Business News Digital Labels & Publishers

Pacemaker DJ app relaunches with directly licensed music from Sony and Warner

By | Published on Friday 18 December 2020


Pacemaker has relaunched as the first DJ app to directly license the music streamed within it. Like many such apps, Pacemaker was forced to rethink its business model after Spotify decided to withdraw access to its API and therefore the catalogue of digital music many relied upon.

The company now has deals in place with Sony and Warner, which means tracks from those two majors will be available in the relaunched app from the off. Other deals are being negotiated.

While it will no longer be possible to play music directly from Spotify, a new feature allowing users to mirror playlists from Spotify or Apple Music has been implemented.

Spotify announced in March this year that it was planning to withdraw API access for DJ apps, initially with a deadline of 1 Jul – although currently the older version of Pacemaker still has access.

Other apps already had integrations with some other streaming services (or quickly added them), as well as allowing you to play locally stored files. Pacemaker, however, was always pitched as allowing users to “mix music with Spotify”. Rather than opting to work with an alternative streaming service – and risk being cut off again in the future if that service also had a change of heart regarding DJ apps – it announced in May that it would instead directly negotiate licensing deals with labels and publishers.

Negotiating such licensing deals is no easy task, of course, especially when you are doing anything a little bit different than a standard streaming platform. Which is possibly why Pacemaker’s rivals didn’t go this route. But, while tedious for the company in the short term, having its own licensing deals in place should help futureproof the app, arguably giving it an edge on competitors.

“It’s amazing that Spotify gave us the opportunity to connect with their service and innovate on top of their catalogue, but for this next stage in Pacemaker’s growth, we needed to serve everyone that wants to use Pacemaker”, says CEO Jonas Norberg. “Now, with directly licensed music, we can bring our innovation to a much broader audience”.

Available for Apple devices, the shift to direct licensing also brings to an end free access to Pacemaker. With licensing bills to pay, access is currently being offered on a three month trial basis for £4.99 per month, after which it will cost £16.49 per month – a significant increase from the previous (optional) premium tier offered.