There are only a handful of online DJ music stores out there – but still enough that it’s not always clear where DJs can look the best deals. We decided to take on the challenge for you, crunching the numbers to find out what the average prices of 320 MP3s and WAV tracks are on Beatport, Wasabeat, TrackItDown, Juno Download, Traxsource, WhatPeoplePlay, and Bleep. Keep reading to find out what sites to shop around and what type of prices to expect when buying DJ music.
A few weeks ago we covered an enterprising data scientist (and DJ) who did an analysis of Beatport’s music library versus Amazon’s – the results of which showed that Amazon skewed cheaper, but only if you were willing sacrifice bit rate. Commenters rightly suggested that an analysis of the actual pricing of stores for DJs might be a more interesting analysis. While we didn’t write a Java script to pull thousands of data points, we have collected a significant amount of data that gives some good indications about what pricing is like.
Each DJ music store has their own advantages and disadvantages, features, selection, unique user interfaces, etc – and all of them are generally positive experiences. But this article isn’t about the experience – it’s purely about price. Here’s what we found:
DJ Music Store Price Comparison: Results + Data
A few very important notes:
- Bleep tends to be a very specialized, highly-curated store (see how it holds up way less well in the “Track Availability” section below).
- Bleep also occasionally offers 24-bit WAV files, priced at a higher price (usually $2.19) than WAV / FLAC files. This store is pretty awesome – we wish their selection was wider, but it’s more like a real online record store instead of a supermarket of music.
- Most stores have a flat fee for increasing to lossless – 75¢ on Beatport, 30¢ on Wasasbeat, etc.
- Beatport is absolutely the “one stop shop” for many DJs for a few other factors not reflected in this graphic – keep reading to find out what else might be important.
How did this analysis work? In addition to a handful of tracks from my own personal shopping for a recent DJ gig, I wanted to have a data set that allowed every store to have at least 10 tracks to average out. In the analysis, I’ve included the top 10 tracks from each store’s top selling list (if the songs repeated at all, I skipped the repeating tracks. For Bleep, which lumps Tracks and Releases into one list, individual tracks were selected off of each album on the Top Downloads list). In total I collected prices and availability data on 80 tracks from various genres, most of which are recent releases.
Want to see the data that we collected for this price comparison? We’ve made the Google Sheet publicly viewable here.
Notes on the data: All data was collected on March 13th, 2016 – prices and availability will change. Obviously even more data points would be ideal (although 80 is a solid foundation), so if you think you could help with automating this process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org!
Beatport Coupon Codes: One of the important things to consider is that prices for DJ music stores are often dramatically changed with regular coupon codes. Based on posts around the web, on dedicated Facebook groups, and on DJ forums, Beatport has had a coupon deal going for at least 50% of the year over the last two years. These coupons average about 10% – 15% off, although sometimes (particularly during November) they can go higher. While you can’t always rely on there being an active coupon (for instance, right now there is no active Beatport coupon that we’ve seen), it is a common enough occurence that many DJs can expect their pricing
What About Track Availability?
Why are some of these stores like Bleep, WPP, and Wasabeat so much cheaper? There’s a number of reasons, but one of them is that they tend to have much smaller libraries. This is a big part of why a site like Beatport is so useful – it has a bigger library than most others. Here’s what percentage of the songs used in this analysis were available on each site:
- Beatport: 80%
- Juno Download: 78.75%
- TrackItDown: 55%
- Traxsource: 55%
- Wasabeat: 43.75
- WhatPeoplePlay: 40%
- Bleep: 16.25%
Why Isn’t iTunes or Amazon Included?
We know that two of the most popular online stores for buying music are absent from this analysis – and the answer is very simple: bit rate. Neither of these stores typically sell music at the minimum accepted bit rate (320 kbps) for music that you would DJ with. Ye
s, some iTunes tracks are available in AAC via iTunes Plus/Match, but most of them are not. Ultimately, these stores are made for music consumers, not for DJs, and as such we’ve not included them in this analysis.
Editor’s Update: Whoops, looks like iTunes has been selling AAC files for a while now. We’ll update the article when we get a chance to do all 80 tracks on iTunes.
However, there might be other stores that we’ve missed out on that deserve to be added to this comparison – if you know of some, let us know in the comments! Or even copy the spreadsheet data and make your own analysis of the provided tracks to see how other stores fair.
Have your own opinions about the prices on online digital DJ music stores? Let us know in the comments.