Wednesday, July 02, 2008

In Search Of...

One of the things I fell in love with about dance music was the variety of music out there that isn't being played in the mainstream. Even if it's a song that's part of the mainstream, I love that various remixers and DJs are able to take the song and make it their own.

Part of the fun for me was exploring the music out there and finding tracks so many different tracks that I had never heard. I suppose that's what led me to become a DJ -- being able to find things that I wasn't hearing anywhere and putting them all together into a unique expression of me.

In the years I've been a DJ, I've had many people ask me where I find my music and where they can find particular tracks. Unfortunately, most of the time I've had to tell people that there isn't any easy way to find the music that I've been playing. It's especially frustrating because there's so much music that I love that I'd love to share, even more than I could possibly play.

Beatport LLCSome of that began to change with the coming of Beatport. Beatport was the first major online dance music retailer I encountered back in '04. Since that time, their collection has grown and they've become a major source for the music I buy -- my tastes tend to be much more underground, so I really enjoy being able to search through a large catalog to find tracks that I enjoy.

Since that time, there have been a bevy of new sources of online dance music sites -- I had actually considered compiling a guide to buying dance music online because there are so many. At the same time, I'm reminded of something important -- while I enjoy searching for dance music and digging through a lot of tracks that I don't care for to find a handful of tracks that I enjoy, there are many people out there who'd prefer to have someone show them what's really good and how they can buy it.

As I mentioned, my tastes tend to run more to underground tracks, but I've enjoyed more mainstream tracks as well. One of my big frustrations (that I'm sure I share with countless other DJs) is that remixes of more mainstream tracks are very difficult to get. The record labels in the US have never really embraced dance music and have been prone to release tracks only after people are tired of hearing them.

Fortunately, Masterbeat, which went from a label selling dance music CDs targeted at the gay community to online dance music, has been working to bring major labels into the 21st Century by beginning to offer their tracks online. This is a very good thing -- it's a more enjoyable experience when I can find mainstream music easily and also know that the artists who make it are being supported.

Apple iTunesI know that RCA offers tracks on iTunes, but I've never really enjoyed trying to find dance music online with iTunes and I've been turned off by having to purchase dance tracks in AAC format, which aren't compatible with the software I use to mix CDs.

I've noticed that because I'm not playing anywhere currently that I haven't had quite the interest in keeping up with the music that's out there. I know that in many ways that's because I haven't really had the kind of outlet I need right now. With the rise of so much music being available online now, I've decided that I'm going to start writing more about the music that I find and making it easy for you guys to listen for yourself and buy the tracks you enjoy. So look for much more to come!

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