I wanted to open up the discussion of the DJ as a dataminer.  My professional life outside of DJing often calls on an ability to data-mine, which lends itself to finding music.  Many DJs these days are digital and so our rigs tend to be also how we shop, search, train spot, {pirate}, download, review, preview, rate, etc.  But for me, I continue to refine a process in which I use several tools to assist in finding the next, hottest tracks.

Here are some of my favorites of the moment:

  • LastFM: One of my oldest favorite ‘secret’ weapons and I will tell you why.  Audioscrobbler.  Last fm lets you use plugins that track what you listen to in iTunes, your phone, your music programs.  Why is this useful?  Well you get recommendations out of it based on what you listen to.  It’s made even better when you favorite on the site or in their desktop program, for PC or mac.  As of writing this post, I had personally logged in over 30k tracks logged into my profile there.  Can you tell yet that I am a fan?
  • Usenet: I am not condoning piracy but… sometimes you’d like to hear an track/album first before buying it.  Newsgroups are my goto for obscure near blind dives into music .  Many newsgroups are ever evolving and feature an international cast of music lovers posting very tasty music new and old.  Digging here feels very much like when I would go shopping in a dusty record store.  You can feel it sometimes when you are about to find that golden track that drew you there.
  • Music Blogs:  This you must develop a taste for.  The sources for these sites varies from side projects of music labels to full blown social portals with quality music recommendations.  There is a gigantic world of blogs dedicated to reviewing and breaking the latest tracks.  Thistrackissick.com still surprises me every once in a while and is always worth a browse.   My only suggestion in finding these said blogs is searching google and your existing networks for rec’s.And the best way to sift through these for new tracks is…
  • Google Reader: Yeah.  O.k.  I did drink the Google fruit punch  a long time ago.  But having one place online that I can use to sift through a robust number of sources for music is easily managed with rss feeds and Google Reader.  Learn about how rss works here…  and Reader here…  Seriously very useful for the new music hunt.
  • Other tools: Spotify, Pandora and other streaming services are another avenue for finding new or somehow missed tunes.

That’s my list.  What do you use to find the hottest tracks?

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