Selecting the right music pool to keep your music collection fresh
One of the first items “just starting out” DJs need to check off their to do list is finding an reliable and good music source. They can have all the fancy gear, but if they don’t have a current, high quality library of music, those $1000 speakers won’t have much reason to get fired up.
And certainly, just buying a hard drive filled with music isn’t going to work either. Not only is this illegal, but it’s the continuous need to update of a music library that makes a music pool subscription so important.
From iTunes to Amazon, CDs from Target and other sources, music sources is plentiful. But while buying CDs and downloading individual tracks from iTunes or other online music stores are fine, in the long run it’s going to be a lot of work and likely cost much more than a DJ specific subscription based music service.
While music sources are plentiful, so too are DJ music pools. The purpose of this article is to give insight on the the three that I have been using for many years (two of which I’ve used for more than a decade). With the type of DJing I do -- mobile gigs, mainly weddings, corporate, private parties and fitness events -- these have served me well. And if you do similar events, this mix of record pools will have your hard drives filled with great music and rarely having to answer “sorry, I don’t have that.”
Promo Only POOL
I have been a customer of Promo Only since February 2002, the first month I received my Mainstream Radio CD. PO is an DJ industry standard, serving up current hits for nearly every genre of music playing in clubs and on the radio.
For nearly 10 years, I was well taken care of when it came to most requests (keep in mind I mostly was doing weddings and corporate events). But as my event types began to expand, I wanted to have more music genres in my library. Adding a few additional genres ala carte didn’t seem cost effective, not to mention the fact that ripping CDs each month was just more work than I needed.
Enter in Promo Only POOL (Promo Only Online). It’s the the music assistant I didn’t realize I needed. Not only did I now have monthly deliveries of my Mainstream Radio releases, but was receiving Country, Modern Rock, Urban Radio and more. What was even better, these were all available at the click of my trackpad.
Logging into POOL is like opening an Amazon package everyday, with new music just waiting for me, all at a yearly price where I’m essentially just paying pennies for music that is being had delivered to me.
Price: Pricing starts at $40/month; many options depending on which genres you want;
Pros: Monthly updates for all radio and club hits; daily updates for hot singles; Radio friendly remixes and edits; separate application/player, not a web based interface; full song sound samples
Cons: Selection and quality of remixes is “okay,” not a lot of unique versions, mostly what you are hearing on radio; although not being web based is listed as a “pro” it’s a drawback too as you would need to download the software to access on other computers.
Website: Promo Only POOL
I was initially attracted to Select Mix, an online remix service, to supplement my library with mainstream, DJ friendly music tracks. “DJ friendly” meaning songs that had 16 or 32 beat intros and outros. The variety they provided is great, because they have these song versions for mainstream radio hits as well as club dance tracks.
But then Select Mix started to grow and added releases such as Street Tracks (current hip hop), Old School Essentials (90s Hip Hop), 80s Essentials (80s Pop), Hot Classics (disco) and the list goes on and on.
To me, it’s the best service out there that gives you a good selection of current 16/32 beat intro versions, as well as mixable tracks from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s.
Price: Individual releases priced at $10-13 each; contact for monthly/yearly pricing
Pros: Vast catalog of current music as well as popular songs from the past four decades; web based interface so easy to download from any computer.
Cons: Mostly just songs with intro and outro beats tacked onto them, not much creativity; the download function is not the best for workflow, as you have to add releases to a cart, download the cart, then unzip each release; song samples are short clips, not the entire song; unable to scrub/advance through the sound sample.
Website: Select Mix/Hot Tracks
BPM Supreme is a service I added a couple of years ago and it filled a void in my music collection … unique remixes. As a fitness DJ, I need a lot of remixes to fill my sets for yoga sessions and cardio workouts. Dropping a house version of a hip song or a downtempo version of a dance track is that kind of stuff that gets people motivated while still keeping things sounding familiar. I also like the variety these track types provide for cocktail and dinner hours and other times when I’m trying to create a certain vibe.
Searching through BPM Supreme is like crate digging at a record store, although you’re searching digitally and able to preview full tracks (without audio watermarks). Every genre is available, including sub genres of dance music like Nu Disco, Deep House and Future Bass.
Many of the tracks will have a radio version, “dirty” version, 16/32 beat intro version, acapella and instrumental.
BPM Supreme also regularly updates their catalog of 80s, 90s and 2000s tracks. While these are not necessarily remixes, they are clean intros and outros that are tacked on to make them mix friendly as well as the radio versions.
Lastly, BPM Supreme does carry current hits and it’s possible to use this a single source for radio tracks, remixes and “older” songs. But you can only download files on an individual basis -- there isn’t a batch release of a particular genre. This makes it a bit tedious when you need to download a large batch of current music.
Price: $19.99/monthly (also includes video content)
Pros: Outstanding collection of current music and video, unique remixes as well as mix friendly versions of nearly EVERY song available; web based so you can log in from anywhere and on any computer to download tracks.
Cons: Users search for single tracks and add them to a cart to batch download, this process can get tedious vs. having an option to download a monthly release with several tracks of a particular genre with one click.
Website: BPM Supreme Pricing
What music pools do you use? Comment below and let me know what you love and/or dislike about the options out there.