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Picking Great Tracks! -

I remember a while back when vinyl was the dominant format in DJing, I went “record shopping” at the local record store in downtown Toronto.

This friend of mine was not really a DJ but was pretty well off, meaning he had a lot of money, and he did it for the fun of it.

 Him and I would go to the record shop and just tell the DJ behind the counter Yo, give me the new releases. And the DJ would go and get about 15 – 20 records or so, put them up at the cash, and my DJ friend would go to the cash and blindly pay trusting that the DJ choose some hot tracks for him.

Honestly, I know he was rich and everything but like 20 records at about 16 dollars a shot, that more than $300. He didn’t have any gigs, he just collected records because it was fun for him. He would do this twice a month. Just imagine around 600 bucks a month just on a hobby. And for him, he is just … casually record shopping.

He would listen and play a few of them when we got back to my place, and in my opinion, some of the records were duds, not even warm up material if you know what I mean.

Just goes to show not only do you have to know how to play the music, you also have to know how to pick the music. An extremely essential skill that every new DJ has to learn,  or else you will be wasting a lot of money on dead tracks, like I did so many times before I learned how to properly.

I know it is challenging as you might be starting out,  but here are a few tips to get you started picking the right tracks;

  • For the first few weeks listen to your favorite DJs latest sets.
  • Go to your favorite DJ download portal and look for that DJs latest top 10
  • Put it in your basket to buy later (don’t buy it yet)
  • Pay close attention to the artists on that top 10
  • Search for those artists’ top 10
  • Put those top 10’s in your basket (don’t buy yet)
  • You should have about 30 tracks in your basket
  • Go through each track one by one and choose the tracks that you like.
  • I usually pick 10, and make my own top 10, does not have to be 10!, pick as many as you like
  • Once you have the tracks you like make sure that they have the same vibe, OR, make sure you pick tracks that go together (have the same feel).

If your favorite DJ/Producer does not have a top 10, find a top 10 of a DJ/Producer that plays the same style as your favorite DJ. An easy way to do this is to go to beatport.com, search for the latest track from your favorite DJ/Producer, look at the label it is out on, and search for tracks of those artists as labels will have a distinct sound that fit under the label’s “sound”. So 9 times out of 10, most producers under a label will play the same type of music.

So either search top 10′s, or search labels for your favorite artist, and other artists on that same label because the label will cater to a specific genre of music. Well 99.9 percent of the time anyway

If you don’t understand, what I mean by feel, I suggest you go to the night club that you like, and listen for the tracks that you like, AND this is very important, look to see what time it is when the type of tracks that you like are being played.

You will notice that killer tracks are played peak time, when everyone is there and “in the zone”.

Something important to remember when picking tracks is that it is easy to just pick the hottest tracks. What happens if you are asked to play on a patio at 7 – 10 PM, are you gonna play those hottest hardest tracks??? I think not.

I usually make a mental note to myself when selecting tracks by ranking them 1, 2, or 3. 1 is for tracks beginning of the night, 2 is for tracks in the middle of the night and when the night is dying down, and three is for the peak time bombs (the best tracks).

And most importantly, when you do buy the tracks, make sure you BUY THE TRACKS! Don’t download for free.

After some time you will be a set building expert. You will know how good a track is, just by skimming through it.

Do this for about 4 weeks actually, and you will start to recognize artists who you didn’t know before.

Speaking of things I did not know before, I wish I knew these tips when I started. I could have saved a ton of money on all those WACK tracks I bought. And I would not want you to waste your hard earned money like I did. It is a recession after all, and these tips should be helping you to make extra money.

Money you could save to put towards something else more rewarding, like new needles or upgrading your equipment in some way.