Reader Todd Waddell via our Facebook Page writes: “I’ve been DJing a long time, but am relatively new to digital. My main concern nowadays is the number of tracks being released. I come from back in the days of vinyl, so I know the music of my time, but with so much music coming out every day, what’s the best way to find and then to learn it quickly, to keep up on the latest music and to be able to work effectively with them?”
Digital DJ Tips says:
It’s a common question, and there’s always that nagging feeling that you’re missing out on stuff, isn’t there? I think nowadays you need to accept that you won’t be able to hear everything, and that’s a good thing. Laurent Garnier admits he has to listen to everything he’s sent, and he believes it’s basically a disease! Rather than go down this route, it’s best to let others do the listening for you and build on their selections.
In other words, you need to find curated sources of music, from sources you trust. Of course it’s up to you to find your own “formula”, but here are some ideas:
- Find shows by DJs you respect on online services – Mixcloud, iTunes podcasts and so on are great sources for curated shows. Let someone else sieve through hundreds of releases and play you only those they feel are the best
- Subscribe to a streaming service like Spotify – With these services, you can listen to other music by artists you discover, and also dig out compilation albums that contain tracks you like – again, good related content that may well contain tunes you like
- Get yourself a network on SoundCloud – SoundCloud is a great source of original material, much of it unsigned. If you find people whose music you like, and do the social media follow-and-friend thing, you’ll soon build up a “trusted network” of people whose stuff you know may be relevant to you
- Forget about searching for new stuff, and concentrate on “new to you” – If us DJs can’t hear everything that comes out, how can the general public? Unless a track is a hit, it doesn’t become “old” – it’s still relevant. If you like an old track you discover, then add it to your collection and treat it as new. DJs should play the best music, not be obsessed with the new
- Having said that, keep an eye on other DJs’ charts on Beatport – Charts by DJs you admire on online stores such as Beatport are, on the other hand, a great way to also be keeping up with what’s new
- Use Shazam etc. to identify songs you hear when you’re out and about – That way you can go and find them later on at a time that’s good for you
- Have a shortlist, but only buy the best – Less is more. Add a couple of good new tunes a week and learn how to really work them in your collection. DJs don’t need dozens of new tunes every week
All I’d add is to do it little and often, listen to music all the time (iPods are obviously great for this), and build some kind of routine into your music discovery – that way you’ll learn to “know” when you’ve done enough for this week or whatever.
What’s your method of cutting through the noise and finding only the best new tunes each week? Please share your own personal tips in the comments below.