Tag Archives: Mixing

Stay off your phone!

By Tony Fernandez

The Internet is a glorious thing.  It truly is.  I marvel at the unlimited power and capabilities one has access to with a mere click or keystroke.  Once you get past the click bait, porn, and Russian political meddling, you can actually find some really useful things out there on the world wide web.

What I DON’T understand is why DJs seem to be using the Internet to fill gaps in their repertoire.  I’m not talking about the Spotify/YouTube jocks that can’t even get on the service that doesn’t have ads (I’m sure there is a special ring in Dante’s Inferno for you). . .

And I’m not talking about the yahoos that can’t use Google after people take the time to help, explain, educate, and pass on knowledge… you STILL want a link to click. . .

I’m talking about the DJs that are AT gigs… right in the middle of an event and they are on Facebook and the plethora of DJ pages asking questions like: Where do I place my speakers? The bride just moved the time line, what should I do? And my favorite: What song should I play next?

I’ll tell you what you need to do:  you need to get off your smart phone, put your nose to the grindstone, put on your big boy or big girl pants and FIGURE IT OUT! Yeah l I know you can make the point that the offending DJ is doing that by getting on their device, BUT…   do you see other professionals working and getting on Facebook to ask for suggestions?  I’m sure a lawyer in the middle of a courtroom is going to whip out their iPad and Google a case.  I’m sure a doctor in the middle of a procedure is going to check on a Facebook page to ask how to continue what they are doing. Yeah, right.

Look, I get it, we ALL need help at some point. My self included.  No single human being knows everything – well, maybe one: I saw a piece on a student (from MIT, I believe) that was able to isolate the nerve/electrical impulse that our brain uses to communicate with the mouth.  This student was then able to tap into that connection and convert that electrical impulse into text, which he sent to Google.  So you can ask this student ANYTHING and they would have the answer.

I digress…

There are some really great people on these pages that genuinely and selflessly offer up invaluable information for the sake of being a decent person. They authentically want to help.  What I take umbrage with are DJs doing the asking WHILE at a gig in REAL TIME.  Especially on things they should know.  Specifically: what music to play.  You got ONE job, handle the music.  Handle it before the gig.  And if something comes up during the gig, HANDLE IT.  That’s your job.

How do you even find time at a gig to get on a device to get an answer for something you need immediately?   I would think your time is better served by paying attention to the situation at hand instead of wasting precious time tapping a screen and waiting for a response. And at the risk of sounding like the proverbial old “hey you kids get of my lawn” guy, people were able to use the power of problem solving, cognitive skills and intestinal fortitude BEFORE the Note or iPhone was invented.

I have to go get ready to play to a bunch of college students.  I’m doing my homework NOW.

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 djtonytf@gmail.com

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

 

New Pioneer’s DJM-REC recording app enables DJs to easily record mixes

Pioneer announced the DJM-REC today, a new app for iPhone and iPad which enables the easy recording and sharing of high-quality DJ mixes.

All types of DJs like to record their mixes in order to review performances and raise their profile via online sharing. However, it can be a stressful process. Connecting a recording device to the back of the mixer can be complicated work in a dark DJ booth, and adjusting the recording level to avoid clipping is also a troublesome task. Once the set is over, making a track list and uploading it to different online platforms along with the audio is a time-consuming chore.

DJM-REC solves all these problems, taking advantage of our experience in designing DJ Mixers including the club-standard DJM-900NXS2. The app offers simple connection, high-quality audio recording plus easy online sharing and streaming.

DJM-REC is available in the App Store at the price of $9.99 from 23rd January 2018.

You can try DJM-REC free for 30 days to get to know all of its features. Mixes recorded during the trial period will remain available for listening and sharing after the trial has ended. To continue recording and using all the app’s features after the trial period has ended, you can upgrade to the paid version.

DJM-REC compatible mixers are as follows: DJM-TOUR1, DJM-900NXS2, DJM-750MK2 and DJM-450

To use DJM-REC, update the mixer’s firmware to the latest version.

Find out more about DJM-REC.

KEY FEATURES OF DJM-REC

  • Simple connection to DJM series mixers

Install DJM-REC on your iPhone or iPad, then simply plug into any DJM mixer which has the digital send/return feature using a single USB cable. The port is on the top of the mixer rather than the back, so connecting is a breeze even in a dark DJ booth.

  • High-quality recording which minimizes clipping and distortion

DJM-REC can control the peak limiter in the DJM Mixer. Tap the button to enable this feature and alleviate digital clipping. Audio from a digital mixer can be recorded directly in digital format without the need for analogue conversion.

  • Easily share your mixes with the world

Effortlessly live stream your mix through YouTube, Facebook Live, Periscope, Instagram and Snapchat via DJM-REC. Easily upload your recorded mixes, digital recordings of your analogue tracks, and remixed tracks created using features and FX on DJM mixers to cloud services such as Mixcloud and Dropbox.

  • Auto time-stamp for effortless track list creation

Time-stamps for tracks are automatically created thanks to the information transmitted from the DJM mixer, such as the fader positions, to the app. The time-stamps are editable and making track lists is easy, as you can edit track information per time-stamp within the app.

  • Powerful club-standard sound, remastered easily

Swipe the Loudness slider on DJM-REC to easily increase audio pressure. Punchy, heavier, vibrant bass sound that can’t be obtained by simply raising the signal level of the low range is created when you swipe the Sub Bass slider, as this creates new signals based on the track’s input signals. Old tracks can be refreshed with a powerful club sound, just like the latest releases.

  • Other features
  • Recorded sound on your iPhone/iPad can be input into DJM series mixers using the digital send/return feature.
  • Analogue recording in the app is possible using the microphone function on an iPhone/iPad with an external microphone when your device isn’t connected to a DJM mixer.

DJM-REC Specifications

OS(iOS) iOS 8 or later
iPhone iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6 Plus,

iPhone 7, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6,

iPhone 5s, iPhone SE

iPad 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 10.5-inch iPad Pro,

9.7-inch iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad Air,

iPad mini 4, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 2,

iPad (5th generation)

Display Resolution Retina
Playable Files WAV(Sampling rate: 44.1/48 kHz, Bit depth: 24bit)

AAC (bit rate 64kbps, 128kbps, 192kbps, 256kbps, 320kbps)

 

The Pros and Cons of Pre-Made Sets

By Tony Fernandez:

So let’s talk about music. I know we’ve discussed different things and different aspects of music, but this time around, I’d like to bring attention to a particular aspect of our DJ music world — the sets or blocks of music that DJs seem to be constantly looking for, specifically, pre-made sets.

Allow me to put a finer point on it: I don’t mean sets, in the sense of theme. We ALL do that. We can be at any number of events and we can rifle through a set of 70’s, 80’s. 90’s, 00’s, classic rock, country, Top 40, Rap, etc. That’s part of our job. What I do mean is when you’re in your flow, you ALWAYS play Song A, Song B, Song C, and Song D, in THAT order, EVERY time.

I’ll admit right up front, I don’t get it. I don’t see the necessity or advantage of discovering, creating, and then utilizing pre-made sets for the next dozen gigs, or years, it seems.

On one hand, I do get that we are creatures of habit. We discover a chain of songs that when linked together create a great response from our floors. Then we may recycle that same “set” again if we get into a pinch. “It worked last week, so let’s give it another run…”   I even get that (usually) there are a new group of people, so the same set you ran last week, is new to the current group of people.

On the other hand, what I don’t get is why are DJs asking other DJs for their pre-made sets? Aren’t you supposed to be figuring out the music for EACH of your events/crowds? If we treat each event we do as a unique and singular event, then having pre-made sets kind of defeats the purpose of being a DJ.

While all of these other DJs are sharing their sets, why would anyone think someone else’s set would work for your crowd?

I have to concede to the fact: I realize and recognize that DJs are individuals. As such, their experience, knowledge, and skill level is going to be vast and wide. I’m sure not trying to filter these thoughts and questions through my personal filter. I don’t expect others to be as big of a music nerd as I am. I sure don’t expect people to mix and program the way I do. Nor do I expect others to just do it THIS way because that is the ONLY way.

On a slight tangent…that is one of the beautiful things about being a DJ. There is no ONE WAY to spin. I love reading DJ’s play logs and listening to other DJs spin a set to get ideas and inspiration. Not to mention maybe picking up a dope track or three that I may have slept on.

My point is this: Don’t be complacent. Be proactive in your music knowledge and your programming. Practice. Listen. Put yourself into scenarios where instead of doing homework, (no one likes doing homework) you’re opening your artistic side of your brain to new musical possibilities. The more you do this, the easier the ideas will come.

I have seen DJ friends and colleagues that became apathetic and unindustrious. They suffered over time because they became stale and predictable. They aren’t working. Don’t become the complacent DJ. Don’t be lethargic in your approach to discovering music. You may just elicit a creative side in your repertoire, and that would be a beautiful thing.

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 djtonytf@gmail.com

Introducing… Serato Sample!!!

serato-sample-logo-black

New from Serato – Serato Sample – a high-quality production plugin that makes sampling fast, simple and fun. Key features include the ability to quickly find, chop, key-shift and time-stretch samples, all with studio-grade sound using the power of Pitch ‘n Time.

At its core, Serato Sample is a beatmaking tool designed to get your ideas out quick. “During our R&D phase we found a real demand for something that allows producers to find and play around with samples without hassle,” says Nick Maclaren, Head of Strategy at Serato. “The result is a fully-featured tool that produces great sound and offers an intuitive, uninterrupted workflow.”

 

The plugin has already garnered praise from DJ Dahi, long-time Kendrick Lamar collaborator and Damn producer. This legendary beatmaker likened its ‘find samples’ modes to old-school sampling methods like popping a needle along a record. “We wanted to set producers up for those happy accidents – often the most enjoyable part of making music,” says Maclaren. “There’s a lot of features in Sample that help you discover entirely new parts of a track you may never have found otherwise.

DJ Dahi with Serato Sample

 

Sample is integrated with Serato’s original production plugin, Pitch ‘n Time. Adding this technology allows producers to manipulate samples freely (like adjusting the BPM from 1, all the way up to 999), without losing audio quality. “Pitch ‘n Time is almost 20 years old and is still the industry standard for pitch-shifting and time-stretching”, says Maclaren. “To have this tech in a $99 plugin is amazing value.”

Serato Sample is now available for download, including a free 30 day trial. Anyone who downloads will gain access to a bank of free Loopmasters sample packs, and in-depth tutorials.

Start a free 30 day trial

Serato Sample

 

Key features of Sample 1.0

Unrivalled time-stretching powered by Pitch ‘n Time

Time-stretch samples to extreme values using the power of Serato Pitch ‘n Time. It’s also easy to sync samples to your project.

Flawless Key Detection and Key Shifting

Find the key and then shift it with the power of Pitch ‘n Time.

Find the best samples

With one click Serato Sample’s algorithm finds 16 of the best samples to work with.

Change samples beyond recognition

You can manipulate each pad individually. Mess around with key, bpm and more with pad parameters.

Keyboard mode

Play one sample across the full piano scale like a synth.

Mono/Poly playback

Trigger your Cue Points with monophonic playback like Serato DJ. Or you can use polyphonic playback to play chords and drum patterns.

Familiar and fast Cue Point workflow

Use Serato DJ’s popular Cue Point workflow to quickly set and trigger pads.

Works in leading music production software

Including Ableton Live, FL Studio, Logic Pro and Maschine. Sample will also work in other DAWs that support AU/VST plugins.

Try Sample for free or buy now for $99

About Serato

Serato makes audio software for music lovers worldwide. In 1999 Serato launched with Pitch ‘n Time, still the world’s foremost studio plugin for time-stretching and pitch-shifting technology. On the strength of Pitch ‘n Time, Serato moved into the DJ industry, changing
the game with the release of Serato Scratch Live, and later Serato DJ and Serato DJ Intro.

Now, Serato has returned to the diverse world of production with the release of Serato Sample. A high-quality sampling plugin for producers.

Sample website: serato.com/sample

Free Trial download: serato.com/sample/free-trial

Tutorial Videos: serato.com/sample/tutorials

Sample Support: serato.com/sample/support

Sample Facebook: facebook.com/seratosample

Sample Instagram: instagram.com/seratosample or @seratosample

 

 

Music and DJs – Finding the Sweet Stuff

By Tony Fernandez

 

When I began DJing, I used cassette tapes. Don’t ask me how I did it, but I did. A lot of the tracks were bootlegged off the radio in NYC and then I’d bring these gems to VA, where I was in school (I was 14 at the time; I know better now). I quickly moved up to vinyl, eventually stepped up to CDs around ’89 and have been hustling for new tunes ever since.

Back then, I had established a network of people that knew me and knew what I liked. There were record stores. I knew the people in those stores and they knew me. There was mail order. I used to call 12” Dance in Washington DC, or Dancetraxx/Vinylmania in NYC more often than I’d like to admit. And there were record pools. Pools would have advanced copies and promo-only mixes that weren’t accessible to the public. Naturally I wanted those the most.

Having that new release or remix and dropping that track in your set is an awesome feeling.

It’s even a little sweeter, if you have that mix that no one else has.

I was fortunate to become a Billboard Reporting DJ for a time, which led to even more music that was not readily available to the public. Then the Internet happened. Napster happened. Limewire happened. WinMX happened. Audio Galaxy happened. The Internet became the great equalizer. Through legit (and sometimes not so legit) means, anyone could get almost any song created by any one.

And everything changed.

Music can now be streamed or downloaded at your desire: remixes, unreleased mixes, bootlegs, white labels, promo only releases, etc. — literally millions of songs and remixes await the click of a mouse. With a little effort you can find foreign edits and mixes done by DJs in the UK, France, South Africa, Germany, and more. That crazy version you heard at your club, concert, festival, radio, car, store, gas station, TV commercial, streaming service? Your chances of finding that version now are pretty high.

So if we ALL have the access, by and large, to the music being cranked out for public consumption, how do you find that unique banger that’s going to make you stand out? Trust me, it’s out there. There is new music to be found and new music to be had…

You just have to be proactive and find it.

 

  • If you just wait for your monthly subscription to feed you tunes, you’re not being proactive.
  • If you just echo what’s on radio, you’re not being proactive.
  • If you’re bemoaning the “fact” that there’s no “good” music, you’re not bring proactive.

 

Some would say (me included) that it’s part of your job as a DJ to seek, find, and play new tunes.

They’re right.

Be proactive in your approach. Be the proactive DJ you can be. Find those new tunes. Your crowds, your floors and your clients will thank you.

 

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

Serato DJ 1.9.6 is now available to download!

With this release, Serato has focused on feedback from users to deliver one of their best updates yet.

This release includes:
• Significant DVS improvements including the new Anti-Drift option to stabilize BPM, Smart Sync and improvements to needle drop sensitivity.
• Feature improvements including Favorite FX Banks, Chronological Loops, Reordering Loops and Enable/Disable Hot Cues as an option.
• Pitch Play mappings for supported hardware (requires Pitch ‘n Time DJ license).
• Official support for the Reloop RMX-90 DVS 4-channel mixer.
• Significant stability & performance improvements.
• All Serato DJ Suite free trials have been reset, so users can take another two week trial for free.

Nick Maclaren (Head of Strategy at Serato) says:

“After paying close attention to user feedback over weeks of beta testing, we are now thrilled to officially release Serato DJ 1.9.6.

Our goal for version 1.9.6 was to hone in and fine tune features that are really important to our professional DJ customers.

We’ve added Pitch Play mappings to existing supported hardware, Favorite FX Banks, new Looping options, improved the Needle Drop sensitivity, Sticker Lock, and more.

Lastly, we’ve continued to focus on stability improvements with powerful new audio and memory optimizations to make this our most stable release to date.”

With Serato DJ 1.9.6 , they’ve reset all Serato DJ Suite trial activations to date. So if you’ve already taken a two-week trial in the past, you can now try the full Serato DJ Suite again, for FREE.

This is a great time to test out Expansion Packs like Pitch ‘n Time DJ if you haven’t already.

For more information please visit these Serato blog posts below.

DVS Improvements: https://serato.com/latest/blog/20207/update-196-dvs-improvements-and-additions
Pitch Play mappings: https://serato.com/latest/blog/20208/update-196-pitch-play-mappings
Looping & Performance Enhancements: https://serato.com/latest/blog/20211/update-196-looping-and-performance-enhancements

Is Facebook Live the end of the DJ Mix Tape? Part 1

By Tony Fernandez

Mix tapes and DJs go together like peanut butter and jelly. The mix tape is a DJ’s calling card. A DJ’s sonic resume. Personally, I come from a point in time when you actually used tape to do a mix tape. But we’ve all made mix CDs… for our girlfriends, boyfriends, travel tunes, business cards, promotional showcases — the uses are endless.

Fast forward to our current state of affairs: SoundCloud, Mixcloud, Facebook, Facebook Live are all great vehicles that allow DJs to share their talent with the world. However, there is conflict in the air. The waters are churning. There is strife between the DJ world and the digital world. The same vehicle(s) that have allowed DJs to share their vision and skills with the world are now clamping down on the sharing and showcasing of those skills.

I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but I did have the following facts checked by a lawyer (who is also a DJ, producer, and copyright holder), so as to simply and correctly explain why mix tapes and the streaming of those mixes are being removed.

Let’s dig in….

DJs need to realize that the music they mix, play, use, and purchase is not “your” music. It’s natural to draw the conclusion that because you have purchased a song you’re allowed to play it publicly in a DJ set. Well, according to U.S. copyright law, this is incorrect.

There are several types of rights copyright owners must obtain under the law to distribute musical works, all of which are exclusive, including:

  • Public Performance (transmitting or performing the work in public)
  • Reproduction (copying/duplicating)
  • Digital Performance (internet streaming)

With that information in hand, we can move forward and explain why DJs aren’t allowed to post, stream, or share their mixes.

When a DJ spins at a nightclub, it’s incumbent on the venue to make sure they have a license for public performance. This license is acquired from the PROs (performance rights organizations). When the venue has a public performance license, it means that DJs can play recorded music registered with the PRO.

Radio stations pretty much work the same way. The difference is the radio stations license is for broadcast. Their license authorizes the radio station to play music on public airwaves.

Streaming services do not have a clear relationship with PROs. When a DJ creates a live stream and starts broadcasting music on the internet, that DJ becomes, in effect, a radio station. As such, he or she needs to have the appropriate licenses.

No licenses, no stream.

This is, unfortunately, where we find ourselves today – at the crossroads of artistic expression and the rights of copyright holders.

It’s apparent that copyright laws are falling behind: DJ sets are not a protected form of free speech. Our sets don’t generally fall under “fair use”.

As such, copyright takedowns happen.

What can you do about it?

Stay tuned for Part 2…

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

Mixing as a DJ

By: Tony Fernandez

First, a DJ must have a passion about music. That’s what usually gets us going down the path of becoming a DJ: a love of music. Along the way we learn programming matters. We figure out that if you line up certain songs in a certain way, you have great crowd responses. We learn to read a crowd; another skill that once developed is indispensable in being able to command a floor / room.

Which brings us to an often-overlooked skill set every DJ should have in their arsenal: mixing (and to a little venting about those DJs who, sadly, couldn’t care less about it).

I believe mixing is something intrinsic to being DJ, a skill so fundamental, so integral, so elementary, and so organic (I’ll lay off the thesaurus now…) that I can’t fathom being a DJ without the ability to blend songs together. Why would anyone shun the ability to make themselves better, make their work better, and to set themselves apart from other DJs?

Mixing allows for a smooth, harmonious and melodious transition from one song to another. Mixing ensures there’s no “dead air” from song to song. Mixing grants your floor / crowd an uninterrupted progression of the musical journey you’re working so hard to create.

Do you want to represent yourself in the best possible way and let the music / mixing speak for your endeavors? Would you rather sound like a bunch of sneakers in the washing machine, or worse — like the local Clear Channel radio station? (Yes, I know Clear Channel is a thing of the past. That’s why I used that name. My lawyers said it was kosher.)

I once had a gentleman point out to me the “history” of DJing, going back to the 1930s. He mentioned prominent names and cited historical dates as hallmarks to bolster his position that these early pioneers were perfect examples of why it wasn’t necessary to concern ourselves with a trivial 3-5 seconds of meshed music.

Well, that is all well and good, but doesn’t mean squat. With all due respect to those pioneers, mobile DJs and club DJs aren’t partying like it’s 1929; today those “deejays” would be called radio personalities. I’ll acquiesce that I can’t do what they can do. I also say with 110% certainty, most radio personalities can’t do what today’s DJs can do.

I’ll challenge ANY DJ to pick 10 songs, that’s 9 segues.

Test A: Don’t mix a lick. Blend, don’t blend, and try to avoid having 4 out of 9 of those segues sound like straight up train wrecks that would have even Marlee Matlin grimacing.

Test B: Mix the tracks in a linear, harmonious fashion.

Then tell me how the floor reacts to each test.
I’m not a betting man, but I’ll lay heavy money the people in Test B are going to have a better experience than the people in Test A.

My point in all this: Learn your craft. Get your fundamentals down pat. If you don’t know how to mix, learn. It’s not that difficult. If I can do it, you can do it. You don’t have to be the Michael Jordan of mixing. Kevin McHale had a Hall of fame career off the bench.

Any mixing is better than no mixing, kinda like sex. Something simple, clean, quick and musical. It doesn’t take much. If you’re not mixing, you’re not DJing (yeah I said it.) Heck, there are apps on your phone that can mix.

There’s no excuse for a professional DJ not to mix. That’s what the Sync button is for.

Now go out there and learn something.

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