At the end of the day, no matter what any company tries to sell you, the songs you play make or break the dancefloor. All the cool tricks in the world don’t matter if you can’t get great songs. So where can you get those hot new tracks every week? Where can you get the special DJ remixes and dance tracks that keep your inspiration fresh and the crowds begging for more? Well, those remain the burning questions in this new era of DJing. The market is certainly growing, as new sites seem to pop up every day offering MP3 sales. There are more excellent shops than I have space to include, but here are a few that really stand out with great tunes and easy-to-use interfaces.
Leave your three-record limits in the dust and dig through the impressive archives of these rapidly expanding stores. They are excellent for exploring the back catalog of your favorite labels. You will find many tracks that are impossible to find on vinyl.
Beatport came out ahead by quickly signing up an extensive list of the electronic-music scene’s best labels. Most of the other sites have been playing catch-up ever since. Beatport has a fantastic site interface — with long samples of each song — that is easy to scroll through, just like you are previewing a record. The ability to buy any of the songs in high-quality CD format is also huge for those who won’t compromise with MP3.
The downsides are prices as high as $2.50 per song. So if you buy the full EP, that’s almost as much as you would have paid for the record. There are also regional restrictions; you can’t buy hit records from larger labels in certain areas of the world. For instance, you can’t buy “Love Generation” by Bob Sinclair in much of the United States. Bogus!
Bleep is geared toward those in favor of more diverse fare such as IDM, glitch-hop and indie-rock. Bleep has a fantastic collection of obscure and well-known labels from left field. Everyone from Audiomatique to Warp is represented. Here, you can find the more underground deep-house and hip-hop that is hard to find elsewhere. Bleep has an excellent interface that is simple and uncluttered, as well as an easy-to-use audio player.
As for the downsides, Bleep has no genre categorization, so it’s just like the old days — you have to really know and search for your favorite artists and labels by name. You can prelisten to the entire song, but it fades out and has to be restarted after 30 seconds.