DJ advice on how to set up your library for all your music

I’m wondering how Denon users set up their music library.

  1. Do many DJ do it the old way with crates?
  2. Do you set your library up by year?
  3. Do you set up only by gene?

I’m asking as I have a week off and wanted to set my library up differently from my current library.

With different functions of quick find, does those who have been around a while have a better understanding and set up to a library they would like to share.

A quick video demonstrating would be perfect.

Thanks in advance.

Will Aka TWYMS


To answer some of your questions:

  1. Engine DJ no longer uses crates. Only playlists. Same principal with slight differences.
  2. You could if that workflow is best for your needs. I have a few playlists that are set up by year of purchase / release. Engine DJ date stamps files when added to the library as well
  3. Again, if genre is best for your workflow, then that is also possible. You would have to make sure your track’s metadata is in order for that to work properly.

I would recommend you map out a plan on how you want to organize your library that would work best for your style of DJ. Then search YouTube as there are plenty of digital library management guides to get you started. Digital DJ Tips on Youtube is a great resource for library management and would be a good start.

Good luck!

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I never thought about going there, I’m a member going to look up now, I’m more interested in those who use Denon products. Thanks for the advice.

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You want to set it up differently to your current library. OK but how is your current library set up?

If by “set up” you mean manually creating folders and placing files in those folders based on certain parameters, then I would say that’s not necessary because…database.

Assuming all your files are tagged fully and correctly, it doesn’t matter where they are on the drive, once they’re added to the database. For example all your House tunes don’t need to be in a folder called House. They can be anywhere. As they’re in the database, they can be found regardless.

Of course you can make playlists and smartlists for quick access to certain decades, genres etc. but beyond that there’s no need to manually place certain things in certain places.


No problem. Basically the same principals apply regardless of the library software. Denon DJ has some application specific guides as well. They’re more so a how to, than a guide though.

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Hi Will :raising_hand_woman:t2:

for my Engine library I use an external 4TB SSD drive from Samsung. For the actual file structure there is one root folder with the name of my library, it contains the folders of several genres, like Ambient, Dungeon Synth, Trance, Techno, Classical … in these folders I have subfolders, usually for the record label, sometimes for the artist. For example, in the Trance folder is a folder for all releases on Borderline which I have in my collection. Each release gets its own folder within a label/artist folder, even if it is just one track - there may be associated files like artwork that I could store there.

In Engine DJ I use playlists which mirror the folder structure on the SSD drive, there is a Trance playlist, which contains a Borderline playlist, which contains all the releases on that label - usually I sort these by catalogue number, which often implies a chronological order as well.

Well, that is the way I do it at the moment. It works for me, because this is also the way I sort and store my vinyl records. I am not 100% consistent and I think that any system will have pros and cons. Sorting by genre is not optimal, because labels or artists may publish releases that belong to several genres. Sorting by label is probably not good in cases where artists have released their music on several labels. Sorting by date is actually a nice sequence, but it does not consider any info about the music, the genre, the label or the artist - this is the case for the release date and the date of acquisition.

“Hierarchical and sequential structures, especially popular since Gutenberg, are usually forced and artificial. Intertwingularity is not generally acknowledged—people keep pretending they can make things hierarchical, categorizable and sequential when they can’t.”

Source: Ted Nelson in Computer Lib/Dream Machines (Rev. ed., 1987).

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Thanks for this reply, all makes sense, you make a really great point about music genes as they change and can be doubled up, playlists sound the easy way with year attached at this time. Thanks Will

I did this during lockdown

  1. Duplicates - used dupeguru to weed out duplicates I have accumulated from sourcing files from multiple sources.

  2. File naming is super important as well - i use “ARTIST - TITLE”. You can use any tagger of choice to rename all the track1.mp3 to whatever structure you decide one. I used Kid3, Kid3 will use the id tags to rename the files.

  3. All my DJ music is in one folder - I decided on folder structure for the files - I have a main folder (DJMUFASA) and about 10 subfolders for broad genres. POP, HIPHOP, RNB, AFROBEATS etc. My original intention was to have all the files in DJMUFASA without any subfolders but i couldn’t.


  1. Tagging / ID Tags is super important.

  2. Comments field is golden to actually write my stuff that will help find tracks according to vibe faster.

  3. Going forward from that overhaul, when i download a track, before adding it to dj software library/collection i make sure i do as much tagging and file management.

  4. Using Folders to manage the library is a waste of time to me. I will end up downloading the same track many times and i have never played from folders because i didnt start with Virtual DJ.

I have a theory that its old school virtual dj users who play from folders. :gun:

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I hate library discussions so ive largely decided to not get involved with them any more. All it does it stoke arguments where you try to offer people advice and they refuse to budge from their convoluted/leftfield process of storing and organising music.

Anyway as you’re only asking for advice I’ll give my method, all my sub folders inside my music master folder on my computer are direct replicates of playlists/crates on various DJ software. That way I can move around between all the different software and know where everything is. I can then just add new music to the genre folder it belongs in and update the playlist by drag and dropping that folder over its matching playlist.

It’s basically an A-Z of genres prefixed with a 0 so they appear at the top, then my albums all in A-Z.

I then use the date added and BPM sorting options on the software to choose music, usually my main collection stays on date added descending so all the new music is at the top.

See example below of Rekordbox.

And Engine:

And finally Serato:

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I don’t know about you guys but I started transferring my music on to computer hard drives back in the early 90s with MP2 compression, before DJ software and DJ controllers.

Because there was no database and I needed to know where stuff was, I made a bunch of folders and organised things alphabetically.

Part of my collection is still in those folders, because when I did begin using DJ software I left it that way rather than moving files around.

Now though, all I do is make a new folder once a year and everything goes in that. The database takes care of the organising. No need to put some stuff here and other stuff there.


It seems I work quite differently from the most here.

I organize my library with 1 folder for every of the normal gigs I play and in there I’ve got subfolders with genres.

For example: Black Party

  • -80s
  • -90s
  • -2Ks
  • -2K10s
  • -Hip-Hop
  • -German Hip-Hop
  • -R ‘n’ B

and so on. Then there’s another big folder with years and genres in it.

For the folder structur on my SSD I work on getting rid of as many as possible. The Dj software will take care of that and if I every move to another Software there’s Lexicon :wink:

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Now this is what I’m talking about, this makes total sense, never be to hasty to give your advice, you can unlock potential In many people, thanks for showing in the form of pictures, this has helped.

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