Adam Gorley is BlogCampaigning's resident copy-editor, but he also moonlights as a DJ. Here's his take on using a laptop to spin tracks. Imagine this: you’re the DJ at a bar—the night’s entertainment. You’re using a laptop; you’ve got some software that you’ve tried out before and you like better than anything else you’ve tried for the purpose.
Things are going pretty well, until right in the middle of the tenth song or so the application quits unexpectedly with no warning and no message—what! You scramble to switch to another program (iTunes is all you’ve got available) and find a song quickly to fill the gap. Then you load up the application again—it probably just crashed, right?—surely it won’t happen again. But no, it does happen again after another ten songs, and you realize it’s because you’re using a trial version of the software. Well, bloody hell, a little warning somewhere would have been nice, you think, and you spend the rest of the night cueing songs in iTunes and hoping nobody notices—and of course, cursing the company that made that other application.
Well, that happened to me about eight weeks ago at The Painted Lady—the first time I played at that bar—and, man, was I unhappy about it, by which I mean Embarrassed. I won’t name the application that closed down on me, because I don’t want anyone to use it, which is a shame, because otherwise it’s a decent lightweight laptop DJing app.
I might sound like an ass for trying to use a software trial to DJ a party, but, you know what? To me, that’s the purpose of a trial: to try the product out—not for ten songs, not for 100 songs, but until I’m ready to buy it. I would prefer to have the functionality of the application somehow restricted rather than face a completely unexpected shutdown. All I’m asking for is a warning here software developers, that’s all I’m saying.
It turns out that iTunes is an acceptable—if very weak—substitute for bare bones software. (You might laugh—please feel free—but I can say this confidently because I’ve had to use it exclusively on three occasions now.) And by adding a few features, it could actually be good—yes, iTunes could be a reasonably good (basic) DJing application, with the addition of greater crossfading control, current song protection, and two music windows. That’s all. It would be far from great, but in a pinch, I wouldn’t worry about using it.
Of course, none of that can take away the fact that I’m using a laptop and a mouse (or, worse, a trackpad) to DJ, but that’s another story.
So, maybe you can help me find a good free/open source mixing application for Macs?—the simpler the better. And if it’s compatible with the M-Audio Torq Xponent, I like that too.