Your Questions: How Do I Organise My Music Better in Traktor?

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mp3s organising crates organising tunes smart playlists
Last updated 3 August, 2017

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With all its other features, there's little physical room for browsing and sorting music in Traktor.
With all its other features, there’s little physical room for browsing and sorting music in Traktor.

Reader Tony Corless writes: “I moved on to Traktor Pro and Kontrol X1 a few months back. I like it but I find organizing my music a pain. I don’t use iTunes but have my music separated into folders of old skool / rnb / party / rock / dance etc. The main box of recent stuff has about 600 tunes in now and it’s hard to manage – even some of the playlists with about 60 tunes can be a pain. I used CDs for ages and used to burn best of CDs and it was easy just to go straight to the CD that I wanted. I don’t like having to scroll through loads of stuff to find what I want and I don’t want to spend loads of time starring at a screen or typing on a keyboard.”

“Any advice you can give me to make things more user friendly would be appreciated.”

Digital DJ Tips says:

There are going to be lots of answers to this and it will be good to see what everyone else thinks, but for me the key is going to be duplicating your “best of” CDs (or something close) in Traktor. The simplest way would be to set up a number of Traktor playlists called “Best of RnB” etc and simply prepare beforehand by dragging 15 or so best-of tunes to each folder. Then you have the equivalent of your best of CDs ready and waiting for you. Traktor is not the best place to be organising your tunes though, and because it happily reads playlists and smart playlists from iTunes, it means you can more easily do the sorting there, with many advantages.

iTunes
iTunes is made for file organisation, and so is a more friendly place to do your browsing and filing than Traktor.

As iTunes supports smart playlists, you could set up special “best of” playlists that automatically include any tune you’ve tagged “best of” from that particular genre. You can tell the smart folder to only show you the most recent 15 tunes, so you automatically have a “best of” CD in a playlist that consists of your 15 latest favourites, but if you wanted to see them all, or a year’s worth, or whatever (say, on New Year’s Eve), you could quickly do so by changing the rule on the smart folder.

Alternatively, you could just tell the folder to show you everything and remove the “best of” tag when you tired of a tune and had a new one to replace it.

Making a smart playlist
Smart playlists in iTunes are simple but powerful, and doing the work here saves you having to do it manually in Traktor. (Click to enlarge.)

If you think of what you do in iTunes as the equivalent of burning your best of CDs (or packing your record crates), and what you do in Traktor as the equivalent of flicking through these CDs, you’ve then got your metaphor for your old way of working, and you won’t find yourself with your nose stuck in Traktor’s files and folders while DJing.

I suspect that once you get into smart playlists in iTunes as well as its other music library benefits, you’ll wonder why they’re not in Traktor, and won’t be able to live without them.

What would your advice to Tony be? Would you use iTunes or do you have a method for sorting your tunes in Traktor that saves scrolling and searching? Please join in by adding your answers in the comments below.