One of the well documented benefits of todayâ€™s DVS (Digital Vinyl System) platforms is their ability to eliminate the physical task of carrying around your precious records, while still having the luxury of your entire collection safely stored on your laptop or external hard drive. These days an internal hard drive can hold upwards towards 250GB, while the common affordable externals can hold up to 500GBs. The TB (terabyte) era is looming though, and will probably be more realistic when Christmas rolls around.
First of all, with virtually unlimited storage capacity, how much music is necessary? Kind of a subjective issue, can’t really touch on it. Itâ€™s just a preference for every DJ – some can get by with the same amount of songs as they did with records, while others have taken full advantage and insist on a ridiculous 36,000 songs at their disposal for every single gig they play at. Either way, it doesn’t change the fact that with more space and free downloads everywhere people are gonna have tons of music. And bringing more music with you to a gig, or anywhere for that matter, is to your advantage. The better you organize your music library, the better you will play. Plain and simple.
Some DJs still support the old adage, ‘less is more’ â€“ quality of what you bring vs. the quantity (or as I like to put it, bringing the more relevant, impactful music and leaving the G-Unit albums at home). I may have agreed with that statement when I used to lug record crates up stairs and ladders, but not these days. With a properly organized digital database of music you can bring all the music you want, play longer/better sets, and not have a problem of finding something with so much music in your way.
Since this post serves as an introduction to a more elaborate music library organizing series, letâ€™s take a step back for a sec and reminisce. To put it figuratively, where most DJs used to bring 3 or 4 crates of records with them to a party, I would try to bring the equivalent of 6 crates, using 3 raggedy, cracked recycling bins. This was only so I could be prepared for anything that came up, if I felt like changing up a regular set or filling a rarer song request. If I played a song that I wouldnâ€™t have played with my regular set and it set the party off, I was happy. But then again, one day a few years back I was caught off guard when I went to go see Kid Capri play at a local club here in Toronto, and he had 13 crates behind him.
Back to the story…the key is keeping yourself organized. Milk crates or digital crates, without organization, there’s no point. There’s a very common clichÃ© in the DJ world, ‘know your music’ – This applies to not only bringing the right music, but also to knowing where your songs are and creating unique sets to diversify yourself from others.
There’s no question that there are several library management tools across the board for the various DVS platforms. Some have more sophisticated interfaces than others. But most, if not all of them utilize iTunes library integration. iTunes support is fully integrated in Serato Scratch Live, MixVibes (Remix Edition), Traktor Scratch & Cue, which in effect gives you a bundle of options without having to sacrifice your existing library structure if you dare switch over platforms. In the meantime back to the reminiscing.
Buying an iPod a forced me to start using iTunes, and since then have stuck with it. Look for Part 2 (Tagging) up next.