Serato & Ableton Announce Creative Partnership

Serato and Ableton have announced a “creative partnership” which they claim will “pave the way for the future of Digital DJing.” The announcement has come on the heels of Native Instruments premier of their new Traktor Pro upgrade, which focuses on performance and creative mixing design via a new effects set.

What’s interesting from an industry perspective is that Ableton has constantly positioned themselves as the “Switzerland” of software developers, never aligning themselves with another software, or more likely, hardware concern. This neutral stance has allowed several hardware manufacturers to develop controllers aimed at the dynamic Live program, however DJs have often found that the software/hardware combinations have come up wanting. This limitation has sparked a whole new genre of hardware turntablism in the form of controllerism. Although, some would argue that Sasha, a well known progressive house DJ, planted the initial seed with his customized Maven controller that he developed in order to DJ specifically with Ableton Live.

The obvious first collaboration would be to incorporate Serato’s Digital Vinyl System (DVS) technology into Live. “Ableton has never had an answer for the DJ who wants vinyl control, and rather than try to emulate what Serato do so well, we simply make sure that our products work well together,” revealed Ableton CEO Gerhard Behles. Whether this would be in the form of native implementation or a plug-in remains to be seen, but we may actually see some type of demo at the upcoming NAMM show in January.

What many industry watchers would like to know is how Serato, a New Zealand concern, and Ableton, a German company, came together. In the press release revealing the partnership, Serato’s
CEO Steve West chimed, “after years of talking together, we’re thrilled to be working with Ableton.” Was there any discussions between Ableton and Native Instruments? Taking the autobahn is certainly easier than flying half way around the world for face to face conversations…

Serato’s bedding of Ableton reinforces their aggressive behind-the-scenes maneuvering to shore up their position as the leading DVS on the market. Native Instruments offensive into the DVS market with Traktor Scratch Pro has not been lost on Serato. And Serato, who has recently partnered with Vestax on a designated controller (VCI-300) for their new ITCH mixing software, has got to be pushing Native Instruments to debut its own dedicated controller for Traktor Pro, another product we may see bow at NAMM.

“Ableton and Serato take different approaches to modern musical performance,” says Ableton CEO Gerhard Behles, “But both companies live by the philosophy that software should be straightforward, easy to use, and most importantly, reliable and stable onstage and in the studio. Ableton has never had an answer for the DJ who wants vinyl control, and rather than try to emulate what Serato do so well, we simply make sure that our products work well together.”

Serato’s Steve West agrees. “It’s exciting to think about what we can offer to DJs and producers: the ability to go beyond just spinning records and add a personal stamp to the music they play.”

The Future: It doesn’t get better than this! Two solid offerings battling it out for Digital DJing supremacy. You’ve got to love Serato’s aggressive tactics, but NI doesn’t play sissy, their marketing juggernaut is substantial easily overpowering Rane, who distributes Serato in the U.S. market. Rane’s notoriously frugal marketing department is no match for NI’s influence, so Serato is going to have to rely on their installed base and grassroots efforts to maintain their lead in the DVS market. Their partnership with Ableton is a huge win for the company, especially if they can extend the relationship beyond Scratch and incorporate ITCH into Ableton as well.

Author: FutureMusic

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