1. Pioneer DJ will release next-generation all-in-one DJ gear – Now the company has got the CDJ-3000 released, which has a full-on computer inside it, Pioneer DJ will turn its hand to revitalising its best-selling standalone controller range. Expect to see new XDJ controllers with far more features, better touchscreens, and more power and speed, in 2021. The company could release updated media players, too
  2. Gigs will return slowly from April summer onwards – As the many vaccinations that have been rush-tested and released start to have an effect, so public life will open up again. It will be slow (not least because it seems 50% of people offered the vaccines will apparently refuse them), but it will happen. We expect smaller events to return first, with the huge festivals taking years rather than months to get back to anything like full speed
  3. Engine DJ software will start to appear in hardware other than Denon DJ’s – inMusic, the company that developed the Engine Prime software (for Mac and Windows) and Engine OS (the software embedded in the equipment) owns Denon DJ, whose hardware the standalone Engine system has so far featured in. But the company also owns Numark and Rane. We expect to see Engine OS-equipped hardware from at least one of these brands, most likely Numark, appearing this year, that also won’t need a laptop to function, but that will cost much less that the Denon DJ standalone kit
  4. Music streaming in DJ software and gear will improve – With the advent of 5G and the increased uptake of music streaming services by DJs, we’ll get closer to “critical mass” with this technology, helped by improvements to what you can do with it, how it works, and how much it costs. With TIDAL, Beatport LINK, Beatsource LINK, and SoundCloud already established as the “big four” DJ streaming services, we expect to see Serato in particular improve its implementation of these services, as well as overall a move towards easier local caching of files and recording of sets in general
  5. There will be more consolidation in the DJ industry – It’s already turning into a Pioneer DJ vs Denon DJ world as far as hardware goes (or more particularly, Pioneer DJ vs inMusic, the owner of Denon DJ, Numark, Rane, M-Audio, Akai Pro…). It’s also turning into a Serato vs Rekordbox world as far as software goes (those two brands represent around three-quarters of DJ software users, and growing). Some smaller DJ brands are looking vulnerable and after the economic turmoil of 2020, not all brands will make it to the end of 2021 in their current states
  6. It used to be drug testing at raves, now it will be COVID-19 testing – In the enlightened days of, ooh, an age ago, it was possible at some raves to get your drugs tested, to be more sure of what you were putting inside yourself. (It wasn’t to condone drug use, just to minimise harm, of course.) But now, we fully expect to see COVID-19 testing stations set up at large outdoor events, with people swabbed and temperature-checked before admission
  7. Livestreaming will bring sharply into focus what DJs actually do – For a couple of years now, YouTubers have perfected the viral-ready “look-at-what-I-can-do-in-10-minutes” style of DJ performance video. But with livestreaming DJ sets now a “thing”, all styles of DJing will take their place online too, including longer-form styles of DJ set of the types we are more used to hearing in clubs. Indeed, once clubs are open, we will see many more livestreams from those clubs – it’ll be like Boiler Room, but from thousands of venues worldwide, with a whole range of DJ skills, from programming to crowd control, on offer for viewers

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