A disc jockey, commonly abbreviated as DJ, is an individual who plays existing recorded music for a live audience. It takes creative juices, passion, but most importantly hard work to become a good DJ.
DJs use equipment that plays at least two sources of recorded music simultaneously and mixes them together, creating an original composition. The earliest DJs in pop music, in 1970s discos, used record turntables, vinyl records and audio consoles. For many years, this analogue environment was the only relevant one. DJs carted large collections of vinyl records to and from gigs.
Even if you’re a vinyl junky, when it comes to convenience, flexibility, fluidity, and time, the best way to DJ is on a digital system. And with a digital system, you’ll need good software. DJ software allows users to mix and perform music in the same style, and using the same methods as a traditional vinyl DJ.
If you’re starting out as a DJ, you’ll probably want to try free software, as proprietary solutions can be very expensive. Fortunately, Linux has some useful software for music production.
The chart below offers our rating for the software. Mixxx truly stands out from the crowd, it’s an awesome open source application with powerful features, great design, and good support. Use Mixxx to perform with MIDI and HID controllers, CD players, vinyl turntables or even just your computer’s keyboard and mouse.
The software featured in this article is published under open source licenses, with the exception of Chipdisco (where the license terms are unclear). All are free to download. Explore the DJ software at hand.
We have compiled separate pages for each of the programs detailing their features with screenshots. Click the links in the table below to learn more about each program.
|Mixxx||Designed for both professional and amateur DJs with powerful features|
|Giada||Hardcore audio tool for DJs, live performers and electronic musicians|
|xwax||Digital Vinyl System|
|terminatorX||Realtime audio synthesizer; “scratch” on digitally sampled audio data|
|Luppp||Music creation tool, intended for live use|
|IDJC||Shoutcast/Icecast client with two main media players|
|Seq24||Minimal loop based midi sequencer|
|Chipdisco||Dual-deck DJ app for tracker modules|
|Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.
The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.
There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.