Where do DJs get remixes?

Where do DJs get remixes?

A DJs music collection is often a close kept secret. DJs will spend decades building up a music collection of tracks that will rock any dancefloor. One of the best weapons is the remix, but where do DJs find remixes? 

First let’s start with the basics, what is a remix? 

A remix is a reworking of an existing track. It’s a different version of the track which is sometimes organised by the original artist and sometimes not. Some tracks have multiple remixes and older classic tracks or popular tracks can have hundreds of remixes and bootleg remixes. 

A bootleg remix is a remix where the person who created the remix didn’t have permission to create it from the original artist or record label. This often means the remix is limited because they bootleg artist often won’t have access to the original stems. This means the bootleg remix is often much more basic than a remix which is created professionally and with permission of the rights holder. A bootleg remix is often also referred to as a mashup. 

An official remixer will have permission from the rights holder, often the original recording artists of the record label. With permission granted they will also have access to the stems which will help them create the new version. The stems are the different layers of the track, for example the acapella, the drums, the bassline, the melody etc. Which access to separate stems or separate instruments the new remixer can pick and choose which parts of the original track they want to include in their version. Often a remixer will just use the lead vocal of melody and create the rest of the track themselves.

Think about tracks made of lego, how could you rearrange the pieces?

Sampling is not remixing. 

Remixing is not to be confused with sampling. While the two are closely related and borrow music from previous tracks they can be defined separately. Remixing is creating a new version of an older track whereas sampling is using a small section or small part of an existing track in the commotion of a new track. Sampling is often just using a small sound or loop. 

A great website for discovering who sampled what is called Whosampled.com. We love this example here showing how Drake sampled in the song Why Can't We Live Together by Timmy Thomas (1972) to create his hit song Hotline Bling (2015).

So where do DJs find remixes? 

DJs will scour multiple sources to find remixes of popular tracks to add to their collection. Sometimes it’s easy and you can buy official remixes along with the release of the original track but sometimes you have to dig a little deeper. 

1. Purchased with the original track

Many artists will release official remixes with the original track. Many singles come with a radio edit, club edit and remix. Have look for remixes on releases you have purchased. 

Click here to find out where DJs find their music.

2. Vinyl records

Are you looking for rare or unusual remixes that not many DJs have? It’s worth looking for remixes released on vinyl. Pop into your local record store or shop on Discogs. Rare remixes can be found on vinyl along with some rarer acapella versions. Once you have the vinyl records you can simply play it on a turntable or record it to WAV. 

3. Soundcloud

One of the best sources for remixes and bootleg remixes is Soundcloud. You can easily search on Soundcloud for a popular artists and then ‘remix’ this will show you dozens if not hundreds of results. Sometimes you can download them for free. 

4. Google

Not sure if there is even a remix for a particular track you had in mind? Just search for the name of the track or artist on Google and include the word ‘remix’ you can then see what results show up.

5. Promos 

Many DJs will have access to promo releases which are often emailed to them from PR companies and record labels. Try and join as many PR promo services as you can for your genre of music and see what remixes you can access. Often promos are handed out before general release meaning you can get amazing music before anyone else1 

6. Make your own

If you want something truly original to your collection consider making your own remix. If you are a producer try reaching out to the artist or record label for official permission. You might be turned down or ignored but sometimes you will get given a chance. This is a win-win because not only will you have an original remix track no other DJ has access to you will also be able to release the remix with their permission furthering your DJ and production career. If you can’t get proper permission consider making a mash-up or bootleg remix. You won’t be able to sell it but you can release it on free download or play it in your DJ sets. 

If you would like to learn how to produce your own music or remixes check our our music production courses in Birmingham, Manchester and London. You can also learn how to produce remixes online with LSA. 



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