I remember when DJing was about sharing music you loved with other people. I probably missed the real heyday of “freeform radio,” but I did manage to catch some folks whose shows seemed to come from their personality, not merely the work of some jockey riding the horse of the current hits. Although a good segue between tracks was something special, nothing more than expert sequencing was expected—nor was it part of my criteria, initially. I’m not sure that even when I first became exposed to club DJs that I really expected them to do more than the radio DJ, save keep me dancing.
Years later when I began to DJ, the bar had been raised from playing good tunes, to needing to match song tempos (in an effort to make transitions more seamless and keep the dancefloor going) and possibly some scratching to make the music even more exciting. This was on vinyl, later transposed to CDJs (DJ CD players,) and now laptops and hybrids such as Serato Scratch Live are all the rage. Though all of the “DJ requirements” can be met with any format, there are still arguments of “real” vs. “poser” DJs based purely on the format used for playback. It is important for all parties to remember what a DJ is really there for—playing great music well, period.
It’s about what it has always been about, sharing music you love with people—be it vinyl, cd, mp3, wav/aiff or whatever. Often people like to quote Marshall McLuhan’s famous phrase “The medium is the message,” defining “medium” as the format the music is in (analog, digital, etc.). I contend the “medium” is the music itself and the way it is presented. If the format is the message, then does my message change when I change formats, even if I play the same set? How about two DJs who play the same format but sound completely different? Clearly, it’s the music, man…Powered by Sidelines