Music Preparation Masterclass Part 1: Are You Suffering From The Digital Music Problem?


Do you often wonder how Vinyl DJ’s seem to DJ effortlessly play exceptional sets?

Before the internet took over, DJ’s would have to actually travel down to the local record store to try out some new records (shock horror!) but these days digital DJ’s have a plethora of music available online at the click of a button without even leaving the house! At first glance that seems like a massive positive for the Digital DJ generation but it’s hard knowing where to look, how to choose and how to build a collection you are actually proud of without just getting paralysed by a matrix of filenames…
Luckily we’ve decided to put together this mini series to combat just that, so lets get started by first of all understanding the problem so that we can overcome it.
As a vinyl DJ you have two major advantages over DJ’s who are building an electronic collection: Preparation & Filtration.

When you are buying tracks from a physical specialist record store each record has been researched and bought in by a member of the store staff. These staff members work there because they are music gurus and each specialise in particular genres. This begins a musical filtration process as a music expert has already approved the music that the DJ is exposed to.

Inside the record store each individual record is likely to have an unbiased review written on the sleeve by a member of staff, thus giving you a method to interpret how the tracks will sound before even listening.

vinyl-groupeVinyl is expensive, so you must be very selective when choosing music, only buy the really good stuff and then learn each track religiously. This further filters your collection and means you know each track from start to finish. Once your favorite records have been purchased, taken home and learned inside out it’s time for a gig. The physical nature of vinyl means you are limited to the 80-100 records that will actually fit in your record box. Thus applying one more final filter to the music that will actually reach your audience when and secure your reputation as a great DJ.

You won’t even play every record in the box during a normal set but you know that the filtration process makes each one a killer track and you have the confidence in each record because you know you have done your homework. This leaves you to mix at ease and control any party atmosphere with your killer tunes.

Beatport-Top-100-A digital DJ’s collection tends to be very different. Rather than a collection of 1000 pieces of well chosen vinyl bought over a long period of time, this is 30,000 tracks in a bloated, unsorted collection where everything goes in, every album track and every remix in all genres.

The bottom line is that a Digital DJ’s music collection is too big!

An average 2-hour DJ set will consist of around 30-40 tracks. How can anyone arrive at a gig with a laptop and external hardrive bursting with 10x that amount of tunes and actually know what they should play?

Are you a Digital DJ or a Vinyl Purist?
How do you filter your music collection? Tell us in the comments below…