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I have around 200 vinyl DJ records that I want to catalog with BPM data. (Being DJ records, the majority of my collection would have a single value for BPM.)

Gathering this data presents a challenge because:

  • There is limited BPM data available online
  • The BPM data that is available online is located in disparate repositories
  • Sorting vinyl is a physical, time-consuming task that cannot be easily automated
  • BPM detection software can be inaccurate

I'm looking for software suggestions and input on how to create an efficient workflow for gathering BPM data from physical media.

My current idea is to:

  1. Sort records and populate spreadsheet. Use Discogs to create a spreadsheet with an entry for each disk and its individual tracks. Sort the spreadsheet A-Z, and physically sort the records to match.
  2. Gather audio samples for batch processing. Using my computer for audio capture, record samples from each disk and its individual tracks. In order to avoid the tedium of saving a file for each record, audio could be captured into one continuous file, dividing track samples with markers for later batch file separation.
  3. Batch BPM processing. Create a script to feed the gathered samples to software for BPM analysis, collect the results, and dump them into the catalog spreadsheet. Then print labels.

Does anyone know a piece of software that could facilitate step 3?

Is this overkill? I've had bad luck with iOS & Android BPM detection apps. The "Tap for Beats Per Minute" website is my usual go-to if I actually want to figure out a record's BPM.

I would love to find a simple solution with high accuracy!

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I think this little project going to be dependent on your desire as well as budget.

You probably already know this. Getting the audio into digital format isn't all that difficult. There are a lot of different turntables which automatically do this for you now (some doing direct Vinyl to SD card MP3 conversions). Else, you can always just run Audacity on record with the output going direct into your PC or a dedicated audio interface for a standard turntable.

http://www.amazon.com/ION-Profile-LP-Vinyl-to-MP3-Turntable/dp/B0029QRA1U

http://www.digitaldjtips.com/2010/12/rip-tunes-vinyl-mp3/

Splitting is a bit more difficult. There are automated programs out there but I haven't tried any of them and I'd be thinking that they would have limited success.

http://mega-mp3-splitter.softonic.com/

http://www.virtualdj.com/forums/99215/General_Discussion/splitting_tracks_for_cd.html

https://serato.com/forum/discussion/611405

The only possible redeeming factor is that if it is good enough to split most of them correctly you can just load up Windows Media player, load them into the catalogue, choose the 'Get Info' option about them to retrieve all relevant data. Then use MP3Tag to rename the files properly which then leads to the following and final step.

http://www.mp3tag.de/en/

For the BPM thing. There are a lot of DJ programs out there that do this automtically when you add them to their catalogue or load up a sample file. An example of this would include Mixx or the old Tonium Pacemaker's Editor software which was used to load files on to the device itself. The bonus is that some of them even include details about song keys as well. Easiest way to figure out which one is most appropiate is look for screen shots of how the program works and web search of features obviously.

http://www.mixxx.org/

http://www.mixmeister.com/

This will probably interest you a bit.

http://www.mixmeister.com/download-ezvc.php

The program pretty much promises to do most of the initial steps automatically (record and split). May cost you something though...

  • Thanks for the thoughtful response, and for all of the suggestions! I am not that worried about obtaining the audio samples. My current plan is to capture the output of my turntable mixer into a field recorder. I can either manually start and stop the recording for each track, or record continuously and use the field recorder's cue markers to split the files out later. The question then becomes -- what length of sound should I capture for each track? 15 seconds? 30? A minute? I've downloaded MixMeister. I'll do some test recordings of various lengths/BPMs to test the accuracy. – fjc Jun 21 '15 at 19:06
  • Forgot one more thing. There are music identification programs out there now which identify songs based on samples. You may want to take a look. I've never used them so not sure how accurate they are though. reddit.com/r/Music/comments/1vsr5d/… gizmodo.com/5647458/… – dtbnguyen Jun 22 '15 at 11:26
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I would never use apps for this, I'd count the bars before using an app.

I use Rane's Scratch Live. It has some pretty accurate BPM detection. There are other good ones out there though. I have a BPM display built into my mixer actually, but I never use it TBH.

What I would do: If you're going to play each track to get a sample, then you may as well run them straight through a software BPM detector and record the results yourself. It would probably be quicker than messing around recording and searching for batch software.

Step 3 Option: The only think I can think of to do step 3 is something like the C# script editor in Sound Forge. You could create a script that checks the sample's(or region's) length in seconds, and how many beats are in it(with tempo editor) and with some simple math you will be able to get the BPM and record it to a text file or something.

Hope this helps.

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