DJing In Chapters - Crafting A Setlist Story

Published on

July 5, 2024

DJing In Chapters - Crafting A Setlist Story

Picture this: you're DJing for a busy crowd with only a few minutes left of your current track. You know the perfect song to play next, but after a minute of searching, you still can’t find it. Maybe it never made it to your USB. 

With your heart pounding, you frantically scan your library. Nothing stands out, and with only seconds left, you pick a random track. The transition is rough, the energy shift is jarring, and the flow is ruined. The crowd loses interest and everybody leaves, throwing drinks at you on their way out.

While this exact scenario might be a bit of an exaggeration, most DJs have faced similar moments of panic. At Djoid, we've developed a new mixing concept and technology to prevent these issues and open new creative doors for setlist construction: Chapters.

In this article, you’ll learn what Chapter DJing is, why it’s so useful, and how you can implement it into your technique using Djoid.

TL;DR - DJing In Chapters

  • The best DJ sets tell a story with a cohesive journey of music. 
  • DJs want familiarity but also freshness - both safety and spontaneity.
  • Djoid pioneers the ‘Chapters’ technique for organizing libraries and building setlists. 

What is ‘Chapter’ DJing?

Chaptered DJing is an innovative concept pioneered by Djoid. Instead of finding one song after another, DJs pre-organize their library into chapters. When mixing, they mix one chapter at a time rather than one track at a time. This approach offers several benefits, as explained below.

A chapter is essentially a micro-playlist, containing anywhere from 3 to 20 cohesively curated tracks. DJs will have many custom chapters in their library, such as "High Energy Trance," "Slow Happy Hip-Hop," or "House to Techno Transition Mini Mix." These chapters can be categorized based on energy level, genre, or any other criteria the DJ prefers.

When a DJ is mixing, they can select a starting chapter and then move on to the next chapter, rather than constantly searching for new tracks. This can make the process more streamlined and efficient. The chapter itself can be pre-ordered or simply provide a pool of tracks that the DJ knows are compatible and complementary.

Not only does this help with planning DJ sets ahead of time, but it also makes improvised DJ sets flow better with less randomness. By using chapters, DJs can ensure a smoother progression in their sets, maintain a consistent energy level, and create a more engaging experience for their audience.

The Benefits of DJing in Chapters 

Chapter organization is a revolutionary approach for DJs to structure their sets more effectively. Instead of scrambling for individual tracks, DJs can pre-arrange their music into themed or energy-based chapters.

This chapter-based DJing technique offers numerous benefits, designed after extensive discussions with industry professionals and understanding the challenges they face in set preparation and improvisation.

By organizing tracks into chapters, DJs can streamline their workflow, reduce the stress of on-the-fly track selection, and maintain a more consistent energy level throughout their sets. This method not only enhances performance quality but also allows DJs to explore new creative possibilities, ensuring each set is engaging and memorable.

  • Structured Narrative: Planning your set in chapters helps you to create a cohesive story (ahead of time, or live), enhancing the overall flow and maintaining audience engagement.
  • Reduced Anxiety: Minimizes the stress of finding the next track on the fly, ensuring you always have content ready before the next transition.
  • Strategic Energy Transitions: Allows smoother changes in energy levels, maintaining a consistent vibe and preventing abrupt shifts.
  • Audience Engagement: Keeps listeners captivated by providing a journey through your set, making the performance more memorable.
  • Efficient Preparation: By preparing multiple chapters in advance, DJs can spontaneously make adjustments based on audience reactions without disrupting the flow.
  • Optimized Music Library Usage: Maximizes the use of your music library by organizing tracks into manageable sections, preventing overlooked gems from getting lost in the mix.
  • Enhanced Creativity: Encourages creative thinking by grouping tracks that complement each other, inspiring unique combinations and transitions.
  • Consistent Performance Quality: Ensures a consistent level of quality throughout the set, as each chapter is carefully curated and tested.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability: Offers the flexibility to adapt your set in real time, switching between chapters to match the mood and energy of the crowd.
  • Professionalism: Demonstrates a higher level of professionalism and preparation, distinguishing you from other DJs who rely solely on improvisation or basic linear planning.

By thinking in chapters and using tools like Djoid, DJs can elevate their performances, making each set more intentional, engaging, and memorable.

How To Start Chapter DJing with Djoid

Djoid’s interface and tools make it incredibly easy to start building chapters and incorporating this technique into your DJing workflow. The platform also offers AI tools to help organize and suggest tracks for your chapters, ensuring a smooth and efficient process.

Steps to Implement Chapter DJing with Djoid: 

  1. Import your Library: Djoid will analyze all your tracks for key, BPM, genre, energy, danceability, and other musical characteristics. 
  2. Create Chapters: Using the collections system, create chapters with 3 to 20 tracks each, focusing on cohesiveness and flow. some text
    • Implement the "Slice and Dice" technique. Djoid provides tools to segment your library into smaller, more manageable groups based on BPM, genre, mood, key, record label, release date, or any other sorting selection. This makes it easy to cut your library into smaller slices of compatible tracks, so you can quickly create cohesive chapters.
    • Grow Playlists from a Seed: Begin by selecting a single track that captures the desired mood or theme for a chapter. This "seed" track serves as the foundation. Using Djoid’s AI tools, you can then expand your playlist organically. The AI will analyze the seed track's characteristics and suggest additional tracks that complement it, ensuring a harmonious flow. For example, if your seed track is a mellow deep house tune, the AI might suggest other deep house tracks with similar BPM, key, and energy level, helping you build a well-rounded chapter effortlessly.
    • Utilize AI Suggestions: Djoid’s AI tools are designed to uncover hidden gems within your library that you might have overlooked. By analyzing your entire collection, the AI can recommend tracks that fit perfectly into your chapters. This not only saves you time but also enriches your sets with a diverse range of tracks. For instance, you might discover a forgotten techno track that pairs perfectly with your high-energy techno chapter, adding a fresh twist to your mix.
  3. Plan Your Set: Pre-plan your set by arranging chapters in a logical sequence that maintains energy and engages your audience.
  4. Export: Send your organized chapters back into your main DJing software (rekordbox, VirtualDJ, Traktor, Serato, etc)
  5. Adapt on the Fly: During your performance, switch between chapters to maintain audience engagement and adapt to the crowd’s energy.

By following these steps, you can seamlessly integrate chaptered DJing into your workflow, enhancing your sets' creativity, flexibility, and overall impact.

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