I have started to DJ a bit outside of my college club and I was wondering if you had any tips. The main things I am wondering are (1) once you have a music base, how do you organize it and (2) what is your main source for acquiring new music/discovering new music. I read what you said about acquiring music, but I'm just wondering if you pick from all of those sites equally (do you use jazz-online.com?) or do you have one you use most?My response:
My go-to source for finding tracks is definitely EMusic (followed by Amazon if it is not available on EMusic). I use jazz-online every now and again, especially if I am interested in exploring odd-ball tracks by a particular artist. For instance, I grabbed pretty much every Hot Lips Page off that site. He's got a fantastic rendition of St. James Infirmary that you should check out. I also buy a lot of music from current bands, either through BandCamp or directly from the artist webpages. When I'm at a weekend event with one or more good bands, I almost always buy some (or ALL) of their music.
As far as sources for finding out about new artists and music, I read blogs by other DJs and musicians (like Christian Bossert's, Sam Carroll's, Christian Frommelt's, Glenn Crytzer's, and of course Michael Steinman's). I listen to Hey Mr. Jesse and browse EMusic and Youtube. I've also found that reading about jazz musicians is a great way to discover new music--for instance, Count Basie has a fantastic autobiography, and there is a new biography of Louis Armstrong that is worth reading, and has a list of 30 essential Armstrong recordings.
Finally, as far as organization goes. I use iTunes to manage my music and JRiver Media Center to DJ. It's annoying to have to go back and forth, but I just can't work up the willpower to move everything over to JRiver. Regardless, I think that my organization scheme would be applicable to most music management software. I use the following fields: BPM (here's an online metronome), rating, comments, and grouping. I use the comment field to note anything peculiar about a track, such as an 8-minute introduction that can be skipped, or an extended drum solo. When I started out, I used the grouping field to describe the track as "lindy," "balboa," "blues," "charleston," etc. But as I gained experience, I realized that this was an inadequate (or irrelevant maybe) way to describe a tune. These days, I list the style of music (classic big band, small group swing, trad. jazz, modern combo) as well as whether there is a vocal (male and/or female) and any prominent instruments. Not that I list "clarinet" in every single Benny Goodman track, just anything that's not immediately obvious. I then create smart playlists that pull up styles, or I can search for tracks using the keywords that I've entered.
So there's my take. I'd be curious if there are other blogs or things that you find helpful. Leave a note in the comments!