Hands up if you’re reading this on a phone? A tablet? Are you at work? On a bus? You can do this because Crossfadr is made to be supported by multiple platforms – it’ll look and behave much the same in Opera as it will in Chrome or IE; your smartphone will see it differently, but on all smartphones it’ll be basically the same. Crossfadr was born at a time when the world was pushing toward the marriage of diversification and homogenisation.
The DJ community is going through the same exact thing. In a world where rapidly changing modes of communication and consumption are growing together like a virtual skin over our daily lives, cultures and subcultures are adapting in unpredictable ways to seek out the opportunities, and sidestep the dangers, of all the turbulence.
In some important ways, we’re especially well-positioned to ride the wave. Think about our equipment – the boundaries between the hardware we build and the software we conceive have never been more permissive. Stakeholder relations, marketing, business admin; just about the only thing that doesn’t happen online is the bit where you actually get on stage. Our supplies and our product are custom formatted to commerce with a globally connected market that puts a premium on intangibility.
Now enter the app markets, ultra-efficient portals for developers and consumers alike. They are a new online economy, the third generation of post-bricks and mortar stores; microretailers we can carry in the palms of our hands. Their convenience is unrivalled, and the prices are rock bottom. A buck and a half for a DJ app? You already know it’s not going to be the most powerful tool in your arsenal, but you can be pretty confident that it will at least be either fun or useful. And if you like the iPhone version, it’s just another four ninety-nine for the fully unlocked iPad app with decks big enough to actually use your hands. You can recommend it to your Android friends, because the port is meant to be really solid and it ties in so neatly with the Chrome extension and, of course, your Facebook page.
It was not so long ago that the choice of DJ gear was really pretty limited, and you were committed to either spending an assload of cash or settling for a cheap pretender. In an environment as supportive of – and accessible to – the newcomers as it is of the big gorillas, the Korgs and Stantons, innovation has a way of winning out. It’s just a matter of time before we start seeing user-made features bought and assimilated into SSL or Traktor. Max For Live and Reaktor have already started the ball rolling in that direction.
DJs and developers were once irreconcilable breeds, but happily those days are gone. The sheer number of true believers – the breadth of EDM’s popularity – ensure that any new platform will be taken up as viable, ensure that the gamut of price points between hand-me-down and painfully professional will be filled – and ensure that, whatever direction the technological torch-bearers take us, it’s us, the DJs, who will be best served by the groundswell of new ideas.