Beatport looks to be in trouble since they’ve been taken over by SFX. They laid off the entire engineering staff right before the holidays, claiming they were “spread too thin,” and haven’t really made any splashes since, so you can imagine our interest when they announced that Beatport Pro was coming out. Their claim was that it was a “tagging, filtering, and organizational tool” that was “designed for the unique needs of DJs.” Several of us are DJs with unique needs, and it made sense for us to download the program and give it a spin.
First of all, you need a Beatport account in order to log into the software. Just like iTunes, the hope is that people will utilize the charts and purchase content. It also boasts the ability to “work with” existing programs, but this is misleading. Plugging in my S4 and Vestax controllers would be pointless because there are no drivers to support the hardware. Loading up Traktor and Serato also did nothing, as your playlists from Beatport Pro don’t automatically transfer to your DJ software. To truly utilize Beatport Pro, you need to export your settings as an iTunes library, then adjust your Serato or Traktor accordingly.
All isn’t terrible here, though, as there are two things in this software that make complete sense. One is the “Sync with Beatport” button. As most of the records that I imported are either unreleased or free downloads that weren’t sold on Beatport, this didn’t do anything. But if you’re downloading popular or Top 40 records that Beatport recognizes, this could certainly come in handy as a tool to fill out missing data automatically. The other useful feature are the “mood,” “venue,” and “set time” tags. If I’m playing at 10PM at a warehouse, my set will be completely different than a club at 2AM, and Beatport Pro can help me differentiate those playlists.
The fact of the matter here is that this software is no more helpful than the programs we currently operate in. Being able to see waveforms doesn’t do anything for us. Serato and Traktor currently offer most of the features that Beatport Pro does, and doesn’t require the download of an additional program to help manage playlists. Beatport Pro also doesn’t actually analyze records or allow me to set cue points, two features that may entice DJs to hop on board. Recordbox already exists for those that spin on CDJs and don’t want to bring a computer with them. All in all, Beatport Pro isn’t offering much more than another hub for us to access their charts, and any real DJ has little or no use for it.