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How to Make Your Music Library Truly Portable – Part 4: Plug and Play (literally)

If you have been following along then you have already done about 95% of the work here. This is the final part of this 4-part series. And it is, by far, the easiest part to follow. You are going to create some playlists, aka Crates, in Serato that will be accessible to your computer and every other computer with Serato installed. Click through for the instructions...

Creating Crates

If you need a refresher, or have not taken all of the steps to get to this point, please read these articles: Part 1: Buying the Portable Hard Drives, Part 2: Moving your iTunes Library to your new portable (if you use iTunes), Part 2.5: Why you should let iTunes organize your music library, Part 3: Moving your Serato Files to the new portable. As you know, this is Part 4: Plug and Play (literally).

Ok, lets finish this up!

First things first,
Make sure your new drive is plugged up. Once that is up, launch Serato. Speaking of Serato, at this time, you do not need the hardware connected, but it wont hurt. All we are doing here is adding Serato Crates, so it does not matter about the hardware.
(This is good, because you can have Serato installed on any computer that you use and you will be able to edit your crates as long as you have your portable drive with you.)

Anyhow, I already gave away the next steps, but still...

Add a new Crate

Ok, in Serato, click on the orange plus symbol in the bottom left corner. This will add a new "crate". The blue one will add a "smart crate", similar to "smart playlists" in iTunes. Crates are your playlists or virtual record boxes. So now that you have a crate, rename it to something that makes sense and add some songs to it. Pretty simple right?

For all you iTunes playlist users,
I have some bad news here. The end game is to get your playlists to play on any computer with Serato installed. Unfortunately your iTunes playlists will only show up on your computer, no one else's. Serato crates, on the other hand, will show up on every computer that has Serato installed. This is truly amazing and is a big part what makes crates so powerful.

So, at this time, you should start transferring those old iTunes playlists to new Serato crates. The little extra time you spend doing this is COMPLETELY worth it. Plus, it will help you trim the fat from your old playlists. When I did this, i was able to create much more streamlined Crates, and I used my many years of playlist experience to really get these new crates exactly how i wanted them.

Lets test this out:
You should have a few crates by now. So, eject your drive, and plug it into another computer with Serato installed. It does not matter if Serato is launched or not. For this example, open Serato on the other computer before plugging in your drive. Once its fully open and ready to be used, plug in your drive and keep your eye on the left crate panel. Within about 10 seconds you should see all of your crates pop up!!! Load one of the songs from your crate, and you will notice that it plays flawlessly and has all the loops/cue points/effects/etc. all right there, ready to be used. You can even add cue points, or whatever, and it will be saved on your portable, as if you did it on your computer, for future use.

You can also add and edit your crates on any computer too, but don't add any songs that are not on your drive (aka, don't add songs that are on the other computer's internal drive). If you do this, then guess what? It wont be playable on your computer, got it? good!

You did it! You can now be a completely portable DJ. All you need to do is carry your tiny little portable drive to the next gig, plug it in and rock the party. Its the best. If you play with friends, this is perfect. Only one person needs to bring the laptop. No more clumsily/drunkenly swapping out laptops in the middle of a party. Just plug in your drive and play!

I hope people benefit from this, I know I have. Please feel free to ask me any question about this process.

DJ Color TV

p.s. Remember bringing hundreds of pounds of records to gigs? I know I do... Then "Final Scratch" hit, then later Serato came out to rule it on the laptops. It reduced the weight from hundreds of pounds to maybe 10 pounds (laptop and cords). With this portable solution, it reduces the weight to basically nothing, less than 1 pound. Amazing!

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  1. You definitely make a compelling argument for moving your music to an external drive and letting iTunes do all the organizing.

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