So…your job is a DJ. You spend your days practicing your DJ skills, looking for DJ music and working to build your business. Your nights are spent locked in a dark DJ booth mixing for hundreds of party goers, or networking in the dark bowels of local nightclubs. So basically your entire day revolves around music and being a DJ. Awesome, right?
Yes it is totally awesome, but not every day. Because you are constantly looking for ways to gain an edge over your fellow DJs so you spend a lot of time—a lot—scouring the earth for the hottest dance tracks before anyone has ever heard them in public. The major problem is that you’re not the first DJ in the world to run into this problem, which means you also aren’t the first to look for alternative sources of DJ music.
So let’s talk about a few good ways to get the hottest tracks before they’re released.
Okay I’ll just go ahead and address the issue that you’re all thinking about; quality. I know that some people out there think that YouTube rips are insufficient for public consumption, especially when you’re being paid to do a good job. The truth is that only you can decide whether the quality is up to your standards as a professional DJ, but I will say that people have been known to have a good time with less than stellar quality.
The major issue you’ll run into by using YouTube as a source for your new DJ tracks is legal. There all types of copyright laws that dictate the use of those videos so I strongly advise you to read all the teeny tiny fine print before you use those videos in public.
If you’re new to DJing or simply aren’t in the know, you probably don’t know about promo lists. This is a really great and innovative way to access new music. Do you have a few public gigs under your belt? Can you prove it? If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions then all you need is a bit of hustle so you can hound the promotional company or record label to provide you with digital downloads.
Why would they do this, you ask?
Quite simply, because they need music professionals such as yourself to provide objective feedback about their upcoming music. You provide feedback and they send those words of wisdom back to the label and you now have a solid digital quality copy.
But you should remember that the track could change tremendously by the time it is actually released. Of course this could give you a totally new track that only a few handfuls of people have heard, but it won’t be recognizable as the title released weeks or months later.
DJ pools are similar to promo lists except…not. When you sign up with various record pools you will get access to tons of new tracks practically every day. The best part of these pools is that you get access to a wide variety of music from all genres and even from artists around the world. This will significantly widen your DJ library. These DJ pools rely on keeping customers happy which means you will get high quality digital DJ tracks so you never have to worry about it.
You can search for free DJ pools and try your luck or you can opt to join at least one pay DJ pool. Most of these pools offer access by the day, month or year so you can simply pay about $125 for a full year of access or you can test it out for about $1 to $5 per day.
Some sources to try include Digital DJ Pool or Franchise Record Pool if you want to pay or just do a cursory search for ‘free record pool’.
Before you ask, no, doing album reviews are not the same as promo lists. Of course you may already have an “in” with a promotional company and you can strike a deal with them to provide in-depth reviews off new albums ahead of their release. This is a great way to get access to more tracks than you will ever need in your pro DJ career, but it will also set you up as an authority…one others might want to review their stuff.
Plus if you become known for your reviews that you might even have indie artists and labels reaching out to you with their new tracks to review.
You should always keep in mind the legal side of using tracks that have been given to you strictly for listening purposes. If you have any doubts you should speak to the person providing you with the digital DJ samples about acceptable uses. You don’t want a great show with new tracks to land you on the wrong side of a lawsuit.
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