In a digital age where everything is streamed over the internet rather than bought at the shops, it’s no surprise that the creators of DJ software are racing to implement streaming support. But depending on what streaming service you already have, or what genre of music you want to DJ your choice of software might be limited. On the other hand, you may be comfortable with your DJ software and want to add streaming to your existing library. In this guide you’ll find everything you need to know about DJ streaming in 2019!
Which software works with my streaming service?
When comparing plans, it’s worth noting many of these services offer family plans for a little extra per month which might be better value for money should your family want to share the plan with you. Also remember that the AAC format holds better quality audio in smaller files so don’t be put off by 256kps AAC as its equivalent to, if not slightly higher quality than a 320kps MP3 file. It’s also worth checking with each service what music is on offer as some major artist such as Beyonce, Jay Z and Taylor Swift aren’t available on all platforms. Many offer free trial periods which we recommend you use to evaluate the service.
|Service||Compatible DJ Software||Price Per Month||Audio Quality|
|Amazon Prime||None||£7.99||Not disclosed|
|Apple Music||None||£9.99||Not disclosed|
|Beatport Link||Rekordbox, Virtual DJ, WeDJ||Link: £14.99 LinkPRO: £39.99 LinkPRO+ £59.99||
Beatport LINK: AAC 128kbp/s Beatport LINK PRO: AAC 256kbp/s
|Beatsource||Not available yet but soon Virtual DJ, Rekordbox, Denon DJ||Not Confirmed||Not disclosed|
|Deezer||Virtual DJ, edjay||£9.99||320kbps|
|Soundcloud GO+||Serato DJ, Virtual DJ, Rekordbox, WeDJ, edjay, Traktor DJ 2, Denon DJ (coming soon)||£9.99||
256kbps AAC (320kbps MP3)
|Tidal||Serato DJ, Denon DJ||Premium: £9.99 Hi-Fi: £19.99||
320kbps and up to 24-bit/192kHz
What Streaming Services Work With My Software?
|DJ Software||Streaming Services Available|
|Denon DJ||Tidal (Beatport Link, Beatsource Link and Soundcloud Go are coming soon)|
|Rekordbox||Beatport Link, Soundcloud GO (Beatsource Link coming soon)|
|Serato||Tidal, Soundcloud GO|
Deezer, Soundcloud, Beatport Link, IDJ Pool (Beatsource Link coming soon)
|WeDJ||Beatport Link, Soundcloud GO|
|Traktor DJ 2||Soundcloud GO|
The problems with streaming in performances.
It’s not always legal
Streaming music for live performances can be a bit of a mine field and truth be told it’s not something we would recommend for professional DJ’s at the moment. The first thing you need to check with your streaming provider is the legality of public performance as many of the providers actually don’t permit the use of their music or anything other than personal use. DJ focused streaming pools such as Beatsource won’t suffer from this issue but it’s something worth checking before running into trouble with the law.
The second issue to remember is the internet connection needed to access these tracks. Most clubs and bars don’t offer strong stable internet connections and public wifi can never be relied on for a professional performance. Some devices such as Denon prime players will download the full track so playback isn’t affected by patchy internet but many don’t meaning you run the risk of drop outs. On top of this many creators of DJ software actually recommend DJ’ing with wi-fi turned off for performance reasons with most computers performing background tasks whilst connected to the net. The locker functionality offered by Beatport and Beatsource offer the DJ an opportunity to save the track locally to be played offline which is our preferred method.
You never own the music
Thirdly it’s worth remembering that with streaming you never own the music you’re playing. As we saw when the first DJ streaming platform, Pulselocker went bust, far too many DJ’s lost libraries and playlists with no warning whats so ever. You should never ever replace your library with streaming as their is no guarantee you’ll have access to it from one day to the next. Ask any DJ who lost music in the Pulselocker collapse and you’ll see why you should still purchase those essential tracks for your performances and use streaming as a back up/request solution only.
Metadata is easily lost
Every time you stream a track for the first time, your computer has to analyse the track to work out the BPM, key and length of the track. This adds temporary stress on the system but this data is then saved away for the next time you stream that track. The problem is when searching a track, many streaming services offer the same track many times over. Thanks to various albums containing the same tracks, it’s easy to load a different copy of the same track meaning all your hot cues, metadata and analysation is all lost.
Not every track is what it seems
Another big problem with streaming is the ease in which you can accidentally load a cover version or remix of a song. Not every artist allows their music to be on streaming services, most notably Taylor Swift, Jay Z and Beyonce have all removed their music from all services bar Tidal. However cover versions of these tracks are found on the services meaning it’s very easy to accidentally play the wrong version. Trust us, it’s easily done. When searching in streaming services, it can often be impossible to check if a song is a clean or explicit version. On top of this, streaming services have no need to upload extended versions or DJ friendly edits as 99% of their customers are just listening casually on phones. This means mixing with radio edits and tracks with very little intro/outro. Worth bearing in mind if you plan on performing with these services as it can make your mixing that bit harder.
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