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  • Introducing DJ’s Mate: an app for Android

    dj's mate icon [for now]I’m developing an Android application that I call DJ’s Mate. It’s still experimental, and ugly, and may never be really finished. But I thought I’d share it with you.

    How does DJ’s Mate work?
    Currently, it has a database of the tracks I like to play (100s of them). For all those, it knows their key (Camelot Wheel notation as seen in Mixed in Key) and for some of them it knows their DJ notation.

    Imagine I play back-to-back with someone. I know that the track my fellow DJ is playing is in A-Flat Minor (1A). I produce my Nexus One and start up this app.

    DJ's Mate main page listing all tracks with their respective info: artist, track name, remix name, dj notation, location and camelot wheel notation.

    (I know, it’s ugly.) It currently shows all my favourite tracks. But I want to filter just the tracks that are harmonically compatible with 1A (that is: 1A, 1B, 12A and 2A).

    I click on the top button and see this even uglier layout:

    Camelot wheel picker, where you can choose what Camelot Wheel notation you want to filter out.

    I pick 1A and come back to see just the tracks I need:

    DJ's Mate main page listing only the tracks compatible with 1A.

    (Click for larger.)

    For every track, I see the usual metadata (Artist, Name, Remix) and Camelot Wheel notation. I also see the name of the CD this track is on (“Pack 042”). For some of them I also see the DJ notation, which helps me to plan ahead when mixing. (More on DJ notation on the official page: http://www.djnotation.org.)

    Why I develop DJ’s Mate?
    If today’s DJs have any disadvantage in comparison with the vinyl DJs of the past, it’s probably the sheer abundance of tracks. In the 90’s, DJs came to a party carrying a case of about 50 vinyls. Today, the number of tracks available to a DJ at any given gig counts in hundreds.

    It’s a real pain to select the next track to play in these conditions. I believe that good DJing is mainly about great track selection, so I though I’d fix that.

    Does it work?
    It does. Listen to this mix: I mixed it last hour with the use of DJ’s Mate. I didn’t prepare the tracklist beforehand.

    Philip Age - DJ's Mate Mix

    Download here.

    The future of DJ’s Mate
    This is just the beginning, of course. The app will be able to sort the tracks better. It will be able to automatically generate tracklist of played tracks. It will show a handy screens with information on the two tracks that you want to mix, deriving additional useful information from DJ notation. It will have a webapp part where it will be possible to upload and change the database of tracks (I currently upload my database via an android resource – it’s inherent in the app itself).

    How can you help
    If you are interested in testing the app and if you own an Android (2.1+) device, just let me know. If not, but you still like the idea, please share.


    [UPDATE] I got a very interesting question from Phil Morse (of DJ TechTools):

    My only question would be how necessary this is. You can have key information display in your DJ software, and could have the notation in the comments ID3 tag. That’s what I do, anyway, more of less.

    Ok, here are my answers:

    • Key info is not enough. You need filtering when you have 300 *favorite* tracks. In practice, you don’t have time to look through all of them all of the time.
    • A lot of djs (I’d say vast majority) still use CDJs (because it’s still the standard at most clubs and still most reliable). And frankly, for the audience it’s more enjoyable to watch.
    • Many (incl. me) use Audio CDs because again, it’s reliable and no club fails to have at least a CDJ-100, while many still don’t have CDJ players with mp3 technology.
    • Even if you use Traktor or similar:
      • Having DJ Mate on a separate device allows for much better multitasking: you tweak a knob and move the crossfade while already looking up the track to play next. That’s essential for me.
      • Swiping through tracks on a device like Android is faster and feels much more natural than scrolling on the laptop. The form factor of an Android device is just better for this stuff and DJ Mate is designed from grounds up for searching tracks.
      • When playing back-to-back, you can’t use Traktor’s search when the other guy is playing.

    I’ll try to keep this post updated with other discussions.

    There are 8 comments on the article “Introducing DJ’s Mate: an app for Android” so far.

    1 Hector Delgado January 29, 2012 v 6:46 pm

    Where can I download the Android version of DJ’s Mate so I can/could check/test it out??

    Thanks

    DJ TooHypE


    2 dubdevo February 28, 2012 v 2:06 am

    Sir im very interested in trying this app on my galaxy s 4g. Im a dubstep DJ, and I use mixed in key, as well as my ear. Id love to have a reference available when im in traktor!


    3 Proto July 12, 2012 v 2:19 pm

    Hey,

    Sounds great! Is it available yet at all?

    I play exclusively with CDJs, but have all my musics’ keys detected with Rapid Evolution.

    How does one load the information onto DJ Mate? Would I need to have all the tracks in my collection on my phone or can I export text data from RE3/Mixmeister to import into Dj Mate without actually having to have the full tracks filling up space on my phone?


    4 Gary December 8, 2012 v 2:08 pm

    I’m very interested in this app for aiding in finding keys during those times when on my tablet is available or I don’t want to use my laptop resources! Please let me know if it’s possible to obtain a copy.


    5 Kris Lander February 4, 2013 v 5:55 am

    Hi Phil,

    I’ve been thinking about writing a very similar app for sometime but see you have beat me to it. Are you still working on it and have you had much interest? Have you had any discussions on DJ forums to see what people think? Would like to download and try it out if you have a link.

    Thanks,

    Kris


    6 sky icknite October 7, 2013 v 4:45 pm

    hey there!

    I was wondering if it is still possible to try out your app? seems rather interesting im curious to see how the app would turn out. I can see that the post dates back a year ago. so ill just try my luck. looking forward to your response!

    sky.
    skyhuynh@hotmail.com


    7 PIERRE WUTIF April 9, 2014 v 3:57 pm

    Hi Phil,
    I feel very interested in you dj’s mate. I’ve been using to this camelot wheel for a while, so as to classify my vinyl records, a service provided by my record seller, stamped on the sleeve, such as bpm information I mean. Since then the record shop closed down.
    A very useful application by the way! Any news about its reklease? availabilty?
    Thanks a lot, musically,
    WUTIF


    8 tom October 10, 2014 v 10:47 am

    im also interested in trying this. i have had a few pretty crappy tools and curious to see how this one plays out. thanks!


    Comments? Ideas?