7 Problems Exporting From Rekordbox to USB Solved [2024]

How to Export From Rekordbox to USB (7 Common Problems)

Rekordbox is a beautiful piece of software, and it would be a shame not to use all the features that it brings.

I don’t know how often I have heard people write off data from all(!) songs in their library just because they didn’t know how to transfer it outside of Rekordbox.

If you want to have your tracks ready for playing outside Rekordbox – on CDJs or another computer and have problems exporting music, don’t make the mistake of giving up before finding a solution.

In this article, I will explain how to export tracks, playlists, and cues from Rekordbox and cover most of the problems that could come with it.

Exporting Tracks from Rekordbox to USB (2 Ways)


When exporting music from Rekordbox to a USB storage device, you first need to format your USB accurately.

As the Rekordbox manual states, file systems like NTFS and exFAT are not backed by Pioneer DJ equipment. Therefore they’re not displayed in the Rekordbox. Format it to FAT32 for Windows and FAT32 or HFS+ for Mac.

Via Export Mode

We export songs to a USB drive using Export mode by moving them from [Collection] to [Devices – Your USB]. 

  • Select a playlist
  • Select Export playlist
  • Select your USB device

The export progress bar is shown at the bottom of the interface, and both songs and song data (cues, tags, analyzed BPM) are exported to the USB drive.

You can export the songs to two devices at the same time.

You can also export songs by moving them from iTunes or Explorer to your USB.

To delete a track from the USB drive in Rekordbox:

  • Select the USB device,
  • Select the song on your USB drive
  • Select all songs on the playlist or search for the track
  • Click the [Delete] key on the laptop keyboard.

To export playlists to a USB drive

1. Click the button on the left of your Playlist folder

2. Right-click on [Your playlist] folder and left-click Export Playlist

3. Select the device [your USB].

The playlist and the songs are now exported to the USB drive.

Via Sync Manager

Another way to export your tracks to USB is to use the Sync Manager. Sync Manager is a new Rekordbox feature located in the bottom left of the software. 

  1. Open Sync Manager

If this is your first time transferring tracks to a USB drive, you’re required to tick the box ‘Synchronise Playlists With a Device.’

  1. Select each playlist you want to export to the USB and press the arrow pointing to the right to transfer the songs to your flash drive.

You don’t need to move the tracks onto your USB within your laptop or finder window, as this will only generate copies. Rekordbox will transfer the tracks through the Sync Manager.

If you want to delete a playlist, uncheck it in Sync Manager and press the arrow again.

To delete specific songs, delete those songs from the playlist and press the arrow again. Rekordbox will delete songs that are no longer there.

I did the research to find out which are the best USB drives for DJing – CDJs, XDJs, Rekordbox, and which are most commonly used by DJs.

Here’s a quick glance at the results:

How to Export Cues and Hot Cue Bank Lists to USB

If most of your music is on the USB stick, you need to know how to export the hot cues, so when you plug the USB into a different laptop, you’re able to read the hot cues data from it.

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Cue points are saved in a Rekordbox database and are connected to the track based on the file path.

The best method is to transfer all your music off the USB onto the computer, and then use the sync manager in export mode to export the analyzed songs.

To import the cues from USB -> Rekordbox:

  • Plug the USB
  • Start the sync manager
  • Hit the arrow stating ‘Import cue info.’ (It’s the arrow pointing to the left, indicating it’s importing cue and grid info into your library.)

Another thing you could do is:

  • Copy the tracks you want to have there to a USB stick
  • Add them to a fresh playlist.
  • Export the collection as XML (below the File menu)
  • On other laptops, import only that playlist from the XML
  • Ensure the USB stick has the same drive letter as your laptop (or find/replace in the XML before importing).

The hot cues are stored as metadata in the track format (e.g., mp3), but they don’t transfer cross-platform, i.e., Rekordbox -> Serato.

How to transfer the Hot cue bank list?

You can use combos of Hot Cues of various songs on CDJ by utilizing a Hot Cue Bank List built earlier. The possible amount of Hot Cue Banks depends on your CDJ.

  • Press the play button on the left.
  • Press the play button on the left of your folder where you keep the Hot cue bank list.
  • Move the Hot Cue Bank List to your USB device. The Hot Cue Bank List and its songs are exported to the USB drive.

To remove the Hot Cue Bank List from the USB drive, click the Hot Cue Bank List under the USB devices and tick the [Delete] key on the laptop keyboard.

Problem with Exporting on Apple MacBook

I’ve had a Macbook Pro with the last version of Big Sur and the last version of Rekordbox. I thought that finally, I wouldn’t have any issues and exporting would be easy peasy.  

I’ve initialized all my 3 USB sticks in MS-DOS (FAT32), but none worked, and I couldn’t export the playlist.

Rekordbox did recognize USBs in the Explorer folder, but there was no device in the sync manager.

This issue is usually caused by Rekordbox applying a request to copy the audio files that don’t verify if the target can store file-extended attributes. Rekordbox is probably handing this request over to a low-level kernel control, which makes this an Apple instead of a Pioneer DJ issue.

Rexordbox Doesn’t Export Some Songs

First of all, are you sure that the songs you’re trying to export are exactly where they were when you added them in Rekordbox and that you didn’t move them into another folder?

Also, did you highlight the listed songs and try to export them several times?

For all of you who get an error note from Rekordbox when attempting to export stating that some files may not have been exported and you see the error log; there are two workarounds while we anticipate for Apple to fix the problem:

 1. Apply this code in the Terminal to edit the attributes:

 sudo xattr -cr <filepath to audio files>

It means that if all your files are placed in your Library folder, it should be:

 sudo xattr -cr ~/Library

You will need to do this anytime you add new tracks to the folder till Apple fixes the problem.

2. Rather than exporting to a FAT32 formatted USB stick, work with HFS+ (macOS Journaled Extended) formatted USB stick.

New Macbooks have a new Security and Privacy setting to enable you to utilize a Removable Device. In System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> Privacy tab, pick Files and Folders and enable Rekordbox to work with Removable Volumes.

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If you have a recent Mac, I’d also advise you to do this:

Choose “Finder> Go> Home” to find your music folder to move over. 

Also, if your library is stored in downloads as well, you’ll need to replicate the process in the terminal and then move your downloads folder after the space, and then type your password for it as well! Ensure your password goes through.

Exporting Is So Slow, What to Do?

The other day my brother was putting his tracks on a USB to practice with CDJ. He formatted the USB and set up the sync stuff within RekordBox, but the transfer was going really slow. 

He has around 700 tracks. He asked me if that was normal, as he couldn’t detect any missing files or anything that could be stalling the transfer.

It’s normal for Rekordbox to export tracks slowly because USB drives write slower than what they’re marketed.

Many criticize the Rekordbox, but it’s the hardware (USB flash drive) that is to blame most of the time. Not every USB drive is built equal. And corporations employ marketing buzzwords to confuse buyers even further. 

Along with the writing speed of your drive, USB 2.0 vs. 3.0 port and regularly formatting it are significant factors.

I’m formatting my CDJ USBs approximately every four syncs (Crucial X6 1TB  and Samsung T7) FAT/MBR.

There perpetually seems to come to a point when new sync to a reformatted USB is faster than incremental sync.

But although all of this is true, Rekordbox truly is on a bit slower side when it comes to software in general (not saying that Serato or Traktor are faster, just comparing it to other computer software). You sometimes must leave it overnight, which isn’t great, since most of us use laptops, which aren’t intended to be left turned on for that long.

If you’re on Mac, format to MacOS Journaled

If you format USB to MacOS, Journaled will get the export speed decently fast. For me, it was around 90-ish gigabytes of music in less than an hour on a 2017 MBP and a 3.0 USB flash drive.

Can You Export an Intelligent Playlist to USB?

Many beginner Rekordbox users struggle with exporting an intelligent playlist to USB. Sometimes it will seem that the playlist ends up being intelligent and changes into a normal playlist.

The solution is to use Sync Manager when exporting your playlists to a USB drive. Rekordbox will update any chosen intelligent playlists on the USB stick with the freshest “snapshot” of its contained songs from your computer.

When exported, intelligent playlists do seem like normal playlists on the USB drive, but this auto-update utilizing Sync Manager indicates they definitely still work as intelligent playlists.

If using a USB, your playlists will always be organized via computer. If you create an intelligent playlist that does “if track A contains X in the genre, then put in Y playlist.”

I discovered that genre and other track details massively range, with house songs described as Dance or EDM.

I go through each song I add to my library and apply tags to describe the tracks. Then use the tags to sort the songs into intelligent playlists.

(Talking about tags, here’s an essential guide for preparing tracks in Rekordbox)

An illustration is when I listen to a song with punchy bass. I created a “punchy bass” tag and ticked it for this track. Then I create an intelligent playlist that includes tracks with punchy bass tags. This playlist will then be full of only punchy songs.

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Can You Keep Audio Gain When Exporting to USB?

When DJing in Rekordbox, autogain makes it possible that the audio levels of all of your songs are the same. 

If you’ve ever performed in clubs using CDJs after exporting to your USBs, you noticed that the gain levels hadn’t been exported, so the audio levels are all over the place.

You probably know you can use the gain knobs to change the audio, but if you mix quite fast, you don’t have time to pay attention to the gains.

Unfortunately, it’s not yet possible to keep the auto gain settings when you export tracks to USB. Rekordbox can’t read or print the autogain levels to the file itself. The only way to apply the autogain is from a PC/Mac.

If you require a fix for exporting, you want to run every file within a program that is able to set the levels in the song itself and normalize the volume.

What to Do if Rekordbox Is Stuck at Exporting?

The problem crops up when you try to export all your tracks onto your USB stick; it just immediately stops at some percentage %. 

From this point on, some people can’t use Rekordbox at all without it freezing up. It also prevents them from ejecting the USB drive since Mac still thinks Rekordbox is using it. This usually means you have to restart your Mac before trying anything again. 

In most cases, some previously analyzed tracks would no longer show a waveform. Re-analyze any tracks that don’t show a waveform, and the issue will fix itself.

Or you can delete the song(s), and the issue won’t persist.

Rekordbox can also be stuck at exporting when you need to export many songs to a USB drive. 

The exporting can go for a few hours and export less than half of the tracks before throwing an error.

If you have this problem, most probably it’s stuck due to a few or more corrupted files that you should delete (find them using the log file)

But after that, it could still be throwing an error but not generating a log or giving you a code. 

Now you’ll get a note “An error occurred while exporting.”

The thing is, Rekordbox tends to have problems if exporting playlists larger than 12-13GB. The workaround is to transfer one playlist at a time. 

You can try doing them more than one at a time and perhaps narrow in on what playlist and/or songs are still giving you difficulties. 

Export Error in Rekordbox. Why?

When you try to export from Rekordbox to your USB drive, you’ll often get an error stating, “One or more files were not exported. Check the log file saved in the Documents folder.”

I’ve recently got the same problem on a Mac. When I opened the export log and began to analyze, I started a command line and executed ls -la on a directory from which a few tracks were exported, and some weren’t. The tracks that weren’t exported all had a # tailing the permissions segment. It is some abstraction to make extra notes.

But most of the time, this occurs when a song title is too long/has too many characters. That alert message means there are characters in the song’s file path that Rekordbox grades as “illegal.” 

Within titles are characters like “;” and “/” (forward slash). 

Another problem can be that the file for the track in question can’t be found. That tunes will be noted in the saved log file.

Check the log file, and see what file is causing an issue.

Tray Fiddy

Tray has come to terms with the fact he will probably never be a famous DJ.... but that hasn't stopped him from mixing and researching audio equipment. Tray has over 12 years of experience DJing at home and events.

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