beaTunes 4: Semantic Navigation, Improved DJ Library Management Tools

Tagtraum Industries announced today the release of an update to their beaTunes software. beaTunes 4 is more than just key detection with the added features of a media player and improvements to song analysis. Read on for more about how beaTunes 4 overhauled the UI, improved music algorithms, and changed the way song structure is analyzed.

Improved UI and Semantic Navigation

Probably the most noticeable feature of beaTunes 4 is the new UI which looks a lot cleaner compared to beaTunes 3.5 and it is apparent that a year’s worth of work went into it. The software itself has a feel similar to iTunes without mimicking the Apple software too heavily.

Upon the first run of beaTunes, the software begins by offering solutions to fixing incorrect and mismatched ID3 data which is perfect for those DJ pool tracks which rarely contain accurate information.

The biggest change is the ability to break down song and navigate the structure, allowing the user to scrub through a song semantically. Most songs follow a set structure (intro, verse, chorus, ect.) and beaTunes reads each song to segment the track into pieces. A notable feature being “Peek” which portions the song into different sections and starts playback on the chorus or verse, which ever one is more prominent. The software has only been released for a few hours so many testing and reviews are still to surface however in the video above we can see how “Peek” breaks the song structure of Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” is exploited in beaTunes 4.

Note: This feature works best with structured tracks, i.e. pop songs. That awesome, crazy remix you found on Soundcloud probably won’t be segmented very well.

Expanded and Improved Song Analysis

Find and replace in your library! Regex for the win.

A DJ relies on the important information of BPM detection to keep the mix in tempo, key detection to play harmonically, and loudness to avoid blowing out their headphones. Tagtraum seemed to have taken a lot of time since the last release to ensure whether the user is an intense audiophile or professional DJ that beaTunes 4 offers improvement in all these categories and more:

  • ReplayGain analysis and standardizing of ID3 tag information to adjust loudness via iTunes Soundcheck
  • Musical key detection including tuning
  • Seamless iTunes integration (optional)
  • Automatic BPM detection with better algorithms
  • Annotated semantic navigation
  • Mood tagging
  • Duplicated track finder
  • Customization track suggesting system

beaTunes 4 is the latest library management software for DJs that brings new elements beyond simple BPM and key detection. beaTunes’ increased functionality has the potential to aid a DJ in creating a set that not only blends together but one that also adds complexity and feeling.

If you are looking for a new solution to fix all those track IDs, break down song structure, and all while working with your iTunes library, beaTunes might be for you. You can download a trial via beaTunes’ website and is currently available for OS X, Windows 32-bit, and Windows 64-bit. Access to the full version of the software is available for $34.95 and upgrade from beaTunes 3.x.x is only $11.95

What are your thoughts on beaTunes 4 and Tagtraums song segmentation? What is your solution for library management and analysis?

beatunesbeatunes 4key detectionlibrary managementpeeksong analysis
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  • Dennis Parrott

    A few comments were taking aim at iTunes doing undesirable things to their tags and so on. One guy says “watch for my script”… Everybody wants iTunes to either get better or just get out of the way. (I’m in the “get out of the way” camp myself!)

    The sad fact of life is that for users of dJay or Traktor we are kind of stuck with iTunes at the core of our music library _particularly_ IF we use the iPad versions of those programs (and __especially__ if we use Traktor…).

    The reason is that to get music into dJay or Traktor on the iPad you MUST USE iTUNES. There is no negotiation, no workaround. One small one — you can download a file from a Seagate Wireless Plus hard drive your iPad is connected to and drop it directly into a deck in dJay and play it but the file does not remain in dJay after you remove it from the deck… With Traktor DJ you can’t do that at all since TDJ does not support the “open in…” action necessary to get a file from the downloader to TDJ.

    Considering that iTunes has become the groady kitchen sink of your Mac where (if you use an Apple mobile device…) every silly thing must transit through going to/from your iDevice, it has become a bloated monster bit of software. (I find scrolling through my one library a painful experience — it can be that slow) I think that I would prefer that DJ equipment and software vendors (like NI and algoriddim) would back off the tight integration with iTunes. iTunes is NOT that good a product anymore and having your vendor box you into a corner where you have to use iTunes just isn’t right.

    On the iDevices I want to have the ability to get songs into apps like dJay or Traktor on the fly. I don’t usually have the luxury of completely pre-planning a set and since I will play requests being able to snag a file (even while playing out) and putting it into the app to be played is important. Perhaps we need a “copy to…” or “move to…” operation in addition to “open in…”. Being able to move music into the program proper outside of iTunes would be HUGE.

    The other thing that I personally think would make a ton of sense is to break iTunes apart and build a separate iDevice sync program with much more flexibility. Make iTunes about MUSIC and ONLY MUSIC like it was and remove the bloated crap that manages movies and iBooks and syncing and whatever else out of the music librarian and player.

    beaTunes looks nice. If iTunes will play nice with it, maybe we’d have something…

    • Marco Hooghuis

      You just made the main argument why I don’t own anything made by apple.

  • Joe

    I’ve been using the updated Beatport Pro to replace Mixed in Key and another app I was using for tag management. Only thing it was missing was smart playlists.

    iTunes is constantly overwriting my tags on tracks after I tag in Beatport Pro, but it’s the only way to get smart playlists exported to Traktor. I’m gonna give this a try and hopefully my workflow could become just BP Pro + beaTunes and not have to worry about iTunes fudging all my tags.

    By the way, if there are any other Beatport Pro users, I have a project to correct the Key and Release date tags to be read correctly within Traktor. It also works with iTunes tags for fixing release dates so they read as the whole date and not just the year as they do now with iTunes tags to Traktor.

    Does require using the console but ruby is pre-installed on all Macs and shouldn’t be difficult to use.

    • killmedj

      Rad! I’ve been having issues with the whole BP pro tagging. At the end of the day though we wouldn’t need to faff around so much if Traktor had it’s shit together. At the moment I use Trainspotter 2 with iTunes and have been test driving BP Pro in the vain hope that it will solve my music library dilemmas, but I really wish I didm;t have to go to all this trouble. All I want are smart folders that can dynamically change with star ratings! And standardised tagging of course aaaaaany who just need to rant =)

      • Mark Smith

        Traktor Pro 3? I really hope!

    • Joe

      I don’t know where I got the idea this app would do smart playlists. It will show you transitions types between tracks in a playlist using icons for key change, genre change, tempo change, but it doesn’t generate playlists.

      The author of the makes a point in the FAQ to state how benchmarks show Java as fast as C++. That might be true of algorithmic benchmarks, but the UI framework this uses is dog slow. Scrolling the library would cause the audio playback to skip (garbage collector maybe). Changing between library and track inspection had considerable lag. Everything basically feels laggy on my quad core Mac with 12GB of ram and SSD.

      The metadata comes from mostly so would be better suited to hip hop and top 40 DJs. It wasn’t giving me much for techno.

      The library analyzer on the other hand did seem useful. Scanning of tracks is actually fast (just the UI is slow) and it did find a number of interesting issues, like tracks in the same album with different artwork or release date. That seems to be the only strong feature n this app. Mood tags that are already in my tags weren’t read and there’s no way to customize which id3 field to use for that.

      I think I’m going to have to write my own script to generate smart playlists via an iTunes formatted XML library, so look out for that.

      • Dean Zulueta

        Thanks for testing and coming back with results Joe! Sorry that beaTunes didn’t work for you. I’ll definitely look for your smart playlist script. Cheers!

      • SpacePixie

        Unfortunately Java is one of the only surefire ways to create apps that are truly cross platform PC and Mac… I guess that’s the price we have to pay to have the same functionality on both. I wonder if the PC version is any better?

  • mikefunk

    So this or Mixed in key? I have mixed in key but it just does key detection.

      • mikefunk

        Thanks. I’ve bought Mixed in Key and as long as I am not disappointed I am not impressed. It’s very simple program for a lot of money. 60 bucks just for key detection is rather steep. If somebody want’s to buy my license key for 35 Bucks, let me know.

        • Dean Zulueta

          Ouch. That is steep!

          For me personally, I find Beatport to be an excellent medium and then a lot of producers lately putting the key either in the description of the track or the meta data, which is nice.

          • Bis

            Dean, for a while I had trouble with Mixed in Key because it was messing with files that had multiple ID3 tag versions within. I finally figured out the importance of deleting all but one ID3 tag version: 2.3

            What format does beaTunes default to when it writes info?
            And do you have any suggestions for Serato users to better utilize the great visual info acquired by beaTunes in Serato (without keeping beaTunes open at the same time)?

            Thank you!

            PS: if you havent yet, please do implement iTunes-style Smart-Playlists! They are awesome! With your tagging capability, creating smart playlists automatically based on MOOD or such, would be amazing! If this happened my world would be complete and so many DJ’s would push for your database to be recognized and read by the major DJ software developers. iTunes is not progressing, and that is all that DJ software developers are allowing… beaTunes needs to become the new database/library standard!!!

          • Dean Zulueta

            Hi Bis,

            I believe Beatunes writes into the latest, 2.3. I know they are currently fixing attribute issues because record labels and artist write tags so differently, it is hard to not accidentally overwrite good information and re-organize incorrect or misleading information. For the visual info, I believe it is more for analysis in the software. What I do is use it to quickly learn the break down of the song and note the times. Then I make hot cues according to that information.

            Smart playlists are definitely a great tool! My issue is I need better management between my DJ library and total music library. I don’t like having multiple laptops so I always have my whole collection with me. BeaTunes, however, does a great job of laying everything out so I can better manage it. iTunes is perfect for the general consumer but for DJs, audiophiles, and music junkies, iTunes just isn’t enough!

  • Peter_Maxwell

    How good is the key detection?

      • Dean Zulueta

        That said, definitely worth downloading the demo and testing it out. 🙂

      • mikefunk

        That was old version. This one uses different algorithms so really DJTT should re-test it.

        • Dean Zulueta

          Completely agree.