Sunday, January 31, 2010

Digging for records in the digital age

I'll be the first to admit, I can't even decide if this is cool or diabolical...but here goes...

Was chatting with Brooksy about a way I've been nabbing sick singles lately when I find they're outrageously expensive. Conducted a little experiment tonight and wanted to share with you all a little something I call "The YouTube DJ Set".

So, as you may already know, lots of folks post all kind of sick tunes on YouTube and you can actually find/discover a lot of music on what is otherwise known as a video site. But the beauty is, you can get those tracks pretty easily. There are probably a million ways to do it, but here's my method:

1. Take the URL from a track you love and enter it at Hit return and then download the HIGH QUALITY vid.
2. Open that vid in Quicktime Pro or something comparable
3. Export the audio as a high quality AIFF
4. Open in iTunes (or comparable) and then convert to MP3

Now, because the audio will at that point be a couple generations old, it will inevitably be a hair quiet compared to what you heard on YouTube. But if you plug a string of tunes in GarageBand (or comparable) you can quickly assemble your set of tracks and then boost up the level and get those suckers back to the same quality you heard in the first place.

As I said, I conducted a test tonight. It started with Paul's Northern Soul 001 set he posted the other day. I love that track "You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies" by Dana Valery, but the single goes for mucho $$$. This is a short mix (again, an experiment; starting with Dana), and I am by no means claiming any DJ cred, but I did this whole thing using the method above. And while it may seem complicated, I did the whole thing in 30-45 minutes, from sniffing out the tracks off the original search (I wasn't specifically searching for the rest of the tracks, I found them "dig-ing"), to downloading and converting, to assembling and exporting.

Again, probably makes me a lazy fuck...but at the end of the day, these singles on 7" would have broken the bank. And right now, I'm rocking them. So, not the be all end all, but good when you're in a pinch. Hope you enjoy. Let me know your thoughts on all of it.

You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies - Dana Valery
I Need You - Shane Martin
Shy Guy - The Uptights
They Say - The Ovations
Help Me (Get Myself Back Together) - The Spellbinders


OneSoundUK said...

Completely agree with you mate - my personal philosophy is, if it's a choice between having a tune in my hands or not then there's really no choice. Having just started collecting Northern Soul was gobsmacked too at the prices - however the attitude among the seasoned veterans on the forums was stick to cd - they reckoned most of the reissues were legally and quality wise very shady and you're more likely to get the original recording on cd(with some of that money going to the artists)...This attitude was refreshing coming from a reggae background where as a podcaster everything has to be vinyl (even though you have people like Jah Tubby's using laptops and Shaka using cd's).

With regard to mp3's have started to employ the method you mention (I use irecord music) - but it has to sound pretty good to put on a tape and I'd never play it out (just a personal choice).

Another option is to approach the collectors direct and offer them some cash for cd's of their vinyl - you'd be suprised by how many are up for this. 50% of those tunes on that mix were direct from a guy who runs a Northern Soul site ( with thousands of tunes you can listen to online and then order on cd (30 tunes for 6 quid). As mentionned all the Northern Soul guys I've spoken to (from promoters, clubbers and dj's) care about one thing - their scene surviving and the music being played - which is probably why it's never gone away and is thriving today.

Finally - I'm always wary of any podcaster who wears the 'I only play vinyl' badge of honour, in most cases they think that's enough and their mixes are usually lazy and/or they'll frequently play both sides of a not very good record just because they payed a shit load of money for it. For me the best mixes are the ones with some thought gone into them, containing some fresh tunes and with a bit of mixing ability on display - I'm not scruntinizing every track for snap,crackle and pop.

Each to his own.

brooksy said...

yes. I use irecordmusic too. (same idea but you can record streaming live).
I agree with Paul and Shanksalot. It's the music that counts. I love vinyl - but for shit like Northern I'm happy to have the tunes.... esp for mixes and stuff....

Anonymous said...

or you can just use to search and download to mp3 directly to save some time :-)