Why is Pioneer DJ rebranding its products with the AlphaTheta name?

AlphaTheta Corporation has announced that the Pioneer DJ name will be absent from new products.

Pioneer DJ DJM-A9

Pioneer DJ DJM-A9. Image: Simon Vinall for MusicTech

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Pioneer DJ’s parent company, AlphaTheta Corporation, has determined that its new DJ-focused products will come with the AlphaTheta stamp, reserving the Pioneer DJ name solely for old products released during the Pioneer DJ era.

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On Pioneer DJ’s 30th anniversary (its inaugural 1994 release being the CDJ-500), it has announced its “new beginnings” as AlphaTheta. In a press release, the company says, “With products launching as AlphaTheta, we’ve created a brand that will propel us into the future, while also maintaining the quality and innovation that you’ve come to expect from us.”

Although the AlphaTheta Corporation has been the name of Pioneer DJ’s parent company since 2020, DJs online are perplexed by the origin of AlphaTheta. Pioneer D— er, AlphaTheta — sets the record straight: “The name AlphaTheta directly refers to the brain wave frequencies achieved in optimal performance. Music often guides us into these extremely powerful states of mind. Our aim is to use our innovative technologies in sound and music creation to enable and enrich these peak moments.”

The statement goes on to assure that “AlphaTheta embraces diversity and inclusion, and celebrates the playfulness of DJing and producing music. We look forward to growing alongside you, the community who are connected by a passion for music and its culture.”

The question is: why the change? Journalists and DJs have speculated — and poked fun at — the reason for the new branding.

DJTechTools has put together eight theories about the new name, and we presume these two to be most likely:

“Name Licensing? 10 Years Since Pioneer split off Pioneer DJ” – The original Pioneer brand, which is renowned for its home hi-fi products (I remember my Pioneer car stereo fondly), has been separated from the Pioneer DJ brand for “exactly a decade,” says DJTechTools. It seems likely that AlphaTheta wants to be its own brand entirely, particularly with its new acquisitions. It could also be a legal issue — AlphaTheta’s permission to use the name “Pioneer” may have come to an end.

“Their New Owners, including Serato DJ, and the acquisition” — In 2020, the AlphaTheta Corporation was sold to Japanese holding company, Noritsu. DJTechTools speculates that Noritsu is interested in a fresh start for the DJ conglomerate. And, with the pending acquisition of reputable DJ software brand Serato, Serato staff may be “have an easier time integrating into a company that is not so explicitly ‘Pioneer DJ’”, says DJTechTools.

But what will the next generation of Pioneer DJ/AlphaTheta products look like? Time will tell, but a quick look online will show you that customers are yet to latch onto the name.

Read the full press release at Pioneer DJ.

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