Your Questions: How Should I Organise Music On A USB Drive?

DJ Vintage
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 27 March, 2018

Thumb Sticks
Our reader wants to know what’s the best way to organise music on a USB stick if he’s going to be DJing with a pair of CDJs at the club.

Digital DJ Tips reader Eliah asks: “Want to give USB flash drives and Rekordbox a try with CDJs. My question is should I have more or less one drive per genre or just dump everything on two large capacity flash drives? For example, should I have acid, dub techno, standard techno all on one drive, or have one drive per genre? Just thinking what is most convenient and ease of workflow / organization.”

Digital DJ Tips Says:

Basically you should view your USB stick as you would your record crate or CD case in the old days, meaning you pick about twice the amount of tracks you’d need for the night from your full collection. You’d base your choice on the kind of gig and your plan for the night, including “Plan B” tracks because nothing ever really goes according to plan in a DJ set (and you shouldn’t plan everything to a tee).

In Rekordbox, make one or more playlists for the gig (including mini-sets if you’ve adopted that tip from the site) and create a USB stick with only those playlists and tracks on it. You should be able to quickly navigate to and through the playlists to find your tunes. Be sure to tick all the necessary fields in Rekordbox that you will want to index when exporting tracks to your USB stick, like BPM, genre, key, and so on.

It also pays to determine what CDJ settings you prefer (continuous play/single play, cue behavior and such) and set those within Rekordbox, and export those settings to your USB stick. When you show up to the club, you can simply load the preferences and the entire unit is set the way you want.

What I’d do is bring three USB sticks with identical content – playlists, tracks and CDJ preferences. While more modern CDJs have the Pro DJ Link feature that connects CDJs to each other so you can use one stick for two or even four players, this is not always the case, especially with older CDJs that lack this feature. If you’re faced with this scenario, you’ll need one USB stick per player. I recommend having one as a spare, hence bring three of them just in case.

Finally, as we always suggest don’t bring too much music to a gig, unless you are a mobile DJ, in which case bringing a separate request collection is probably in order. Twice the amount you’ll actually need to perform should give you plenty of room to move and go in tangents if needed as the night wears on.

How do you keep music on a thumb drive when you spin with CDJs? Any tips and tricks to offer to our reader? Share them with us below.

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