Should I Learn to DJ with Serato or Rekordbox?
Should I Learn to DJ with Serato or Rekordbox?
One of the most common questions new DJs have is which program is better, Rekordbox or Serato? So, which should you learn to DJ with?
If you’re an aspiring DJ who wants to learn how to DJ and is researching with software program to use you may be a little overwhelmed. There is so much choice out there but two most popular programs are Serato and Rekordbox. Nowadays, both of these programs are owned by Pioneer DJ. Pioneer are the leaders in DJ software and technology on a global scale. They offer the gold-standard in DJ equipment and DJ software. So which do you choose?
Firstly, don't over think this. They are both excellent programs! However, there are some minor difference that you may wish to consider when choose wether to learn with Serato or Rekordbox.
My personal advice would be to learn both, they are both great fun!
Here's our advice on what the pros and cons are of both options...
Rekordbox is the native DJ software for Pioneer DJ products. Rekordbox was invented by Pioneer DJ, whereas Serato was bought from another company in 2023. This means that Rekordbox has better compatibility with the industry-standard DJ software you find in clubs worldwide. It's the best program for DJs who want to travel light with their playlists stored on a USB stick rather than take a controller or laptop to their gigs.
Most international headline DJs will use Rekordbox for this reason. It's often a wise choice because there is less that can go wrong with a USB system. Once you introduce additional controllers or laptops into a DJ system more things can fail or go wrong. Many DJs simply don't want the stress of that and will opt for using Rekordbox with USBs.
This way a DJ can just rock up to the gig with their USBs, plug and play. Oh, but don't forget you headphones, you'll need those too!
Yes, you can also use Rekordbox with a DJ controller or direct from a linked laptop, but why bother if you can use USB?
Here are some of the benefits of Rekordbox
The free version has everything a DJ needs to DJ with USBs.
Works flawlessly with industry-standard Pioneer DJ equipment found in most venues.
Load your playlists onto a USB, plug and play.
Rekordbox makes organising your music library and preparing your tracks easy with an intuitive yet simple interface.
The software design is clean, uncluttered and easy for beginners.
Rekordbox offers all the tools and settings a creative DJ needs.
Serato was previously the biggest competition to Rekordbox and Pioneer DJ. While they often collaborated there were stiff competition until Pioneer's parent company Alpha Theta bought Serato DJ from InMusicBrands in 2023. Pioneer now clearly dominates the DJ software industry with only a small number of relatively small competitors like Traktor and Virtual DJ left.
Serato was the go-to software to many artists worldwide who were interested in turntablism and open-format DJing, namely styles like hip-hop, rnb, pop, afrobeats, reggaeton, and in general, music of black origin. This was namely down to Serato's marketing and also due to it's focus on DJ skills associated with scratching and turntablism. Serato offered a graphic interface that favoured the art form of turntablism, but in a digital way. It was quickly adopted by DJs who wanted to scratch and mix in the open-format style.
Serato also reaches wide audiences by working with cheaper entry-level DJ controller companies. Thus, they gained worldwide success in the emerging markets. You could say Pioneer were very savvy in their purchase of Serato to help them dominate the global DJ software market.
The main limitation is the software itself has a steeper learning curve compared to Rekordbox. The expansive features can overwhelm beginners.
Here are some of the benefits of Serato DJ
Serato DJ Lite is a free version also available is the paid for Pro version
Serato is native to many affordable entry-level controllers
Low latency is great for scratching and turntablism techniques
Easy-to-use graphic interface which is adaptable
Great for open-format DJs and turntablists
Expansion packs provide many creative options and tools
Should you choose Serato or Rekordbox when learning how to DJ?
While both Serato and Rekordbox are excellent and top-of-their-game, they offer slightly different benefits. So, which program should you use if you're a beginner DJ?
The answer is often related to what type of music you want to play, and where you see yourself DJing in the future. Are you doing this for a hobby or a career? Will the venue have DJ equipment or will you need to bring your own?
At London Sound Academy we train the best new DJs and are Pioneer's official education partner. We offer the most extensive curricula for both Rekordbox and Serato. Rekordbox is the most popular program to learn with at our academy mainly due to that all the major club partners we work with use industry-standard Pioneer CDJs.
When we DJ at clubs like Ministry of Sound, Egg LDN and XOYO they all have the latest Pioneer CDJs. Therefore, it's easy for our DJ course graduates to use Rekordbox to prepare their playlists and export them to a USB. They can then just plug and play at the gig. This also makes it far easier to switch between DJs without having to plug in laptops and controllers. We actively encourage this option for our students for this reason, and because people enrol at LSA because they want to become international DJs playing all over the world. Many of our alumni have gone on to international success.
If you want to become a headline DJ and tour the world playing any style of dance music Rekordbox is often the way forward. It's also great for open-format DJs who know they are likely to DJ at venues that already have industry-standard Pioneer CDJs. It just makes it easier to plug and play with a USB.
However, if you're planning to be an open-format DJ, you're interested in learning how to scratch and you think you are more likely to take your own laptop and controller to your gigs Serato might be the better option.
Luckily, we teach both programs at LSA. We are the gold-standard for DJ tuition in the UK and offer the best Pioneer DJ, Rekordbox and Serato curriculum. Why not learn both?!
Click here to contact us and enquire about our DJ courses and DJ gigs. If you learn how to DJ with LSA we will help you launch your DJ career by organising DJ gigs for you at incredible venues like Ministry of Sound!