Music Preparation Masterclass Part 3: Using Curated Streams

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? There’s got to be a way to stop clogging up your personal music collection with tracks you should only be auditioning for your sets…
With the sheer abundance of music out on the internet it can be pretty hard knowing where to look for new tracks. So wouldn’t it be useful to get someone to narrow it down a bit for you?

Enter The World Of Curated Streams…

The great thing about using curated online streams for your DJ research is that someone else has chosen what you listen to. Instead of having the worlds music at your fingertips, a curated stream will focus your search and allow you to spend your time more effectively.

Think in the shoes of a Vinyl DJ, instead of trying to listen to all of the worlds billions of tracks you can just head down to the record store and review the couple of hundred records that they have on offer. You align with their musical tastes and trust their judgment to have the best of whats on offer. You can then focus your search quickly and effectively, saving time and money.

Curated streams are your online equivalent of the record store acting as your first level of music filtration.  So where do you look?


Spotify is great because it allows you to listen to almost all of the world’s music without buying it. It’s widely available on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac and many more so you can either listen at home or on the go.

With all that music available though, it can sometimes be a bit of a maze searching for playlists so you can use a playlist aggregator like to find suitable playlists that match your DJ style and genres and then open them straight into Spotify.

You can upgrade to a premium subscription for unlimited, ad-free music, better sound quality and the ability to listen offline for extra flexibility.


Soundcloud is the real music based social network. But are you using all of it’s collaborative features? You can sign-up for a free account to upload, record, promote and share your own sounds as well as listen, like, comment, follow and create personal streams of other peoples music.

You can often download content directly from soundcloud but if a track you like doesn’t have a download link then message the artist and ask for a copy. Most of the time new artists will be happy to send it over to you unless their hands are tied with upcoming commercial agreements.

If you are only going to sign up to one service, this is probably the one!


Mixcloud is a similar social music platform to Soundcloud but instead features DJ mixes, on-demand radio-shows and podcasts. Each mix contains track listings so it’s super easy to find the name of a nice sounding track.

The beauty of Mixcloud is that unlike Soundcloud, it has a no take- down policy so DJ’s can freely upload their mixes featuring tracks from other artists and know the content won’t be removed for copyright infringement.

There are no fees, no limits and you can listen anywhere with the free smartphone app.  A great source of new music.


8Tracks is a music discovery app for mobile devices that contains playlists in a variety of genres created by real music enthusiasts, not computer algorithms.

Every track is unmixed and there is an abundance of unknown and upcoming artists, perfect for your DJ sets. Just open the app, select your relevant tags and you are good to go!


All over the world there are thousands of Music Blogs dedicated to dance music. Some blogs have earned the reputation of a music tastemaker and artists and labels are now offering their music to these outlets for exclusive previews prior to official release.

Monitoring all of these blogs would be a sure fire way to have a steady stream of new music but keeping on top of all this information just isn’t going to happen.

Hypemachine is what’s known as a blog aggregator. This means it basically scans around the web for the best music blogs and collates all the information for you to sift through quickly and easily. This saves you a ton of time and filters out a ton of stuff that you’ll never want to play anyway.

BBC Radio 1Radio1

So it may seem obvious to recommend listening to the radio but the BBC is an impartial platform without commercial interests so you get to hear the best new music without any commercial motives.

Tune in on Friday evenings for the weekly 12-hour dance music marathon.


iTunesiTunes is the world’s largest online music store. While it’s probably not the best place to find cutting edge new music, it is a very accurate indicator of what music is popular at any given time as the iTunes charts update in real time. Even if you are an underground techno DJ it can be still be useful to have some knowledge of what’s happening in popular culture.

Tunes is also the home of the Podcast and it’s a great way to hear new music. You can subscribe to your preferred artists for free and the software will automatically download you new content as soon as it becomes available, even if you aren’t around, leaving you to get on with the rest of your tasks.

1001 Tracklists1001Tracklists

1001 Tracklists is an online archive of DJ sets and radio shows that hosts tracklist metadata. Each track is listed with information on the number of plays it has received and who’s playing it in their sets so it’s a great way to see what tracks are popular with which DJ’s in certain scenes instead of just reviewing what music is being commercially purchased.

You can spend active time on these services or be extra productive and use them in the background while completing other tasks. Don’t be afraid to research older tracks and try not to just buy the latest new releases.
Remember during this stage of the music filtration process, you’re not yet worried if a tracks actually good for DJing with, You’re just finding some music that interests you and makes you smile. That is your music shortlist.
Are you using these services already? Or do you use another curated stream that we haven’t mentioned in this article to find your tracks? As always let us know in the comments below!