Your Questions: Should I Organise My Music In My DJ Software?


When it comes to organising your music, simplicity is the best way. Read on to see our advice to one DJ returning to the game...

Digital DJ Tips forum member Bryan Douglass writes: "I am just getting back into the DJ game after many years. After looking at all of the software, I have decided that Virtual DJ will fit my needs. My question is, it better to download MP3 files on your hard drive and organise them in Virtual DJ, or use an outside program?"

Digital DJ Tips says:

Virtual DJ won't "organise" your tracks at all, insofar as it won't make copies of them, move them and so on. It'll just make a note of where you already have them on your computer. So where you keep your files is still something you have to decide. We'd suggest keeping them in one place, for ease of backup - so there's a starting point.

The next part is how to organise them once you've decided where to physically keep them. If you value being able to keep your music on your iPhone as well as your computer, or you have other reasons to use iTunes, that is worth considering, although due to its place at the heart of the video / streaming / podcasting / app / musical life of the typical Apple user, it can get mighty complex, mightily quickly.

For simplicity's sake, consider keeping your DJing music separate from any other music you have "in your life" - organise your "other" music however you like (Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, whatever), but keep your DJ music scrupulously apart.

If you decide to do this, organising that DJ music (that is to say, updating its artist, title, genre, year and other tags, and making DJ playlists) can be done from inside Virtual DJ completely satisfactorily - remember, however many playlists you make or ways you organise it inside the software, Virtual DJ will never actually move your music around on your hard drive.

How do you store and organise your music? Like to share experiences and tips? Please do so below...

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  1. Trevor Oxborrow says:

    Definitely get organized, as the opposite is chaos! Over the decades, I have learned a) not to rely for organization on whatever current playout system I'm using, and b) to separate physical storage organization from reference (read 'look-up') organization. I apply a cumulative cross-reference number to every musical media item acquired.

    Music collections vary hugely, but let's assume an example consisting of 7" & 12" vinyl, cassette, CD and MP3 files. For physical storage, you don't want to keep shifting items as you add another to the collection, so store by 'oldest acquisition first' within media type. Shelves & crates etc. can then be sized efficiently to cater for the media type held. I store MP3 files by major genre (one of which is [Dance]) in Dropbox, which means it's on my laptop hard drive AND backed up in the cloud.

    For look-up organization, keep it simple. My base record is now a text file in cross-reference number order. The base record is copied as the folder name on computer media and as a line in a private blogger blog. That way I can always find stuff using built-in search tools. The record contains tag information also, e.g. "Joe Goddard - Home ft Daniel Wilson [Pop][Dance] {D 3642}".

    Hope this helps.

  2. MediaMonkey for organizing, re-naming, normalizing, tags. Etc. Has batch features.
    Same for preparing playlists

    Virtual DJ to define playlists with BPM sorting
    (not knowing alternatives to do this)

  3. Todd Oddity says:

    A couple of tips specific to Virtual DJ:

    1) I *strongly* suggest keeping your music on a separate drive from your main system drive (ie. on a Windows machine, not on the C: drive). Either keep it on a physically separate drive, or create a partition on your main drive for your music. The reason for this is how VDJ's database is structured. There is one for the root drive that is rather difficult to replicate should you ever switch computers, and there are additional databases added to all other drives with music on them, and those are extremely easy to copy and move around if necessary. So, if at all possible, keep your music on a separate drive (mine is all on D: which does nothing but house my music).

    2) Virtual does have the ability to move files around within it, and the advantage to doing so within the software is that it will recognize it is the same file as before and still have all its cue points, play count history, etc. If you move files around outside of Virtual, you may lose that information. This is obviously more important with older tracks that have been in your collection for some time vs. new tracks that you've just downloaded so they have no history.

    Hopefully that makes sense. lol

  4. As an archivist: I put my music into folders on a hard drive by genre, performer, and then '(year) album title', in these folders is where I leave my Masters. This has worked very well for me as I complete my collection, I know the album is complete when I assign the year prefix.

    As a DJ: I copy the Masters of the songs I want to play into "Crate folders" with the (month/date/year) format Prefix and save those folders in my crate locations COMPLETELY unsorted (as I know I will never have more tracks in these crates than I can quickly scroll through.

    I know I can create sort methods in DJ applications, but this is a great way to fall back on a quick look-up, should I forget something, and I have to manually look up music files through a file browser.

  5. I use iTunes to organize my music. I don't use Apple Music, so the Love symbol is how I indicate something goes into my DJ library. I sync with my iPhone and yeah songs with the Love symbol from my iPhone. From there, I go on to edit metadata and tags in iTunes.
    Traktor syncs with iTunes and is able to see smart playlists. If Traktor could make playlists, and editing metadata was easier than it is in iTunes, is consider using it instead. But, because I sync with my iPhone, I'll continue to use iTunes.

  6. Darrell Osborne says:

    Also, consider if you think you may ever change from using Virtual DJ to something else. Even if you don't think you will right now - there may be a new "something" that is released that you can't live without and decide to change. In that case, you might have to re-create your playlists. I use 3 different DJ applications, and because of that I use iTunes because all of them will read the iTunes library and playlists without me need to move or copy.

  7. Cauby de Vasconcellos Bocado says:

    For Djeing music, I love Serato Crates, it is perfect to all my life.

  8. You can do it easily in MixMeister. Just set it to load all tracks to the same BPM and beatmix to 0, then export with separated files. You could do hundreds of files in no time.

  9. Walid Ketata says:

    I used to rely on iTunes until the day I discovered beatport pro. Now all my music is organized with it. The "sync with beatport " function saved my time for all the tags corrections, and then I add my filters in Mood, Venue, Set time... etc. I have two types of playlists the first is by date where there is a folder for the year, a sub folder for the month and then the playlists by day of download, this is very useful for my archiving purpose. My music is stored on the hard drive in the "music" folder, organized by genre folders, I am on mac and there is no need to partition the drive or put the music in seperate drive. No for my DJ sets I have a playlist folder for this in beatport pro and this time is by set name. All the collection is saved in iTunes library file style which is perfectly recognizable in Traktor and all the filters and tags added are found in the comments.. I am very happy with this workflow and it never let me down and finding a track in the thousands of tracks I have is very easy. Hope this helps. Cheers

  10. Ollie Chappell says:

    Organisation is the key to staying on top of your music. Here's my method on keeping my Rekordbox library in order

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