Where Do DJs Get Music? Free and Paid (2022)


Where do DJs Get Music? Free and Paid (2022)

If you’re new to DJing, you might be confused about where most people get their music and how people who aren’t wealthy can afford hundreds or thousands of songs legally.

When I first started DJing, I quickly realized that good music is one of the most important aspects of being a good DJ. After some browsing and digging, I found a couple of sources for getting the music I want and need.

Open music platforms and DJ streaming platforms are where DJs get their music. These websites or apps allow you to download various song versions, such as extended versions with an intro and outro. Versions such as acapella and instrumentals are also available for download. These song versions make mixing songs easier for DJs.

DJs use streaming services in addition to open music platforms. For downloading and streaming music, there are both paid and free options.

In this article, I’ll share what I’ve discovered and show you where DJs get their music so that you can do the same.

Overview

There are many free music download options available, but the quality is likely to be poor.

I’m referring to rips from YouTube, SoundCloud, and Spotify. They’ll be of lower quality than anything you can buy or even download for free.

I’m a huge supporter of SoulSeek for free music, even though I recognize that it’s “pirated.” However, free music is the way to go if you’re just starting and want to get a feel for it while spending as little money as possible.

You don’t have to be concerned about quality at this point, and I won’t judge you.

Please buy music if you begin to take this more seriously.

There are two options:

  • DJ Pools
  • Streaming services.

DJ pools are a monthly subscription service that gives you access to a large music library. There is a screening process to get into them, but it’s more of a formality for some of the pools.

After doing this for a few months, I recommend using these services to help you pass the screening. BPM Supreme and ZipDJ are two examples.

Think of services like iTunes for individual tracks. Each track costs between $1 and $2. It’s probably the cheapest way to get music, but it can add up quickly.

Sites like Beatport and Traxsource can help you do this. Many people swear by Bandcamp because it allows you to download, interact with, and compensate creators directly.

The second option is to use streaming services. With no screening and no files to download, it’s the same as DJ Pools.

However, if you use a streaming service, you won’t be able to record your sets natively through your DJ software. You also can’t use Spotify as a service, so you’ll have to use Beatport or Tidal instead.

DJ pools

DJ pools are online music-downloading platforms for DJs.

DJ Pools work directly with record labels, artists, and producers, so the songs you’ll find are always the most recent. Most DJ Pools will also have a large selection of older music available for download.

Artists, producers, and record labels frequently employ DJ pools to promote their work when they want to see how people react to their brand-new songs. They send them to DJ pools, where DJs and entertainers can use their previously unreleased music.

Some musicians use these platforms to make a name for themselves and get their music discovered by larger audiences.

DJ pools offer the most recent tracks and older and even vintage music.

Every DJ Pool is unique, with its genres and specialties. 

For example, DJ Pools for Hip-Hop DJs and EDM DJs are likely to be different.

DJ Pools were designed with DJs in mind. We have access to a huge variety of tracks, old, new, and unreleased, as well as incredible remixes and special edits.

DJ pools are PRS and GEMA compliant, and they adhere to their licensing guidelines. To keep things simple, this means they can legally offer all of their music in their music collection for download to others.

If you’re a beginner DJ, the most important reason to sign up for DJ Pool right now is access to all the songs’ edits.

These song edits are, in a nutshell, extended versions of the songs you want to download. Extended versions have an extra intro and outro to make blending two songs easier.

You’ll have access to not only extended versions of songs but also acapella and other variations, allowing you to choose the best version of the song for DJing.

Most popular DJ pools and their prices

DJ Pools are subscription services. You’ll have to pay a monthly or annual fee to use them.

DJ Pools Genres (mostly) Price/month Other pricing
BPM Supreme R&B, Hip-Hop, Dance, the ’80s and back, ’00s, Pop/Mainstream $19.99 – $29.99
DJ City Hip-hop, House, Latin, Pop $25 $125 (6 months)
Digital DJ Pool Hip-Hop, R&B, House, Electronic, Pop $20 $190 per year
Promo Only Top 40, Hip-Hop / R&B, Country, Rock, Latin, Christian, Electronic $12 – $70
ZIPdj Pop, Latin, Dance, Rock $25 – $50 $420
DMS (Direct Music Service) Pop, Hip-Hop, R&B, and House/Electro $29.95 – $64.95
CrateConnect Hip Hop, Rap, R&B, Afrobeats, Dancehall, Reggae & Soca $22 (30 days) $55 (90 days) – $99 (180 days)

Features of DJ pools

Let me go over all of the features that most DJ Pools have to give you an idea of what these platforms offer.

  • Search through hundreds of playlists to find new music.
  • Filter different moods and genres to create your own playlist or DJ set.
  • Search and filter by song key and BPM 
  • Download samples and acapella’s 
  • Save your songs in crates so you can collect them and download them later
  • Always the most recent songs available • Download extended, short, radio, clean, and dirty versions of songs

DJ pools are great, and they’re worth a shot, but they’re not perfect.

It annoys me that they don’t always have the tracks I really want to download. I’m not sure why they don’t have these songs because the genre of the song I’m looking for is all over the place.

This problem is solved for me by simply downloading the song from iTunes. Unfortunately, iTunes does not have these fantastic song edits, so I’ll have to make do with the song’s commercial edits.

Another issue may arise if you’re an open format DJ like myself.

While most DJ Pools play a variety of genres, they each have a favorite genre or multiple genres that they specialize in.

The problem is that you’ll have to join multiple DJ Pools to get the majority of the music you want to download and DJ with.

DJs get free music mostly from these websites

Like most things with a price tag, paid options for downloading or streaming music are the best options for finding high-quality music.

On the other hand, the free versions are just as good if you’re striving to be a bedroom DJ and mix tracks at home.

Although the free options have their drawbacks, there are a few that I’ll share with you below.

SoundCloud

A portion of SoundCloud’s music library is available for free download. The creator of the song has marked these songs as downloadable.

Go to the top of the page and type the song’s name into the search bar to download a song. Check the search results to see if a downloadable version is available.

If the free version doesn’t have enough songs that you like, you can upgrade to a paid subscription and stream all of SoundCloud’s music through your DJ software.

Tidal (free 30-day trial)

Tidal is another streaming service that can be used with DJ software. Tidal is my personal favorite because it has a large music library. Rekordbox connects easily to Tidal, allowing me to DJ with my favorite music.

Tidal is not free, but it does offer a free trial. To visit the Tidal website, click on the link below. To use their entire library for a month, click the Start Free Trial Button in the top right corner. 

If you want to keep your music collection on Tidal after that, you’ll have to pay for a subscription.

If you’re interested in learning how to DJ with Tidal, I’ve written an article about it.

Free Music Archive

Music festivals, clubs, venues, musician collectives, galleries, radio stations, and other associations use the Free Music Archive to collaborate with curators and artists.

Musicians share their work and permit listeners to use it. With some limitations, at times.

There is no need to subscribe or register to download the files directly to your computer. It’s simple to use and understand. 

Take a look and see if you can find any good songs to download.

Streaming Services

We have already written about music streaming services for Rekordbox. If you pay for the paid version of these streaming services, you can stream all available music directly to your DJ software. 

Here’s a short overview.

Beatport LINK 

is focused on Techno, Trance, House, and DnB – from mainstream to underground (though gatekeepers may disagree) – with a European/International flavor.

It’s the kind of music you’d expect to hear in a reputable European club (not party) venue.

The majority of the tracks they have for sale on Beatport.com are also available to stream.

SoundCloud

Soundcloud’s free version holds some restrictions, but the paid version offers you complete access to their entire music library. It’s also simple to integrate SoundCloud with DJ software like Rekordbox.

SoundCloud GO+ and SoundCloud DJ have a library that spreads to more widespread music genres. I’ve employed it on a few events when I played more mainstream tunes.

Tidal

You’ve probably noticed that Tidal is very user-friendly and simple to use if you’ve tried it for free. Connecting to DJ software like Serato is also a breeze. Purchase a subscription after your trial period ends to gain access to a fantastic music library for a year.

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 throwing parties around the town. Tray has over 10 years experience of DJing at home and events.

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