Spotify bpm problems: permanent tempo overrides and manual entry

I’ve been diving into djay Pro this weekend. I love the fact that Spotify has been integrated ala ios. However since this is pro software at a pro price, there’s some things that I think should be addressed in regards to handling track tempo:

  1. There should be a way to permanently set a track’s tempo to something other than Echo Nest’s set BPM. This is critical for acapella tracks whose BPM is NEVER the one set accurately by track analysis, even the best in the world. It takes looking up the original track’s BPM online, then manually setting the acapella to the correct BPM. As it stands, every time the track is reloaded, the BPM is reset to Spotify’s default, even if it’s wildly off. Really painful in a live situation to look up the track again, then tap the beat to get the track precisely to the correct BPM.

  2. To this end allowing for manual text entry of BPM into djay is really important to pro and semi-pro DJs. Tempo tap is nice in a cinch, but it’s a nice feature to just validate what a complex track’s BPM is through waveform analysis, online research on Beatport, etc.

  3. Even if manual entry is not something you’re interested in adding in, a BPM “Round” option should really be added to fix slightly off tempo assessments. Very rarely would a modern dance track’s true BPM be something other than a whole number. So when a track reads 127.9, more than likely the true BPM is an even 128. This may not seem like a huge difference, but when a transition is more than a few bars long, it can become noticeable without correction. Yes, a good DJ would be able to manually pitch adjust to get the tracks in line, however a perfectly accurate readout makes matching much easier to accomplish for less skilled mixers.

I figured out the way to fix this problem so the adjusted BPM sticks. After setting the BPM by tapping, drop the exact same track again into the same deck. This overwrites the original BPM in the library and should make further loads of the track set at the correct tempo.

Also, since BPM tapping can be controlled by MIDI, if you have a DAW with MIDI out such as Ableton, you can have your MIDI sequencer tap out the correct BPM with manual precision. All that you need to do is install a free virtual midi patcher such as MIDI Patchbay.

So this is solved, kinda. I can fix the problem in a way that I can prep for a set. This still leaves some gaps for professionals such as porting over BPM and other track settings to new machines, manual adjustments that don’t involve tapping, etc.

Adding two arrow buttons that increase or decrease the BPM (and show the changes on the waveform in realtime) would be enormously useful. The beatgrid editing interface on Serato is very user-friendly, and would be a good system to emulate.