I was also really into the Toolroom label too, and all the associated sounds coming from that at the time. Technology is evolving really fast, which is a great thing because we can do so much more than we ever could have imagined even 10 years ago. Nowadays, a lot of people come out with a big track and become so huge they immediately have to start playing big festivals. I started DJing very early and used to spend many hours practicing and making sure my mixes were perfect. This article was a collaboration between several members of our editing staff who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Together, they cited 7 references in their creation of the article. Start with the basics. Being a DJ requires you to do a lot more than just play songs. Learning to structure a set, mix on the fly, and get a crowd moving all starts with your deck. Later on, you can invest in bigger speakers, a monitor, a MIDI controller, an audio interface, mics, and various plug-ins, depending on your ambitions for playing out, but a bare-bones basic DJ setup needs to include the following: Two turntables or two CD players or more, optionally 2-channel mixer Headphones Speakers Mixing software optional.
Decide to go analog or digital. Traditional DJ set-ups revolve around direct-drive turntables for playing vinyl records, but it's increasingly common to use CD-style and straight-digital set-ups for playing DJ sets as well.
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Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but are perfectly effective for playing gigs and becoming a DJ. Analog set-ups will allow you to DJ in the most traditional way, learning the skills the way they were pioneered: This will require you to collect a sizable collection of vinyl records to play, which can be somewhat expensive. Digital set-ups allow you to be extremely mobile, and the learning curve will be much smaller when you're working with a digital set-up.
Learning to beat-match and transition, for example, will be much easier with a BPM counter and a software system. Consider a mixing software package. Serato Scratch or Traktor are great programs that can read any format of music and select songs through a computer program interface. Pioneer and Numark also offer various products you may want to eventually look into. More often than not, these programs provide live looping and scratching capability, delays and reverberations, real-time control and video and karaoke options.
Ableton is a program that allows you to connect mixing controllers via USB cable and operates more like the classic DJ in your head does. It's good for beginners and the budget-conscious. Don't invest in top-dollar equipment right away. Most of your money should be spent on turntables and a mixer.
Forget the other stuff for now. And spend wisely -- buy your decks used and your mixer new. If you're serious about being a DJ, odds are you're aware of a few in your area. Hit them up for advice or for a tutorial on their system! If they're half as passionate as you are, they'll love to give you a minute of their time, explaining their ways. Don't forget your home studio. Most DJs record demos, playlists and original music at home. Make sure the equipment you bring to the club compliments the equipment you use at home.
This will be especially useful if you ever plan on producing. We'll get to the value of that in a bit, but know that it should be an avenue of your career later on down the line. Know what you need for gigs. If you plan to play for a venue that already has a DJ setup, you might only need a laptop with music mixing software. If you plan to play in private venues, you'll probably need to provide your own equipment. Scope out what you need and what you don't for your particular job. Some music mixing software may be hard to learn. You can find great tutorials online for most types.
Otherwise, DJ schools can teach you about the cutting-edge stuff out there -- but know that you can do it yourself. Build a big collection of music. You know what else you need? And you don't want crappy, third-rate mp3 download versions of those songs either. To be a legit DJ, you'll at least eventually have to pay for the music you get. For now, work with what you have, but know that it will be an expense later on in the game.
You need to be a music expert. Hit up your friends and consult the charts, YouTube channels of record companies and websites catering especially to DJs such as Beatport. Here's a list of genres to explore: Part 1 Quiz What's the advantage of a digital set-up? You can use vinyl to augment your music. Learn the BPM of the songs you play. The beats per minute BPM of a song will determine how smoothly or easily you can mix it with another song.
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You can calculate BPM by counting the beats yourself using a stopwatch, but that's pretty tedious. You can use a pitch warp to match the beats, though it's best to choose two songs that are only a few BPM off. However, use it on the song that doesn't have vocals yet. Speeding it up or slowing it down changes the key and messes with everything. Learn the intros and outros. Most dance songs will have an intro in which the music is going but the vocals are not at the beginning of the song and a corresponding outro at the end.
Mixing usually means blending one song's intro with the outro of another. Knowing when an outro starts and an intro begins is critical to live beat mixing. Cue up the second song. Have your second song ready to go as your first one is winding down.
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Use one hand on the turntable or CD player's pitch to adjust speed if your BPMs don't match and put the other on the crossfader, so that the first song's volume decreases as the second song's volume increases. Learn how to scratch. The decks can be used to find your place in a song when they're queued up or they can be use as pseudo-records to get your scratch on.
There are baby scratches and scribble scratches and drags and scratches that work at different pitch levels. Certain songs and certain places in certain songs are prime for scratching, while others are terrible for it. Knowing when to scratch is like comedic timing: Keep it simple at first.
When you're starting out, make mixing easier by sticking to two songs that are within 3 BPMs of each other. You should also use two songs that are in the same key. Your software should be able to tell you this. When you nail that down, start experimenting with looping and then move on to your toggle function and adding effects.
Also be sure to experiment with the different methods on your mixer. For most effects, there's more than one way to do them. You'll find what you prefer generally one method is a very do-it-yourself way and the other is more automated.
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Transition between the songs smoothly. One of the most important parts of DJing is transitioning between songs, matching beats so that the beat remains constant, letting people continue dancing, uninterrupted. Using conventional DJ hardware, this involves listen to the second song's intro in your headphones, moving the pitch slider until the songs play at the same speed, and cueing the song simultaneously with the preceding song. Learning to do this smoothly is one of the essential skills of DJing.
You also need to adjust the volume levels of the songs. The song you are mixing out of will be playing at full volume, so you need to adjust the second up slowly, listening closely to the tune to bring it up subtly. It's important to avoid creating awkward noise, which means you need to be super-familiar with the songs intros and outros. Digitally, it's possible to use beat-matching software to do this automatically, provided that the songs are within a few BPM of one another. It's still good to learn how to do it analog, since this is a fundamental skill.
Part 2 Quiz In the DJ world, what does "mixing" usually mean? Creating different versions of the same song. Blending one song's intro with the outro of another. Putting together a playlist of different songs. Adjusting the speed of the song at various points. What's going to start off as an expensive hobby can turn into a career in some time.
This is not a small feat you are about to embark upon. To be a DJ is to devote years to working magic on others' music. You may be able to start in an hour, but you won't get truly good for a long, long time. This is also not a Wednesday afternoon hobby. If you want to develop any level of skill, you'll need to work at it. Counting to 4 may be an integral part of DJing, but reading crowds and knowing what music surprisingly goes great with what music is a skill that has to be honed. Decide whether you want to be a crowd-pleaser or a music specialist. Certain gigs will require that you make a few compromises.
Being a specialist may give you more cred with the DJs, but it may make your gigs fewer and far between. Crowd pleasing means playing songs that would, most likely, hit the taste of the biggest number of people in any given crowd. This style of DJing is best suited to private events, such as weddings or small parties. A music specialist sticks to a particular genre of music, regardless of what the crowd demands.
Usually, these DJs play nightclubs who have specific genre standards or they have an established following based on a certain type of music. Find a DJ whose style you admire and observe him or her as much as possible.
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Pay attention to how songs are constructed and how the crowd is managed. After you've watched them a few times, approach the DJ after the show and ask for a few tips. Most DJs will be happy to help guide you if they know you're serious. Gain inspiration from the DJs that hit it big. Be a multi-genre DJ.
You can still be a specialist if you have multiple genres under your belt -- you're just a specialist with logic. Most DJs are great at one genre of music -- being great at more than one sets you up to be the cream of the crop. This also offers you more opportunities for future gigs. Instead of only having one or two clubs in the area that'll have you, you can do those, a few other clubs, and the occasional wedding or hoppin' bar mitzvah.
For each genre you do, you'll have to know the classics, the deep cuts the B sides that should've been A sides , and the current stuff. Having a healthy mix in your repertoire will keep the party going. Keep up with current music trends. In order to be viable in today's fast-paced world, you'll need to be on top of all the charts and where it seems like the trends are going. You have to be on top of today and leaning toward tomorrow. You should be constantly writing yourself notes, finding out what that song you just heard was, and keeping a list of ideas for later when you're sitting down and doing your thing.
Always keep your phone or a pen handy because inspiration calls when it pleases. And so does your best friend when he wants you to hear this new track he's working on. Part 3 Quiz How can you make sure any party you DJ is popping? But the service quickly developed to allow everyone access to the songs uploaded by artists — with users able to stream songs directly from the website without registration.
This has led to SoundCloud becoming a sort of YouTube for playing songs. As a result, SoundCloud had been mostly used by musicians with no involvement with major music labels until recently: The release of SoundCloud Go.
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In the years running up to this, the music streaming service negotiated with major music labels to gain rights to a huge back catalog of songs , allowing them to increase the range of music on offer and compete with established streaming sites like Spotify, Apple Music, and the new but influential Tidal. These major artists are now available to listen to on SoundCloud, but only for users who subscribe to SoundCloud Go - a new, fee-based package.
But songs uploaded directly to SoundCloud - be it from unsigned artists, worldwide superstars, or music labels — remain free to stream for all users. Artists use the SoundCloud service to publish their music and reach an audience. Due to the ease of publication, the SoundCloud site has also developed into the most popular platform for uploading mixtapes, remixes, and even whole DJ sets. There are plenty of other audio files uploaded to the site, the most common one after music being podcasts. The fee-based subscription package SoundCloud Go is designed to change the website forever.
With the huge new music catalog available to them, SoundCloud intends to do battle with Apple, Spotify, and Co.
By increasing the amount of music they can offer users, SoundCloud is also expecting to see a greater number of new users crossing over from the other streaming platforms. This could be to the advantage of unknown artists who publish their music on SoundCloud: This is orchestrated by an algorithm that searches SoundCloud for similar music based on genres and tagging. Once a listener has played through all of the songs on the Kendrick Lamar page, the Similar Tracks will start playing automatically — giving undiscovered artists an amazing opportunity to reach their target audience.
This is conducted by another algorithm that assesses the listening habits of all SoundCloud users as well as their likes and shares. There are a number of options available to you if you want to use SoundCloud to publish your music. The free account allows you to upload up to a total of 3 hours of audio material.
A Pro account is still very affordable, but offers you 6 hours of upload material instead. It also offers certain other features like listening stats. The Pro Unlimited account meanwhile is just under double the price of the Pro account but comes with unlimited audio file uploads and detailed information on locations of user plays and types of web pages and apps that your listeners use most often. Full pricing and other information about the options available to artists is available on the SoundCloud Pro packages page.
There are also a number of different models when it comes to listening to SoundCloud too. Streaming of all audio files uploaded to SoundCloud by users so not ones covered by SoundCloud Go works completely free of charge and without registration. But a free registration also lets you download many songs for free too. SoundCloud Go offers you a music database of over million tracks including releases by some of the most famous artists worldwide, but it comes at a monthly subscription price.
Registered users can follow the profiles of other users as well as liking and sharing tracks. One of the trademarks of the SoundCloud service is that the duration of every song is depicted in wave form. Other functions like the Suggested Tracks feature that we mentioned earlier, are available to everyone who has a registered account.
These features are offered with all account types too, including the free one. Perhaps the biggest plus point for SoundCloud is the fact that the web service is an authentic, respected, and lively part of the current music scene. The brand is extremely well-known and highly frequented by music makers and enthusiasts the world over. Many musicians and music producers consider it a matter of course to operate a SoundCloud page. Online sales are possible from external sites with embedded SoundCloud links, however.
This is one advantage that other providers like Bandcamp offer — the ability to sell music directly from within the streaming platform. This is more practical and lucrative for artists, while also simplifying and shortening the customer journey from artist discovery to sale transaction. Some of these services focus on providing their users with as much music as possible, while others focus more on selling the music that is uploaded by artists. AS with SoundCloud, all of the examples below are aimed at music makers as well as everyday music fans. Also founded in the year , Bandcamp is considered one of the most famous SoundCloud alternatives.
The vast majority of musicians and bands found on Bandcamp are unsigned or on independent labels. And some of the unsigned acts offer their entire back catalog on the website. When it comes to genres, Bandcamp is best known for being the site of choice for rock and indie bands. Registration for Bandcamp is free of charge for artists. But labels have to pay a moderate monthly fee if they use the site to promote up to 15 acts, or they can choose to pay a more substantial monthly fee to promote unlimited bands.