Streaming music services in DJ sets may not be for everyone, but these services provide several benefits. Let’s look at what is available, how they can help, and which ones industry experts like best.
Music Streaming for a DJ is similar to what you use for personal music. However, it uses a cloud library instead of physical media. In other words, instead of music that you have preloaded or on vinyl or CD, you access it remotely for gigs.
Some services have DJ-Specific streaming tools that let DJs load tracks into their mixing app. DJs can then adjust things, like the playback BPM, save metadata and apply cue points. Of course, you can also slice or sample the track, too.
Per MusicRadar, several DJ applications offer cloud-based libraries to access tracks remotely. These include Rekordbox, Serato, VirtualDJ, Denon’s Engine DJ, Traktor, and Algoriddim Djay. Also, Rekordbox, Serato, and VirtualDJ have wider compatibility with streaming services such as Beatport LINK, Beatsource LINK, SoundCloud GO+, and Tidal/ By contrast, Denon’s Engine DJ allows users to connect their Dropbox account for cloud storage. Finally, Traktor works with just Beatport and Beatsource, while Algoriddim Djay offers compatibility with Tidal, Soundcloud, Beatport, and Beatsource for iOS.
So, why streaming? It’s a fair question. After all, some DJs prefer to play the music they purchased. That’s great, and more power to them. However, per Digital DJ Tips, there are several advantages to streaming music, including:
- Streaming services can lower entry barriers to DJing for new DJs who may not have an extensive music library. Using a streaming service makes it easier for new DJs to get started, allowing them to access their preferred music through their DJ software.
- It makes sense for those with a streaming service subscription to add it to their DJ software if it’s available. Adding streaming catalogs as a resource allows DJs to explore new genres without investing capital. DJs can try new music and mixes without tying up their cash.
- Streaming services help DJs handle requests and one-off DJ sets for the music they don’t have in their collection. By streaming the requested music, DJs can meet their client’s needs without having to purchase tracks that they may never use again.
- Streaming services can be a great addition to house parties and get-togethers. Instead of relying on smartphones and Bluetooth connections, having a proper DJ set-up with a streaming service allows everyone at the party to choose the songs they want to hear. Also, DJs can mix the music seamlessly.
What to Look for in Your Service
Before we get into the best services for DJing, it is essential to consider what you should look for in your music streaming service for DJs.
A DJ’s choice of streaming platform depends on the music library’s coverage and variety. Providers update their libraries frequently, so it’s vital to check their charts to gauge what’s likely to be available long-term. In addition, the cost of streaming plans and their perks, such as lossless audio quality or offline playback, are essential considerations.
Digital DJ Tips says DJs should be aware of a few cautions when streaming. Possibly the most significant consideration is the need for an internet connection if you cannot download music from your service. Think again if you assume you can use public Wi-Fi or your phone hotspot. Relying on these is not advisable, and certainly not at a gig.
Finally, our human frailties can play a role in poor outcomes. The temptation to bypass essential skills by relying solely on pre-made playlists provided by streaming services is real. This path could hinder a DJ’s growth and development. So, don’t; you are better than that.
The Which: What the Experts Say Are the Best Music Streaming Services for DJ Gigs
Digital DJ Tips had good things to say about all the services integrated into DJ software. However, they noted SoundCloud’s Go+ and DJ subscription has some great features. They said that the subscription tiers offer a vast amount of mainstream music, similar to other streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music (neither of which has an option for DJs). SoundCloud Go+ also provides access to the extensive collection of music uploaded by independent creators. This unique feature has attracted DJs who like to play new music upfront and remain underground. SoundCloud DJ, priced at $20, allows unlimited offline track storage for DJing, making it a more attractive option for DJs who can’t always rely on adequate internet access. In addition, it is compatible with various DJ software and hardware. Find out more: SoundCloud Go+ website.
Beatport LINK and Beatsource LINK
MusicRadar likes Beatport LINK and Beatsource LINK for several reasons:
- They are DJ-focused services that allow tight integration with DJ software and offer a generous library of tracks for offline use.
- Both have subscription tiers that primarily affect the number of tracks users can store offline and the streaming quality.
- Beatport LINK offers access to tracks from the Beatport store, while Beatsource sources its library from major and indie labels.
However, it is crucial to note that Beatport is better for purely electronic music DJs. At the same time, Beatsource is broader, with more cross-genre flexibility and handy playlists aimed at event DJs, specific genres, and decades. In addition, both services offer free trials for users to explore their libraries.
Gemtracks described Jay-Z’s Tidal as a well-known streaming DJ platform that provides standard, hi-fi, and master audio on any device and from anywhere. It has over 70 million ad-free songs, over 250,000 high-quality videos, interviews, and new releases. In addition, DJs can use Tidal to curate their playlists of songs and videos and import playlists from other streaming platforms. Tidal has two subscription plans: Premium and HiFi, with the latter offering high-quality sound and advanced features such as Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 reality audio. Tidal also offers a 60-day free trial for new subscribers.
So, What Should You Do with This?
While we are partial to DJ Pools as your primary music source, streaming has its place for DJs. Streaming allows you to access music that is stored remotely for gigs. Streaming also provides accessibility, the ability to explore new genres, the convenience of handling requests and one-off DJ sets, and its usefulness in house parties and get-togethers.
To use music streaming services effectively, DJs should follow best practices such as downloading playlists beforehand to avoid relying on an internet connection, investing in lossless audio quality for better sound, and subscribing to different services for personal use and DJing needs.
However, there are quite a few things to consider, like whether your software works with the streaming service and whether the tracks you are working with will still be there next month. There are a few possibilities, but the experts favor SoundCloud Go+, Beatport LINK and Beatsource LINK, and Tidal.
DJs should also consider the music library of the service they choose, and the cost and additional benefits offered. Ultimately, while streaming services can be a valuable addition to a DJ’s musical arsenal, they should not be a replacement for crucial skills such as music selection and curation.
Is cloud streaming a viable option for DJs? (2022). Available at: https://www.musicradar.com/news/cloud-streaming-DJ (Accessed: 27 February 2023).
Morse, P. The Best Music Streaming Services For DJs In 2023 – Digital DJ Tips (2023). Available at: https://www.digitaldjtips.com/best-music-streaming-services-for-djs/ (Accessed: 27 February 2023).
Paterson, J. (2022) Best Streaming Services For DJs 2023 – The Ultimate Guide – We Are Crossfader, We Are Crossfader – Learn How To DJ Online. Available at: https://wearecrossfader.co.uk/blog/best-streaming-services-for-djs-2022-the-ultimate-guide/ (Accessed: 27 February 2023).
20+ Best Streaming Services For DJs to Subscribe in 2023 – Gemtracks Beats (2023). Available at: https://www.gemtracks.com/guides/view.php?title=best-streaming-services-for-djs&id=1833#tidal (Accessed: 27 February 2023).