DJ Secrets: where do DJs find their music? Part 1

If you’re new to the world of DJing, you’re probably wondering where DJs find all the music that they play out every weekend. These days, the internet means that you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own armchair to go cratedigging.  And with digital downloads a fraction of the price that records used to cost you, on the face of it music shopping online can seem like a treasure trove compared to 20 years ago. However, just because there are millions of songs online, it doesn’t mean they’re all diamonds – there are far more dodgy remixes than there are amazing finds. The internet can seem like a gigantic, never-ending record shop – so where do you start? Here are some places to help you kickstart your cratedigging career: 

1. Soundcloud

This is the obvious place to start. With 175 million unique monthly users, you’re probably already familiar with it.  Sign up for a free account, follow your favourite artists or DJs and new tunes will appear on your stream for you to listen to, download for free or buy. You can also post your own music on the platform although it’s come under fire over the past year for caving in to record labels’ requests to remove some remixes due to copyright. Soundcloud’s popularity comes at a cost  – be ready to sift through a LOT of music. Access soundcloud here

2. Mixcloud

As a result of Soundcloud’s willingness to remove DJ mixes due to copyright issues, Mixcloud has become even more popular. Here you can search by category for mixes ranging from ‘Superstar DJs’ to ‘Bass’ to ‘Sound of London’. Mixcloud pays out royalties to artists and so DJs feel fairly safe in the knowledge that they won’t wake up one day and find their mixes suddenly removed for copyright. There are no single tracks here; just mixes. Plus, you can’t download any mixes; you can only stream them but Mixcloud encourages DJs to include a tracklist so you know what you’re listening to. Check out Mixcloud here

Mixcloud - where DJs find their music
Mixcloud – full of great mixes such as this one!

3. iTunes

Often cheaper than other platforms, here you’ll find the mainstream charts. As such, it’s your first step if you’re looking for what’s commercially successful or for an officially released remix. Don’t just stick to the music tab, though – there are plenty of dance music podcasts on iTunes that you can download and listen to at your leisure. These too are rich sources of new music. Chances are you’ve already got iTunes installed on this computer but if you’ve been hibernating for the past ten years, check it out here

4. Beatport

This is one of the most popular platforms for dance music (or what the Americans have decided to call ‘EDM’). They have a huge collection, including regular charts by top and up-and-coming DJs. Another big benefit is the sound quality – you can choose to download your track in aiff, wav or mp3 formats.

5. Music blogs

Music blogs are a great source of new music and have been  influential in determining the success of some big names. There are thousands of blogs posting about all styles of music. In fact, they often post links to new music much earlier than you’ll find it elsewhere. You can check some out here. There are thousands of music blogs and that’s why subscribing to a blog aggregator is a really good idea. A blog aggregator will scan the blogs for you presenting you with a feed of songs from your chosen blogs, ready for you to listen to. Hype Machine is a good place to start.

If you’re a beginner DJ, spending some time each day on the sites above will ensure your set list is bulging before know it. In Part 2 of DJ Secrets: Where do DJs find their music?, we’ll give you even more ideas on how you can source some great music so you’ll never be stuck for tunes.

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