Your job as a DJ is to always be on a lookout for new material. In a way, what you are paid for is doing the dirty work of picking great tracks for other people. So how do you go about finding new music to play?
Dance music stores. Brick and mortar record shops are a dying species these days, but if you have one if your town, make sure you drop by regularly. The staff can sometimes offer a good tip or two, and those vinyl crates in the back may house the gem you wouldn’t discover otherwise.
Radio. Rule #1 for a DJ is to always be listening to music. Radio – online and offline – is a perfect tool for that. Tip #1: Develop your musicianship by occasionally switching to a station you wouldn’t normally listen to, e.g. jazz or 70s music. Tip #2: Get Shazam on your phone to be able to identify that killer track, quickly.
Other DJ mixes. This one is my favorite. Listening to other DJs’ mixes and radioshows exposes you to a ton of new material, some of which may not even be released yet. And why limit yourself to just the latest and greatest – listening to that Dimitri from Paris mix from 20 years ago can be fun and educational, too.
Online music stores. No surprises here. Beatport, Juno Download, iTunes, Google Play. My favorite sections are “New releases” and “Charts”.
Music blogs. There are a lot of folks out there writing daily about dance music. Some blogs are crap, some are good, and some are truly trendsetting. It’s a good idea to monitor a few, if only for the free music downloads that they are often able to offer.
Keep your ears (and your mind) open – you never know where that new killer track is coming from!
How do you find your music? What’s your favorite way of finding new gems? Share your approach in the comments below.
JM has played open-air gigs, shared the stage with the likes of ATB and had mix albums released commercially. He has been teaching DJing since 2008.
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