Test Driving Kado: Inside the DJ App That Could Revolutionize DJing

Donald Bowers/Getty Images for Reebok
DJ Gina Turner performs during Reebok #girlswithgrit Showcase at Marquee on Sept. 16, 2015 in New York City. 

Crafting a varied, lively set poses a formidable challenge to any DJ: how to strike the balance between preparedness and flexibility while sifting through the overwhelming quantity of new music available?

That’s where Kado comes to the rescue. The new program -- developed by a former Twitter engineer, a former Google product manager and a DJ/tech expert -- crunches through more than a half-million set lists to create a database of what music gets played in clubs and how frequently. Want to construct an entire disco set around Chic’s “I Want Your Love”? Enter the song in Kado and you’ll get a selection of tunes -- ranked by popularity, tempo, release date and more -- that other DJs have played before or after Chic’s classic.

Next Now: The Future of Music

“What I love is that it shows me tracks that aren’t played as much,” says DJ Gina Turner after trying Kado. “It helps me find almost undiscovered tracks.” She suggests that Kado should appeal to mainstream EDM DJs “who want to play the hits,” while she’s most interested in the more obscure tunes the program pulls up.

Her main complaint about Kado: the lack of spontaneity inherent in using it. “I don’t really plan my sets, and I want to keep them original,” she says. “Part of the art of DJ’ing is creating your own playlists and being really hyper-creative.” As Turner sees it, Kado can offer DJs a foundation from which to think more freely. “My hope is that people will take what they learn from an app like this and say, ‘Now let’s get creative on my own.’ ”    

This article originally appeared in the March 18 issue of Billboard.