beaTunes 5 is a great tool for Mac and PC that helps you to improve, correct, update and manage your music files. It aims to take away the stress of manually checking the metadata of a huge number of tracks, and it does so with just a few clicks. It will help you create effective playlists and Beatport integration is music to DJ’s ears. It does take a little getting used to and at first, it isn’t as straightforward to use as it could be. If it came with a set-up wizard, this would have been a five-star review.
First Impressions / Setting up
beaTunes5 comes as a free download with a 14-day trial. Some features are limited or locked, the ability to correct detected errors in your library being the main one. After the trial period, you can unlock the full version for US$34.
As you can see, beaTunes adopts a lot of its look from iTunes, which isn’t a problem. I like the familiar look, it makes it easy to navigate the app. However, it lacks the ease of use of iTunes and you will have to do everything manually.
When you first load up beaTunes, you are asked to analyse your library. The first time I did this, nothing worked. It was then that I went back to the FAQ on the site and saw that I had to make sure iTunes would allow beaTunes to access my library.
So, I hit analyse again and waited for a few hours, only to see that while my library had been imported, the key, colour (more on that later) and danceability data was missing. I couldn’t find any information about this in the FAQ, so I contacted the developer and he quickly pointed me in the right direction. I hadn’t realised that on the “Analyse” page, I hadn’t opted in to have these values determined.
Third time lucky, my tracks were analysed successfully and all the data was there. This left me thinking that it might be useful to implement a set-up wizard for when you first open the app. Either that or have the key, colour and danceability analysed by default. It would have saved me a lot of time, each time I analysed my library it took around three hours for nearly four thousand tracks.
So, with those minor hiccups out of the way, I started to have a look around the app to check out beaTunes 5’s new features. The first thing I did was switch the view to the new dark theme, I find this looks much sleeker than the default theme.
From the off, you are able to see various Amazon Music charts by clicking the appropriate tab on the left. You hover your cursor over the artwork to see what the track is and then click on it to be sent to the Amazon store. That might be useful to some but I was more interested in the Beatport integration.
So, I linked the app to my Beatport account and set about testing how well they complement each other. This is something I was impressed by. You are able to click on your favourite tracks and get instant suggestions from the Beatport catalogue within the app is great. To top that off, you can listen to a two-minute preview within beaTunes 5 as well. Like with Amazon, you can browse the Beatport Top 100 charts in the same way. This will be a great timesaver for DJs and a neat way to find tracks that you might have ordinarily passed by.
I was also very impressed with the way you can click on one of your tracks and select “play similar” and beaTunes, like a genre-specific radio station, will play tracks of a similar ilk from your library. This is perfect for parties and saves the effort beforehand of making suitable playlists and those times when you can’t be bothered getting up to change tracks. I tested this feature out with a few different genres and it worked well.
This is a cool feature for DJs who prefer not to use keylocking but still want to mix harmonically. beaTunes 5 offers a special view option that shows keys the way they would be, if songs were played with a different tempo.
While colour isn’t a new feature, it is worth explaining. The song “colour” determined by beaTunes is a measure of how a song sounds in relationship to the other songs in your library. Blue songs sound more similar to each other than to red songs and so on.
beaTunes5 is a handy tool for anyone with an untamed music library. It will be of use to DJs for its analysis and playlist-building capabilities. The ease at which it goes about its work is brilliant and will save users a lot of time in the long run. Using its “similar songs” feature, I was able to find a few cool tracks that I had forgotten about or didn’t even know that I had.
There is a little bit of a learning curve to using it, as mentioned above, but when you get over that it is really easy to navigate and make the most of its features. Beatport integration and radio mode are fantastic additions. The former will add a new dimension to your track digging routine. A lot of work has gone into this new version and if you are a beaTunes 4 user, I think the upgrade to the latest version is certainly worth the price.
This would have been a five-star review had the app come with a set-up wizard but don’t let that put you off. There is a reasonably detailed (albeit cluttered) FAQ online and if you give it a proper read, you should be up and running in no time. Once you have done your analysis, your library is given a new lease of life, saving you lots of time in the long run.
• Want to know a bit more about beaTunes and what it does? Click here to read our original review.