If keeping a house clean wasn’t enough, the rise of the digital age has extended the clutter our laptops. DJs keep saving files however and wherever, always with the promise of organizing them “soon.” The result? Total disorder.
If you are one of those who have large music libraries on your computer, you surely need a bit of order.
Tips to organize a large music library collection
Organizing music libraries takes some time, due to the large number of files they contain. But having a well-organized music library will make your work easier when creating a playlist for your next set and it will be easier to locate them within the huge amount of files on your computer.
Folder Structure and Crates
The first step is to create two folders: a master folder, which will contain all your music library to facilitate the search task when importing music from the software of your choice; and a second folder where you will add new tracks that you have downloaded and that have not been organized yet.
Now the next step is to define the type of folder structure you are going to use. You can always organize your library by download date, artist, genre and so on, but we recommend the last one.
Having folders organized by genre is always a good option, this can allow all your music in a specific genre to be located in a single location or folder.
But because music genres can vary (is not the same a House track from 2008 than one from 2022), including a subdivision by years within the “House” folder can minimize the problem.
Without a doubt, the use of “crates” (folders inside your DJ Software) is the basis of a good organization system. There are several ways to set them up, and the idea is to find the method that makes the most sense for your style as a DJ. For example, the crates can be organized by:
- Genre: Dancehall music, Hip Hop, House, EDM…
- Mood: Warm up, Climax, Transitions…
- Event: Club, Radio, Weddings…
This means that, depending on whether you’re top of the bill, opening or doing the closing set, you can quickly move to a track list that has the overall vibe you want to deliver.
However you structure or organize the folders, everything it’s all about consistency. Remember to do all this the way you understand it and try to keep your music library tidy, simple and well structured.
If your music library is a mess, a tag editor software will let you restore that caos. Editing metadata with software like MP3Tag or TagScanner allows you to change the metadata of your tracks. For example:
You can always create your own labels that make the most sense to you, whether it’s a sub-genre, or themed party music.
DJs of the past were very limited by the amount of music they could physically carry with them. So they had to carefully select their music for the night from their CD or vinyl collection (even thoug this trend is coming back for som DJs).
But now, the next thing is to start creating playlists or grouping them into folders (within your DJ software). The purpose of the lists is to reduce the number of visible tracks, which reduces the search time when searching in your folders.
Some tips and examples:
- Be creative when creating your playlist, there are no rules so the way you go about customizing your music library is up to you, but always try to make it easily accessible and consistent. The key is to keep refining your playlists and your library.
- Create Playlists by Tempo: if you tagged the music correctly, this will speed up your mixing as you’ll know straight away that the track is already at the same tempo. Then, you can easily choose a track that’s in the same or complementary key.
- Create Playlists by Sub-Genres & Harmonic Key
- Create Intelligent Playlists by Situation & Mood
Keep your Music Library clean
Just as important as keeping your music library up to date is tidying up. If you have a lot of old music that you’ll probably never play again, why keep it and let it take up a lot of space on your hard drive? Here are two options:
- If you really love those songs, back them up to an external hard drive or cloud storage service.
- If you’re not going to use them anymore, you should delete them.
Maintaining a refined music library will improve your DJ sets. You don’t want to play the same 20 songs over and over again, but also you don’t want to have thousands of songs to scroll through.
Now you should be ready to set up your DJ library or at least to get some order to all that music you have on your computer.
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