In 1994, Pioneer released the world’s first CDJ, the CDJ-500, a top-loading CD deck designed for professional DJ use, with a live cue function, looping, the ability to adjust tempo without altering pitch and a rudimentary jog dial which allowed the user to nudge the track forward or backward. The company introduced a companion DJ mixer, the DJM-500 with built-in effects that could be synchronized to the BPM of the music. In 1998, Pioneer introduced the CDJ-100s, the first CDJ with built-in jog wheel-controllable effects.
In 2001, the company introduced the CDJ-1000 with “Vinyl Mode,” which made it possible for a user to manipulate touch-sensitive platter like vinyl on a turntable to slow down or speed up a track, or even scratching. The CDJ-1000 also introduced ‘cue points’ which allowed the user to set markers on a track and recall them. These new features, combined with the increased availability of music on CDs, as well as the comparative ease of transporting and storing CDs compared to vinyl, soon made the CDJ-1000 an industry standard in nightclubs worldwide.
In 2004, Pioneer introduced the DVJ-x1, the first video DJ deck (capable of reading DVDs and outputting video).
In 2009, Pioneer launched the first version of Rekordbox, a computer-based DJ software developed for Pioneer by Mixvibes and controllable by the newly released CDJ-2000, which popularized DJing without physical media. Rekordbox developed rapidly, and by 2015 was capable of performing entire DJ sets on a laptop controlled by the newly released XDJ-RX system.
In September 2014, with an estimated DJ market share of 60%, Pioneer Corporation announced it would sell 86% of its DJ equipment business to private equity firm KKR for about 59 billion yen ($550 million), with the sale to be completed by March 2015, establishing Pioneer DJ Corporation.
In 2016, Pioneer DJ introduced the CDJ-2000NXS2, which established itself as the new industry standard, appearing on most riders for major events and nightclubs worldwide.
In 2020 Pioneer DJ’s parent company’s name was changed to AlphaTheta Corporation. In March of that year KKR and Pioneer Corporation sold their respective stakes in AlphaTheta Corporation to Japanese holding company Noritsu.