Monday, March 18, 2013

"The State Of My Modern Music" or "Technology, Bitches!"

I began DJing in 1998. By 2004 I'd amassed a pretty sizable music collection, most of it in CDs, but plenty of vinyl and mp3s too. Katrina wiped that clean except for the mp3s.

I slowly began collecting tunes again through various channels, but buying CDs and vinyl was quickly becoming bulky and too expensive. I was moving toward digital.

When I lost my job last year and decided to move in with Jen, I got rid of my old desktop. I saved numerous large playlists to Spotify and decided in the spirit of trimming my possessions a bit, that I'd go even mp3 free and try to subsist entirely through Spotify. But Spotify doesn't have everything and once I started considering DJing again, I saw the flaw in that plan.

So, a few months and a lot of research later, I have this stuff MASTERED. My music collection isn't just back, it's dynamic, accurate, accessible and so 21st century that it should glow Tron blue. It is full on bad ass. This is how I did it:

Here's the list of the software I'm using.

Media Monkey
Google Play
MixMeister Fusion

1) Get your music! I get mine from a variety of sources: Amazon, Soulseek, blogs, etc. Fuck iTunes. Get it in mp3 format only and get it at at least 192kpbs (I like this rate for DJing. It's reasonable file sizes and there's no audible loss. Soulseek is great for finding weird, rare or remix tracks. Soulseek is free! (this is a file sharing progam - just sayin'.)

I use Spotify still - but I use the free version now and I use it as a way to screen new music. It's a fun way to find new bands or to hear new albums or listen to the occasional stuff that catches my fancy but I don't want to bother owning.

2) Clean it up! I Use Mp3Tag to clean up my metadata.  Tired of having 'The Sisters of Mercy' appear separately from 'Sisters of Mercy' in your media player? Don't like Nick Cave being listed as 'folk' in the genre category? This program will clean up all your metadata like gangbusters. I cleared out all the data and made a system that worked for me. I picked my own genres (all my music falls into only five categories based on my DJing styles), created a consistent naming convention and got rid of all the unnecessary data. Best of all, you don't have to do this one song at a time - it can do it all in batches! Mp3Tag is free!

3) Organize! I can't stand iTunes. I don't like their organization, their constant sales pitches, their DRM, none of it. I use Media Monkey. It's free, has a wonderfully clean interface, great ways to create playlists and doesn't feed me shit and call it steak.  Media Monkey is free!

4) Get on the cloud! Once I had all of my music organized, cleaned and ready to go, I uploaded it all to the cloud using Google Play. It's free for the first 20,000 songs! No DRM! Re-download your own songs anytime, anywhere! You can play your music from there as well which means anywhere you can log in to the net, you have all your music at your finger tips. The built in player can create playlists and has some other basic functionality. NEVER LOSE YOUR MUSIC AGAIN! Google Play is free!

5) Go Mobile! Google Play can be streamed to your phone, meaning your music is automatically, 'mobile', but Google doesn't play well with my iPhone, which means there's no actual app from Google. That means my player is just a Safari page. That problem was solved with gMusic, an app that works like gangbusters. Make playlists, import them from Google Play. Have every song you own on your phone without taking up any room at all! You can also choose to download songs from your Google Play account through the app to your phone so that they are available offline. gMusic is $1.99!

That's really all there is to it. I use MixMeister Fusion for DJing and creating mixes. Now I've got great access, mobility, security, and organization. All for $1.99 total.

I hope this helps even one of you frustrated music lovers out there!

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