DJs have been at the cornerstone of music distribution for decades being the gatekeepers of music. As the primary individuals who would play records for partygoers and to the masses via radio, DJs would have a large impact on what becomes popular amongst music consumers.
As DJing evolved and came into the spotlight in the mid-70s, record labels saw an opportunity to put their LPs and singles directly in the hands of the DJ. The birth of the record pool saw record labels providing new songs directly to the DJs, giving them power over the flow of music to listeners around the world. Record pools have provided vinyl, CDs, and now digital music to DJs allowing them to break records and push already popular tracks further up the music charts.
Now record pools primarily provide mp3 versions of tracks with various edits of the song (clean, dirty, instrumental, acapella, and various remixes) and require a membership to access their collection of music. When deciding on a record pool, you have to take into consideration what you need to get out of joining the pool. Are you looking for only the newest tracks to keep your club or radio sets current? Do you need a steady library of oldies but goodies to add to your wedding sets? How important are acapellas, instrumentals, and other DJ tools to you? Do you need music videos for VDJ? Once you figure out what you need you must stick to your purpose. It is easy to get distracted by Moombahton remixes of your favorite tracks, but are you going to be using them for your next Mitzvah?
Every DJ is unique and surely there is a record pool that will fit your needs. In general, it will be most beneficial to have a well-rounded record pool that updates their music; both new and vintage, frequently. If a record pool has not updated their music in a couple of weeks, months, or longer, then they may not be very committed to their user base (or could be going out of business). A record pool should also have a good variety of genres so it can be your one-stop shop for music.
Some record pools also provide video alongside mp3 files for no additional cost! That’s essentially two for one on media content. You also want to make sure the record pool you are signing up for is easy to navigate and fits in well with your workflow. Some record pools force you to provide feedback before downloading the track. For some that may be very useful, for others who download many tracks in a session to listen to later, this could slow down your workflow. There are record pools that allow you to add songs to a virtual queue or crate so you can download them all at the end of your session in a zip file.
Record pools will vary in many ways so make sure to ask fellow DJs, read reviews and inquire about a trial membership. Nothing beats getting your hands dirty for a month before signing up as an official member. This will also allow you to check the quality of the content you are downloading. Music streaming has allowed consumers to have access to a vast number of songs and record pools are out here helping DJs keep up with the consumer demand for music. Record pools may soon be the only place where DJs will be able to obtain digital music that can be used to perform. Serato has integrated Soundcloud and Tidal into their platforms, however, that is still dependent on a strong internet connection and a premium membership to each respective platform. We hope these tips will help you determine the best record pool for you. If you have any questions about record pools leave them in the comments!