I’ve spent months crafting a set of DJ crates that will make my life a lot easier once the Covid restrictions have been lifted and we can get back to having live events and parties.
It’s been a tough year and a half for disc jockeys. Fortunately, I was able to do a few events during the pandemic including some small gatherings outside and one bar event. I’ve been able to keep my weekly radio show going by recording it from home and even doing a video edition. So, I never truly stopped DJing and I’m glad I was able to stay on top of things during this unprecedented time. The biggest project, however, was organizing my digital music library.
Here is how I did it . .
1. Back Up The Hard Drive
The first thing I did was make a copy of all the files I had on my hard drive. I did this in case I made a mistake with Step 3.
2. Organize By Genre
I made folders for each genre of music that I owned (adult contemporary, country, pop, rap, etc)
3. Prune Files
I deleted any album or song from that wasn’t at least a 320 kbps MP3 file. I kept .wav files and FLAC but ended up throwing out a lot of music that wasn’t the best quality to DJ with.
4. Create Folders for Every Style or Occasion You Could Think Of
The next thing I did was create folders for every style of music or special occasion that I could think of. I did this on my computer and not in my DJ program for a very important reason. I wanted to make sure my collection was future-proofed.
5. Future Proof
By having folders instead of crates in a DJ program, I can rest assured that I will never lose a song in its special organized place.
6. Build Chase Crates
I made over 60 crates that will help me to find the perfect song to play when I need it. I named these “Chase Crates” and they are the best-of-the-best songs for each occasion. Each folder has anywhere from a dozen to five hundred songs in it. These are all crowd-pleasers too. I didn’t leave any fluff or tracks that I wouldn’t want to play.
7. Name and Meta-Tag Everything
I named each folder “Chase Crate – Name” and made sure to give all of the songs in it genre tags and comments that will allow me to find them quickly and easily. For example, “Chase Crate – Pop 1980s” has the genre of pop80s. Also by naming them in this fashion, all of the pop folders will be come up in order by decade. I probably didn’t have to, but I made cover art for each album as well. You can see that in the cover image for this post.
8. Back-Up, Back-Up, Back-Up
I then backed-up my freshly organized DJ library to two external hard drives. This way, if one fails, I have a built in redundancy. I also backed things up digitally in a foolproof way.
9. Sync DJ Computer Library to the Cloud
I was able to sync my DJ computer library to the cloud. This way, if I make a change to any of the folders or files, it automatically saves that to the cloud. The best part of this is that when I add cue points in Serato, they are saved too.
10. Merge Files into Crates in the DJ Program
The only problem with this system is that I have multiple copies of the same song. For example, a great intro edit that fits into multiple Chase Crates. Since I don’t want to accidentally play the same song twice during an event, I deleted those duplicates and then made crates in my Serato software. This way I have only one copy of a song on my computer that fits into multiple crates. And if I accidentally delete a crate, I still have the folder with all the songs on it to easily create it again.
Take the Time and Get Your Library Perfect
I spent a long time doing all of this, but it will be worth it. Now, I don’t have to think as hard about what to play next. I have go-to crates that have been curated with care.