There is no doubt technology and the digital age have changed the music industry. From record labels to the artist, everyone has been affected. But what about the person who keeps the music playing, the disc jockey – better known as the DJ.
When downloading music for free became popular, conversations about how digital music was negatively affecting record sales rose. Many artists shared their opinions about the impact technology had on music, but the DJs perspective has often been left out of that conversation.
Being one of the elements of hip-hop, the art of djing has been impacted just as any other aspect of the music industry. Some say it has changed for the good, while some say the bad. DJ Quicksilva, a DJ based in the nation’s capitol says social media has affected his work positively.
“I use social networking and online resources to my advantage,” Quicksilva says. “I constantly hear people complaining about the disadvantages, but that’s not what these tools were designed for.”
DJ Quicksilva isn’t just a local DJ. His mixes are heard nationally on the Russ Par Morning Show and he also makes regular appearances on BET’s 106 & Park. In addition, he is releasing his own online documentary later this year that shows the ins and outs of his life as a DJ.
“I’ve got tons of endorsements and work from social media,” Quicksilva says. “If it weren’t for the online piece, I don’t think I would be as well known as I am across the country.”
While DJ Quicksilva is fond of social media, he says the new technology tools and software has hurt DJs on the creative end.
“Technology has made it possible for anyone to become a DJ,” Quicksilva says. “They are looking at systems that automatically organize songs instead of thinking of different ways to mix songs themselves.”
DJs who solely or mostly use digital software have been coined “digital DJs.” In some ways they do not get the same credit as the traditional because they can simply DJ by a click of a button.
Gianni Lee, CEO of Babylon Cartel, just started djing about 6 months ago and considers himself a digital DJ.
“I started djing because I wasn’t hearing the type of music I wanted to hear and it was easy to get into it,” Lee says. “It’s easy to say that you are just about anything with the internet, but what’s difficult is getting your name out there and respect.”
DJs who have over 20 years of experience don’t recognize digital DJs like Lee as true disc jockeys.
“Digital DJs do not have the right to call themselves a DJ,” Quicksilva says. “People who just became DJs last year have no idea what djing actually is. You have to know the history and be able to DJ with and without digital tools and programming.”
Although a digital DJ, Lee agrees with Quicksilva that one should know the background and history of djing to be reputable, but he also views it as a new alternative to djing and hip-hop that should be embraced.
“I see where more seasoned, traditional DJs are coming from,” Lee says. “But its 2012, you can t expect things to stay the same way they were in 1999.”
Lee makes a point that there are popular DJs like Diplo who have found great success without having to scratch on a turn-table to do it.
No matter a traditional DJ that uses some digital tools, or a digital DJ that may only use digital tools; both would agree that technology has had some negative effects, but it does not outweigh the tremendous positive impact.
From creating convenience for older DJs to opening the doors for younger; technology can be used the DJs advantage.
“I think technology is a blessing,” Lee says. “It’s shaking up the industry and providing more than what we would have without it.”
Category: Digital Music, Featured | Tags: disc jockey, DJ, DJ Quicksilva, Gianni Lee, social media, Technology