Home Forums The DJ Booth Youtube Ripping (File Sharing) The Don'ts Of DJ'ing

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    Allan Murray

    I was browsing youtube earlier for reviews on DJ gear when i stumbled across a video about some DJ’s who download off youtube, soundcloud etc: and the poor sound quality that comes with it.

    I also read some comments by users on there saying that it’s ok for bedroom dj’s, dj’s who don’t play big clubs, and dj’s who earn little money to do this as DJ music sites charge too much for music downloads.

    My verdict on this is I agree that some music sites charge a bit too much for music, but there alternatives such as buying in bulk from ebay which is what I do.

    I did a search on their and found a retired Dj advertising 350 cd’s for £75, and I thought that maybe i would be wiser for DJ’s who ripp off of youtube or other file sharing sites to maybe give this route a try or even pop along to stores on the high street who sell used CD’s.

    Not only will they save valuable time, their sound quality will be so much better not to mention that theres a lot less change of any files being corrupt or not being read by their DJ gear.

    To me it’s a win win situation, especially for the mobile guys who play top 40 hits from the 50’s onwards.

    A mate of mine who downloads music from a youtube site called tubidy to his phone didn’t believe us at first until i got him to download rekordbox app then I did a direct comparison to the music i got from original CD’s and the difference in quality was astonishing.

    In all honesty with the price you can buy cd’s on sites such as ebay, ripping poor audio quality files from sites such as youtube to me is a bit of a pointless exercise.

    Your audience will pick up on it if the sound is distorted, especially in clubs with high quality sound systems.

    I noticed a major difference in audio quality on my RCF ART 710’s.

    The highs from the original CD’s were far clearer and the music didn’t have that dull sound as if the highs had be eq’ which is exactly what ripped files suffer from.

    Scott O’Toole

    I know its not strictly related to sound quality but I’ve found since starting my DJ journey (granted only a couple of months ago!) that by paying for tracks you actually end up with tracks you really love that you will actually use! I use spotify mostly anyway for home listening and never really downloaded anything unless it was unavailable elsewhere, I limit myself to 5 new songs a week and I’m hoping it will mean I’ll build up a collection of music I know really well and ultimately love playing out with. I don’t think you’d get that by just ripping everything, you’re quality control would just be turned off as you’re not paying for it.

    Scott 🙂

    Alex Moschopoulos

    At first I could fathom saying “it’s ok” when it’s a rookie ripping tunes just to learn how to DJ from…then choosing to replace them with legally-purchased tunes when he/she is ready to post mixes online or play live at an event.

    However, I think that logic is flawed because it won’t teach a rookie “quality over quantity”. When you have access to it all, then it’s easy to fall into the trap of grabbing anything you get your fingers on. Better to buy legally simply because if you have a budget, then you’re forced to think “quality” in the music you buy. To only buy stuff you can fathom playing over and over for a long time…as opposed to a few times.

    DJ Vintage

    As said by others: paying for your music makes you think twice, thrice and four times about what tracks to spend your money on, rather than indifferently downloading whatever you can get your hands on. Paying for it makes you let only the best of the best in.

    Another thing is that you shouldn’t buy more than about 10 new tracks a month. AND practice one in – one out with your collection. So for every track you do buy you need to take one out of your collection that is less than the new one. This will a) keep your monthly cost in check and b) make you think before you buy “is this track so good that I am willing to let another track in my collection go?”.

    Buying so few tracks a month allows you all the time you need to properly prepare them, perhaps make some mini playlists with them and play them often so you become absolutely familiar with them. As you build your collection this way, you will end up with only tracks you know intimately. And that is very important, imho. It’s also info that will stay with you forever.

    I remember from my hotel residency days (30 yrs ago!) how most tracks I played frequently were built-up, lyrics, breaks, drum rolls, and lots of other stuff. I can to this day pick one of those tracks without looking at the screen and know where I want to mix in, mix out, do loops, FX, whatever.

    So, to paraphrase D-Jam: “Be a quality DJ, not a quantity DJ!”

    p.s. I do mostly mobile work, so don’t tell me mobile DJs need every single track out there. Buying regular CD compilations a few times a year will get you the most popular music you need at prices like 20 bucks for 40+ tracks. This should be enough to meet most requests.

    Ronnie EmJay

    Definitely for top 40 you’re best off buying the Now compilations every year… and used on eBay too, quite good value..especially if you wait for the price to drop.

    I think the only time any serious person tries to justify this to themselves is to get something that is not available to purchase eg. Metallica’s And Justice For Jason which will probably never get an official release (it’ll just open a huge can of worms for other albums too)… then again just listen to it on YouTube and avoid a law suit from the drummer Lars Ulrich 🙂
    I wonder if owning the Rock Band game gets around this though.
    (I’m not a metal DJ, curious if any play these versions or the originals… I prefer listening at home to metal or at concerts rather than a club setting though.)

    Clifford Anderson

    I would never rip a track to use in my DJ sets, however… with how strict I am about whether or not a track will even make it INTO my playlist, I am starting to consider ripping merely for the purposes of testing it in a mix (and then either purchase or delete). I play mostly free music released by the artists, but recently, I bought a couple of albums, and of the tracks that were on the albums, literally 2 (of 8 tracks) made it through my screening process to sit in my actual playlist.


    It takes 10 tunes to learn DJing, it takes 50 tunes to play a killer set… all well within range to purchase legally.

    DJ Vintage

    The addition of things like Spotify, Apple Music (don’t worry – it will come) and other streaming platforms to DJ software is a great way to listen to new stuff several times in music discovery at home. When you finally decide you do like a track well enough (and after perhaps listening to 10 remixes available as well to see which you dig the most), you go out and buy it. In very limited numbers, so the money can and should never be the issue.


    I tend to buy tracks that I know I’ll use in DJ sets, other than that if I want to listen to a song I’ll just stream it.

    Quick question though, if a song is uploaded to Youtube at 320 kbps and ripped at the same rate, am I silly for thinking there won’t be much loss of sound quality?

    DJ Vintage

    Since there is no way to trust the source (was it actually an original 320 or just a 128 recompressed?), I wouldn’t put my money on it. Also I am not sure what the maximum quality is of a youtube stream.

    Edit: A quick Google search yielded the info that Youtube (even when uploaded in high audio quality) will end up as 128-192


    Indeed and in the processing phase youtube will not only limit you to max. of 192 it also uses a lot of compression filters so the volume of the sound files does not pop.
    Listen to a music video on youtube’s official service (vevo) and the original CD or good quality (iTunes) sound file side by side and you will immediately hear the difference.
    It is optimized for streaming and constant volume, that is sacrificing a lot.

    But even if it were good quality, it would still be illegal and in the end not-practical.

    The most important skill of a DJ as we always point out is: What to play next?
    To perfectly master this skill, not only do you need experience, but your music collection needs to be small and “crap free”.
    Yes in the beginning of your carreer you might feel you have to few tunes to play out. But very quickly will you come to a point where you have too much (and yes 800+ is too much). And you actually have to work hard, to not get too much.

    For example I have come to the point where I buy tops 2-3 tunes per month (most for 99ct off iTunes or Beatporst 1.29). So that makes 3-5 bucks a month (less than Netflix) and only if something really really great comes out I divert from this path. I often have 20-30 tunes in my wishlist, I then re-listen and only take the “perfect” 3.
    And for every tune I buy I “retire” an old tune.
    Granted this is a little different for mobile, when I do weddings and stuff you may need more tunes and I have my “archive” external HD for that, but my main collection is always between 800-1000 tracks and I build my sets from that.

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