The pre-internet DJ use to be the “go to” person for people looking for “that” song or songs by that elusive mystery artist or well known artist with a hard to find new or old recording. The DJ was the authority when it came to sharing new music with the masses whether at a party, at a club, or even on the radio. When a person needed a new “mix” tape or CD to listen to while jogging or driving etc, having a DJ as a friend or acquaintance was a foot in the door to getting good music or just finding out what artist was doing what. The DJ was always the one who seemed to buy or come by the most music titles even if they were not all to their own liking, it was kind of the DJ’s responsibility of sorts to have the music needed to entertain crowds of all kinds. If you go back to the early NYC hip hop block parties the DJ would serve up bits & pieces of songs from all genres and as long as the beat was funky the crowds would dance, there was no need for the songs to be in mainstream radio rotation in order to entertain the crowd. The people use to trust the DJ to serve them up with cool fresh sounds & take them on a journey where they may discover music that they may never had heard before or had access to.
The internet along with free Lean in mp3 downloading & music piracy has made virtually any song available to anyone with an internet connection and a hard drive to store it on. The average person is able to build up a massive mp3 music library just as big, or bigger than the deejays themselves. The web has replaced the DJ as the go to place to find the music & instead of the people needing the DJ to supply the mix tapes or CD’s they are instead able to just download & burn as many different play lists as they want. In some cases, events that would previously had a live DJ, have opted to instead use an iPod hooked to a sound system.
The current state of the music business offers DJ’s the challenge of further proving their value to the crowds and even internet users. Probably one of the best ways deejays can show their worth & skills is to create Remixes of songs that will offer the people a different outlook on the DJ’s skills leaning more toward being an artist their self than being just a music provider. DJ’s can also become music producers, using their love of great songs to help artists create new great songs. Mash-up mixes have also become popular which are an extra spin on DJ blends/ song mixes of the past. The DJ should no longer rely on being needed as a mobile Jukebox and/or sound system provider and try to offer deeper musical services which will be unique to them. They should focus on personality & having qualities that cannot be replaced with technology alone. This will keep the Deejay relevant into the future as more & more changes occur with the music business as a whole.
The internet does offer many advantages to the deejays as well making it easier for them to collect the large music libraries just as easily as the non deejays. The popularity of internet radio also gives mix show & club style deejays to expand their reach out of their local area sharing their own mixes worldwide. This Is extra helpful to deejays in specialty/underground genres as they may grab a far away booking after being heard on an internet radio mix show or on a social networking website with musician options.The Deejay must just try to learn how to use all the new outlets as new promotional opportunity while striving to be that much better with their mixes and services offered.