Bold Predictions How DJing Will Change in 2012
As we start a new year it’s hard not to reflect on what we have accomplished in years past, but yet it’s harder still to try and predict what this wonderful world of DJing has in store for us in 2012. I see a major change in my musical direction, albeit more of a 90′s revival of sorts for me personally, integrating more of my original music in my sets as well as playing less dubstep for dubstep’s sake. It’s over anyway, Bieber made it so by simply uttering the words “dubstep” from his magical mouth when asked about his new record. Of course, I’m kidding. ANYWAY, here are some bold predictions for 2012:
The Diminishing State Of The Internet Free-Jay Nation
There have been some new developments concerning the use of online file sharing sights now that SOPA and PIPA have everyone talking, and online sites like MegaUpload and MediaFire have had to make adjustments in the manner at which they operate. Almost gone are the days of Google searching ” _____ mediafire” and right-clicking in order to build your music collection. The blogosphere is certainly changing now as well with Soundcloud links replacing most download links for all the hot, new, and previously free tunes.
Therefore, I predict two things in regard to the waning accessibility of free music. First, Beatport and similar websites are about to blow-up because working DJ’s are going to have to buy their music now. And secondly, the previously increasing amount of Free-Jays will finally start to diminish. We all know that eventually someone will find a way to provide pirated music again, but for now I welcome the restrictions. In no way am I discouraging any of you from becoming a DJ, on the contrary it will be even better for you in the long run to have to hunt high and low for good music, and pay handsomely for it like we all did in the 80′s and 90′s. You will have a greater love and respect for the culture by paying your dues to the artists that create the music that you play. NO MORE FREE-JAYS IN 2012!
Simon Cowell’s DJ X-Factor FTW!
SCENARIO 1: There are 10-12 weeks of (OXYMORON ALERT) really exciting reality television in which we fall in love with America’s sweetheart from Indiana who started DJing after driving 423 miles on a school night just to see Kaskade spin in Chicago. Will her pretty face and clean mixing be enough to save her from elimination? Or will the 8-year-old beat juggling prodigy from Atlanta continue to wow the judges and win the hearts of the nation with his technical skill and dirty south catch phrases? Drama ensues and the world of dance music and DJ culture gets some incredible exposure worldwide.
SCENARIO 2: There are 8 weeks of scattered, poorly edited, and quite possibly scripted “reality” television that includes ego-driven DJ’s, a lot of backstabbing, and contrived story lines that do little to educate the masses on dance music or the DJ culture. The finalists will use very average but extremely flashy skills in the finale and ultimately the winner will be booked for some huge gigs and an equally awesome world tour. We as DJ’s, will hate the show. We will constantly, and cleverly Tweet and Facebook update about exactly how much we hate the show, BUT we will religiously tune in for every single episode.
Let’s just face it. Scenario 1 is more likely to happen considering this is will be a well funded, corporate sponsored Simon Cowell production. I am personally excited about this for a few reasons. The DJ as a “rockstar” is not a new concept. If I could have had a poster of my first favorite DJs growing up I would have…wait, I did have a poster of Run-DMC with Jam Master Jay, RIP, on my wall as a teenager. ANYWAY, we can all hate on S.Cowell’s tired statement and even his lucrative intentions of cashing in on and exploiting our beloved EDM, Hip-Hop, and DJ culture. It is going to happen inevitably in one form or another as we see our DJ and remix heroes like Skrillex and Diplo thrive in their perspective crafts, become financially successful, and gain a lot of exposure in the mainstream. I have seen this all happen before. In the 80′s, I was there to see the MC, DJ, Tagger, B-Boy, Locker, and Popper get grouped into the term “Break-Dancer” , “Rapper”, and “Street Artist” by the mainstream media and exploited by big businesses who succeeded in cashing in on the “trend” of Hip-Hop culture. The culture saw some rough times, but it survived and even evolved by going back to the underground where everything gets “cool” again.
The bottom line is this, the show will give all of us and our art form some serious mainstream exposure, as well as the opportunity to compete, and showcase our skill and creativity. Hopefully, the DJ X-Factor can serve to introduce the world to some amazing music, turntablism, controllerism, impeccable mixing and programming. It really doesn’t even matter who wins, does it? Ultimately, we all win if America finally gets educated and realizes that what we do to become good DJs takes a lot of humility, hard work, a lot of time behind the decks, and a maximum respect for the craft.
Vinyl Makes A Comeback
“Madflip, bro it never left.”
Yeah, I know there’s an ongoing battle between the digital guys, the turntable guys, the controller guys, the LARPers, the Tea Party, and the unicorns. I can more than share my opinion on what is best, what I prefer, what is more accurate, etc. Well, at the end of the day I prefer playing vinyl. It feels and sounds great, and I honor the culture and my roots every time I play my records. Do I use everything else? Yes, I do. Why? Because turntables are heavy, and sometimes unstable and inaccurate. Too much can go wrong and I demand reliable gear to accomplish my goals as a working DJ. My Kontrol S4 is extremely reliable and accurate and very easy to transport and set-up in any environment.
That being said, I predict a 2nd renaissance for vinyl DJs. In fact, I am praying for it because I want Technics to resume production of the SL12oo High Torque Direct-Drive Turntable, RIP. I know that here in the states, in some cities as we speak there are underground vinyl only DJ syndicates that are throwing the BEST parties since your first rave. This is not necessarily a rebellion, or vinyl revolution…er. This is a vinyl revival. I personally have new wave, breaks, house, and early techno that’s been out print for years that most likely can’t be found anywhere digitally and very rarely otherwise. Successful DJs young and old find ways of reinventing themselves time and time again, sometimes by exploring their roots, and it makes sense that the re-emergence of analog only raves will be big this year. Make it so.
The iPad Will Become Significant To DJs
To embrace or not embrace? That is the question. According to TabTimes ”eMarketer expects the number of iPad users to more than double from 2011 to 2014, growing from 28 million to 60.8 million.” This should come as no surprise. It’s obvious that the industry is catering to iPad users with the introduction of products like the iDJ Pro at this years NAMM show, but how do we really feel about the potential new wave of iPad DJs, and will they ever really be taken seriously? I actually welcome the technology because I am open to change and I am always hungry to see new things, but it might take a major endorsement from one of the mega DJs to make a serious statement about iPad DJing, this year anyway. The truth is this, when laptop DVS systems like Final Scratch, Serato Scratch Live, and Traktor Scratch started to become prevalent around 2004 most of us were reluctant to embrace the technology, but we could definitely see the benefits of having all of your music digitally on a laptop, and we were intrigued with the interface that allowed us to still use turntables. At that time DVS systems had a lot to offer. They were a viable alternative to carting around loads of records and compact discs, and as the time code technology improved and became more accurate…well, you know the rest.
As it stands now, the iPad is not quite tried and true in the DJ trenches, yet. But that is far from discouraging major manufacturers and software developers in creating products that will make the iPad the center of the DJ universe. For now, the iPad has limited memory for track storage, only a few solid DJ applications, and the hardware integration is still incubating. This will soon change and drastically improve. I do see the benefits of using Cloud technology for extended file access, as well as the ability to use Bluetooth for audio output to multiple sources. The technology is definitely forthcoming and the possibilities could be endless. Will I make the switch just yet? I’ll let you know in 6 months.
Okay, some of these are obvious and others will hopefully serve to invoke some thought. I encourage you to list your predictions bold or otherwise in the comments below so we can compare notes, and have a nice chat. I promise we will be blogging the whole year round to fill you in on the latest happenings in the DJ universe. Super shouts to Phil Morse at Digital DJ Tips for always providing stellar DJ journalism, and especially to all of you who love and play music, for music’s sake. Until next time, happy gigs!