Choosing your DJ equipment goes hand in hand with choosing your DJ software. In fact, some argue that you should know the software you want to use before getting the hardware.
If you are new to the game, looking for the best picks for beginner DJs will make your learning and growing process easier, especially since moving from one software to another can be a real headache.
How to choose DJ software
Before you pick your DJ software, certain things should inform your decision.
- Know your purpose. It’s important to know what kind of DJ you would like to be before choosing your software. This doesn’t mean that you can’t change later on.
- Research. Just as you would when buying your DJ equipment, do your research. If you have DJ friends, ask them what software works for them.
- Compatibility. As you choose your software, check to see if it is compatible with your DJ controller or the one you hope to have.
- Features. Check to see if the features in the software are what you really want. Finding software that has everything you want may be difficult, but go for that which has the majority of what you need.
- Ease of use. This applies mostly to beginners. If you are unfamiliar with DJ software, choose one that will be easier for you to use. Getting something complicated may end up frustrating your learning process.
- Check for cut-down DJ software. When you buy DJ hardware, it may include software editions branded limited, home, or lite. These versions may not grant you access to features you would need, and you may need to upgrade later on.
Top DJ Software
Serato is a pioneer in digital DJing. For more than two decades, Serato DJ has been used by professional DJs all over the world, especially turntablists and scratch DJs. Serato DJ has the free version Serato DJ Lite, which you can upgrade to the paid version- Serato DJ Pro. Serato DJ Lite is the go-to version for beginners, as it is free.
Serato DJ supports several DJ controllers and mixers, including Rane, Denon, Numark, and Pioneer DJ. Some hardware comes with Serato Pro and does not require downloads or purchases. However, you can choose a monthly subscription of $9.99 or a one-off purchase of $249.
One of its notable features is the smart crates. Using smart crates, DJs can access their favorite tracks. It also has great sound effects and amazing expansions when mixing videos and editing tracks. It also has an easy-to-use interface that is ideal for DJs who are starting out.
Serato DJ is also compatible with Beatsource, Beatport, Soundcloud Go+, and Tidal streaming services.
Rekordbox is the software from Pioneer DJ, a big producer of DJ hardware. This software is intended to be used with Pioneer controllers. Therefore, when you purchase any modern Pioneer controller, it will come with this software.
With Rekordbox, you can organize and customize your music library, create playlists and transfer them onto your platform of choice using a USB drive. You can also do a live performance directly from your Pioneer DJ controller.
Another feature of this software is its ability to sync with Dropbox, which enables you to store and access your tracks from the cloud.
Rekordbox also has subscription plans if you choose to upgrade. The Core plan costs $9.99 a month, the Creative plan $14.99, and the Professional plan $29.99. Each of these plans offers extra features that can make your DJing experience seamless.
Rekordbox supports streaming services such as Beatport, Beatsource, Tidal, and SoundCloud Go+.
Virtual DJ is a favorite for many as it is compatible with almost all hardware. Other than its karaoke features, it also offers plug-and-play support for over 300 DJ controllers.
One of its most unique features is the STEMS. This feature contains an algorithm that allows you to isolate vocals, melodies, basslines, and drums. With Virtual Dj, you can also broadcast your set live on Facebook, Twitch, or Youtube. It also has a sleeker new look and enables you to schedule your events.
Another of its attractive features is the Genius DJ, which chooses your next track based on the current track you are playing. Virtual DJ is compatible with Beatport, Beatsource, SoundCloud Go+, and Deezer streaming services.
You can use the free version or upgrade to the Virtual DJ Pro or Business plans that cost $19 and $99 per month, respectively.
Traktor Pro is the brainchild of Native Instruments, which also manufactures DJ hardware and music production hard and software. This software is popular among electronic DJs and producers.
With Traktor Pro, you can remix your decks. You also have access to the STEMS feature as with Virtual DJ.
Though this software integrates with some Pioneer controllers, it works best with their DJ controllers It also supports both Beatport and Beatsource streaming services.
Choose What Works Best for You
Your DJ software selection should depend on preference. You need software that you can easily use, especially when starting out. Don’t be afraid to start with the simplest software. You can always upgrade when you are ready.