How to research popular music
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  1. #1
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    Default How to research popular music

    I've been using Spotify to create playlists for quite some time now. Just like Pandora, you can start a radio station and listen to streaming music. The extra punch comes from the ability to view the individual artist profile. Once there you can view the "similar artist" tab, which allows you to seek similar artists/songs when creating a playlist.

    Spotify also gives you a playcount for the top 10 songs each artist has. I believe at the time of this writing, Spotify has 75 million active users.

    Recently, I spent about two days going through my entire active music library and started labeling each one with the playcount in the millions. So if a song has 237 million plays, I write 237, and if it has 23 million I write 23, etc.

    A typical modern day hit has between 70 and 300 million views depending on genre. If you go more genre specific the play counts will be smaller but you'll be able to compare and contrast nevertheless.

    About two weeks after this, I went and re-calculated the play count for the newer music. It allowed me to specifically see what was getting hotter, and what was cooling off in the moment it was actually happening. So now I have another column with a number representing the songs growth in the past two weeks. Some songs had 40 million plus new listens and some only had 1 or even less than a million.


    This feedback is bad ass. I've been able to tighten my sets down significantly by removing and replacing certain key songs that were weak and yet I couldn't quite see. Most of the feedback has confirmed my gut feelings but it's been amazingly helpful in removing some definite duds or finding stronger replacements.

    Imagine using serato or traktor or whatever with a plugin that simply kept the play count and the play rate calculated for you on the side so that you could filter for popular songs that are being played . . . right . . . . now.

    If you're down say: CLOUD DJS

  2. #2
    Moderator keithace's Avatar
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    You are removing the DJ element of finding and breaking new music to people. Unless it's your aim to play nothing but top40 mainstream hits.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucash21158 View Post
    If you're down say: CLOUD DJS
    This is everything wrong with modern DJing. You could be replaced by an auto crossfading and syncing playlist.

    A DJ is meant to have a sound and style. You are investing an enormous amount of effort into sounding like a top 40 playlist.

  4. #4
    Tech Guru DubluW's Avatar
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    Top 40 music asides, it's not a very creative way to source and play your sets OP.
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  5. #5
    Tech Guru SlayForMoney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImNoDJ View Post
    This is everything wrong with modern DJing. You could be replaced by an auto crossfading and syncing playlist.

    A DJ is meant to have a sound and style. You are investing an enormous amount of effort into sounding like a top 40 playlist.
    This.
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  6. #6
    Tech Wizard Jamzhouse's Avatar
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    This does sound like a cool trick to 'stay in touch' with the top commercial tunes
    But yeah i agree with everyone else, your set will sound like a Sat morn top40 countdown show

  7. #7
    Tech Mentor Nick V's Avatar
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    No offense but I would never base my music playlist on how many plays tracks get in Spotify. Most of my fave artists aren't even on Spotify and if they were, I'm sure their plays would be way low. Good DJs BREAK music. They play the shit that you've never heard of that you need in your life, that makes you go trainspot the DJ booth, the shit that doesnt show up on Shazam or beatport top 10, the ones that make you go home and dig through their mixes/blogs/twitters to find where it comes from.

  8. #8
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    To most new digital type DJ's...I bet you have music in your hard drive (library) you do not even know you have! Every once in a while it is good to "clean house" and rid your library of what you do not need, or will never ever play out in a real-live gig/set. You don't always need the latest hits. The greatest hits are always the latest.

  9. #9
    Tech Guru calgarc's Avatar
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    save yourself the trouble and buy the beatport top 10

  10. #10
    Tech Convert DJCNIn's Avatar
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    Default How to research popular music

    I'm curious as to whether or not the OP had necessarily mentioned, every track he contains is then made forfeit by the play counts, (giving the benefit of the doubt here as I know it was, mentioned)

    I feel like the attack on the OP is unnecessary, I don't have a clue what tracks would be in his set I'm coming from a 26 year gig as an classically trained musician ps I'm 29
    In ref to "top 40" that is, I'm a tastemaker and so far I have made quite a sexy brew :3

    I've killed gigs with tracks I'd hunted down and if the only way to get some of them was through streaming I admittedly would take the MP4 encoded YouTube or w/e on SoundCloud and polish it up then master it slightly to create a mono capable 'GOOD'("") sounding track in which to give respects due to this, hypothetical amazing piece of music!

    That's where I'm coming from so I get these complaints of the modern dj blah blah blah

    But I personally enjoyed reading his technique and never thought he'd left out his own taste as THAT was not specifically specified but it's a cool system and it was written without pretense

    But I see the quick assumption bias too
    ONLY after agreeing with the first statement "critiquing (more like bothersome banter tbh)" his trick—I thought, meh, ok that holds merit I see where this is a "BAD" thing assuming all negative attributions to the above ideation/tech.

    But anywho

    Much <3
    Don't admit to not playing unique shit or I'll prolly hate myself
    Hahaha :P
    Last edited by DJCNIn; 06-26-2015 at 05:51 PM.

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