STEP 4: ADDING MUSIC TO YOUR TRAKTOR LIBRARY
There are two ways to add music to your collection:
via the Explorer node of the TRAKTOR library browser; or;
dragging and dropping using the Finder / File Explorer window.
In both cases, you can just drag the tracks or folders to your main collection or the current year playlist. You can also clear your playlist, and drag the entire year’s folder back in, to ensure everything in the playlist is the most up-to-date. It will also mean all your newest tracks, held in the _NEW folder, will be at the top of the list.
Even though TRAKTOR’s beatgrid analysis usually gets it right, you should build the process of beatgridding into your routine. No music analysis is perfect, and you should trust your ears first. The most important thing is to ensure your tracks have consistent grids throughout your collection. This is especially important if you tend to use sync, but can also alter how TRAKTOR’s effects work.
How to Beatgrid your tracks will be covered in a later post, but for those looking to find out more you can either read up further on the TRAKTOR Forum here, or check out this tutorial by DJTechTools here.
PREPARING FOR A SET
It’s important to remember that a DJ’s job extends beyond a jukebox or music player. A tidy music library is as much a part of your preparation for a gig as crafting a crate or playlist for the event. Keep things loose, and you can remain flexible while you’re playing.
In the days leading up to your gig, start adding a few tracks to a playlist that you’d like to play, alternatively create a playlist for your gig in your Record Bags folder.
Right click the playlist and click “Select as Preparation List”, this way your Preparation List is more flexible and you will prepare directly for that gig. Usually, between half a dozen to a dozen tracks should be enough, and once the set starts to flow, you probably won’t even get through all of those. If you aim to have your opening track, and a couple more that you know you will play, you can fill a whole set round the rest of the playlist.
SOME USEFUL TIPS AND APPS
Start as you mean to go on. The way you organize and categorize your music will evolve as your collection grows and your tastes change, but the priority should always be ensuring everything is where you expect it, and no information is missing. Schedule time regularly to sort through new tracks, and get to know new music.
Metadata is your friend. Use the text fields to save information useful to you, personally.
Don’t be afraid to cull your library. Just because you bought a track back in 2010, it doesn’t mean you still need it. Every couple of years, it’s worth listening through your whole collection, double checking the metadata, and being ruthless about what to keep and what to get rid of. You don’t even have to delete anything. Simply moving it from your collection folder, and updating your TRAKTOR library will make it easier to find what you need.
Apps to manage your music. Here are a few popular alternative apps to help sort and analyze your music.
Beatport Pro – Windows/macOS desktop software from the popular electronic music webstore to download, sort and manage your music. Export to TRAKTOR via the iTunes XML bridge.
Rekord Buddy 2 – Currently macOS only, with a Windows version on the way, Rekord buddy 2 has powerful library management tools, and lets you sync your music and cuepoints from other DJ software.
Mixed In Key – The original Windows/macOS software to analyze musical key, energy level, and cue points, to import into TRAKTOR.
KeyFinder – KeyFinder is an open source key detection tool, for DJs interested in harmonic and tonal mixing. It’s intended to be very focused: no library management, no track suggestions, no media player. Just a fast, efficient workflow tool. It supports a huge range of codecs thanks to LibAV, and writes to metadata tags using TagLib.
MediaHuman Audio Converter – Simple batch audio-converter for Windows and macOS.
Kid3 ID3 tagger – Cross-platform batch ID3 tag editor.
TIPS FOR TRAKTOR LIBRARIES
There are plenty of underutilized tools in TRAKTOR to help prepare and manage your library. It’s worth exploring the manual to get to know what can be done. Here are few suggestions.
Color code your tracks. Recently released in TRAKTOR 2.11.1, track color coding can help you sort your music by adding colored highlights within your playlists.
Remember your history.TRAKTOR saves all your past sets to dated playlist files, which you can access via the Archive section of the Explorer node.
Check consistency. Remember to scan your collection regularly, to make sure all your tracks are analyzed, and to relocate or remove any missing tracks.
Keyboard for gridding. Speed up your preparation routine even more with a custom keyboard gridding mapping.
Playlist search and sorting. Quickly drill down to the music you need by searching individual playlists, and sorting key, tempo, or any other metadata column you find relevant.
Playlist favorites. Gain quick access to important folders or playlists by adding them to the Playlists Favorites bar at the top of the browser.
Name your cue points. You can rename your cue point labels in the CUE advanced panel by selecting the cue point and double clicking the name in the middle of the panel.
Load, loop points. Adding a load point where you want to start your track playing helps speed up your cueing process. Loop points allow you to quickly jump into a loop, and serve as a visual clue of a good place to start a loop. You can set up a loop point at the start or end of shorter tracks, to give you more time to mix in, as well as extra time at the end.