How to organise your music collection for DJing

A quick guide to sorting your tunes

If you've ever played an extended DJ set then you'll know only too well that having sensibly-organised music can be the difference between an enjoyable experience and a deeply horrific one.

Thankfully, in the digital age, there are plenty of applications designed to help you tag and playlist your music, so there's no need to be ill-prepared the next time you step behind the digital decks.

As well as Beatgrid information, Traktor will save bpm, genre, tags and key information with each track. Moreover, while its interface isn't the most attractive or speedy, it certainly gets things done, and it integrates well with iTunes: you can import tracks from iTunes into Traktor's library, and tags applied in either bit of software will show up in the other. It's also possible to read iTunes playlists in Traktor, making it a convenient way to set up 'cheat sheets' of reliable sets of tracks.

There are also a few free dedicated cataloguing applications worth checking out, including Pioneer's established rekordbox and Beatport's relatively new kid on the block, Beatport Pro. rekordbox is designed to be compatible with Pioneer's range of DJing hardware, and a third-party app for syncing rekordbox and Traktor libraries, Rekord Buddy, can be picked up for £7 on the Mac App Store.

Beatport Pro is a slick application that makes tagging and buying music a snap, and it'll export and import iTunes Music Library files that can be loaded into Traktor. The catch, however, is that it's only available in Mac format so far, and it is also currently incompatible with iTunes' .m4a files. So, if you've purchased or ripped a lot of music in that format, Pro probably isn't the perfect solution quite yet.

For suggestions on how you can get creative with your digital DJing check out Future Music 282, which is on sale now.


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