DJing in the age of streaming
Right now, we’re respecting the essential requirement of social distancing. Like all of our friends in the music community, we look forward to being united once again on the dancefloor. In the meantime, why not experiment with incorporating streaming into your mixes? Here’s a quick overview of what you need to know.
Streaming has transformed the wider music industry in the past decade and a half. It's overtaken both downloads and sales of CDs and vinyl, defining the way an entire generation approaches music and media. Now, it's making waves in the DJ world too.
If you're thinking about including streamed tracks in your mixes and livestreamed performances, here are some key points to consider.
EXPAND YOUR MUSIC LIBRARY
With streaming, there's almost no limit to the size of your music collection. A staggeringly huge number of tracks, in nearly every genre, are right at your fingertips. If you're just starting out as a DJ, streaming allows you to easily figure out what you want to play. You can experiment, try different genres and styles, and see what kind of sound works for you.
The same goes for more experienced DJs; streaming allows you to try out new tracks on a live audience, without committing to buying them – a cost that can quickly add up. And, when you stream tracks, you also do a good deed for the music industry. Because streaming has the potential to enable a more accurate picture of song usage in live performances, it could lead to the fairer distribution of royalties for producers and artists.
Subscription services Beatport and SoundCloud GO+ are supported by rekordbox, giving you access to millions of tracks, and with the latest ver. 6.0.1 update you can also choose from the Beatsource catalog – perfect for open-format DJing.
FREEDOM AND FLEXIBILITY
Streaming broadens your options if you're a mobile DJ playing small venues and events like bars, parties, and weddings. For now, we should all respect social distancing, and stick to livestreaming performances. But once we’re back on the dancefloor, you’ll be able to take any request from the crowd, and if the party loses energy, easily switch genres to get people moving again.
BUT WHAT ABOUT WI-FI?
A much-discussed issue with streaming is the risk of not having access to data in clubs and venues; a non-issue while social distancing, but still worth thinking about before you try out streaming. Many places have Wi-Fi, and Beatport Professional allows you to save a limited number of files to your hard drive, further reducing the risks of any embarrassing disruptions while performing.
It's also worth noting that high-speed 5G technology is on the cusp of being widely adopted, which will make streamed DJing more reliable..
SEAMLESSLY MIX STREAMED TRACKS WITH THE REST OF YOUR COLLECTION
You can prepare streamed tracks in rekordbox using a host of advanced features. The software analyzes the BPM, key, and waveform of any streamed track, and you can set and save Hot Cues and loops. So, you can seamlessly mix streamed and locally stored tracks when performing with rekordbox and a compatible multi player or controller.
With the recently released rekordbox ver. 6.0.1, you can also create mixed playlists of streamed and locally saved tracks. Keep in mind though, currently, you can't record DJ sets when playing streamed tracks.
IS IT THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR YOU?
Maybe you don't actually want or need a near-infinite musical collection. Less choice can sometimes inspire more creativity. The heart of DJing is about picking tracks and having an intuitive sense of when the time is right to play them, and that’s just as true for a livestreamed set.
Some DJs find track selection is easier when every piece of vinyl in their collection is carefully curated. Others love the near-limitless choice and adaptability offered by streaming and downloads.
New technology offers DJs fresh ways to pick great tracks and play them at the perfect moment, for maximum effect. Streaming is arguably just another way for DJs to do what they've always done.