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I can’t think of greater punishment for a DJ than losing their music library at some point. That’s why I decided to write this article where I will show you all the ways in which you could prevent that from happening, by backing up your music.
This article will teach you how to create a “safety net” in your Serato. Please note that I’m a Mac user so I’ll be doing this the Mac way. However, the process is the same for Windows users.
Ways To Backup Serato Data
DJs use plenty of methods to back up their music files. Out of fear of losing your laptop, or simply buying a new computer, you must have a plan. Let’s cover all potential strategies and see which way suits you best.
Transferring your Serato library from your internal drive to your external hard drive is one of the easiest and, I’d say, most “popular” methods of backing up your files. It’s basically having a spare case where you will store all the files and they’re safe even if your laptop crashes for some reason.
On your computer, you should have a “_Serato_ folder” (including the underscores). This is a folder made by Serato DJ where you have all your music library, crates – basically, all your data that has been collected over the years of using the Serato software.
This folder can be found in the Music folder on your computer. Serato has also created them on every drive that you have used to retrieve music from. So you might want to check if there is one on your external drives, as well.
After you find them all, merge them into one _Serato_ folder. Another thing I’m sure you also have is a Music folder, where you keep all your music files. Usually, people have it as “my music”, but you know what I mean.
Preferably, you only have one of these folders, although it’s very likely that you have sub-folders where you sorted your music by genre, artist, and so on. That’s fine, but it would be better if you take some time and have one big music folder for your backup.
So, to back up the music folder from your internal hard drive to an external drive, you first need to make sure that your Serato software is closed.
Connect The Hardware
Next, connect your external hard drive to your computer using the cable that was provided to you when you purchased the unit. Most often it’s a USB input.
Now, find your music folder. It’s the easiest if you go to Finder on Mac, or if you have a PC, open Windows Explorer and just type the name of the folder. Find the _Serato_ folder which you should copy and paste to your external hard drive.
If your external drive already has this kind of folder, make sure to merge them, because you’re risking losing some precious crates and DJ music you’ve been collecting for a long time.
Never rename your files during transfer, as they have to be transferred by the exact name they had when leaving the internal hard drive. Otherwise, Serato will think that these files are missing, when they’re actually not.
If you’ve followed the steps carefully, you should now have two separate folders on your external hard drive, the _Serato_ folder, and your Music folder. This is the time to relax since your DJ music is safe and secure.
Relocate Lost Files
Remember how I said that if you rename your music or video files, Serato will treat them as missing? Well, that can also happen if you’ve decided to move them from the Music folder to some other folder, or on your Desktop for example.
The Relocate Lost Files feature in Serato DJ can help you find this “missing music”. The key is to roughly know where your music files are, and Serato will find them thanks to this feature.
So, the first thing you have to do is to click on the Files button which will pop up the Files Panel. The files button is located in the upper left corner, next to the Browse button. Now, it all comes down to your memory. Do you remember where those music files are stacked?
It’s okay, you don’t need to know exactly in which folder you’ve put them, but a rough estimation would be cool. Anyway, once you pick a folder you suspect has your music files, drag and drop it to the Relocate Lost Files tab, which is right below the Files Panel.
Serato DJ will scan this folder, and if there are sub-folders inside, it will take longer, naturally. So, the more precise you are with targeting folders, the faster Serato DJ will be in finding and restoring these missing files.
Once the process is done, close the tab and your music files should no longer be missing.
Moving Crates In Serato DJ
Just like you would copy and paste your “my music” folder, you can do the same thing with crates and sub-crates.
All you have to do is to open the Files Panel and locate the crates and sub-crates you want to migrate. Click on them, then drag them and drop them at the new location. You will then choose whether you want to move the files completely, or just copy them.
Library Auto Backup
There is another way in which you could backup your Serato library. I already said that Serato DJ creates a folder in your internal hard drive where it stores all your data. However, if you’ve added music or video files from an external hard drive, it will create a folder there as well.
Every time you close Serato DJ Pro, you will be asked to backup your data. This shouldn’t be ignored and it’s smart to go through this every once in a while, at least once per week.
If you agree, Serato DJ will create a backup folder of the _Serato_ folder in your system drive, as well as to any connected external drive. When copied, it will be automatically named _Serato_ backup. If the backup on your computer is older than a week, you will be asked to back up your files again.
Please be aware that if you aren’t using Serato DJ Pro, but rather Serato Itch or Scratch Live, the folder will be named accordingly. Also, Serato supports only one backup at a time, so every time you do it, it will substitute the existing one.
Rescanning ID3 Tags
A really important part to secure your DJ music is to use ID3 tags. It’s the process of labeling your mp3 files so that the relevant information for your music appears automatically when you’re sharing your files.
In the Files Panel, you should be able to find the ID3 tags button. This feature will re-read the tags for your entire Serato library in case you’ve edited or in any way modified the tags in the Serato software.
Backing up your DJ music on a USB flash drive is perhaps the smartest thing you could do. Not only will you have your music stored safely, but you’ll have your playlists with you, everywhere you go.
If you’ve been DJing for a while, you know that a lot of venues offer you their own gear for the night, including a laptop. The best thing at that moment is to have a USB drive with Serato backup which will allow you to just plug and play.
The best thing about it is that no one will be able to keep your music once you eject the USB drive. To make your Serato library and crates portable using a USB drive, here’s what you have to do.
Copying Serato Crates To USB Drive
Copying a crate has been made very easy with Serato software, unlike the experience I’ve had with other DJ software, where it seems like you’re coding the files all over again. Here, everything is done in a few simple steps.
- The first thing you have to do is to open the Files Panel in your Serato DJ. That is done by clicking on the Files button on the upper left part of the screen. Your USB flash drive should appear there along with the Serato library.
- Second, click the crate or crates you want to backup.
- Once clicked, they’ll turn blue. Drag and drop the files into the USB drive, which you can also find in the Files Panel.
- Once you drop them, you will be asked what to do next. Copy, move, or cancel? Of course, you will click copy because you want the files to exist in both your Serato software and the USB drive.
- After you click copy, a progress bar will appear showing that the files are being copied to the USB drive. The number of files you have will affect the time it takes for Serato to complete this operation.
- Once everything is done, eject the USB drive as long as it’s “safe to remove hardware”. You know, like you would normally do. Your music is now backed up and stored on your USB drive, ready to be plugged into another computer.
How To Best Store Your Music in Serato Software
As a DJ, you probably have thousands of songs on your laptop and it’s not always easy to keep everything tidy and organized. But all it takes is a little attention to make things simple and have a perfect Serato library.
Organize Your Files
The best way to manage your music is to go to the folder called Music on your Mac, and I’m sure it’s called like that on Windows as well. It’s important to create a folder in Music where you will sort all the tracks or video files you use in your performance.
I wouldn’t advise that you make subfolders, but if you must – it’s fine. This makes it more complicated for Serato to analyze the tracks and find missing files. Also, the software will perform better if you keep the file path location as simple as possible.
Open Serato DJ
Once you’re done organizing your music and have made sure everything is clear and simple, go to your Serato software and open it.
To open the Files Panel, click on the files button next to browse. Navigate to the folder you created earlier and hit Command A (Mac users) to select all the files. On Windows, this is done by hitting Control (CRTL) A.
Once you’ve highlighted all the songs on your internal hard drive, drag them and drop them at the All Crate section within the Crate area in Serato DJ. Any subfolders you have should be dropped in the Crate area as well, and Serato will make crates out of them.
Make sure that every time you download music to your computer, it lands in your Music Files folder. Most of the time this is a given, but if not, take some time and move it there. It’ll just be much easier to migrate it to Serato later.
As you probably noticed throughout the text, backing up your music files is a very important operation for a DJ. You never know what could happen to your computer, and you never know when you will need the backed-up files.
At the same time, you probably noticed that there are dozens of ways to make this happen, whether it’s an external hard drive, a USB drive, or using the Auto Backup function in Serato.
Without repeating the same things over and over again, let’s just run through all the backup options and see which suits your library best. But first, let’s start by highlighting all the tips I gave you that you should always focus on.
Tips on Backup
- Always download music in your Music Files folder. If you have them somewhere else, it will be hard for Serato to locate them when you want to merge them with your _Serato_ folder.
- Always keep your music files in one folder, rather than separating them into subfolders. I know that it’s better to have them divided by genre, artist, and so on, but your Serato library will perform much better if you keep them in just one big folder.
- Always make sure that your USB drive is safe to remove before you remove it. Truth is, it’s not gonna be a big deal if you just take it out whenever you like, but there is a small but significant chance that some files might be missing.
Now, which method is best for you?
Choosing the Right Backup Method
Backing up your files on an external drive is a good choice and the most “popular” one. This way you know where they are, and you know they are safe and sound. All you have to do is to follow the steps I provided above, and you won’t have a problem, I’m sure.
Backing up on a USB flash drive is personally my favorite method because I don’t need to spend money on fancy external drives, and I’m very mobile with it. I can always plug it in another computer and there they are, my precious tracks.
Of course, this method carries a risk of losing the USB drive, since they’re so tiny. That’s why I always get USB drives that can be put on a keychain or the ones that look like credit cards. So, if I lose my USB, it means I also lost my wallet, and I take good care of my wallet.
As for your internal hard drive, there is always a possibility to auto backup Serato by agreeing to do so every time you close the software. It will create anSerato backup folder with all of your work stored on your computer.
Of course, this is not enough and it’s always smart to also have it on an external hard drive because you never know what might happen to your computer.
Finally, I hope that this article gave you a clear insight into Serato and its backup methods. You should now be calmer about what will happen to your files. And, don’t waste any time, consider one option and backup your Serato library!
Can You Use An External Hard Drive With Serato DJ?
Yes. DJs can have a portable Serato library using a USB drive, which will allow them to copy the library and crates they have on the flash drive. After that, they can just plug it into another computer and play it as if it were their own.
How Do I Save My Library In Serato DJ?
The best way to save your Serato library is to click on All in the main crate and then hit Command A to highlight all the items in your library. Then, drag and drop these files to an external hard drive that you’ve already connected to your computer.