iTunes DJ and Apple Remote iPhone App

iTunes DJ and Apple Remote app

Apple's iTunes News has a handy reminder up about the iTunes DJ feature and how it works with Apple's Remote app for iPhone and iPod touch (and we're guessing/hoping a new, iPad-optimized version soon as well).

The DJ built into iTunes lives at the top of Playlists in the left-hand column of the iTunes window. By default, it selects 15 tracks from your music library to start things off. Behind the scenes, it keeps track of the last five songs in rotation, and adds a new track to the end of the list each time a song has been played. At the bottom left of your track list, there's a menu that lets you choose any of your playlists as the source for new tracks. At the bottom right of your track list, the Settings button lets you adjust how many recently played and upcoming songs are displayed and whether you'd like higher-rated songs to be played more often.

The rest of the Settings panel underlines what a flexible and accommodating soul the iTunes DJ is. Not only can you drag tracks around and drag in new ones as the spirit moves, but any of your iPhone/iPod touch-carrying guests who have the Apple Remote app installed can also add new songs to the list. You decide whether they can request songs from your whole library or a particular playlist, and they also get a chance to influence what plays next by tapping the voting heart to the right of each track.

I must confess, while I use Apple Remote for iPhone a lot, I don't remember even looking at iTunes DJ since Apple introduced it, other than to write about it. Do you use it?

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iTunes DJ and Apple Remote iPhone App


I used iTunes DJ at a party I hosted last year. Almost all of my friends have an iPhone so it was something I'd always wanted to try. I connected the computer to my large LCD tv so the iTunes visualizations would display and the album info would be on the screen. I posted instructions on how to connect to my WiFi network and explained the Remote app. Once a couple people caught on to what was happening everyone go in on the action and started voting on tunes. It was a very unique aspect to the party and it was a big hit.

I def use it. Works great at parties. People can vote on what they want to hear and I can leave my computer out of site.

I operate a roller skating rink. And we do not have a fulltime dj. When we don't have a dj we use iTunes dj to let our guests make requests using their iPhones.

Can this integrate with Apple TV? I like where Angel was going with this idea. -except the lugging a computer down to my TV.:)
It'd be great if I could DJ thru Apple TV and let people vote/mod via iPhone Remote.

I used this one night with about 4 friends. It's a cute gimmick, and we had a laugh, but I can't see this becoming a regular feature at gatherings. Too much set up time, and people starting at their iPhones all night, which is I guess what everyone does nowadays anyway:

The Sonos system is so much more efficient! It's already hooked up to my Internet and home theater.. And since many have an iPod touch or iPhone, anyone who comes into my house can control the music from rhapsody, pandora, iTunes from the palm of their hands and it will play off my living room Klipsch speakers with no laptop or pc to move.

iTunes DJ great to use when not had time to compile a play list. Used it (DJ) and Remote this weekend at party ... didn't open it up for others to vote/suggest - but was great being able to modify the music selection from phone as the mac was tucked a long way away from the party action - not losing it to beer spillage!

Funny enough, Rene... I had JUST located this feature two days ago and thought someone should do a story on it. Definitely a good feature for anyone throwing a get together with music and a large amount of friends. And...well.. motivation to get an iPhone or iPod touch if you dont have one and dont like the music!

Whenever i use the iTunes remote on iPhone, I have to keep the app open and not let the phone hibernate otherwise it disconnects from the library... Did someone find a way to fix this? I haven used it since having that problem, y'all seem to not have that problem though...

@Jason D - No it does not work with AppleTV...I truly wish it did.
I have used it since the feature was introduced, as most of my friends have iPhones. It has been a hit and everyone really gets into it. Now, anytime I have a party, it is set up and ready to go and I don't have to hear people demand a song is played.

@Matt- there's an option in Remote to keep it connected.
I use iTunes DJ to drag in tracks I want to hear, when I don't want to hear a pre-built playlist. Kinda gives the behavior of Musicmatch Jukebox: double-click and track goes to Now Playing queue. Years later I still miss that. Even using DJ, I have to drag, instead of just double-click.

Jason D, sure you can use it with Apple TV, just use iTunes and set the Airtunes speakers to your Apple TV.

I hardly use it either.
All of my friends do connect to my Library and choose whatever songs they want to listen though. The Remote app is the most used app on my phone.

I do use it, but only because I can't be bothered to find a replacement. I always try to stay up on the latest iphone apps, but I just don't have the time to read dozens and dozens of reviews, or the money to try out a bunch of apps to identify the best one.

iTunes DJ is my favorite part of iTunes. Especially if you host a lot of parties or gatherings. I did a whole youtube video review of it if you guys are interested in seeing how to setup and work it. Best part is guests on your wi-fi can request songs and even vote songs up the playlist! Here is the video review: