Equipment giant Pioneer DJ has once more come out of the blue for updates regarding Rekordbox and some controversial decisions.

Pioneer has been in a very fortunate position for a while, being the biggest name in DJ/Producer equipment due to their audio quality, never-ending durability and functionality. These features also translate into Rekordbox – previously on its 5th iteration – a music management software that also functioned as the engine for the increasingly powerful DJ controllers we’ve been fortunate enough to have seen over the years. Now, in 2020, Pioneer have decided to fully revamp Rekordbox, to now version 6.0.

What are the new features then? Well, quite a few actually. Rekordbox 6.0 allows (among other things):

  • 3-band color waveforms
    These are very simple: Instead of the rather confusing previous waveforms – which were colorful, but offered little information – you now have a single combination of colors, blue for low frequencies, Yellow-ish for mid-range and white for hi frequencies. This allows for a much simpler, more functional approach.
  • Ableton Link support
    This matches your bpm, pitch and more with an Ableton project running inside the same network to which Rekordbox is connected, thus taking live performances and live edits to the next level.
  • Cloud Library Sync
    A single music library – and its metadata: BPM, Hot Cues, Loops, etc – can now be connected to a maximum of 4 devices, saving the user a lot of hassle when transitioning between said devices, and finally integrating the seamless era of networking we currently live in into Rekordbox.
  • Inflyte Integration
    Inflyte is a professional promo platform that helps record labels, agencies and PRs to deliver the tracks to their DJ’s. With this integration, the user can choose which tracks to import and integrate into their sets.
  • New subscription model
    The most controversial of changes. “Another company succumbing to an ordinary cash grab”, right? There’s more that meets the eye. This subscription service subdivides into three different plans: Free, Core and Creative.

    Free is the same old thing: you can import, manage, analyze, and export your files to USB. You can also use limited versions of Performance mode and Rekordbox Video and Lyric with your mouse. If you want to use a DJ controller, in order to do so for free, you’ll have to have one of the “Hardware Unlock” devices, which will unlock your software giving you almost all the features of the Core plan. If you don’t have any of these devices, you’ll have to subscribe either Core or Creative plans.
    The Core plan keeps all the previous features and unlocks the use of DJ controllers that are not Hardware Unlock devices, and other devices that weren’t made with Rekordbox in mind. It also allows you to have 2 devices connected with this subscription. It is priced at a reasonable monthly fee of around 10€ (or 7€ if you grab it until mid July).
    The Creative plan unlocks access to every and all flagship feature of Rekordbox 6.0, as well as the Sample Sequencer and RMX Effects, all for 15€ per month (or 10€, if you grab it until mid July too), as well as allowing it to be used on up to 4 devices. You can check a more detailed comparison between the plans here.

Rekordbox 6.0 also features a new “light mode” aimed for outdoor DJs, auto detection of tracks (for example, if you moved them from a given folder to another one) and a lot more. Alongside this, Pioneer DJ also refreshed their iOS app with a new interface, fluid animations, and the possibility of users to play on two virtual decks. The app can also be connected to the CDJ and XDJ players, for seamless access to your music. It is free and available from iOS 11 onwards.

Personally, this is a controversial change. While some features make sense and are made to ease the life of touring DJ’s, the subscription service will definitely alienate mostly amateur enthusiasts, who have older equipment that will now be rendered useless, at least under the free plan. With some already voicing and expressing their concerns, Pioneer need to be very careful with their next move.

For a more in-depth approach, check out this fully comprehensive video walkthrough by the fine people at Crossfader!

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