tips on organizing your tunes
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  1. #1

    Default tips on organizing your tunes

    There have been many questions asked pertaining to managing music in terms of whether or not to delete, keep, and even organizing tunes. Rather than respond to those threads, i decided to create a new one to help out others. Feel free to share and add your methods so that others can benefit from various ways.

    This is my way. There is no cookie cutter. However, by using my basic principles, you will be more knowledgeable and be able to better manage your tunes based on your specific needs.

    There a few things that I have observed and that need to be addressed. Most answers are never to be black and white. I have seen too many "yes" "no" "delete" responses... There is rarely any absolute in life and particularly in music.

    Rather than writing lengthy sentences, I will break my advice down in list form and give examples at the end of what I do. This should help.

    1- All music should be properly organized. Find your method for each genre based on your play style for each genre.

    2- Music not readily used in current sets should be stored in a separate hard drive for possible later use. (This should be common sense but you have responders advising to delete old tunes…)

    3- Don’t delete music!! You paid money and it is of value. If you don't need it, share it as it may be the treasure of a dj starting out. Don't delete it. Honor the artist...

    4- This should be #1. There is too much music with varying genres out there for you to remember all your music. You need to load your organized folders into your mp3 player like a phone or ipod and play it in your car. This will help to bring to your attention older tunes that you haven’t played out but want to bring back.

    Storing old tunes

    I no longer spin hip hop but I have over 500 vinyl records dating back to 1993 and who knows how many mp3s. My open format library is from 1998 to 2010 from Promoonly and other sources. Genres range from mainstream to rap, dance, rock, alternative, Caribbean, and Latin. It just sits there. But when there is an open format house party that I am compelled aka forced to do because it’s a friend or a friend of a friend, I break out the drive and put the player on shuffle and we have a party!!! I charge $100-250 for the equipment and lighting as a ghost dj.

    Ordering your tunes

    I have a “2 be determined” folder and a “purchase” folder. I listen to music throughout the week and save the samples in the “2 be determined” folder until I am ready to purchase. At the end of the week or after 2 weeks, I keep listening to them to make sure I am feeling them. I purchased them then placed them into my purchase folder. They stay there until I organize my tunes.

    Organizing your tunes

    All of my tunes are organized the same in all 4 places: External HD, Tracktor, Itunes, IPOD. They are all the same by genre and sub-genre. Like I said earlier, there is too much music for me to remember because I play most the entire spectrum in dance music. I place all those genres in subgenres for better organization. Keep in mind that all you have to do is organize the external hard drive folders then you can “copy”- not cut and paste, the folders into your itunes as “add to library”. Add to library each folder at a time. Once in the music library, right click and select add to which ever folder you created in your itunes tree.

    I organize my itunes according to the meta-data. I have a free software off the net (pm me for the name as I don’t I can’t recall it- I’m not near my music desk top) I create my own little number such as “3344” in the year section. That way, all those tracks regardless of genre are “3344”. In the event that I have to re-install itunes, they will be readily organized. You can do this on itunes by selecting and editing all files. Then organize each folder by year. So that way you know where all my newest tunes are.

    What I do is after I purchase them, I sit and listen to each one and place them according to their appropriate folders (see folders below). I made up my own subgenres because of the styles I play. I play at cafes, lounges, beach parties, and super clubs so I have a wide range.

    Keeping up with your tunes.

    My tunes are so well organized so I get my “new imported tunes” and other folders and place them into my IPOD as they are in my HD and itunes. I listen to only AM talk radio or my IPOD. Not suggesting you do that but my music is rarely heard on the radio. I don’t listen to random tunes often as I am always learning my tunes. I also get to listen to tunes I haven’t heard in a while. I play out 2-3 times a week so I can’t afford not to know my tunes. And there is no such thing as old tunes. After 6 months or so, I create another folder that has again the same breakdown of genres as listed below. That way my folders are fresh and what is not used I move the older than 1 year folder into my sitting hard drive at home. However, I do go back to my “at home” hard drive and bring back older house tunes from 2002 and up. I classify them as “2012 replays”…

    So here is what you have been waiting for- the list….. Again, this is the way I organize my list because I have a wide range of music and can't keep up with it all. But creating this tree, I can transport it on to my IPOD and listen to it as if i was behind the decks. My programming is beyond reproach as I have everything right there. It takes time and effort. But if you want your programming to also be beyond reproach then adhere to some type of organizational tree. Trust me, it helps in the long run. The worst thing is to be mixing up genres.

    New imported tunes – these are new tunes that I just organized and placed into genres that I haven’t gotten to really know yet) this helps so I can pick at the new tunes quicker.

    Big room afro percussive
    Small room afro percussive
    Afro deep
    Hard driving tribal

    Big room latin vocal
    Small room percussive, funk, vocal
    Minimal latin
    Beachy- lounge latin
    Tech latin

    Hard Soulful, Big Room Diva vocal
    Small room percussive
    Deep tech
    Deep loungy
    Deep latin

    Dance pop remixes
    Big room electric dance

    Big room club/vocal/ percussive
    Big room filtered/pumping dub
    Small room percussive
    New wave funk
    Disco funk

    Big room melodic
    Big room non melodic, dark
    Small room melodic
    Small room non melodic dark
    Minimal tech
    Tech tribal

    Big beat sunset (EDX, deep slow trance style)
    Fast Tempo vocal melodic/non melodic
    Slow – Mid Tempo vocal melodic/non melodic

    I don’t play trance.
    Last edited by colione98; 10-22-2012 at 02:02 PM.

  2. #2


    I also recommend making your own genre definitions rather than using the default ones. This way you know the music as well as you organize music based on your own needs. There's a nifty trick to make sub-categories using hyphens, ex: House-Org, House-Acid, House-Electro. If you use search tools you either get all house tracks or tracks related to the sub-genre.
    Contact me if you have a cool musical idea. @kentsandvik

  3. #3


    This is a great example! I've been picking great tips I've come across over the years and incorporating them into my workflow, and I'll definitely be adding a "New Imported Music" folder to my playlists.

    My system is similar in some ways. I play very open format, and have subscriptions to several record pools, and a large collection of music from my early years of DJing that I never really organized fully due to the size of the library. Currently I take any new music I get and it goes into iTunes playlists and folders. Every record pool has its own folder (Ex: Promo Only, RPM, DJ City, Crooklyn Clan, etc.) and in each iTunes folder I have everything sorted by date in the format "YY MMDD" (Ex: 12 1022). Some days I add 50 files, and some days I add 5, but I can usually remember when I added music in relation to what I got before and after it. For music that I didn't get from a record pool, I have a folder called "ADDS". Anything in this folder is organized by the same structure with some small additions. Like before, the playlists are organized by date. I still buy a lot of CDs, especially if I have a 12" LP of the album, to have a better digital copy than a vinyl rip. When I rip a CD, I rip it to FLAC format and put that on my archive harddrive with the correct ID3 tags. Then I convert the FLAC file to 320kbps Mp3, and then import that CD to iTunes with the format "YY MMDD ALBUM-NAME". If the music was bought on Amazon, or anywhere else then I just throw it in the playlist for the date in iTunes.

    All of my playlists that I actually play from are created inside of Traktor. I try to run everything through mixed in key before I import them into Traktor, but that doesn't always happen. The only time I may add a song to the Traktor library directly (bypassing iTunes) is if I get a request from the client on the fly, and I am able to get online to download it. Then I throw it into a folder on my music drive called "CLIENTS" which is organized with sub-folders with the name "YY MMDD Client-Name". In these cases I try to go back and bring them into iTunes later, but even if I forget to, my iTunes library and this folder full of client music is all located on the same external 2TB HDD so it never gets lost.
    Last edited by Blak Majik; 10-22-2012 at 07:31 PM.

  4. #4
    Moderator keithace's Avatar
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    May 2010


    the ones that delete old tunes are the torrenters...
    Weapons, not food, not homes, not shoes
    Not need, just feed the war cannibal animal

  5. #5
    DJTT Infectious Moderator photojojo's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    Sherman, TX


    Quote Originally Posted by keithace View Post
    the ones that delete old tunes are the torrenters...
    I delete old tunes that I may have purchased under clouded judgment.
    Chris Jennings FHP

    Podcast - Soundcloud - Mixcloud - Beatport Charts - x

  6. #6
    Tech Guru
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    Oct 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by photojojo View Post
    I delete old tunes that I may have purchased under clouded judgment.
    yeah me too. It was pretty much my entire "electro house" folder. A misguided and unfortunate time in my life...

  7. #7
    Moderator keithace's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010


    Quote Originally Posted by photojojo View Post
    I delete old tunes that I may have purchased under clouded judgment.
    ya know...the salvation army never got any of my old CDs...i always sold them as a lot to someone...
    Weapons, not food, not homes, not shoes
    Not need, just feed the war cannibal animal

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