May 12th, 2013
The famous Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music – but be aware you can get lost in the rabbithole of genres outlined here!
Digital DJ Tips reader Dennis writes: “My iTunes database is a monster. I have many years’-worth of music in there and then some. I knew I needed to clean things up and so I’ve started to do just that.
“I’ve realised that trying to apply a ‘genre’ to songs is a futile act for me! Especially with EDM I find that there are so many little pigeonholes people want to stuff songs into that I am not sure about any of the genres I apply to music except when they are really, really, really broad.
May 9th, 2013
by Andre Shenoi
How you decide to classify your files really depends on on where, how and on what equipment you intend to access them. Pic: jachim.net
Now that we’ve looked at the music files and formats themselves we can turn our attention to the real meat of organising your music library, how to classify or label the tracks.
This is the most important but the most arduous part of getting your music library organised. Your approach to this will impact the usefulness of your complete library, your workflow from download to deck-load, and the way new tracks are added to your library.
October 20th, 2012
Switching from vinyl to digital can be a minefield for the new digital DJ. Today we answer some common questions for one reader.
Digital DJ Tips reader G writes: “I am an old school DJ, a vinyl man who’s been out of the game for around seven years. As you can imagine the whole digital DJ thing is alien to me but I do like the sound of it and will shortly be taking the plunge.
“One area that confuses me, and the most important, is the music side. With vinyl it is simple (records in boxes), however with digital music what is the best way? I currently have a lot of music on my laptop and access it with a media player.
September 24th, 2012
File management is never going to be exciting, but if you use a Serato DJ program but hate iTunes, Alchimie Zinc could save you a lot of time.
If you use Serato ITCH, Serato Scratch Live, or Serato DJ Intro, but you don’t use iTunes to organise your music, Alchimie Zinc For Serato program could save you a lot of time when you’re organising your music.
It solves a basic issue whereby Serato doesn’t recognise your hard drive’s folder structure. This means you have to set up all your crates and sub-crates again from within Serato to reflect how you keep your music on your hard drive. You also have to put any new tunes in two places every time you add to, rearrange or delete from your collection.
October 22nd, 2011
MediaMonkey vs iTunes... which is best for DJs? Is it worth persevering with iTunes even if you prefer MediaMonkey?
Reader DJ Cabezza writes: “I’ve been using MediaMonkey to organise my music on my PC for years but am now in the process of: 1. tidying up my music collection. and 2. using iTunes to do so. This is mainly because I just started using Traktor Pro since I got the S4 about a month ago.
“There are plenty of things that I miss from MediaMonkey that iTunes doesn’t do. Are the benefits of using iTunes with Traktor that much better than using Media Monkey, or do I just need to teach myself how to use iTunes again after so many years of not using it?”
September 15th, 2011
News & Opinion
by Joshua Routin
Following on from our reader’s question about trimming a 40k+ library of music last Sunday, we’ve got a confession from a similar DJ who’se seen the error of his ways and spent the time to put things right. Here’s his story about how he got back on the straight and narrow:
I have spent the last 17 months (I’m not joking or exaggerating about that) going over my 25,000+ song library. I had accumulated this library over the last 15 years, and knew there were gems in there I would love to play. Unfortunately, among my vinyl rips and legally acquired music, there was a lot of music I’d downloaded / ripped / acquired from websites, friend’s binders, or other recommendations.
July 7th, 2011
News & Opinion
I can't say it wasn't painful, but I've done it - my music collection is now less than 600 tunes. Pic: Spreadshirt
I’ve just trashed nearly all of my digital music representing more than 20 years of music, from since I was a teenager. I threw away around 10,000 tunes, and I now only have 568 left. I had vinyl rips, CD rips, SoundCloud tunes, tunes from my 10 years DJing in the same club every Saturday, all my pre-dance music, novelty tunes, holiday records, pop music from long-forgotten wedding gigs…
It’s taken me days to do, and as I sold all of my vinyl and CDs few years ago, these 500-odd digital files really are all I have left. I have to tell you it feels pretty liberating. I think my DJing is going to improve a lot because of it.
June 28th, 2011
The MP3 Encoder window: Get these settings right and your newly ripped MP3s will sound great.
If you’re a new digital DJ, you probably have lots of music on CD that you’d like to rip to iTunes in order to use in your DJ sets. You’ll only do this once, though, and so it’s important that you get all the settings right for success. It’s also important that you understand a few of the things you’re doing along the way.
So here’s our quick guide to help you to rip your CDs and get the music safely into your computer ready to start DJing with. We’re going to rip to MP3 at the highest possible quality, which is going to be good enough for most DJs here.
February 24th, 2011
With news this week that Apple wants to make “24-bit” files available through iTunes, we thought it would be a good time to revisit the music formats that are out there and look at what they mean for digital DJs.
As a digital DJ, it pays to know your audio formats: Not only should you be aware of the different audio formats that exist, so you recognise them when you come across them, but also you should know when the use of each of the formats is appropriate and when it is to be avoided. Let’s look a little closer…
November 27th, 2010
iTunes is an elegant way of organising your music collection - but there are problems with multi-tagging tunes.
Reader Photojojo writes: “I have a question on using the ‘Grouping’ field to assign tags to tunes in order to sort them into smart playlists. I started to do some this morning and ran into a problem. I’ll use my example.
“I have playlist for all of my radio shows that I’ve done. The first one I picked was this past Saturday Soul show so I added “Purple Radio Saturday Soul” in the ‘Grouping’ field by selecting all and getting info. I kept doing this over a couple of different playlists, but quickly ran into a song that was on two different playlists, for two different shows.
November 15th, 2010
TuneUp sits right there with your iTunes and helps you to organise your music collection.
There are several programs out there that claim to be able to help you keep your music files in better order, by checking and updating the MP3 tags for missing artist, title, genre, album etc, and cover art too. It’s important for digital DJs to do this, as music is our “currency” and without a well-ordered collection, our art starts to suffer.
TuneUp is one such program. It’s from a company that’s expanding rapidly at the moment and who thanks to Google’s ads, you’re likely to see all over the web, here included. But we wanted to see if the software could cope with the very particular needs of the DJ. Let’s find out…
November 10th, 2010
iTunes Cover Art Project #3 Photo: Swanksalot
One of our perennial topics is how to organise your digital music as a DJ. That’s not surprising: if you’re used to records or CDs, digital suddenly seems, well, virtual. And even if you’re a new DJ starting out with digital, you’ll still want to develop a system that works for you. You’re probably also curious as to how other people organise their collections.
So following several requests, I thought I’d lay out exactly how I organise my DJing music in iTunes, to let you see one system in some detail. I’ll tell you exactly what I do, and explain all of my thinking along the way.
November 4th, 2010
Recycled beats: How often do you clear out your MP3 playlist?
I have had a few weeks off DJing. My main residency ended at the start of September when the tourists went home (I play in a resort town), and what with my own holidays and some unlucky bad weather (my gigs tend to be on beach bar terraces), I’ve not actually played since then.
So when it came to preparing my tunes for the Halloween gig I had booked, I was looking at lots of old, uninspiring music. The short of it was, I didn’t want to play most of it. I decided to be brutal – I cleared out a real big load of stuff to clear the way for the tunes I’ve been collecting since last DJing. I realised I tend to do this maybe three times a year – definitely some time after New Year, again before summer, and around now.
September 6th, 2010
Cheap DJ tools don't have to be toys... if you buy carefully.
It can all add up, the cost of this digital DJing game. Most good DJ software costs a couple of hundred big ones, then you need a good-enough laptop, a DJ controller that people won’t laugh at, maybe a sound card, definitely some headphones…
Finally you have to get enough tunes to DJ with, which even at the lower prices digital affords you, is still an expense. Before you know it, that bargain DJ controller has turned into a far more expensive game.
September 3rd, 2010
Are your records leading you astray? Repent while you can!
As a digital DJ, your tunes are the tools of your trade. They’re not a collection! “Collection” implies a quest for completion. It implies looking at rather than using. It implies that the act of collecting is the whole point – like collecting stamps or fridge magnets.
As a DJ I used to be pretty brutal with my records – they were already “tools of the trade”for me. I’d put them in white sleeves if the originals were flimsy, and throw the originals way; lend and borrow them; buy them again when they wore out. But I knew people who were plastic-sleeves-and-all-in-alphabetical-order types too – lots of people like that.
August 23rd, 2010
The Numark iDJ3 controller is like the Mixtrack, only wider and with an iPod dock.
Hot on the heels of our review of Numark’s runaway success the Mixtrack, comes a look at the more intriguing Numark iDJ3 DJ controller.
A bit of history. First Numark released the iDJ, which was a gimmicky dock for two iPods, letting you mix from each. This was let down by one fatal flaw: Who has two iPods?
June 5th, 2010
Steinberg's Wavelab is great audio editing software, but maybe overkill for the average digital DJ.
Your DJ controller software, whether Virtual DJ, Traktor, Serato Itch, MixVibes, djay, or whatever, is the first piece of software you will choose. But there is other software that it’s very useful to have, too. In this article we’ll look at that “extra” software.
You don’t actually need anything else. Your DJ controller software will be able to import and/or play music files from specific folders on your computer just as it finds them. However, there are many reasons why it is a good idea to use extra software: