner? We take a quick look at the app in this article.
Serato Pyro: Browsing and Selection
Make no mistake, Serato Pyro is a visually simple app, designed to be a workflow that you can understand after just a minute of using it. Add your playlists to the apps library where it will pull from to choose new songs, and right away you’ll be presented with a set of songs to start with.
Swipe any track to the left to remove it from the upcoming playlists, swipe right to move it to the next position. The list of tracks is automatically populated with close songs (BPM only, no sign of key analysis here). The app also has complete integration with Spotify Premium, so if you want to add more tracks from a almost endless online library, that’s a possibility as well.
If you want, you can stay entirely hands-off and let Serato Pyro just keep mixing for you constantly. But being DJs, I suspect most DJTT readers will want to adjust the playlist and make your own selections.
Playback and Mixing
There’s a lot of discussion in the above video from Serato about how Serato Pyro was designed to do a lot of background analysis to figure out the “perfect place to transition from one song to the next” – but in practice, I would say that Pyro is quite basic in its mixing ability. I tested it mostly with 124-130 BPM house music, arguably one of the easiest genres to get right when mixing BPM and phrasing.
The BPM seems to be fairly well detected (you can actually go into the settings and turn on the BPM display to have the app show you the detected speed) but the not-visible beat grid doesn’t seem to be as accurate. Based on my tests, the beat grid seems to be on point about 50-60% of the time. When it’s off, it usually seemed to be off by about 1/2 of a beat, which is very noticeable in the mix. There’s also no way to correct the beat grid or a mix when it’s clearly off, which is frustrating.
I will say that most of the time, mixes on Pyro sound acceptable – and at a house party, it’s not going to matter, and that’s kind of the point. Phrasing often seems to be the basic intro-outro mixing, and when it attempts to go beyond that it sometimes suffers. I had one mix where it skipped the intro and went straight into the vocal drop of a track, which ended up blending two vocals overtop of each other.
The new updated version of the app, which roles out tomorrow morning (Wednesday Feb. 10), will allow users to scan their music and reveal the original tracks behind the song. It won’t just look into the past however. There will be a forward-looking piece of the app, which allows you to see what covers and tracks have used an older song.
For example, sifting through Kanye West’s library will yield hundreds of results by the prolific sampler or if you play The Winstons “Hey Brother” will show close to 1,500 results with the famous “Amen Break” included.
“WhoSampled’s unique flavor of discovery is essential for anyone looking to learn more about their music,” CEO and Founder of WhoSampled Nadav Poraz said in a statement via Billboard. “We are excited to be enabling Spotify’s massive audience of dedicated music lovers to enjoy the WhoSampled experience seamlessly with their personal music collections for the first time.”
WhoSampled sells its iPhone app for $3.99 currently and plans to release an Android app later this year. Browsing through tracks via the web of samples, users can add those songs to their playlists. Spotify premium users can also stream music through the WhoSampled App.
Founded in 2008 in London, WhoSampled has amassed nearly 1.2 monthly active users. This is impressive since the company has not had any institutional funding since its inception.
Rick Rubin’s Putting Together A Star Wars-Themed Compilation Album
Have you ever wanted a compilation of original music that blends your childhood affinity for all things Star Wars with your likely more recent appreciation for electronic music? Rick Rubin thought you might, which is why the decade-spanning pop culture mastermind has enlisted some of the world’s most renowned producers to deliver tracks for Star Wars Headspace.
Kaskade, Flying Lotus, A-Trak and Baauer are but a few of the names behind tracks which will appear on the album. Each production features samples and clips from the iconic sound effects of sound designer Ben Burtt, making for songs which reference the Star Wars film franchise’s many peculiar tropes.
Perhaps most surprising from a musical standpoint is Rubin’s own contribution to the compilation. Where the producer is best known for his iconic mixes of albums for legendary acts like The Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Beastie Boys, “NR-G7″ features a the four-four beat and sterile synth work of contemporary electronic music.
While you’ll have to wait until February 19th to listen to Star Wars Headspace in its entirety, Rick Rubin has already previewed three of the tracks of the compilation on Beats 1.
01 Kaskade: “C-3P0’s Plight”
02 GTA: “Help Me!”
03 TroyBoi: “Force”
04 Baauer: “Cantina Boys”
05 Shag Kava: “Jabba Flow: Rick Rubin Re-Work” [ft. A-Trak]
06 Claude VonStroke: “R2 Knows” [ft. Barry Drift]
07 Rick Rubin: “NR-G7”
08 Bonobo: “Ghomrassen”
09 Röyksopp: “Bounty Hunters”
10 ATTLAS: “Sunset Over Manaan”
11 Flying Lotus: “R2 Where R U?”
12 Shlohmo: “Druid Caravan of Smoke”
13 Rustie: “EWOK PUMPP”
14 Galantis: “Scruffy-Looking Nerfherder”
15 Breakbot: “Star Tripper”
SoundCloud Released Their Financial Results & It Doesn’t Look Good
According to SoundCloud’s latest financial statement, the company will need to raise a significant amount of money to stay afloat in 2016.
Soundcloud launched in 2008 and has grown to become a well-established, major platform for up-and-coming artists to share their music with fans. The company was valued at $700 million in a funding round during 2014, a figure that could increase. But SoundCloud boasts a massive user base of roughly 175 million active monthly users, and is clearly a heavyweight alongside the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube.
So, where did they go wrong?
The report showed that Soundcloud lost approximately $56.4 million in 2014, which nearly leveled with the $60 million raised via Series D financing that year. Soundcloud admitted the obvious in its financials: “Our overhead base has increased faster than our revenues.”
However, SoundCloud is staying optimistic along with their investors. “We’re one of the biggest music platforms in the world and we’re growing fast,” says Alexander Ljung, SoundCloud’s founder and chief executive. Ljung went on to say, “Over time, SoundCloud will become a financially sustainable and profitable platform.”
Although, the company did state in their filing that there are ”material uncertainties facing the business.” SoundCloud is well aware that it will take time for them to get out of the red, and expects this to take around three years.
What’s next for SoundCloud?
Last month, DMN reported that SoundCloud made a licensing deal with Universal Music Group for its subscription service. Although terms of the agreement were not announced, these types of licenses typically require significant upfront cash payments. This means that SoundCloud now has to get users to start paying for the service to raise money and fund the venture. The company also needs to work on a business model that allows them to successfully compete with other major streaming services, whilst retaining it uniqueness.
The report also concluded on another obvious note: “The Group’s business plan shows that further capital investment will be required in the next 12 months to fund the business.”
Club Killers Radio podcast kicks off 2016 with a solid mix from Washington DC’s very own DJ Remy Sounds! If you remember we first found Remy on the Serato Scratch Live forums when we went searching for a mix. He stuck out right away! Now on his 3rd podcast, he comes through with another bangin mix! Check out the full track list after the jump Continue reading →
DJ Vice presents Electric Taco: Episode 2 w/ A-Trak
It’s DJ Vice’s favorite day of the week! It’s Taco Tuesday! Electric Taco is back! Vice got his valet skills down this week riding around town with the homie A-Trak this week! Watch what went down on their way to get tacos at La Escuela!