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

 

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