With Kiwi music tech giant Serato celebrating 20 years at the forefront of DJ culture this month, we take a look back at some of the pivotal moments in the Auckland-based company's colourful history.
1998 – Serato founded by Steve West and AJ Bertenshaw
Serato's story begins at the University of Auckland with Steve West coming up with ground-breaking algorithm that slows down songs so he could learn the bass line notes.
His computer science classmate AJ Bertenshaw recognises the potential for the pair to develop it.
"One day he showed me this thing, which was taking some music and changing its speed without the pitch going up or down," explains Bertenshaw.
"I said, "Wow, that's actually really good. That could be a cool product. And then we got him and his mother and me and my dad together in a room and we started Serato."
2000 - Pitch 'n Time released
The algorithm forms the cornerstone of Serato's first product, Pitch 'n Time, a studio app for changing the length and pitch of audio.
West and Bertenshaw attempted to sell it to hardware companies around the world but came up empty: "Pioneer, Sony…We took it to all the major stereo manufacturers."
Their luck changed when Sony Pictures Entertainment saw the product's potential and it quickly became the industry standard tool for moviemakers in Hollywood, and is used by David Lynch, George Lucas and DJ Fatboy Slim alike.
2004 – Sam Gribben knocks on Serato's door
Gribben was another Kiwi passionate about the potential of digital DJing who returned from overseas eager to work with Serato.
"I came back and met Steve and AJ and basically convinced them that they had to give me a job because I'd been obsessing about this idea for years and years," says Gribben.
He built key relationships with local and foreign DJ's and is one of the first people mentioned by those in the know in any discussion about Serato's legacy.
"He just knocked on the door and asked for a job," explained Bertenshaw. "He worked his way up from office manager and eventually we made him general manager and then CEO.
"He was with us for 10 years so he was a big part of the development of the company. Under his stewardship it grew from about nine staff to 50 or 60. He definitely took us through one of the interesting growth periods."
2004 – Scratch Live released
Serato forge into the digital DJ industry with Scratch Live - vinyl emulation software that allowed DJ's to mix and scratch digital music on a computer with time-coded control vinyl records or CDs.
Scratch Live revolutionised the industry and proved a godsend for DJ's sick of lugging crates of records to gigs and parties, who could now carry thousands of tracks on a hard drive.
"I was just amazed at how well it worked - that's a testament to that Pitch 'n Time algorithm," says Rodi Kirk aka Scratch 22.
"It's still best in class today and it was developed 20 years ago. If you look at all of their different products that Serato do now, that's still the thing now that's under the hood of every single one of them. It's the valuable bit of IP that the whole company is built on."
2010 & 2013 – Kanye West and Eminem rap about Serato
Serato's legacy was already well established but having two of the biggest selling artists in hip hop pay homage to the Kiwi startup further underlined that fact.
"DJs need to listen to the models/You ain't got no f*****' yeezy in your Serato?" asks Kanye in the 2010 track Dark Fantasy.
The one and only real Slim Shady followed suit three years later in his track Love Game, with: "She treat my face like Serato, she cuts and scratches like a DJ".
"That was exciting," recalls Bertenshaw. "Really, we were stoked. I was stoked. I can't speak for anybody else. But when Kanye mentioned us it was a very cool moment to be recognised on the world stage like that."
2019 – Serato remains an industry leader
Serato remains the most used DJ software in the world with 500,000 monthly active users while raking in $20-30 million in annual revenue.
"We have two types of people here," explains CEO Young Ly, who oversees 150 staff at Serato's Auckland CBD HQ.
"We have people who just like to make things from the computer science side and then we have musicians, DJs and artists who are on the product development and artistic side.
"So it's quite a strange group of misfits and outliers because we need people who are great at each of their fields. But people who are amazing at computer science tend to be on a different wavelength to people that are amazing at music and DJing.
"But the cool thing about this place is everybody fits in. You just be yourself and we have a very accepting culture."