Serato is best known inside the DJ world for making some of the most popular mixing software out there, but now the company is trying to make DJ tools that are accessible to everyone. Its first effort is an iOS app called Pyro, and it's basically an automatic DJ for parties. You just load up a playlist, and Pyro will automatically fade from song to song so the music never stops.
Pyro makes it easy to update your playlist on the fly
Pyro sounds dead simple, and, really, it is. There are no flashy effects — its purpose is just to keep the music going and smoothly transition from one song to the next, regardless of how different they sound. So long as it's music fit for a party, at least. "It's definitely dance music, hip hop, top 40s, and that kinda music that really this app is designed for and does an amazing job of," says AJ Bertenshaw, Serato's CEO and co-founder. "That's the kind of music you'd expect to hear mixed by a DJ."
You're supposed to be able to open up Pyro, hit play, and forget about it for the rest of the night. If you attached it to a paid Spotify account, it'll even switch over to recommended songs once your playlist ends. But Serato's expertise is in letting people mix songs on their own, and there's an element of that here, too. The app is designed to make it really easy to change up a playlist on the fly. You can combine existing playlists, drag to reorder songs, and instantly send a song to the top of the queue, where it'll begin to fade in. It's not much like DJing, but it's supposed to help you pick the right songs at the right moment without too much work.
Bertenshaw makes it clear that Serato doesn't see this app as anything remotely close to a replacement for a live DJ. "If you think this is taking the job of a DJ, then you don't really know what a DJ does," he says. Instead, he says, it's for when you have a few friends over and "no one wants to be the guy up there DJing to five people."
"I wanted to create a true consumer product."
Pyro will be available for free and works on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. An Android version should arrive in the future. Bertenshaw says that Serato will eventually make money off of Pyro by offering in-app purchases for new features. Those could include additional song transitions, some basic DJ effects, or the ability to host a collaborative playlist. "We have a list, and we're going to prioritize that list based on customer feedback," he says.
Serato intends to keep making professional DJ software at the same pace it always has, but Pyro is the start of a new initiative to branch out into the consumer space as well. That means more apps will likely arrive in the future, but you shouldn't necessarily expect Serato to take the same approach as companies like Djay or Pacemaker, offering surprisingly powerful amateur DJing software. "When I look at those DJ apps, they're still kind of complicated and still have a learning curve," Bertenshaw says. "I wanted to create a true consumer product, something that anyone can use."