First off, let me get this out of the way. I’m not concerned if you hit auto-sync or play all original vinyls. I’m just interested in where DJing is going from here…
One thing I’ve learned running Turntable Lab is not to get stuck on one thing, or you’ll just get passed when the “next thing” comes out. Yeah, it kinda stung when we started our house music section when we were preaching Beatminerz remixes, but I knew the DJ world was evolving. Yeah, it bugged me when I saw first my first laptop-only DJ (hell, it pissed me off to see my first CDJ DJ), but again, I knew that this was where it was going. DJs are some of the most intense and diverse hobbyists out there, so they’ll always find new ways to do things.
To keep the quickly changing DJing world in perspective, I’ve always referenced the skateboarding scene. In terms of a DIY, individual-based hobby / profession, skateboarding has seen it all, on every scale. Like DJing, skating has seen micro-movements, mainstream influence, stylistic trends, scene superstars, etc.
When turntablism got too techy, I knew they’re would be a drop-off in popularity. I just referenced the tiny-wheel, 1″ off the ground tech tricks that killed skating for bit in the late nineties. Using the same reference, I also knew DJing would come back strong. Want to know how DJ superstars will age? Map them against similar pro-skaters… same goes with DJ equipment manufacturers and deck companies.
But here is where this relationship diverges. One of the strongest similarities to skating and DJing was the element of practice and work. Want to be a dope skater? You’re going to have to try 1000s of ollies, 1000s of kickflips… Want to be a dope DJ? You’re gonna have to spend 100s of hours mixing, 100s of hours of scratching, 100s of hours studying music.
With the advent mp3s + auto-sync, you can really bypass this period of discovery and mastery. What’s that gonna do to the notion of DJ as we know it? A dope skater will undeniably always be a dope skater, but what if a dope DJ really isn’t dope?
Can you think of new reference to the current DJ scene, now that my old one is broken?