Is digital revolution a blessing?

The digital revolution has expanded. In many ways, it is as though all the DJs dreams have been answered – the dullest yet most difficult part of the role has been removed, leaving any DJ with one of the easiest, most fun jobs in the world.

It is easier and cheaper than ever to become a DJ, and digital DJ technology makes the whole process more accessible, whilst allowing the DJ to make more creative decisions about how to present their music, from a much larger pool of music than ever before. The entry-level has been substantially lowered and some skills such as beat matching have become less important.

Rather than changing the skill set of the DJ, how much of this expanded skill set a DJ chooses to use to a certain degree defines their style and sound. The most crucial essential element in a DJs armoury is still that of selection – choosing the right piece of music for the right moment, to perfectly match the mood of the audience.

The continuing development of DJ technology reshaped both how a DJ could work and also changed what to expect from them. It is now much easier to bring way more music to a gig. DJs used to be limited by how much they could carry. A digital DJ can easily transport thousands and thousands of tracks.

DJ digital technology allows a skilled DJ to deconstruct and reassemble tracks live. DJs can use parts from one track on top of another, mix different parts of the frequency spectrum from several different songs at once and can loop, re-sample, and apply effects with ease.

It could be argued that the price of ease of access has been an increase of amateur or merely competent DJs, whereas the pre-digital era produced a smaller number of highly skilled and knowledgeable DJs which isn’t the case with all digital DJs of course. There are plenty who have embraced the creative opportunities that digital offers and taken the craft of DJing to new places, using their software and controllers to incorporate some basic studio techniques into their DJ sets, blurring the lines between DJing and production.

However, the flip side is that there is a price to pay for the lowering of barriers to access DJing. There are certainly more DJs than ever before, and not all of them are as skilful, knowledgeable, or capable of reading a crowd as others. Just because some random software can mix a couple of tracks for you, it can’t make an informed selection decision based on years of experience, or perfectly sense the mood of a crowd and respond accordingly.

No matter what magical machine trickery DJs brings into the booth, above all, they still need to be able to empathise with the dancers in front of them and engage in some kind of communion with them, and no amount of software or hardware can do that.

Finally, most technological discoveries aim to reduce human effort but beat matching, phrasing, and timing are the basic essential skills every DJ must have without over depending on digital technology. The more you train yourself to push the bars of your performance, the more you expanded your delivery and experience for every gig.

 

My recommended party pace pusher for this week is Simi ‘Duduke’.

 

 

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