Apple's new macOS Catalina update is a huge problem for digital DJs

If you use Rekordbox, don’t upgrade to Catalina yet.

Apple’s new macOS Catalina update will cause major problems for DJs who use desktop apps and file management systems such as Pioneer DJ’s Rekordbox due to the death of iTunes.

As The Verge reports, the new Music app that replaces iTunes does not have XML file support, which means it’s impossible to export the iTunes Library file that many apps rely on to import a user’s music collections.

This news contradicts Apple’s earlier assertion that there would be a way to manually export the XML file from the new Music app, though Catalina’s launch yesterday now proves this isn’t the case at all.

Apple’s advice, if you rely on DJ software that needs this XML file to function, is not to update to Catalina until individual developers have issued compatibility updates for the new operating system.

The most high-profile casualty of the new OS is Pioneer DJ’s Rekordbox, which thousands of working DJs rely on to organise their files. According to DJ Tech Tools, there is no support or beta that works with Catalina yet, with Pioneer DJ ominously saying: “We will finish our initial research by the end of October 2019 and will post updates on our progress when we know more.”

Both NI’s Traktor and Serato DJ have added support for the Music app in their latest public beta versions, but the advice from both companies is not to update if you need a stable version of the software. If you’re a user of Algoriddim’s djay or Virtual DJ, you’re in luck: these apps are both compatible with Catalina.

Although some of the blame lies with Apple for removing XML support in the first place, Algoriddim’s Michael Simmons told MacRumors that Apple launched an SDK for circumventing access to iTunes’ XML library several years ago. This means that a fix is possible in theory – it just may take some time for developers to catch up.

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