Remember the days when DJs used to turn up with a couple of record turntables and a little mixer between them? Well apart from the use of these in certain sub-genres of music, vinyl turntables are more or less dead. What has happened?
Everyone moved over to CDs with the birth of the CDJ platforms. This meant DJs could take around a larger number of tracks around with them, instead of being restricted to the 20 or 30 records they could carry around in their heavy and unpractical case. CDJ platforms revolutionized how people played their music, and how they got hold of it. The birth of the download generation had started and vinyl sales starting falling every year.
When DJs starting playing with CDs everyone though they were safe, but new digital technology is making it even easier to become a DJ and take your equipment around with you. Some people argue that it’s a step to far, as the CDs are a perfect hybrid between flexibility and the comforting tactile handling of something physical.
Digital DJing has seen a meteoric rise, with DJs just taking their laptops around with them and plugging them directly into the sound-systems and bars, clubs and venues across the world. Why? Well it means you don’t have to print any CDs and there are less electrical connectors to fiddle with and equipment to lug around. The likelihood of fuses blowing and circuit breakers collapsing is also reduced.
How does this work?
Well you can get DJ software on a laptop fairly easily now, and upload a library of MP3s directly from your hard drive. This means you can take a huge range of music around with you and mix it from a laptop without getting used to other people’s equipment. This plug and play mentality has raised issues amongst vinyl and CD DJs, claiming there is no skill involved and the concept is bland, and will eventually lead to there being no DJs at all. Part of DJing is the skill and love for the equipment; it’s like being with the music in its purest form. Setting up the mixes manually and handling the equipment and records with a sense of physical pleasure.
There is a fine line and Pioneer have recently aided both parties by allowing laptops and music management software to be applied to some of the CD turntables. This means you can ‘send’ tracks from your laptop, to a CD player in a type of virtual emulation. This puts the skill back into DJing, meaning you have to beat match manually and there is still he handling of a DJ platter on the CD turntable.
Where is DJing going?
Hopefully it will survive and adapt to the digital era, or expect your clubs to have music provided from their computer behind the bar. Do you want to see this?