June 3, 2021
Let’s face it: we’re living in an era where technology changes by the moment. That can be a great thing, but it can also be effort-consuming. No DJ can afford that in our industry. It’s safe to assume, though, that anyone professing to be a DJ in 2021 has to be somewhat into gadgets and technology. The question is, should you be adopting new DJ tech tools early for your business? Here are a few things to consider.
The real kicker in determining if you should be the first to try new DJ tech is if the hardware or software is stable in its early stages. Even after beta testing, especially with many software programs, technology can oftentimes run amuck with computer operating systems. Wisdom should always trump excitement when it comes to adopting new technology for your craft.
Unstable technology, no matter how advanced, can do more than “not work” in the long run. Some can brick your operating system or hardware permanently. Most tech developers will give you a heads up on the possibilities of issues you may encounter with your equipment. Make sure you read ALL of the fine print and disclaimers for new hard- or software. Being “first” is never worth losing any of your investments.
Time is of the essence for DJs. And, as the old saying goes, time definitely is money. So when you consider adopting new DJ tech, you have to consider if it will make some aspect of what you do run more efficiently.
For software-related tech, the latest programs may have tons of new features, but if there’s a steep learning curve, you may be doing yourself a disservice by incorporating it before the masses. Sometimes, if products are too new, you may not have all of the resources available to you with more well-known tech or tech services. There may be a forum available to you, but you may not have the YouTube videos or local face-to-face support if the product is too new. You don’t need that stress if you’re having technical issues without help at the ready. Being ahead of the curve won’t really do you any good in that scenario.
Efficiency has been one of the biggest catalysts for the digital DJing landscape. The early years saw DJs carrying heavy crates of records to shows. CDJs (for some) cut down on setup time and gear needed for gigs. Computers and digital files made preparation and playing much easier and quicker to do. They literally changed the game for DJs. There were some naysaying purists when digital files were initially introduced to the industry. However, the reliability and productivity created from using digital files could not be denied and justify their use today.
New DJ tech can run the gamut from drum machine/DJ controller combinations to crazy lighting systems and everything in between. There are literally thousands of new products introduced each year that enhance some aspect of a DJ performance. But how useful will they really be for what you do with your business?
That answer will differ from DJ to DJ. If you don’t use turntables, a product like the Phase may seem unnecessary for your clients. However, if you do use turntables and you’ve had your share of tracks skip during a set, this may be the DJ tech you’ve been waiting for your entire life! Or, if you’re a DJ who uses Technic 1200s, you know how notorious they are for having RCA cables go bad (How to Replace RCA cables with RCA Jacks). No RCAs, no Serato. There’s nothing worse than getting to a gig with worn turntables and having to worry about stability. The Phase hardware connects directly to Serato, which alleviates that potential headache. In this case, technology is not only practical, it can be a necessary advantage for peace of mind.
As another example, consider mixers with performance pads. Sure, they’re great to have. However, if your primary clients don’t require much other than blending songs (e.g. weddings), this might be something you look past. Many battle DJs will think very differently about such products that can enhance their skills and creativity.
Technology can be a gift and a curse for DJs. When Serato was first introduced, it was amazing because it took away the need to carry crates of records to gigs. This was definitely a gift for traveling DJs. Ask anyone who’s had crates lost by an airline. Or, if a computer was lost or stolen, backup drives of libraries were always available to save the day (assuming you were a DJ who backed up your files). The ugly side of this technology, though, is that it made it too easy for people to enter the DJ industry, causing an upswell in watered-down “DJs” with no skills. Buying software and digital music does not make one a DJ. Technology oftentimes says otherwise.
At the end of the day, you will have to determine if it’s worth your time, money and sanity to be the first DJ to use a particular piece of hardware or new DJ tech. Being an innovator who’s ahead of the curve definitely has its worthy points. But, it can also be more of a hassle if it doesn’t serve your needs. Assess and research as much as possible before incorporating the “next big thing.” Your business and livelihood may be impacted, for better or worse.//php comments_template(); ?>