Sorting Your DJ Music Library: The Klay System

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These days, it seems like every DJ is using a laptop but they feel like a double edged sword, providing opportunity and creating new obstacles to creativity at the same time. Have you ever been stuck at a critical moment thinking, “Sh&%- what was the name of that song?! – It would be perfect!”  Only to watch the countdown wind down to zero and then have no choice but to drop a dancefloor killer. In this article I will attempt to provide a few suggestions for music tagging that will help organize your giant collection into something more navigable.

This article concentrates on the NI Traktor software I use, but the idea can be used for other software as well. We advocate using the tools that fit your needs best, not necessarily the specific brands covered. The first thing I do when purchasing music is to edit the MP3 tags and fill in the critical details for Artist, Title, Key, Genre, Import Date, Comments and finally Rating. Today, we are going to focus on the last three.

RATING

For many of you the rating may seem totally useless. Where is the sense in rating your tracks from one star to five when five stars means it´s a great track and one star means that it´s bad? Why would you even keep a bad track you don´t like on your hard drive? personally I don’t rate the quality of the tracks, but the FEEL. More specifically: The vibe it would create in my sets or when it might be played. Think about these basic ideas:

  • 1 star tracks: These are tracks which you would play in the opening period of your sets, the hours when the club just opened or which create such a feeling for you. The beginning. The deepest or “softest” sounds you own.
  • 3 star tracks: These tracks are best used in the main hours of your set. When you play these tracks, you’re right in the middle of your set and keep the vibe going. Or again they create such a vibe for you.
  • 5 star tracks: Right here you have the peak time tracks, the banging stuff, the closing tracks, the hardest stuff on your hard drive,… You get the idea.

You may be wondering, what about the 2 and 4 star ratings? Well, you are welcome to use shades of grey (not every track can be a 5 star banger) but its helpful to focus on 3 main groupings.

This doesn’t mean that you play 1 star track after 1 star track, then switch to a 2 star track and go on to a 3 star track. Its neither a mathematical scheme, nor a “dummy list” for untalented DJs. This is a handy reference for remembering important details about songs in a large library.  The biggest advantage is to be able to sort your library by rating.

COMMENTS

The next important thing for me to focus on is the “Comments” tag. Fill in any information you think of when listening to the track, Ideally Something that will trigger a memory of the sound.  Without cover art, its hard to get a feeling for a song with just text so the description should be just that – descriptive!  It can be the lyrics of the vocals, a personalized description of the sound (deep techy latin groover), a name of a festival where I heard it first, or another track it would fit perfectly with.

That results in comments like :

  • “Vocal and groovy”, “Latin”, “Percussive”, “Circo Loco”, “6.15 in the morning”, “Perfect for acapellas”, “Miami bomb”, “Deep & atmospherique”, “Robot vocals”, “Tool”.

These types of comments provide a  little reminder of the track`s spirit. It also helps quickly find a vocal track to play after a period of groovy and instrumental tracks to keep the vibe fresh and balanced.

Keeping the “Ratings” and “Comments” in mind when you DJ with somebody else, you can theoretically even share your library with him/her as they can see the rating, read the comments and possibly find a suitable track until you return from the bathroom. Remember that I said THEORETICALLY. Its always best, when you know the tracks you´re playing.

IMPORT DATE

I would never leave out this tag in the sortable column because it is the the fastest way to find the freshest tracks. Just click on it and your tree gets sorted by the date you added the track to the collection. So in any folder with one click you have the latest additions and can easily find that fresh new record. For the CD-DJs this is like the latest sleeve of your CD case. It also helps me to refresh my playlist folders as I normally delete some of the oldest additions to clean it up a bit.

PLAYLIST FOLDERS

A good thing about the digital DJ softwares is the endless supply of “crates” or “folders”. In Traktor you also have the possibility to make them favorites and place them above your browser tree for easy access (crates). Now how can you categorize these folders?

The first folder I created is called “DJ Bag”. Thinking of back in the days when I started to DJ with my vinyls, the “Track Collection” folder is like the whole vinyl collection you have at home and the “DJ Bag” folder is the record bag you pack before a gig and where you put selected tracks that would fit best for the set.

Its important to keep the “DJ Bag” fresh and up-to-date, so make sure not to spam it and to refresh it from time to time by deleting some of the tracks in there. Don´t be afraid, they will only be deleted from the folder “DJ Bag” if you do it right and are still available in the “Track Collection”. Don’t add too many tracks in there, in my case its a number between 100 – 120 for a normal set.

My second folder is called “Big Ones” where I put in all the big bombs, the timeless highlights and my little secret diamonds. I only delete tracks there when I get tired of a track or when it´s no longer a biggie for me. When the time has come for a music bomb, or a track to blow the crowd away, quickly jump to this folder and you will have a long list to choose from.

The third folder is called “Classics & Hits” where I add some of the well known tracks or famous classics to be prepared if the crowd asks for some tracks they know or can sing to. Usually the big Miami/Ibiza anthems of the season or old classics.

The fourth folder is called “Acapellas & Tools”. The name says it all.

The fifth folder is titled “Own Tools”. That’s the library of my own samples which I produced, or recorded using live loops or the loop recorder in Traktor 2.

Please don’t take these methods as the best for you. They work well for me in my radio show and live shows so please pick and choose if anything seems like a good fit for you.  This is not a step-by-step-introduction of how to DJ right, the love for the music and the DJs passion has to come first always. It’s just a little help when you need a hand for finding the perfect next track. Don´t follow these systems all the time as inspiration is way more important.

About the author:

Marcus Klay is a DJ and upcoming producer from Vienna, Austria. He has been spinning House & Tech House for more than 10 years now and hosts his own radio show on Proton Radio called Positive Notes.

Nice one! This is a great article with lots of solid tips that I may even start using myself. The “Dj Bag” Playlist is particularly fresh for me. We have covered various aspects of this topic before, so for more in depth reading please check out:

Don’t own Traktor? No need to panic… you can buy it here bundled with an Audio 2 in the DJ TechTools store!

  • zendoo

    I do this too, using stars as energy ratings.
    * = a starting song for the beginning of a set
    ** = more energy, a head nodder
    *** = MOAR energy, a head banger
    **** = down tempo, for recovery after head bangers
    ***** = acapellas, instrumentals, radio dramas, weird shit that’s good to layer on top of other tracks, but I wouldn’t play just on it’s own

  • K-mille

    I created tool which modify filenames or IDv3 tags by complementing numeric keys and BPMs from VirtualDJ or rekordbox database and IDv3 tags (from Traktor, Beatport, Serato, etc.)
    https://sourceforge.net/projects/vdjrenamingtool/

  • Thanks for this Marcusklay. I’d been using the stars to rate energy levels too but hadn’t kept it to 3 main groups (with 2 and 4 as the more grey areas). That is a GREAT tip 🙂

  • Arin

    Love the star rating system, you’ve turned a seemingly useless tag into a gem, its great being able to keep all my heavy hitters handy with the click of a tag heading

  • So, I came across this gem of a system, and decided it works best for me to use a little bit of this system and a little bit of the itunes power tips system. http://www.djtechtools.com/2008/12/05/itunes-power-tips/

    I use the 5 star rating system like this:

    * : recognizable/memorable tracks/offbeat/weird stuff but with less presence

    * * : from 21h tot 00h, opening chill tracks

    * * * : from 00h tot 03h, rolling tracks

    * * * * : recognizable/memorable tracks/offbeat/weird stuff but with more presence

    * * * * * : from 03h tot 05h, last few hour banger tracks

    i use itunes to build my playlists and traktor neatly reads all the information i put in itunes.

    SO; i’ve built smart playlists with the star ratings, gave every distinct song a comment, put in the genre so i can use that too.

    good stuff!

    I have too much music. (is there something like having too much music?) This helps me find that one song during a set 😀

  • Guest

    So, I came across this gem of a system, and decided it works best for me to use a little bit of this system and a little bit of the itunes power tips system. http://www.djtechtools.com/2008/12/05/itunes-power-tips/

    I use the 5 star rating system like this:

    * : recognizable/memorable tracks/offbeat/weird stuff but with less presence

    * * : from 21h tot 00h, opening chill tracks

    * * * : from 00h tot 03h, rolling tracks

    * * * * : recognizable/memorable tracks/offbeat/weird stuff but with more presence

    * * * * * : from 03h tot 05h, last few hour banger tracks

    i use itunes to build my playlists and traktor neatly reads all the information i put in itunes.

    SO; i’ve built smart playlists with the star ratings, gave every distinct song a comment, put in the genre so i can use that too.

    good stuff!

    I have too much music. (is there something like having too much music?) This helps me find that one song during a set 😀

  • sammond

    Nice one Mr Klay 🙂

  • Guest

    The tip about rating and intensity is a great one.  It gives important information in a visual way in an underused field that was just taking up screen space.

  • Sebastien Nicolas

    Hello, thank you for this great method. I have a question : Are you using itunes to class and tag or are you directly use traktor collection?

  • Alejandro Guerrero

    Great tip for organizing music….
    Many Thanks!
    Regards from Brazil!

  • Tom

    GREAT ARTICLE. really helped me out here, thanks

  • ManDingo

    There is always something to learn here. A couple of ideas to use form this article to make life even easier to organize my music further. Thanks Mr. Vienna!!

  • ManDingo

    There is always something to learn here. A couple of ideas to use form this article to make life even easier to organize my music further. Thanks Mr. Vienna!!

  • ManDingo

    What

  • ManDingo

    What

  • ManDingo

    ManDingo, is me!! Not you!

  • ManDingo

    ManDingo, is me!! Not you!

  • Jerrya

    ManDingo is like a primate, give blocks of colors then I’m good. I don’t know titles of my music, but give me the Cover Art and I know exactly what tune it is. If I don’t have cover Art, I will find it on the net and bring it in. All my music has Cover Art. Playlist, you can organize in Itunes with import and release dates, smart folder and smart list. I use it all!! My playlist titles are dates. For example, music from Beatport will be; beatport–>month–> day–> year–># of tracks. So, my list looks like the following; BTP AUG 7’11-38. Too easy!! You always know what month, day and year of your Playlist. If you buy a track today that’s a couple years older; (1) it will be on your just created beatport list, but (2) you can also have it filtered to a smart folder (or list) for that particular year. And (3), you can go further and have any track filtered to a particular genre of music. That’s three places your track will go to once purchased and downloaded; Your current purchased list, the folder of that year, and the genre of music. And you only have to set things up once in Itunes and it will do the rest for you. After the year is up, and knowing that the tracks on my playlist have all been filtered to my smart folders and smart lists to there respected years and genres, I delete all playlist and start fresh with the new year. My smart folders go by year, and when you click on a certain year it opens up to sub-categories of smart lists of different genres of that year. And within those sub-category smart list, lets say, my deep house list, I have similar to your star rating, but I see them as level one through three. It starts with level 1 (1star) and moves on to level 2 and level 3…all based on the intensity of the music. But, with that said, I still need art work, otherwise I’m lost (not really, but you know what I mean-I need art work). That’s why I import all my Itunes music playlists from Itunes to Traktor, where; tah dah…I see colors!! Happy happy happy!!! And also, the best thing I could’ve done for my computer (Mac) is to export all my music and playlists to an external drive and remove (delete) all the music from my Mac. My Mac lost so much weight and is thanking me much by running all applications like a dream. I’ve gained half the space back for my Hard Drive. Woot woot!!!

    • ManDingo

      ManDingo

    • ManDingo

      ManDingo

  • Jerrya

    ManDingo is like a primate, give blocks of colors then I’m good. I don’t know titles of my music, but give me the Cover Art and I know exactly what tune it is. If I don’t have cover Art, I will find it on the net and bring it in. All my music has Cover Art. Playlist, you can organize in Itunes with import and release dates, smart folder and smart list. I use it all!! My playlist titles are dates. For example, music from Beatport will be; beatport–>month–> day–> year–># of tracks. So, my list looks like the following; BTP AUG 7’11-38. Too easy!! You always know what month, day and year of your Playlist. If you buy a track today that’s a couple years older; (1) it will be on your just created beatport list, but (2) you can also have it filtered to a smart folder (or list) for that particular year. And (3), you can go further and have any track filtered to a particular genre of music. That’s three places your track will go to once purchased and downloaded; Your current purchased list, the folder of that year, and the genre of music. And you only have to set things up once in Itunes and it will do the rest for you. After the year is up, and knowing that the tracks on my playlist have all been filtered to my smart folders and smart lists to there respected years and genres, I delete all playlist and start fresh with the new year. My smart folders go by year, and when you click on a certain year it opens up to sub-categories of smart lists of different genres of that year. And within those sub-category smart list, lets say, my deep house list, I have similar to your star rating, but I see them as level one through three. It starts with level 1 (1star) and moves on to level 2 and level 3…all based on the intensity of the music. But, with that said, I still need art work, otherwise I’m lost (not really, but you know what I mean-I need art work). That’s why I import all my Itunes music playlists from Itunes to Traktor, where; tah dah…I see colors!! Happy happy happy!!! And also, the best thing I could’ve done for my computer (Mac) is to export all my music and playlists to an external drive and remove (delete) all the music from my Mac. My Mac lost so much weight and is thanking me much by running all applications like a dream. I’ve gained half the space back for my Hard Drive. Woot woot!!!

  • RyanJ

    Totally  would love colour coding features in Traktor as well as use of the ‘mood’ mp3 tag and show this up in a column for the ultimate library. Would make finding all the red hot, upbeat / quirky tracks a cinch.

  • RyanJ

    Totally  would love colour coding features in Traktor as well as use of the ‘mood’ mp3 tag and show this up in a column for the ultimate library. Would make finding all the red hot, upbeat / quirky tracks a cinch.

  • RyanJ

    Totally  would love colour coding features in Traktor as well as use of the ‘mood’ mp3 tag and show this up in a column for the ultimate library. Would make finding all the red hot, upbeat / quirky tracks a cinch.

  • RyanJ

    Totally  would love colour coding features in Traktor as well as use of the ‘mood’ mp3 tag and show this up in a column for the ultimate library. Would make finding all the red hot, upbeat / quirky tracks a cinch.

  • Anonymous

    Btw, the traktor pain is really evident if you use a midi fighter in simple mode… Because the “select/load next” uses traktor “track collection” which is pointless if iTunes is your master DB.

  • Anonymous

    Btw, the traktor pain is really evident if you use a midi fighter in simple mode… Because the “select/load next” uses traktor “track collection” which is pointless if iTunes is your master DB.

  • Anonymous

    Btw, the traktor pain is really evident if you use a midi fighter in simple mode… Because the “select/load next” uses traktor “track collection” which is pointless if iTunes is your master DB.

  • Anonymous

    Btw, the traktor pain is really evident if you use a midi fighter in simple mode… Because the “select/load next” uses traktor “track collection” which is pointless if iTunes is your master DB.

  • Anonymous

    Great tips, i used some, but some handy new ones too…

    Anyone know why traktor can pull ratings from iTunes & Serato still doesn’t? Major pain in the arse cause I use comments with XXXXX to duplicate the rating field from searches…of course then you can’t use comments for anything else… Serato says can’t be done, but clearly it can, as I see when using traktor Kontrol.

    The reciprocating pain in the ass from traktor is that it copies/refs your files from iTunes by importing some ref marker into it’s library…if you clean this out periodically, it then has to reimport all the time, or on play…really clumsy…

    Any tips on these appreciated..

    W

  • Anonymous

    Great tips, i used some, but some handy new ones too…

    Anyone know why traktor can pull ratings from iTunes & Serato still doesn’t? Major pain in the arse cause I use comments with XXXXX to duplicate the rating field from searches…of course then you can’t use comments for anything else… Serato says can’t be done, but clearly it can, as I see when using traktor Kontrol.

    The reciprocating pain in the ass from traktor is that it copies/refs your files from iTunes by importing some ref marker into it’s library…if you clean this out periodically, it then has to reimport all the time, or on play…really clumsy…

    Any tips on these appreciated..

    W

  • Anonymous

    Great tips, i used some, but some handy new ones too…

    Anyone know why traktor can pull ratings from iTunes & Serato still doesn’t? Major pain in the arse cause I use comments with XXXXX to duplicate the rating field from searches…of course then you can’t use comments for anything else… Serato says can’t be done, but clearly it can, as I see when using traktor Kontrol.

    The reciprocating pain in the ass from traktor is that it copies/refs your files from iTunes by importing some ref marker into it’s library…if you clean this out periodically, it then has to reimport all the time, or on play…really clumsy…

    Any tips on these appreciated..

    W

  • Anonymous

    Great tips, i used some, but some handy new ones too…

    Anyone know why traktor can pull ratings from iTunes & Serato still doesn’t? Major pain in the arse cause I use comments with XXXXX to duplicate the rating field from searches…of course then you can’t use comments for anything else… Serato says can’t be done, but clearly it can, as I see when using traktor Kontrol.

    The reciprocating pain in the ass from traktor is that it copies/refs your files from iTunes by importing some ref marker into it’s library…if you clean this out periodically, it then has to reimport all the time, or on play…really clumsy…

    Any tips on these appreciated..

    W

  • Ian Wyatt

    Marcus, Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!! I have been going crazy for a while now thinking of new ways to sort out my music digitally since abandoning the vinyl/CDs a few years ago. This is a HUGE help for me. 20 years of collecting vinyl and cds are over for me as I am now 100 % digital. I can’t tell you how I have racked my brains trying every which way (probably more complicated than needed) to sort and organize the collection into “virtual crates”. This is awesome. Cheers!! 

  • Ian Wyatt

    Marcus, Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!! I have been going crazy for a while now thinking of new ways to sort out my music digitally since abandoning the vinyl/CDs a few years ago. This is a HUGE help for me. 20 years of collecting vinyl and cds are over for me as I am now 100 % digital. I can’t tell you how I have racked my brains trying every which way (probably more complicated than needed) to sort and organize the collection into “virtual crates”. This is awesome. Cheers!! 

  • Ian Wyatt

    Marcus, Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!! I have been going crazy for a while now thinking of new ways to sort out my music digitally since abandoning the vinyl/CDs a few years ago. This is a HUGE help for me. 20 years of collecting vinyl and cds are over for me as I am now 100 % digital. I can’t tell you how I have racked my brains trying every which way (probably more complicated than needed) to sort and organize the collection into “virtual crates”. This is awesome. Cheers!! 

  • Ian Wyatt

    Marcus, Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!! I have been going crazy for a while now thinking of new ways to sort out my music digitally since abandoning the vinyl/CDs a few years ago. This is a HUGE help for me. 20 years of collecting vinyl and cds are over for me as I am now 100 % digital. I can’t tell you how I have racked my brains trying every which way (probably more complicated than needed) to sort and organize the collection into “virtual crates”. This is awesome. Cheers!! 

  • Johnny

    My two cents : for any track that I like, I add an “*” at the end of track name. In Itunes, I can make dynamic playlist with all the * tracks and search for all * tracks in any software with searching fields.

  • Djthots

    5 personal fav
    4 top40 banger, play at peak set
    3 top40 good well known trks
    2 back up trks for long sets
    1 crap but must keep to make money lol
    0 is a duplicate to be deleted with the rest of dups

    In genre feilds i use [vl or [dh wich represent vocal and dance house. U can just keep addin as needed, [vl [po [dh, vocal pop dance house. “[” allows me to quikly find genres in the search field or smart crates/folders, without pullin up other fields im not intrested in. I also add [5, [4, ect. So can make/ search for [4 [ac [vl [po [dh (4 star acapella vocal pop dance house). U sometimes need to place “:” or “;” inbetween dependin on ur operatin sys and or software

    I used rapid evolution to stamp the keys into the comment section along with tha bpm, so i can organize by key>bpm , bcuz serato doesnt allow more than one section to b organized by.

    A#m – 100
    A#m – 101

  • worm

    The only time I have a problem with using stars to rate tracks is when I download an album, EP, etc because if I rate one track it rates them all… Anyone have a way around this?

  • Anselm

    I remember somebody on the NI forum used a special technique like this for the comments, he was splitting up several properties like “melodic”, “hard beat” into MX- or BX-elements, where x was a number of 1-5. He wrote down these into the comments.

    First this might be a bit complicated, but for automatic playlists and for search this – from my pov – shows far more usability than using whole words. It’s only a matter of time, that u get used to this.

    Though until now I use nothing like that, I only sort into lots of subgenres and then sort by bpm to skip through my collection.

  • good one!

  • Thank you for the positive comments guys. Glad I was able to inspire some of you. Remeber not to spam the folders and delete some tracks (they´ll remain in the track collection) from time to time to keep them fresh. Imo thats important to keep the overview. And it ight be a bit expensive for this reason only but you can grab the app Beatler for the artwork tagging. Ean posted a review about this not so long ago. In case anyone has any more questions, feel free to ask. 🙂 Greetz, Marcus.

  • Nice article. Definitely useful. Haven’t thought of the DJ bag idea so I learned something new!

  • i love the “DJ bag” idea. I do everything else in this ariticle. will definitely add the “dj bag” folder to traktor. I suggest that everyone try to find album art for songs in there collections. there has been times i cant remember the title of the song but I do remember the album art. just put the name of the songs in google. then click “images” and a whole page of art work would pop out.

  • The whole idea of the DJ Bag Is just brilliant. Why hasn’t anyone posted about this before and better yet why are you not on the dev team for one of the major software companies. 

    The ideas in this post have reinvigorated me to finish a mapping and this has given me some fantastic ideas. Thank You! 

  • Tony

    Nice article,Sorting by import date or date created in traktor would be great for me but for some reason some tracks show this info and others dont inside of traktor. Anyone know why this is?

  • Cosmic023

    I tend to class as genre which have their own folder, then colour. Red=Bangers, Yellow=Uplifting Tracks, Green=Starters / Chilled tracks. Also tend to add a comment on the track, to remind me of what it’s like. (Perc/Vocal/Breaks ect…)

  • Griffff

    That’s pretty much the same way I categorise my tracks on iTunes. The most vital one to me is the comments section. In the middle of a set I can type ‘fast heavy techono’ or ‘deep chilled minimal’ to pull up a list of similar songs that has saved me multiple times.

    I also create playlists on iTunes using the date I downloaded them. I.e 2011/07/25 – Techno for example. This allows me to view the recent songs I have downloaded in order of genre and date which helps a lot

    • Jenhenry

      only way to operate well said !

    • Jenhenry

      only way to operate well said !

    • DJ Freesoul

      A tip.

      You can use date added field to do the same, so you dont have to manually add this information.

      You have a date added in iTunes (which is the date you added it to iTunes) and a date added in Traktor (or Serato, i use both). Keep in mind that the date added to Traktor is the date you move it into Traktor, and not the same as the date you purchased it in iTunes 🙂

    • Ivo

      Is it possible to search your track in the collection by comments these days? To my knowledge it wasn’t possible in previous versions of Traktor..

  • jprime

    Traktor File management system leaves something to be desired.  

    • jenhenry in the mix

      ya wot ???? try handling around buckets of vinyl to gigs my man. maybe you could use the work out ?

      you sort your music on itunes simples. 

      and once again lame comment jprime !

    • jenhenry in the mix

      ya wot ???? try handling around buckets of vinyl to gigs my man. maybe you could use the work out ?

      you sort your music on itunes simples. 

      and once again lame comment jprime !

    • rikardonm

      agreed,
      for me it should sync with windows ratings as well, it would be an useful (for me, at least) extra feature.

  • Tom

    One should not underestimate the power of external software such as MP3ID-taggers. There’s no need to run a complex (maybe even database driven) catalog and tagging system within your DJ app, but running such a thing “offline” just for tagging and categorizing your music might be a useful thing. Inside your DJing software you see the MP3-tags then which you can use for sorting and searching without any additional system load. This also comes in handy, as you can tag your collection “casually” outside your DDJ-app just when listening to music.

  • I remember a tip about using the comments section to indicate which sample was used in it. 

  • Anonymous

    Hey, I wrote a reply this morning and it said it would have to be moderated, but, my reply still isn’t here and there are newer answers. What was/ is wrong with my reply?

    • Anonymous

      Ok, comment is in. Thanks.

      scamo

  • Love it.. great article 🙂

  • J Murphy

    This is really helpful, I’ve been trying different organization “schemes” but haven’t found a system i’ve really liked. This gives me some really good ideas, thanks!

  • Joaquin

    I use similar system with iTunes which is well integrated in Traktor and Torq. 
    The star rating works well in combination with genre-tags and import date. So i have different intelligent playlists with different genres (techno, techhouse, house, techno all time classics, sample, loops, acapellas) and they are sorted by star-ratings and import date. For samples and acapellas, is use the comment section to write names of tracks which fit to the acapella (in tempo, key…) inside. 
    And like the author, i use one intelligent “DJ-Bag” playlist for gigs. It has e.g. all 4 and 5 star techhouse, deephouse and house tracks, sorted by import date. And if i have a more techno-focused event…i can add those top-tracks in a minute. Or I only have one hour of playtime and the crowd wants to rock? No problem, just one klick and throw out the 4 star and lower tracks.

     It’s great but you have to take care of your tagging. When I started with it 2 years ago it was hard to make all my track collection consistent. But the work was worth it! You have a lot of opportunities to prepared for a gig in minutes.

  • souf

    The stars scheme is good. I have done something similar, but with folders labelled ‘type 1’, ‘type 2’ and ‘type 3’ and have added vol.1, vol.2, 3, 4, 5, etc… next to each. Requires less id tagging, and I can easily drag and drop the files into folders.
    Generally the type 1 would be one stars, and so on. Also I give each folder certain key words, such as ‘percussions’, ‘ticktocks’, ‘melody cocktail’, ‘pace it down’…whatever helps me keep a bunch of similar tracks in one folder. More importantly, my type 2’s are generally the house and techhouse tracks, and type 3s are the techno (and some electrohouse). This way i just navigate through the folders quickly to get a certain type of track that I need…

  • Mylestec

    I was using the star rating for a while too… but I found it very easy in iTunes to accidentally click and change the star rating.. Now I put numbers in the comment field for this purpose.

  • Hafa

    I use the star rating scheme in almost the exact same fashion.  LOL’d when you stated “why would you leave a one star track in your collection!”  I thought the same exact thing.  

    The hardest part of digital music is the loss of album covers and record labels which help ID the song.  Agreed.

    The accumulation of playlists from prior mixes also helps.  I ALWAYS remember a track after I’ve used it in a recorded mix.  The archived playlists act as a “crate” of tracks from an experience I’ve had, so it’s easier to charge those tracks to how the vibe was when I played it.

  • Hardbitrocker

    perfect. I´m using the star – rating also. Especially in combination with the intelligent playlist of iTunes which makes it very easy to sort new tracks on the road with the iPod/iPhone …..

    • Innerdemond

      You hit the nail on the head! Stars combined with smart playlist allows you to leave your laptop behind. Who wants to stay indoors when the sun I shining? iPod and stars all the way!

  • Marinelli

    Great tips! I would suggest to put the comments between dashs.
    For example i tag pure drumbeats with “-beat-“. If you don’t you’ll get many useless search results of tracks that have “beat” in the title”.

    A typical comment in my library looks like this:
    -beat-shuffle-vinyl-adjusted by iVolume-

    • GJes

      How about quote marks (“”)?

    • GJes

      How about quote marks (“”)?

    • GJes

      How about quote marks (“”)?

    • GJes

      How about quote marks (“”)?

  • The most interesting question here is, for me, how many songs do you guys have in your DJ collection?

    When I made the transition from just being a guy with MP3s, to being a digital DJ my MP3 folder simply became my DJ collection. So there are a lot of full albums with songs I care nothing for, that are taking up unnecessary space.Now I try to save the music that I wouldn’t use for DJing, in a separate folder but I still have about 8000 songs to go through and figure out whether I should keep or toss.

    On a more related topic I think the best way to bound with your music is to just keep listening, keep DJing and keep the musical genres separate. I can easily do a 4 hour set without headphones.

  • lauti

    Lol “circo loco”

    i use the ratings as this

    0 star= not rated yet
    1 star= should be deleted from library
    2 star= horrible song but has to stay on library
    3 star= useful song
    4 star= good and useful song
    5 star= great song and i fucking love it/people love it

    that way, I know that if it has 0 stars, i haven’t tested the song
    if it has 1 star, it has to be deleted (specially good for when you want to clean up your library and purge many songs) and etc

    another good tip: Use trainspotter, you can have dynamic playlists with MANY rules

    • Anonymous

      Yeah I like this sort of rating too.

      2 stars is e.g. Cinema (Skrillex Remix) where a lot of my deep/prog house gets 3 stars as they are great to have between 4/5 tracks or to warm up the crowd as Klay recommends for the 1-3 star ratings.

    • Innerdemond

      Good way to go, so when you hear a crappy song on you iPod, give it 1 star, next time you sync it you can delete from your library and will never have to hear it again!

  • Sort of related question I have, if anyone has experienced this and has input, it would be appreciated.
    I save all my music to an external and every now and then I will play off of a friends laptop (we both use Traktor, saves space and such), but sometimes when I play, Traktor claims DRM protection and I cant access a solid chunk of my tracks.  When I buy from iTunes, Beatport, wherever, I save everything to my external harddrive as the first location and then move it to my desktop for backup storage.  Anyone know of how to get around this, I purchased the tracks, so I dont know why I’m getting hit with this problem.

    • The interesting part is that certainly since 2009 iTunes has been DRM free but I have experienced this myself. I believe it’s from the track not being in the place where Traktor has it logged

      i.e ExternalHarddrive/Music/iTunes/corkerz/KillerTrack.aac.
      If this isn’ the case, one thing you could try, would be to convert your AAC files to MP3 in iTunes. I do this to get my purchased tracks onto a USB stick so I can play them on a CDJ. It does make a double entry in the iTunes library but you can delete the mp3 via ‘show duplicates’.

    • Lauti

      I’m sure it’s not drm but rather something about the location of the file

      maybe, the external drive is mounted in a different letter (h:, instead of f:?)

  • Wala

    Loved the article!

  • Anonymous

    Nice articel and thanks. Great ideas, especially for a relative beginner like me. I’d also like point out another older but great article from DJTT chock full of tips and tricks from fellow DJs (see all the fantastic comments) about organizing tracks, which seems to be one of the “chores” a DJ has to do nowadays in order to be well prepared.:)

    http://www.djtechtools.com/2009/10/26/organize-your-music-by-track-type/

    These are interesting to me out of that old thread.

    scamo

  • ecka

    great article!! really usable info

  • yea thats pretty dope, I use a the comments to help figure out what songs to come best before or after that particular song. I also use it to determine the mood, my comments say “Gangsta Hard – trans: No Hands, Make it Rain” 

  • Great article, this is always a huge problem for me with my short attention span! 

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