As a DJ, your set is your product, and as your product, you’re always looking for ways to keep it fresh. To stay inspired, you’ll need a solid list of places to get DJ music. Below, we share the top platforms for discovering and sourcing new tracks.
A quick refresher on music copyright laws
Music copyright laws protect artists by ensuring they get paid when people play or sample their music. When you download or purchase a song, it gives you the rights to listen to it whenever you want, not to necessarily include it in your DJ set. To avoid infringing music copyright, you’ll need the appropriate DJ licenses to sample tracks and play them in your sets.
As a DJ, you are a member of the music community, and you want to support it. Stand by that by ensuring you download your DJ music legally. When downloading music for your sets, review the fine print on the site and for each artist to ensure that the way you are using their music is permitted. Also, it may be worth connecting with your business attorney to brush up on music copyright laws and ensure you’re in the clear.
Alright, now that we’ve got the disclaimers out of the way, let’s get back in the groove. Here’s how to find DJ music.
How to discover new music for your DJ set
Check out these affordable online platforms to discover new music.
SoundCloud is the platform for music discovery. New and established artists alike upload their latest tracks and remixes to the platform. You can follow your favorite artists, and search by genre to find specific sounds to fit in your DJ set.
All of today’s top artists use YouTube to announce upcoming singles, release lyric videos, and upload new original songs, remixes, and collabs. Don’t forget to subscribe to see the latest from your favorite artists and record labels. For more inspiration, check out the channels of prominent DJs and festivals in your niche.
As any DJ knows, it’s not just about the song. It’s about how that song fits into your overall set. That’s where Spotify playlists can be super helpful. Explore both Spotify Official and user-submitted playlists to discover new artists and tracks in your niche.
You can also “follow” your favorite artists. Turn on app notifications to make sure you’re the first to know when they drop a new track.
Many of today’s hottest tracks started out as viral hits on TikTok. Just ask Doja Cat or Olivia Rodrigo. Create your TikTok account, and follow hashtags that match your musical interests.
The next time you’re out at a club, a wedding, heck, even a restaurant, and you hear a track that bops, pull out your smartphone and hit the Shazam button. This free music listening app will tell you the not only name of the song and the artist, but it includes convenient links to find it on iTunes, Spotify, and more.
Paid DJ music sources
Once you’ve discovered music, you need to actually acquire it, so you can feature it in your set. Whether you prefer modern digital downloads or the feel of vinyl, here are some top spots to get music as a DJ.
Record pools like BPM Supreme
Many established DJs opt to get their music from record pools. The subscription fees may be a bit high for beginner DJs, but they definitely become worth it as you score more gigs. Record pools feature huge libraries of beats, sounds, and tracks that you can use to put your spin on a song.
Beatport features over 11 million tracks and serves 465,000 DJs around the world. In addition to their extensive back catalogue, Beatport has partnerships with major labels so they also get new releases added fairly quickly. You can download uncompressed files and stream directly to your DJ controller with Beatport LINK.
iTunes and Amazon Music
Both iTunes and Amazon Music have massive libraries where you can purchase individual tracks or albums. However, many of the digital files they have for purchase are the commercial version, and it’s harder to find the extended version DJs prefer to use.
Bandcamp bills itself as an online record store that helps artists receive direct support. You can follow artists and pay what you want. Sometimes, you can find tracks for free on Bandcamp, too.
With a focus on independent dance music, Juno Download features full length DRM-free tracks in all the file formats you could ever wish for (MP3, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, ALAC). You can also follow your favorite artists and labels to be notified when they release something new.
Traxsource was made by DJs, for DJs. This site is all about house music, and is devoted to discovering and amplifying true house artists.
If you like to mix and stream, Boomkat is the DJ music source for you. The site sells digital downloads, along with vinyl, CDs, and even cassettes! You can find and purchase music from independent artists in almost any genre.
Bleep is similar to Boomkat in that it is genre-agnostic. The site features artists from genres as wide-ranging as braindance and footwork to modern classical and jazz. You can also purchase digital downloads, vinyl, CDs, and cassettes on Bleep.
Your local record store
Of course, you can always buy local! If your town’s got a solid local record store, check it out and get to know the staff. They can give you an exclusive heads up of when they’re getting new music in town.
Free DJ music sources
Who doesn’t like getting something for free? Whether you’re just getting into DJing or you’re short on gigs at the moment, you can still get new tracks. Here’s how.
Not only is Soundcloud a great source for music discovery, but because so many emerging artists rely on the platform for exposure, you can often find free tracks and remixes here, too.
Free Music Archive
Free Music Archive is a popular source for DJ music. All MP3s are free to download. If you want access to royalty-free music, you can purchase a license and download. Some of their Creative Commons-licensed tracks are free, too.
Operated by Paste Magazine, Noisetrade lets you download tracks completely for free. All you have to do is provide your email address and zip code.
Jamendo offers free streamings and downloads for over 600,000 songs from 40,000 artists. You can also purchase royalty-free music for commercial uses, like a video for your website.
Demodrop is designed to help artists get discovered by DJs and record labels. Artists are encouraged to share and drop their demos on the site, in exchange for feedback and support from producers, DJs, and labels.
CCTrax offers free downloads along with a large variety of Creative Commons licenses, some of which allow for remixing, some which don’t, and many which limit the manner in which the song can be used. Each song has a link to the artist or label page, who you can always contact directly to clarify.
Get inspired with new music
With these music discovery platforms, you’re ready to go forth and build your DJ sets. Check out these sites and discover new artists, new tracks, and new inspiration.
Discovering, mixing, and creating your sets are the best parts of being a DJ. But, you’ve got to run a business too. Keep your head focused on the music by protecting your DJ business with professional DJ Insurance. With Thimble, you can purchase coverage on a gig-by-gig basis, or stay protected year-round. It’s coverage when you need it. Get your free quote now.