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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 4:54 pm 
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Hello

I'm going to developp a music player specific to swing DJ.

What would be your requirement for such a software ?

DJ'Man


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 7:22 am 
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Different DJs want different features. Some people want something with more features, others just want something simple and will use iTunes.

At a basic level a program would need:
- Library management (including tagging, search etc.)
- Smartlists and playlists (in a standard format)
- Previewing
- Drag and Drop from other programs
- Stability (this is the most important feature - there's nothing like cries of "DJ Fail" from the dancefloor because the software just crashed)
- Idiot-proof: Many swing djs use laptops with track pads which make it easy to mistakenly double click or drag something. It should not be easy to accidentally interrupt what's playing.

This sort of set of features (plus other standard stuff) would cover 80% of swing djs. The majority of DJs that I know use a popular music player like iTunes or JRiver Media Center for their library and a second lite player (like Cog for mac or Winamp for PC) to do previewing.

Some more advanced features
- Cueing - This would get you to 90% easily.
- Export playlists (to text file with selected fields)

I can't think of anything else at the moment. There'd be a handful of swing djs who might use scratching, beatmatching, effects etc. but not for a swing dance, in which case they'd be choosing other software.

My set up uses Media Center to do my library management and previewing and I use VirtualDJ to cue and play tracks (I came from a CD djing background so I like having 2 'decks')


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:19 am 
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Create a plugin for iTunes that gives it the ability to cross fade and cue and I'd be all set.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:34 pm 
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You can crossfade with iTunes. It's pretty rudimentary, but it's there.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:40 pm 
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What Reuben said.

I just want iTunes but with support for previewing and a controllable crossfader.

Also agree with penguin's list. Stability is super-important.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:04 am 
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Extensive library and playlist management is fundamental, as is the ability to cue through a secondary sound device. It should be able to handle a couple working screens/tabs; one of which is the "primary" output that is idiot proof (ie: can't accidentally start or stop songs with an accidental click, you can only do so by specifically clicking the appropriate buttons) and the others tabs are your library and cueing screens.

The ability to page through large libraries without getting bogged down is also nice. Some software gets rather laggy when libraries exceed a certain size.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:28 pm 
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I think the key question is: why?

It's a lot of work, and there are a lot of solutions out there already. What do you feel they are lacking? Start there, perhaps.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:57 pm 
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There are three basic designs that cover the current state of the art in terms of software for playing music to a live audience.

1) Playlist Focused
e.g. iTunes, WinAmp, Media Monkey.

Obviously these programs have a lot more features than just a playlist. But the basic function is to play songs, one at a time, in the order of a playlist.

2) Deck Focused
e.g. Traktor, Serato, DiscoXT, PCDJ, RockIt, OTS, and many, many more.

The latest include four decks, but two is also a very common number. Many are "MIDI" controllable, and some include support for timecode vinyl. These solutions can range from two decks fed by a common playlist (allows better control of the crossfades than a Playlist Focused solution), to straightforward beatmixing, to MIDI controllerism, all the way to timecoded vinyl with scratching.

3) Sample Focused
e.g. Ableton Live

Ableton is a whole new world (and quite a mind !#%) for DJing. Samples can be layered, rearranged, mangled, and manipulated in real time in front of an audience. This is a very different way to look at DJing.


To help get you started, here are a few things to start thinking about....

In general, "Swing DJing" is *very* minimalistic and can be done with the Playlist Focused solutions. Even the Deck Focused solutions are overkill and can rapidly over complicate the workflow of most of the DJs here.

I would advise you to look at the problem you are trying to solve, and chart the actual workflow of the different aspects of that problem.

Are you going to address getting the songs ready to play? Ripping, tagging, organizing, converting, moving on the file system, building playlists, editing tags (ID3, Vorbis comments), etc.

What formats will the player support? mp3? wav? flac? acc?

How flexible will the performance workflow be? Multiple active playlists, cueing songs on a headphone, gain level per song, searching on ID3 fields, storing searches, etc.

Will the waveform of the song be displayed?
Will specific cue points be stored for each song?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:20 pm 
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lipi wrote:
I think the key question is: why?

It's a lot of work, and there are a lot of solutions out there already. What do you feel they are lacking? Start there, perhaps.

What Alex said.

Perhaps, a new Swing DJ system should have some smart filters to prevent some DJs to play certain songs, because too lame, way overplayed or not suitable to the crowd. :)

Lorenzo

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:47 pm 
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lipi wrote:
I think the key question is: why?


I'd be curious to see what a tool written explicitly for this particular user group would look like. We all have such specific requirements, even within this tiny little pool of DJs, it'd be interesting to develop something that could be tailored by the user (eg turning off some features, emphasising others). Once it was built, it'd be interesting to see how people then _used_ it and how it could be refined again.

I reckon that tool could then give some insight into the things we do as DJs for lindy hoppers/etc.


I mean, technically speaking, there's no real reason for us to use DJ software at all - we could all just use CDs (even if we had to create hardcopies of our born-digital files). But we choose to use software tools for a heap of reasons, most pressing of which for me is that it's physically much easier to carry a laptop on crowded trains at night. I dread the thought of carting hundreds of CDs around my city - or interstate!

So why not invent a tool that is actually designed for _us_? It'd be a good learning experience at least. We're DJs, we're all about acquisition, aren't we? all the learnz belong us?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:27 pm 
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lipi wrote:
I think the key question is: why?

It's a lot of work, and there are a lot of solutions out there already. What do you feel they are lacking? Start there, perhaps.


I need 2 features
- current playlist
- previewing

I'm using TRAKTOR which is deck oriented (current playlist missing).

DJ'Man


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:59 pm 
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djman wrote:
I need 2 features
- current playlist
- previewing

I'm using TRAKTOR which is deck oriented (current playlist missing).


Gotcha. I think you should start with just those two things in mind, then.

Pick up the Videolan VLC source, maybe, and try to add previewing. I suspect you'll need to multi-thread to have any chance of getting two audio devices happy at the same time. It won't be trivial.

The advantage of starting with the VLC source is that you immediately have support for a ton of audio formats, for playlists, and for all platforms you're likely to care about.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:37 pm 
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djman wrote:
I'm using TRAKTOR which is deck oriented (current playlist missing).


I almost always add to and play from the "Preparation List" in Traktor. That is effectively my "current playlist."

My MIDI controller has keys programmed to take the "next" song from the Preparation List and drop that onto Deck A or Deck B.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 7:58 am 
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If you want to make yourself really popular come up with a half decent Linux solution. There still isn't one out there.

For me:-

Single playlist
Auto crossfade (ability to set cue points a massive plus)
Ability to display current playlist & library on screen at the same time (it's not/i] that common)
A logical library search.
Previewing

It's not popular hereabouts but SAM Party DJ meets my needs better than anything else I've encountered, although it's overkill in some respects.

It plays reasonably well with WINE but I'd [i]love
a native linux app with a similar feature set.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:19 pm 
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I gave very small news on the software I develop for social dance DJ in a swinging music post (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3038).

Here is more detailed news, never too late after two years !

At the beginning I wanted to write an audio player but I realize there was no interest to develop something that alreaday exists : TRAKTOR, Itunes, winamp...
So I change my mind and tried to fill a gap in DJ applications : metadata management.

The main features of the software are:
- user-defined tags (metadata),
- tagging local files,
- tagging spotify tracks (or any streaming service),
- importing metadata from music related sites (lastfm, musicbrainz,...) using their web service API,
- query the tagged ressources according to the tags (kind of smart playlist),
- backup of metadata,
- exporting metadata,
- playlists import and export,
- semi-automatic BPM detection (user driven),

The software is written in Java and use a semantic database to store the tags.

I hope I will soon release a beta version of the software.

I'm looking for beta testers : if you're interested you can send me a PM.

DJMan


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