May 23, 2018

DJ Music Management Software

In the vinyl DJ days when music was heavy no matter what the genre, preparing a set was let’s not say easier let’s say more simple. You would have vast numbers of tracks on vinyl spread all around your house, hopefully sorted in to some kind of order. To create a playlist would require you to pick those records from the shelves and put them in a box or two ready to be used as part of your set for the evening. Pretty simple stuff. If it’s in the box it’s available and if you forgot it then is wasn’t. In your mind you would have a rough order to play them in with some possible wiggle room to go in another direction.

Then what goes and happens! DJ’s start to use MP3’s and music collections which were not small to start with now had an even larger range of tracks available. DJ’s went from having a choice from a hundred or so tracks in a set to thousands. How do you know what you have available? What about all the meta data which you used to keep in your mind? You might be able to remember stats and artists names for a hundred tracks but what about four thousand?

Something needed to happen and the answer was simple, Music Management Software was the saviour.

DJ Music Management Software

DJ music management software is a specific application and one of those really helpful tools for digital music collections. Rekordbox, Engine Prime, iTunes and Serato are very well known brands in the music industry. You will most likely have head of iTunes even if you do not use it. It is music management software for the masses. The other three mentioned are much more advanced and focused on the DJ market for both audience and feature sets. There are several popular versions available and apart from Serato you tend to use the version that works with your decks. Engine Prime with Denon Prime and Rekordbox with Pioneer. Serato can actually work with a wide range of DJ controllers and turntables. Brands like Denon, Numark, Pioneer, Roland, Reloop and Rane all have compatible devices.

Who uses it?

DJ’s that use digital music for their sets and even producers managing massive libraries of music are the obvious users. These applications are not your typical type of music management software. This software is for digital DJ’s to flex their creativity and show off their skills. Anyone using a DJ controller will certainly use at least one flavour as controllers need software for them to work If you want to be a digital DJ this is the best way to start and begin to learn the tools of the trade.

What is it for?

The software has all sorts of features to help you analyse your music library, prepare your sets and make you look good in front of your audience. Add and store multiple cue points to tracks, analyse and view the beats per minute and even the key the music is in. Sync album art and integrate loops. All sorts of features that matter to DJ’s like being able to view the waveform of the track have been included and built up on over the years. Whilst you can create music playlists this software is for far more than just managing playlists.

How much does it cost?

Rekordbox comes in a few flavours of which the the basic version is free for everyone to use. The DJ version does have a cost to it although I believe you get a free license if you buy a pioneer product. Checkout the latest prices on their website.

Denon’s Engine Prime music management software has the one version but its a great piece of software designed for their Prime range of products. You can download it from here for free. It probably won’t be very useful unless you have Denon Prime equipment to go with it however if your intention is to buy Denon Prime equipment then you might as well start with Prime Engine and get a head start.

Serato also has a free Lite version of their software which has a practice mode that does not require any hardware to start with. They also have several video tutorials to help you get going. The pro version does have a cost which can be a one off payment or monthly subscription. Also available are expansion packs which offer additional functionality like Serato Video for adding video to your sets with effects and transitions or Serato FX for additional effects like filters, echoes and delays.

What if I choose the wrong platform?

Do not worry if you start off using Serato Lite and end up getting a fantastic Denon Prime DJ Package as you are able to migrate your playlists and settings to Engine Prime. This advice also goes for Serato to rekordBox migration as you are able to follow this path too. Always try to pick the one that you are most likely to be using in the future as this will make it much easier but do not worry too much if you start with one and move to another. There are various third party apps which can help you migrate from one format to another but they might not be 100% compatible.

Do I really need it?

If you are a digital DJ and use turntables or a DJ controller then you really should be using some brand of music management software. This can save you an absolutely massive amount of time over the years. Imagine if you had to setup your cue points every time you were preparing a set. By using a flavour of music management software you can take your entire music back catalogue to every gig and never ever play the same set twice. This software really is at the very least your friend and most likely your mixing buddy that you never knew you needed.

Have you used music management software before? Do you have a favourite or are you still waiting for a killer feature to change your mind?

About the author 

Charles Duance

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