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Meditating on the Future of Traktor: A Proposal

Discussion in 'TRAKTOR PRO / TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO' started by alza, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. alza

    alza NI Product Owner

    Greetings Traktor users :)

    Imagine for a moment the following features..

    1) ‎You can use new separate prep and performance apps, so that prep can be done on a desktop/laptop or tablet/phone, and performance can be done either on desktop/laptop, tablet/phone or future standalone Kontrol hardware (i.e. no connected laptop required).

    2) You can use your private cloud music library and/or public streaming music libraries, with offline sync.

    3) Your track analysis is done in the cloud. A public cloud mapping of track fingerprints to track analysis results makes it nearly instantaneous for already-known tracks.

    4) You can use new ‎tablet/phone apps enabling track and/or gig prep on the move, e.g. beat grids, cue points, playlists.

    5) You can use a new desktop/laptop or tablet/phone app resurrecting the old Native Mix Recorder, enabling post-performance workflow to fix minor errors, adjust effects, levels etc.

    6) You can do prep (or performance) on Linux, in addition to Windows or Mac.

    7) ‎You are able to do prep and performance in different manufacturers software and hardware. (ok, this one's a stretch!)

    Wow, wouldn't it be great to have all of this power in your hands?

    Unfortunately, I would submit that we will not see any of the above any time soon, without a full-scale revolution in how Traktor is designed and developed.

    To realise the above features and ensure a healthy continuing future for Traktor against the competition, I propose the following initiatives to NI and the wider community:

    1) Introduce an open format for "DJ data" such as track fingerprints, analysis results, beat grids, cue points and playlists etc.

    2) Introduce a service to store/access the DJ data to/from the cloud, and perform analysis in the cloud etc. The mapping of track fingerprints to track analysis results made available as open data. Allow the DJ data to be synced from the cloud to a USB storage device for offline use with future Kontrol hardware.

    3) Introduce an open format for mix recordings (i.e. not rendered audio data, but instead time series data for tracks played, plus transport, mixer and effects controls etc).

    4) Abandon the existing closed source, monolithic Traktor app and replace it with a new open source modular design and published APIs, comprising an open source core/framework, and all existing Traktor features implemented as plugins which can either be open source, or closed source. Closed source plugins can be used for all of the parts that NI wishes to keep secret and/or has software patents on, such as bpm detection, key detection, mixer, effects units etc.

    This modular design and published APIs will allow for separate prep, performance and post-performance apps e.g. new Native Mix Recorder, with sharing of plugins between the apps where needed.

    5) Change the Traktor revenue model to free software, but paid-for services (such as cloud storage of the DJ data, and cloud analysis of tracks).

    I believe these five initiatives are key to realising ground-breaking new features such as those listed above.

    More generally, I believe these initiatives would foster innovation, re-energise the Traktor community, see more community-led improvements, see more frequent releases, get bugs fixed, prevent bit-rot and make for a healthier DJ software ecosystem.

    Some food for thought from a software developer with ~20 years experience, and a concerned long-time Traktor user (since pre-Traktor Final Scratch days), who hasn't jumped ship to Pioneer.. yet :/
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
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  2. SanderSantema

    SanderSantema NI Product Owner

    Hadn't even thought about halve of the things you mentioned but boy o boy that would be some absolute killer software. I'm a great fan of open-source myself and it would be absolutely awesome to have traktor open-source in this way. Keeping a compromise between NI running their business and harnessing the power of open-source software.

    However I think it would be necessary to keep all of these features accessible offline (obviously without the computing power NI servers would have and other benefits of the cloud) since I couldn't imagine the horrors of not being able to do something just before a show because your connection isn't working. It would even fit nicely into NI's new endeavour, Sounds.com. Obviously not regarding samples etc. but it could be hooked up to Maschine sort of like warping in Ableton but online allowing for easier remixes and edits.

    Preparing stuff on the go would be a major improvement for me, since I don't produce my own music or use stems, a lot of my time regarding dj'ing goes into managing my library and discovering new music. Combined with opensource this probably allows for some interesting power options and extensions. Scripting Traktor, oh how one can dream!

    Even though Traktor development isn't the most active at this moment I wouldn't expect these features this big to be implemented swiftly if the development was going on full steam. Luckily it seems that Traktor development is starting up again so we might see some of these features with a little bit of patience in the meantime you could always switch to some other software.

    Anyways some really nice ideas you've got here. NI should hire you ;P

    Greetings, Sander.
  3. locrates

    locrates NI Product Owner

    API is a great idea.. i have thought of this also.. a script shop u can buy homemade plugins like max 4 live..

    or.. someone could make a new software allowing this to happen, and let it use the traktor mapping and timecode
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  4. alza

    alza NI Product Owner

    Thanks :)

    Yes the general idea would be for everything to work offline when performing, you would have a local copy of the DJ data and a local copy of some/all of your music collection, both synced from the cloud. These two local copies would either be on a laptop, or on a USB stick for standalone use with future Kontrol hardware.

    In fact when performing, everything would mostly work as it does now. It's the prep beforehand that will really benefit from the cloud, speeding up the workflow and allowing prep when on the move from any device etc.

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  5. SanderSantema

    SanderSantema NI Product Owner

    You might want to repost this in the NI beta feature suggestions forums if you haven't done so already!
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    DJ ACTION VASQUEZ NI Product Owner


    "and let it use the traktor mapping and timecode"

    wouldn't HID mode be best?
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2018
  7. YI57

    YI57 New Member

    I'm amazed by how similar you and I think alza !! You're absolutely spot on with the need for a separated prep app, and that should definitely be free and cross platform. that way, at least anybody with any computer can prep tracks to play at somebody else's house who has the official traktor gear. (even if it isn't standalone)

    you might be interested in what I wrote in this feature request:

  8. Mutis

    Mutis NI Product Owner

    Some ideas are interesting but my gut says “it’s not going to happen” or “it will not work” (or arrive later).

    Discontinnued S5/D2 (and probably remix decks/stems) are the worst news possible. The problem wasn’t the idea, it was the way it was developed (closed garden and no iOS support for nome of the new gear)...

    So, yes Traktor was dying and now it seems it wasn’t any replacement ready (after being totally closed as brand and doing their own apple-ism strategy... finally release a ‘what if’...) so I’m looking at torq2?

  9. deejaysoul

    deejaysoul NI Product Owner

    Very possible... Chad Carrier was on both teams. I had hopes he would put some of the features from Torq 1.5 into Traktor (beat anchors, vst plugins & easy midi-mapping to name a few). Now it seems Traktor might be a repeat of Torq 2.0.
  10. Mutis

    Mutis NI Product Owner

    The worst part is all the time wasted so paradigm shift is now total.
    Rekordbox probably won the “dj niche market” and Ableton the “live act niche market”.

    Shame since turntable as controller for audio samples/stems could had been a winner on its own but strategy on NI related to traktor wrecked...
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