Advice for DJ’s and producers for downloading new music

Someone asked me today if I knew of any good web addresses for getting new music with which to mix or produce. I didn’t give them what they asked for. Give a person a fish and they’ll eat for a day, but teach them how to fish and they’ll eat for a lifetime. So here’s some ways to source your own new music.

As always, make sure to buy the tracks you find if you like and use them, and never use anything copyrighted in a production for which you wouldn’t be willing to go bankrupt.

Generally to kick me off I’ll just go to a torrent site like isoHunt.com and search “Beatport” and narrow the search to the last month. There are some handy top 100 torrents that give you a good feel for what’s popular in a particular month. Then you can branch off from there by searching a particular artist on last.fm and finding similar artists.

Speaking of Beatport, it has constantly updating charts in all genres, which you can use to then search for particular tracks you like on free, safe, file-sharing websites. It’s easy to get a track you want by just going to Google and typing the name of the track and the word “zippy” at the end, which should give you some free mp3 download links, like Zippyshare.com.

Recently I combined Axwell & Ingrosso’s vocals from “Together” with the Swedish House Mafia track Greyhound. I searched Google for “Axwell Ingrosso Together acapella” or “vocals only”. That’s a good way to get bootlegged or leaked vocal stems from a producer. Often these original vocal tracks only surface a while after the track was popular but sometimes you can get vocals from brand new tracks and they’re perfect quality. Then you can chop them up and do stuff with them to create something new.

There are blogs around that post download links for a lot of the less-mainstream house, electro, techno and dubstep tracks… these are your best underground sources. Using keywords for a city, style of music or nightclub, like “Underground Filthy Beats Wah Wah Melbourne” will generate localized results for niche markets. I don’t follow any specifically, though, as I prefer to go fishing every time rather than store my fish for later, as they tend to go smelly. OK I’ve abused that metaphor into the ground now. The point is, while there are a couple of sources I currently return to from time to time, blog sites shut down, new technologies surface all the time, and finding lastest music is a moving target. As you’re scanning through your search results keep an eye on dates to make sure it’s the latest stuff.

Lastly, if you’re aiming for quality in your music remixing and bootlegging — and you probably should — try and download everything in the highest bit-rate as possible. 320kbps is mp3’s limit– anything less and you’re practically working with mud. Preferably you want to find WAV sources, or FLAC files that you can converted to WAV and use without loss of quality. Working with the highest possible quality sources at production (even if you intend to destroy the sound in a noise destruction unit or other effects) ensures that your work sounds its best even after it gets degraded online in mp3, on SoundCloud, YouTube, Facebook, Beatport and elsewhere.

Well, that’s all I got. We’re all learning all the time so it’s good to swap notes; if you have any tips or sources feel free to post them in the comments!

Speaking of downloading, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing today. Time for a new mixtape while my SoundCloud has some attention…

www.soundcloud.com/solarflare

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