How I Discover and Buy New Music to DJ With - DJing Tips

Getting New Music: From Discovery to Buying the Tracks

I have already written about how to source new music to DJ with and where to actually buy it. Today, I’ll put the pieces together and tell you how a typical tune goes from getting on my radar to ending up in my DJ library.

How I Discover New Music

I get most of my new track ideas via one of the sources below.

  • Radio shows and podcasts. I’m subscribed to a few weekly podcasts like Glitterbox Radio Show. What I like about Glitterbox in particular is that alongside new stuff, it also features older tracks that I might not have heard before. Shows and podcasts like this are not DJ mixes per se, so I generally don’t bother with listening to the episodes from start to finish. What I do instead is quickly skip through the episodes in 15-second intervals to see if some track catches my eye (or ear?).
  • DJ mixes. I try to regularly listen to the SoundCloud mixes of the DJs I follow. I normally go from start to finish to understand the idea behind the track selection and how the DJ builds the mix in general.
  • Live sets. Whenever I hear another DJ playing, I keep my ears open for any new material. You can come across some unexpected gems this way.
  • Purposeful digging. I’m digging ever deeper into disco these days, and I’ve actually made it a point to listen to all of Slayd5000‘s uploads on YouTube. It’s not moving particularly quickly but I’m discovering some true masterpieces along the way. I also go through disco compilations on Deezer from time to time.

When you hear an interesting tune, you need to identify it, quickly. For DJ mixes and live sets, Shazam is the obvious choice. For radio shows and podcasts, there’s often a tracklist that goes with the episode.

How I Keep Track of Ideas

After I have identified a tune that grabbed my attention, I add it to a note in Evernote where I keep my DJ track ideas. If I particularly liked a track, I bold its name right away, which means that it’s now on a shortlist for buying.

I set aside the time to regularly go through the new tracks on my idea list and listen to them – preferably the full versions. YouTube is awesome for this because you can find pretty much everything there. With the listening comes bolding of more tracks that I’ll consider buying.

After I buy a track, I cross it off the Evernote list. I generally don’t delete entries from the list at all. Even if I don’t select a track for buying today, I may still change my mind and do so a few weeks later. As a result, my list is now truly humongous and I have to do a lot of scrolling to get to the bottom!

How I Buy the Tunes

I do 90% of my music buying on Google Play these days. It has all the releases that iTunes and others do, only at better prices. The sound quality is 320 kbit/s MP3, so no complaints there either.

When I log into Google Play, I generally have a very good idea of what tracks I’m going to be buying. Normally those are my shortlisted tracks from the ideas list. I may still have doubts about a few of them when it comes to actual buying, so I might go ahead and check them one last time on YouTube or elsewhere.

Sometimes the price of the full release (album or single) is not so much different from the price of a single track. In that case, I just grab the whole release, potentially ending up with more remixes and/or totally new material. Not all of it ends up in my Serato, though.

That was it as far as my music discovery and purchasing process goes. You probably noticed that I hardly ever listen to radio, nor do I use Beatport, Juno Download or Traxsource that often.  Your mileage will vary!

What’s your process for getting new music? How do you discover new tunes? How do you keep track of ideas? What’s your favorite music store? Share your tips and tricks in the comment section below.

About the Author JM

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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