Karl Detken


From musician …..to DJ ….to Product Visionary….Mobile Beat is happy to induct Karl Detken into this year’s DJ Industry Hall of Fame.

Karl learned to play guitar at age 10 and started performing live. Garage band days turned into, house parties to finally touring & opening up for rock groups such as Poison, Kansas Metallica & Night Ranger. Eventually his group INSIGHT would headline their own 2,000 seat venues. In 1991 they performed and won the 90’s version of American Idol … Ed McMann’s Star Search. Doors would open after this and the band released an album and spent time on the road growing their following. The life of an original artist however was not a way to support his new family despite some national notoriety and radio airplay.

In 1992 neither wanting to turn into Poison or Nirvana, Karl left the life of professional touring musician to join the corporate world of Pioneer Entertainment Division.

Karl: “When I started with Pioneer 18 years ago we were a karaoke division. In order to make it a consumer standard, I knew karaoke needed to be seen in Hollywood. I began pitching movie and television studios this new entertainment form and eventually we started to see our karaoke products in many movies. My Best Friends Wedding, Cable Guy, Mad About You and DUETS are all examples of this early product placement. Karaoke did become a craze and Pioneer was completely responsible for millions of horrendous bar singing that took place in the 90s. For that I sincerely apologize!”

Karl’s close relations to the movie industry also landed him a cameo performance in Gwyneth Paltrow’s DUETS depicting the life of karaoke fanatics. Through these TV and Film showcases karaoke did become a fad for home, bar and mobile entertainment. Eventually however the trend would die out and karaoke became passé. THAT movement however is what led Pioneer to realize an industry need for better DJ-CD players and mixers. In response, in 1994 Karl and the Pioneer engineers started to work on the development of the CDJ and DJM products. By that time Karl, who was personally averaging 100 DJ gigs a year on the side, had indispensable experience and was able to help in the planning, designing and marketing of these Pioneer‘s new DJ products.

In 2001 the CDJ-1000 was a major turning point for Pioneer with its perfect sonic & tactile emulation of a vinyl turntable. It took 2 years of evangelizing, but the CDJ became the world standard for top Professionals going platinum in sales. Pioneer…(like Technics) has guaranteed their place in the DJ Industry history books thanks to what this man and the Pioneer team has done.

Karl : “If there’s anything I can pass on to my DJ friends …it’s learn to be a passionate entertainer. Be passionate about your artistry, be passionate about your audience, your business. your life, your family, friends and creator…everything else will fall into place. What I have done in this industry is not unique to me. I have been lucky enough to take those things that I am most passionate about, surround myself with those who share that passion and create a career for myself. Don’t be afraid to take risks and make sure your audience gets more than they would ever imagine they’d get from you or the competition.”

Karl continues on his quest to master “The Art of Entertainment” and pave new roads in this market. On Twitter‘s WeFollow.com, he is Listed as the #17th most influential person in the world in the DJ industry.

His endless dedication to DJ entertainment will long be remembered by his peers.