C’mon, Man!

By Glen Ervin:

 Assumptions: We all make them all the time. It’s how our brains function, the result of millions of years of evolution (one would assume) during which pretty much everything was trying to kill you. Good times. Problems arise, however, when we confuse our assumptions with reality despite clear evidence to the contrary.

The pipe and tweed crowd refers to the habit of hoarding preconceived notions as cognitive bias, and have come up with some pretty catchy titles to describe its symptoms.

Some you may recognize: the Bandwagon Effect, Confirmation Bias, Cheerleader Effect, the Dunning-Kruger Effect, aka all the other kids are doing it, I’m just here for opinions that agree with mine, five girls in skimpy skirts are better than one girl in a skimpy skirt, and way too many idiots have an inflated opinion of themselves, respectively.

Others less well known have no doubt spread your way.

Maybe you’ve caught an earful of the Sharing Music Doesn’t Hurt Anyone Bias. That’s the shell game some DJs play where they convince themselves that taking caviar off the table of rich recording artists is no big deal while conveniently ignoring the fact that everyone from secretaries to songwriters to how much DJs can charge for their events is negatively impacted by music piracy.

Or maybe it’s the Music Is Free Effect, Real DJs Don’t Use Sync Bias, Real DJs Beatmatch Effect and, my personal favorite, the I Have More Songs On My Hard Drive Than You Do Bias that make you back away from the keyboard and voice the only reasonable response available…

C’mon man!

If you’re in a place where you think you’re entitled to earn a living by ripping off artists and driving down prices for other DJs. Or need to build yourself up by tearing other DJs down, that’s… a choice.

Just know those of us who strive every day to make our best better and value the music that makes doing what we love for a living possible are rolling their eyes.

And while we may not always say it out loud, we’re thinking it…

C’mon man!

After being turned out to pasture following a 16-year club residency, Glen Ervin finds himself gainfully employed as Promo Only sales manager, media consultant and staff writer.

Pioneer’s New DDJ-400: Club-standard layout & new Tutorial feature

If you want to try DJing at home and see how far you can take it, Pioneer has created the perfect controller to learn on: the DDJ-400. Made for dedicated use with their professional performance application, rekordbox dj (free license key included), the 2-channel DDJ-400 is designed to help you get the most from the new features coming to the software with the release of rekordboxTM ver 5.3 today.

The DDJ-400 is the ideal piece of kit for first-time DJs. Its controls enable you to easily learn the basics, plus it’s packed with features that will help you develop your skills. The controller is compatible with the new Tutorial feature in rekordbox dj, which explains basic equipment operation step by step. Even if you’ve never ventured behind the decks before, you can learn how to DJ.

Thanks to the lightweight and portable design, you can take the DDJ-400 to friends’ houses to practice together or bring it to parties and small venues to perform. And if you want to take mixing to the next level, you’ll feel at home in the club DJ booth because the DDJ-400 inherits design traits from our professional range. The layout of dedicated play/pause and cue buttons, Beat FX, CDJ-style looping controls and more is inherited from our NXS2 set-up.

The DDJ-400 will be available from late June at an MAP of $249. Watch the introduction video or find out more about the controller.

A license key for rekordbox dj worth $129 is included with the DDJ-400 so you can plug it into your PC or Mac straight out of the box and start mixing. If you already own rekordbox dj, upgrade to the latest version to use the controller.

KEY FEATURES OF THE DDJ-400

  1. Club-style layout

The buttons and knobs on the DDJ-400 are arranged in the same way as those on our club-standard CDJ-2000NXS2 and DJM-900NXS2 set-up.

  • Player sections

Get familiar with jog wheels, play/pause and cue buttons, tempo sliders, a loop section and cue/loop call buttons just like the ones on the CDJ-2000NXS2.

  • Mixer section

Use the trim and EQ knobs, and the headphone cue buttons, in exactly the same way as those on the DJM-900NXS2.

  1. Other features
  • Built-in sound card (audio interface) – plug and play by simply connecting the controller to your PC/Mac using a single USB cable.
  • Mic input circuit clear audio without distortion, even with high input level.
  • USB bus powered no need to plug into the mains.
  • Grab handles on both sides – easy to carry.
  • Class compliant – no need to install a driver.

KEY FEATURES OF REKORDBOX VER 5.3

  1. Tutorial feature – learn how to DJ

Follow the instructions of the Tutorial on your PC/Mac’s screen. Even if you’re a complete beginner, you can learn how to DJ. The Tutorial feature is also compatible with the DDJ-RB as of 26th June 2018.

  1. Track Suggestion – displays tracks that match well with the one currently playing1

This feature ranks every track in your rekordbox library according to how well it matches with the one you’re currently playing, helping you choose tracks that will fit well in your set. The track displayed at the top of the track list is the most relevant one to play next. Quickly scroll through your music, making maximum use of your collection.

There are three sorting modes:

  • Era: tracks with a close year of release.
  • Mood: tracks with a similar mood.
  • Association: tracks sharing traits such as artist, label,

1 To use this feature effectively, build up track information in your rekordbox library.

  1. Easy sharing of mixes to social media with track titles and time stamps

Use rekordbox to record your sets and share them with the world via social media channels such as Mixcloud, YouTube and KUVO. When you upload your mix, all track titles and time stamps are automatically added by rekordbox, so listeners can check each track title while enjoying your set.

DDJ-400 specifications

Software rekordbox dj
Frequency Response 20 Hz to 20 kHz
S/N Ratio 103 dB (USB)
Total Harmonic Distortion 0.005%
Input/Output Terminals Inputs MIC x 1 (1/4-inch TS jack)
Outputs MASTER x 1 (RCA x 1)

PHONES x 1 (3.5-mm stereo mini jack x 1)

USB USB (Type B) x 1
Maximum Dimensions (WxDxH) 482.0 x 272.4 x 58.5 mm
Weight 2.1 kg
Accessories USB cable

Quick Start Guide

rekordbox dj license key card

 

rekordbox dj system requirements

Compatible OS Mac macOS High Sierra 10.13 (updated to the latest version)

macOS Sierra 10.12 (updated to the latest version)

OS X 10.11 (updated to the latest version)

Windows Windows® 10, 8.1, 7 (the latest service pack)
CPU Intel® processor CoreTM i7, i5, i3
Memory 4GB or more of RAM

 

To mix or not to mix (hint: mix)

By Tony Fernandez:

Its 2018 right? Which means that since the late 1960s DJs have been segueing from record to record, song to song, to maintain a vibe and the consistency of that vibe, roughly some 50 years. So why is it in the technologically advanced world that we currently live in that some DJs still chose not to mix?

Before I continue on my diatribe, let me step off the soapbox for a moment…

I do realize its America. As such, I know I have no right to dictate how one should DJ. I’m sure there are plenty of DJs that don’t mix and make a lot more money than me.

Back to my soapbox…
I’m not saying that all DJs need to be qualifiers for the DMC battle for World Supremacy or finalists for Red Bull Thre3Style. Just asking how is it possible that some DJs put no thought or effort into mastering a fundamental skill that all DJs should have in their arsenal.

Let’s put it this way: If you don’t mix, you’re pretty much a bag of bones that pushes buttons.
You’re just navigating a playlist. And yes, for those who don’t know, I am NOT a fan of playlists.

Let’s frame it another way: On some level we’re all pretty much playing the same songs. We all subscribe to the same record pools (shameless plug for Promo Only here). We all have the potential to have the same content. So… how are you as a DJ going to distinguish yourself from everyone else?

Come on kids, you have to do better. You have to maintain a certain set of fundamental skills. Know your music. Know how to read a crowd. Know your gear. Know how to say no to that seventh cocktail. And know how to mix.

While I’m pontificating, let me add: If you don’t mix (for whatever justification you hang your headphones on) don’t post up and comment on how ‘I haven’t needed to mix in the two centuries I’ve been a DJ and I’m still getting work…’ Honestly, to me, that’s a cop-out and a mitigation of a rudimentary skill you should possess. Besides, stating that you don’t know how to mix isn’t really painting yourself in the best light.

Mixing isn’t neurological surgery. I’m truly not trying to make mixing more important that what it is. But there is a method to the madness, as it were. Mixing is more than just finding songs with the same BPM. Mixing is more than just blending two (or more) songs together. You have to pick the CORRECT song to mix with. You have to know when to START the mix. You have to know when to END the mix. And you have to be consistent from song to song to song, usually for 4 hours or more.

I truly do not understand how someone can find solace in not mixing, ergo, not being a complete DJ. Mixing music is what a DJ does. It’s part of the essence of being a DJ. Dare I say (if I haven’t said enough already) that mixing is a requisite skill that every DJ should have in their toolbox.

Till next time DJs. Keep ‘em spinning.

And mix those spins.

 

 Based out of Richmond, VA, DJ Tony Fernandez has been a DJ, Remixer, Producer, Musical Soothsayer and Audio Gear Oracle since 1980. Find him on facebook. Email djtonytf@gmail.com

 

Pioneer’s newest arrival is here: Meet the DDJ-SX3

Pioneer has upgraded one of their popular DJ controllers to create the 4-channel DDJ-SX3.

Designed for dedicated use with Serato DJ Pro (previously known as Serato DJ), the features and expanded connectivity of the new controller enable you to make smooth transitions between DJs, guest speakers, musical genres and individual tracks. With a familiar layout and a high-quality casing, the DDJ-SX3 improves on the DDJ-SX2, which earned a strong reputation with a wide range of people including professional mobile DJs.

The new controller’s intuitive interface and professional features let you bring fresh creativity to your performances at all kinds of gigs, from club nights and parties to weddings and corporate events. It also offers expanded connectivity to give you greater flexibility when you’re juggling DJs, MCs and guest speakers. Changeovers are now seamless, even when the DJ playing before you uses a different laptop, as you can each plug into one of the dual USB ports at the same time.1

Thanks to the dedicated Mic input terminal on the front of the DDJ-SX3, you can talk to the crowd without needing to occupy any of the four mixer channels. And with twin Mic inputs on the rear of the controller, you can keep hold of one Mic while another two are out on the floor, without interrupting your mix. Control the level, tweak EQs and apply FX to all three Mics independently. Spice up your sets with the four popular Sound Color FX and use the Key Shift, Key Sync and Pitch Play features to effortlessly mix tracks harmonically and create live remixes.

The DDJ-SX3 will be available from early June 2018 at an MAP of $999. Watch the introduction video or find out more about the controller.

Unlock Serato DJ Pro by plugging the DDJ-SX3 into a computer running the software. You don’t need a subscription or license key. Download Serato DJ Pro.

A voucher for the Serato Flip and Pitch ‘n Time DJ Expansion Packs is included with the DDJ-SX3, so you can use Flip, Key Shift, Key Sync, Pitch Play and other advanced features for free.

1Both computers require Serato DJ Pro software.

KEY FEATURES OF THE DDJ-SX3

  1. Three Mic inputs, plus Mic FX
    A dedicated Mic input and level control knob on the front panel of the DDJ-SX3 comes in addition to the popular twin Mic inputs inherited from the DDJ-SX2, which are found on the rear panel. You can control the level, EQ and low-cut filter, and add reverb and compressor to each – enabling you to tweak the sound to suit the venue and ensure clear speech and vocals. You can also enhance performances by applying Sound Color FX such as Echo, plus Serato DJ Pro FX, to the two Mics plugged into the rear panel.

 

  1. Dual USB ports

Connect two computers running Serato DJ Pro at the same time for seamless DJ transitions or back-to-back performances. Or connect a backup computer in case your laptop crashes.

 

  1. Sound Color FX
    Add texture and unique sounds to your mixes using the popular Filter, Echo, Jet and Noise FX.

 

  1. Clear visual design maximising Serato DJ Pro features
    The DDJ-SX3 inherits the interface design of our professional so you can intuitively use all its features.

 

  • Multicolored Performance Pads

Trigger 11 Serato DJ Pro features including Hot Cues, Sampler and Pitch Play with the large, multicolored Performance Pads. Watch their colors and illumination change instantly to show the selected pad mode and playing status.

 

  • Jog wheels with reduced latency
    Scratching feels natural on the jog wheels, which feature reduced latency compared to those on the DDJ-SX2. Get instant information about the current playback status and position from the illuminating On Jog Display for more precise performances.

 

  • Clear design with quality look and feel

The DDJ-SX3 feels natural to use thanks to the clear visual division of the player and mixer sections, which feature high-quality black hairline aluminium and gunmetal grey finishes respectively.

  1. Advanced key-related features via Pitch ‘n Time DJ (license included)
    A voucher for Serato Pitch ‘n Time DJ is included with the DDJ-SX3 so you can use Key Shift, Key Sync, Pitch Play and other advanced features to smoothly and harmonically mix tracks. Adjust the key of tracks by semitone with Key Shift, and sync the keys of tracks during mixes with Key Sync. Pitch Play lets you trigger your Hot Cues in a range of different keys and assign them to the controller’s Performance Pads so you can play them like a keyboard.

 

  1. Stand-alone DJ mixer with multiple inputs/outputs
    The DDJ-SX3 has four external input terminals for multi players, turntables, DJ controllers and more. Connect various types of speakers to the XLR and RCA master out terminals and the TRS jack booth out terminal. You can also use the DDJ-SX3 as a stand-alone DJ mixer without connecting a computer. Connect multi players and analog turntables and use them with the controller’s mixer section.

 

  1. Other features
  • Serato Flip: A voucher for Serato Flip is included with the DDJ-SX3 so you can create and save Hot Cue sequences to make custom edits of your tracks and use the dedicated Serato Flip controls to play them back at the touch of a button. Get even more creative by skipping or repeating track sections on the fly.
  • Grab handles on both sides: Easy to carry and set up.
  • Mic input circuit: Clear audio without distortion, even with high input level.
  • Needle search pad: Instantly jump to a specific part of a track with a simple touch of the pad.
  • Slip Mode: Silently keeps a track playing during a loop, sample, or Hot Cue. Release the jog wheel and the track comes back at exactly the right place.
  • Paid upgrade to Serato DVS: For Serato DJ Pro deck control using multi players and turntables (Expansion Pack available separately).

 

DDJ-SX3 specifications

 

Software Serato DJ Pro (previously known as Serato DJ)
Frequency Response 20 Hz to 20 kHz
S/N Ratio 107 dB (USB)

96 dB (LINE)

87 dB (PHONO)

80 dB (MIC)

Total Harmonic Distortion 0.003% (USB)

0.005% (LINE)

Input/Output Terminals Inputs LINE/PHONO x 2 (RCA)

LINE x 2 (RCA)

MIC x 3 (XLR & 1/4-inch TRS jack x 1, XLR x 1, 1/4-inch TRS jack x 1)

Outputs MASTER x 2 (XLR x 1, RCA x 1)

BOOTH OUT x 1(1/4 inch TRS),

PHONES x 2 (1/4 inch stereo phone jack x 1, 3.5 mm stereo mini jack x 1)

USB USB (Type B) x 2
Maximum Dimensions (WxDxH) 664.0 × 354.4 × 70.4 mm
Weight 6.1 kg
Accessories AC adaptor, Power cord, USB cable

Quick Start Guide, Serato DJ Pro Expansion Pack Voucher (Serato Flip and Pitch ‘n Time DJ)

 

Serato DJ Pro System requirements

Compatible OS Mac macOS High Sierra 10.13 (updated to the latest version)

macOS Sierra 10.12 (updated to the latest version)

OS X 10.11 (updated to the latest version)

Windows Windows® 10, 8.1, 7 (the latest service pack)
CPU Intel® processor CoreTM i7, i5, i3: 1.07 GHz or above
Memory 4GB or more of RAM

 

 

A DJ’s role

By Tony Fernandez:

Let me say right off the bat… I am NOT a fan of Cardi B’s music. To me, “Bodak Yellow” is unlistenable. Recently, however, I found myself, mostly out of curiosity, watching Cardi B co-host the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. I will admit I was thoroughly entertained. She was funny, engaging and genuinely herself. She was hilarious. Then she performed “Money Bag…” which brings us to the dynamic of music in general and to the DJ’s role in that music specifically.

As I have stated, I am not a fan of Cardi B’s music. However, I totally respect her as an artist. She has the right to create any music she desires and to work her shtick any way she sees fit. I don’t find fault with that whatsoever.

On the flip side, I believe any artist that puts themself in the public forum, any artist that is trying to monetize their craft, opens themselves up to admiration in conjunction with disregard: I can acknowledge and respect Cardi B as an artist…

I don’t have to purchase or play her music.

As DJs, we’re hired to be professional music soothsayers. We play songs in accordance to the client’s wishes or the crowd’s feedback. We all, myself included, play music that we don’t personally like. We’re there to do a job, not play for our personal entertainment.

BUT…. (there’s always a but) while we are DJs, we are human as well. We all have our personal proclivities. We have our biases. We have our likes and dislikes. And on some level, consciously or subconsciously, our dispositions are reflected in the way we program.

As a DJ, I have both the right and responsibility to pass judgement through my own personal filter. As a DJ who acts as an ambassador of music and is a tastemaker, I have the right to exercise my disposition at my discretion.

I play songs I personally don’t care for all the time. There are also songs I will not play. Period. I have garnered through experience and reputation the right to be in that position. I work with clients and venues that understand that I have PLENTY of other options, songs, and artists to play/program.

Not playing an artist doesn’t pass my personal filter is not going to kill my floors.

I don’t let what’s popular dictate how I program. I do take requests. But those requests have to be tempered with what works best at the event I’m working. Taste, appropriateness, content, and personal experience all come into play before a song is played.

I feel it’s incumbent on DJs to be able to exercise their judgement and mollify music that has questionable content. Granted that “questionable content” is often subjective, but the fact remains that DJs should feel compelled to be gatekeepers of “good” music.

Keep ‘em spinning.

Based out of Richmond, VA, DJ Tony Fernandez has been a DJ, Remixer, Producer, Musical Soothsayer and Audio Gear Oracle since 1980. Find him on facebook. Email

Pioneer’s new HDJ-S7 professional on-ear DJ headphones

Following the launch of Pioneer’s  HDJ-X10, HDJ-X7 and HDJ-X5 professional over-ear DJ headphone models in autumn 2017, they’re releasing the HDJ-S7 professional on-ear DJ headphones. The new model offers outstanding audio quality, superior durability and improved functionality for comfortable DJing.

Available in black or white, the HDJ-S7 headphones are the world’s first on-ear DJ headphones to feature 40-mm HD1 drivers.2 This ensures the clear sound separation needed for monitoring during mixes, from rich and powerful bass to clear mid and high frequencies. Designed and built to be highly robust, they have cleared the US Military Standard MIL-STD-810G Shock test3, as well as our stringent in-house durability tests.

The new model features a swivel mechanism, a flexible headband and a smaller on-ear can, which is preferred by some DJs – so you can comfortably use the HDJ-S7 for every style of DJ monitoring.

The HDJ-S7 headphones will be available from late-April 2018 at an MAP of $199.

Watch our introduction video or find out more about the HDJ-S7 headphones and the available accessories.

 

KEY FEATURES OF THE HDJ-S7 HEADPHONES

 

 

  1. Outstanding sound
  • High-quality audio design

The HDJ-S7 headphones are equipped with our newly developed 40-mm HD drivers, making them the world’s first on-ear DJ headphones to reproduce high-resolution sound from 5Hz to 40 kHz – the same frequency range achieved by the flagship HDJ-X10 over-ear headphones. This ensures clear sound separation, from rich and tight bass to crystal-clear mid-to-high frequencies. As a result, the HDJ-S7 headphones deliver the immersive sound needed for precise monitoring in the loudest clubs.

  • 4-core twisted-structure cable

The independent ground wire in the 4-core twisted-structure cable provides superior left and right channel separation, improving sound quality.

  • Bass reflex chamber

The bass reflex chamber in the upper housing ensures excellent bass response and sound insulation.

  1. Superior durability
  • Rigorously tested

Take the HDJ-S7 headphones on the road and feel confident they’ll handle severe conditions and heavy use. The headphones have cleared the US Military Standard MIL-STD-810G Shock test, as well as our own demanding stress testing.

  • Highly durable materials and construction

To make the HDJ-S7 headphones highly durable and lightweight at the same time, we’ve used metal components in parts that are tested in high stress environments to create a strong construction for professional use.

  1. Improved functionality
  • Swivel mechanism for all monitoring styles

When developing any new product, we create numerous prototypes, each time with improvements based on the feedback of highly respected international DJs who test the equipment. Using this feedback and the results of our analysis of many different styles of monitoring, we’ve made sure the HDJ-S7 headphones are comfortable to use for any monitoring style, especially when hanging them on your neck with the swivel angle fixed to 45 degrees forwards. What’s more, the outside of the housing is textured for enhanced grip, so you can quickly grab it and start listening.

  • Comfortable and flexible headband

To help you find the perfect fit, the HDJ-S7 headphones feature a flexible, durable headband. Passing stringent tests, including opening and closing 20,000 times, they’re built to withstand intense use.

  • Comfortable ear pads

Improvements made to the ear pads (compared to those on the HDJ-C70 headphones) enable you to DJ in comfort for longer. We carefully selected high-quality urethane material that’s soft to the touch and provides cushioning, and we even paid attention to the positioning of the stitching to ensure you don’t feel it.

  1. Other features
  • Replacement parts available

Easily refresh the detachable cables and ear pads on the HDJ-S7 headphones using replacement parts (available separately).

  • Excellent portability

When you’re travelling to gigs, you can be confident your HDJ-S7 headphones will be well protected in the included compact carry case. Made from strong materials to protect your headphones from bumps and knocks on flights and in transit, the case has pockets for storing accessories such as USB devices and SD cards.

  • Various accessories included

The HDJ-S7 headphones come with two detachable cables: a 1.2 m coiled cable (approximately 3.0 m when extended) and a 1.6 m straight cable. An L-type mini-jack prevents the connection from being knocked or accidentally disconnected during performances, even in cramped booths.

  • 2-year warranty

To guarantee long-term, reliable performance, a 2-year warranty is included.

1 High definition.

2 First headphones in the world to feature 40-mm HD drivers in the on-ear DJ headphones market (according to internal investigation as of 18th April 2018).

3 MIL-STD-810G METHOD 516.7 SHOCK compliant.

【 HDJ-S7 specifications】

Type Closed, Dynamic
Frequency response 5 Hz to 40,000 Hz
Impedance 48 Ω
Sensitivity 107 dB
Maximum input power 2,000 mW
Driver φ 40 mm
Connection cord 1.2 m coiled cable (extended length 3.0 m)

1.6 m straight cable

Weight 215 g (without cable)
Accessories Ø 6.3 mm stereo plug adapter (threaded type)

Carry case

 Disclaimer:

* Other stated company names, product names, technology names, etc. are the trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

Website: http://www.pioneerdj.com/

 

Where Are You At Your Events?

By Mike Walter:

I gave a seminar at Mobile Beat’s Las Vegas show last month and one of the things I discussed was breaking the fourth wall and getting out on the dance floor at certain moments of your events.  That’s a style of DJing that has been engrained in me from my earliest days as an MC so it’s something I have always done, and something I have always taught my DJs to do.  If it’s not something you do, please allow me to make my point.

My very first MCing job was back in Queens, New York in the mid-eighties at a bowling alley.  I was an avid bowler at the time (used to carry a 170 average for what it’s worth) and I frequented this one place near my house and got to know the owner.  He came to me one day and said he was starting something called “Friday Night Madness” which I’ve seen in many other bowling alleys since, often under the name “Rock and Bowl” or something like that.  Friday Night Madness went from 10pm to 2am and featured a DJ, disco lights (which, looking back, were pretty lame) and one red pin in each set of pins.  The point of the red pin was that whenever it came up as the head pin, the bowler could win a prize if he or she threw a strike. I thought the idea sounded great and I figured he was just telling me because he was excited about the concept and wanted to share it with his regulars.  But then he made me an offer.  He’d hired a DJ to play music but that guy didn’t want to speak.  And they needed someone who could get on the microphone and make some announcements, mainly, spotlighting whenever a red pin landed as the head pin.  I jumped at the chance, especially when he offered me $25 for the night (and unlimited beer). As a nineteen year old, that was a pretty good offer!

The first few weeks I stood behind the counter (the one where you get your rental shoes and pay for your games) and made all my announcements from the microphone on the gooseneck stand.  I felt detached from everything and ineffectual.  After a few weeks, attendance was booming and the owner told me he was getting me a cordless microphone.  Once I had that I was free to roam.  If a red head pin came up on lane #38, I sprinted down to announce it and watch the bowler throw their ball. And if they hit a strike I was the able to congratulate them as I gave them a prize.  If a guy wanted to dedicate a song to his girl I walked over to their lane and made the announcement in front of them and then urged them to kiss. And late in the night if some of the ladies wanted to dance, I was right out there with them, bumping and grinding (I was nineteen!) and inviting others up.  I felt much more effective as an MC because I wasn’t tethered behind the counter.

When I started at Star DJs they had a similar approach to DJing.  They expected the MC to do bridal party introductions from the dance floor and to lead the crowd in dances as well.  This was the late eighties and every MC was equipped with a sequined jacket that we broke out at climatic moments of the night like “Shout” or “Mony Mony.”  And while times have changed, no doubt (I don’t even know where my sequined jacket is these days and I no longer jump up on my bass bin and lead the “Y.M.C.A”) the basic philosophy still holds true. We, as MCs, are more effective when we get out in front of our DJ system and utilize the wireless microphone technology God has given us to make our announcements and (from time to time) lead some dancing or prompt the crowd.  If you doubt that, I’d encourage you to think about any concert you’ve ever been to.  Has the lead singer ever hopped off the stage and gone up and down the aisles?  I’ve witnessed artists like Michael Buble and Mick Jagger and Michael Franti do this and it always brings the energy up.  Now, you could argue that we aren’t rock stars and that getting out on the dance floor can steal the show from the bride and groom, but I’d come back with the fact that, as DJs, we are the rock star at the event and that clients hire us to make the best possible party — so if penetrating the dance floor does that, then I’m just doing my job.

I know this topic can be divisive so if you vehemently disagree with me and think a DJ’s place should always be behind the system then I have to respect that and say, fortunately, there’s more than one way to be successful in this great industry. But if you normally hang back behind the gear and are willing to give it a try, I’d encourage you to get out front a bit. I believe you’ll be happy with the results and may start doing it more and more. And if you love it that much, let me know. I’ll try to find my old sequined jacket and lend it to you.

Mike Walter is the proud owner of Elite Entertainment, a Multi-System DJ Company in New Jersey that was recently selected by TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com as a top Entertainment company in the country.

Are you ready for the bits to hit the fan?

By Brian Buonassissi:

This may seem a bit of a morbid scenario, but if your company’s data was destroyed in a fire or some other unforeseen incident and you had to pick up the next day right where you left off, would you be able to do so? After all, lose your event data, leads in the pipeline, contact information, contracts, playlists, music, etc. and you’ll lose business.

Here are a few tips on how you can ensure your data doesn’t take a dump on your bottom line…

Create videos or manuals Some of your repetitive procedures and tasks should be documented either with videos, manuals or both. For one, this takes the liability out of having everything being in one person’s head. It also saves you time if you bring on somebody to take on that task and it keeps things consistent. Of course, I recommend going through all of those things regularly and updating them as need be, but at least you have a baseline.

Have an online cloud-based storage mechanisms We utilize Dropbox for most of our items (including those videos or manuals mentioned above) but Google drive, iCloud, etc. all make for great places to store training documents, music, etc. For our sales leads and event tracking, we use an online CRM and event planning software. We don’t want all the planning forms in one guy’s bag. Should a DJ of ours get in a car accident on the way to an event or something catastrophic happens, we need to immediately be able to have someone step in and be up to speed with the least amount of disruption possible.

One Password! We utilize one password to store key log-ins and other valuable data. This allows you to give access to certain people based on a hierarchy system. Things like our wi-fi codes, accountant contact, company credit card information, EIN#, banking info, etc. is all stored and given to the appropriate personnel.

Have a succession plan in place Similar to having a will that gives your family/loved ones direction should something happen, we want a clear and concise protocol in place as to how the company moves forward. With our company, this is not only talked about regularly with key staff personnel but is documented so no one is left wondering what is next.

In our industry, we are dealing with events that are generally big moments in a person’s life. Sure, there may be a certain amount of grace someone will give you should your data disappear but it’s important that your business can pick up and not only limit the stress put on your clients but also save your staff and/or yourself some headaches as well. Assume you want to sell your business one day, how nice would it be knowing that you don’t have to spend a ton of time creating these things at the moment you need them but instead it is already built into your company’s DNA?

This all comes back to seeing your data as important and preserving it as best you can. Should you need some help in this arena, feel free to reach out. I’d be glad help you get started and find something that fits your business perfectly.

Based out of NYC, DJ Brian Buonassissi is a successful internationally traveling DJ/MC specializing in luxury destination private events. He runs a multi-city mobile DJ/event business with offices in Southern California, Destin, FL and New York City. You can connect with him at brian@djbrianbofficial.com.

Are DJs becoming obsolete?

By Tony Fernandez:

Why is it that whenever DJs comes across an article about how brides want to save money or how couples want to DIY their weddings and the suggestion of using an iPad , iPod (are those still a thing?), Spotify, Pandora, etc., are brought up DJs seem to loose their collective minds?

I’m going to put this out there: If you have to worry about iPads, iPods, etc., becoming a factor in how you do business or conduct yourself as a DJ do us all a favor and hang up your headphones, do not pass GO, you do not collect $200.00. Turn in your DJ card and relegate yourself to doing backyard soirees for your HOA or PTA events.

There is no question that as time has marched on technology has allowed for possibilities inconceivable even a few years ago. Today access to music is truly instantaneous and on demand. Think about it, it wasn’t too long ago that getting music was a pretty regimented process: you heard a song on the radio or in the club; you find out who it is; you went to Sam Goody or Tower Records and you bought your CD. Repeat for the next desired song/album.

The internet changed everything, how music was distributed, shared, and obtained. iPods changed how music was collected and played back. Computers changed how music was stored. Streaming has changed how music is accessed. With all of those dramatic changes and the power at the fingertips of everyone and anyone, the perception is that everyone and anyone can make and share playlists. If that isn’t enough, you can find other people’s playlists and use those. This action gives the perception that collecting, cultivating, disseminating, and presenting music is “easy”.

While I don’t profess that being a DJ is equivalent to neurological surgery, and not every DJ is an “artist”, the reality is being a DJ does require skill.   DJs are more than a person that strings together random songs or creates killer playlists. Our profession is based on the experience, knowledge, and proficiency to play the right song at the right time, every time. You can’t wing it. You can’t pre-plan it. You can’t create a playlist beforehand.   You live in the moment, make a decision and execute every 90 seconds or less.

Clients have every right to choose to have their wedding, birthday, corporate event, etc. fulfilled by a low cost / automated option. They get what they pay for. That client isn’t my client.

Our job is to become and continue to be the best DJ we can be. Do that and I promise you, you will have work. Clients who want a successful event will hire talented and experienced people to fulfill that expectation. You’re selling you, your experience and your skill set.

Bottom line: If you equate yourself to an iPod, expect to be treated like an iPod. I’ll be hanging out with the experienced professionals.

Keep ‘em spinning. Till next time.

 Based out of Richmond, VA, DJ Tony Fernandez has been a DJ, Remixer, Producer, Musical Soothsayer and Audio Gear Oracle since 1980. Find him on facebook. Email djtonytf@gmail.com

 

Rip Off The Rearview Mirror

By Mitch Taylor:

Out of the blue the other day I got a call from a fellow DJ and his statements somewhat surprised me.  He said biz had slowed down and he was struggling a bit.  He blamed it on himself first saying he hadn’t been beating the pavement as much as he had in the past but then, after suggesting a few thing he could do to better his situation (after all he did call me, right?), the verbal posturing began and suddenly the blame is placed upon the multi-ops who send out $500 DJs, payola in our business and everything else.

Why am I sharing this with you in this space?  Because I’m sure that you have been in this same place at one time or another.  I know I have.

Look at yourself in the mirror.  Dead in the eyes.  Realize YOU have the power to control your life.  We live in the land where dreams are made, during a technological revolution.  Stop making excuses and take advantage of the incredible opportunity that lays before you.  Seize it.  TODAY.  Right Now.

Where do you draw your inspiration?  I write this coming back from a conference of my peers and being around them inspires me to do great things, better things.  What inspires you?

For me, it’s my kids.  It’s the look on a bride’s face, that genuine smile of knowing from a mother when you put your heart and soul into an event and everything turned out better than they could have imagined.  It’s the knowledge that I continually need to improve and step up my game because some young buck is coming up behind me somewhere, hungry to take over my business and get his cut.

Rip off the rear view mirror.  Don’t look back.  Always keep improving.

If you need help with motivation and things you can do to be better, check out fellow Promo Only columnist and person that inspires me Mike Walter’s book “10 Things You Can Do To Have A Better Day.” A great read.

I’ll let you in on another little secret.  You know someone else that inspires me?  Go look in the mirror.  It’s you.  You, your passion, desire and drive for this business.

Now go out and make someone’s day better!

About: Mitch Taylor owns and operates Taylored Weddings and can be reached via email at mitch@mitchtaylor.net. For more info about his Creating Connections books and workshops visit creatingconnections.biz