Have you ever wondered how DJs are able to play so much music? Where do they get all this music from? Do they have to pay for every song that they play? When I just started my DJing journey, I was wondering the exact same thing. Since then I’ve collected thousands of songs that I personally DJ with. Today I’m going to share with you all the places that DJs search, find and download their music from.
DJs download and stream their music. They use DJ record pools to download music and use music streaming services to stream music. Downloaded music files are uploaded to their DJ software. Music streaming services are connected with their DJ software so they can stream all songs directly.
Some DJs also get a small percentage of their music collection from sources like iTunes, CDs, or other mp3 download sites. Mostly because the particular song is not available on the previously mentioned sources.
What Are DJ Record Pools
DJ record pools are music platforms specifically created for performers that need music to perform, like DJs. These platforms are filled with mp3s that are downloadable for every subscriber.
These record pools are also used a lot by producers of music to test their newly created pieces of music. They upload their new songs to DJ pools, hoping they get downloaded and played in public places, like clubs.
Some of the most popular DJ record pools are:
- BPM Music
- Club Killers
- Digital DJ Pool
- Heavy Hits
- Promo Only
DJ pools distinguish themselves from other DJ record pools by specialising in specific genres. So DJs subscribe to a specific DJ pool based on what genre they prefer to DJ with. Some DJs are open format DJs. They often want some of all available genres. Thankfully some record pools offer a good selection of songs in all DJ genres.
If you want to know more about DJ record pools, you can learn more about them in my Beginners guide to DJ Pools.
Music Streaming Services for DJs
Music streaming services are much more familiar than record pools. Especially since Spotify came into the world. DJs use streaming services to stream music directly from the streaming service through their DJ software, and blast it through their speakers.
The only downside to streaming services is that you need a working internet connection. If the internet connection for some reason fails, during a live DJ gig, you’re going to have a problem. I always have music files as well as streaming music, so I always have music to DJ with.
There are a lot of good and very popular streaming services. However, not all streaming services can be linked with good and popular DJ software, including Spotify and Apple Music.
Fortunately, there are more great music streaming services that can be easily linked. Some of these music streaming services are:
DJs can also easily DJ with iTunes, by linking their iTunes account to their DJ software like Serato DJ Pro and Rekordbox.
I personally used my iTunes collection when I first started DJing. I already purchased those songs, so it was a quick and easy way to start DJing when I didn’t have any record pool or music streaming service subscription yet.
If you would like to know how to DJ with Tidal or iTunes, you can read these articles:
Do DJs Buy All Their Music?
DJs don’t buy every song they play, but pay a monthly fee to get access to the range of music in record pools or streaming services. Except for music from mp3 download sites like iTunes, Amazon, and 7Digital, these songs are all bought separately.
Monthly subscription fees of DJ record pools and music streaming services can range anywhere from $10-$70 and higher.
Besides digital music, there are also DJs that use Vinyl. DJs get Vinyl music from the same places as non-DJs do. Even stores like Amazon, BestBuy and Target sell Vinyl records.
Some DJs also rip old CDs to convert them into digital music. It’s a cheap way of growing a DJs music collection.
Where Do DJs Get Music for Free?
There are places where DJs go to find free music. Like there are record pools where you’ll have to pay a monthly fee, there are also record pools where it’s free to register and download songs.
Some places where DJs go to download music free of charge:
- Free Music Archive
Some DJs choose to get free music from ripping music from youtube videos. However, besides the fact that this is illegal, it also results in poor quality music. Real DJs support artists, so no real DJ gets their songs from ripping Youtube Music.
Other ways that DJs get their music free of charge is by trial subscriptions.
Soundcloud offers a free 30 trial. Part of the music collection on SoundCloud is then free to download. These songs have been marked downloadable by the creator of the song.
DJs search and download songs by searching in the search bar at the top of the page or just scrolling through the music collection on SoundCloud.
Tidal also offers a 30 day trial and can also be connected to DJ Software. With a great music collection available, Tidal is my personal favorite.
Tidal is available as a web player but can also be downloaded as an application on your laptop or computer.
A 30 day trial of this music streaming service will offer 30 days of access to more than 7 million tracks. Connected to DJ software in no time, so a good source of music for DJs.
Also available for a 30 day tria.l A music streaming service created for DJs, in some ways different from a music streaming service like Spotify and Apple Music.
Beatport includes a lot of different versions of songs, like extended mixes and can be integrated with most DJs software.
How DJs Store and Organize Music
DJs that DJ with mp3 files often will have an external storage device, which they can plug-in to their laptop when they need the music. For streaming services, of course, you don’t need storage because the files are not downloaded but streamed directly.
With both music files and streaming music, organizing music will be the same. Within all DJ software programs DJs have the option of creating folders, called crates. They can also create playlists. Crates and playlists can be named anything they want.
A lot of DJs organize their music collection by genre. Some DJs just have specific playlists for specific events.
Can DJs Play Any Music They Want?
DJs can legally play any music they want as long as the music was obtained in an illegal way. Downloading music from DJ record pools and streaming music from music streaming services is completely legal, so DJs can play any song they want from those sources.
When DJs play in clubs, bars and restaurants, it’s not the DJ that needs a license, but the venue they’re playing at needs licensing.
Also, the places where DJs download their music, have bought the right to share the music with their subscribers. This way the artists still get paid for their music and receive payment for their creations.
Do All DJs Produce Their Own Music?
Someone that produces his own music is called a music producer, often confused with DJs, who don’t produce their own music, but play other peoples music.
Some DJs, however, produce music and DJ with their own music, but also DJ with other people’s music.
A lot of music producers started their careers as a DJ, like DJ Tiesto and Martin Garrix, but are now famous for their music producing talent.
How Do DJs Make Their Own Music?
DJs can create their own versions of existing songs by creating different edits like remixes or mashups. Sometimes DJs add an intro to a song to make it a little bit easier to DJ with.
However, there is a big difference between remixes, or editing existing songs and producing your own unique track.
Music producers create their own unique tracks by using music producing computer software like Ableton or FL Studio, and (digital) instruments like MIDI controllers.