10 Commandments For Better Digital DJing, #1

Gatecrasher at Eden, Ibiza, 2006

Today's commandment is probably the most important rule of DJing, digital or otherwise... Pic: Dan Gines

Over the past 15 months (yes, that's all it's been), Digital DJ Tips has been visited by over half a million DJs! In that time you've left literally thousands and thousands of thoughtful comments, both on the blog and on our Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channels, and also in our members forum and areas (click here to join) - all of which have helped us to understand exactly who you are and what you need from us.

We started Digital DJ Tips in order to help you to DJ properly with digital DJ gear (it's at the top of every page), and thanks to all your feedback, we've managed to distill the most important skills needed to DJ successfully in the post-vinyl age into these "ten commandments". Every day for the next 10 days, we'll publish one of the commandments on the blog. Think of it as our manifesto - the way digital DJing should be done; a starting point for all new digital DJs, as well as a checklist for the more experienced. Also think of it as a campaign for better digital DJing.

At the end of the ten days, we'll take all of the commandments, video material, resources and the best of your feedback, and package it together into a "digital DJing manifesto" - a landmark product that will provide a blueprint that digital DJs can follow in order to give themselves the best chance of succeeding. So please join in below in the comments - you may well appear in the finished guide.

Today's commandment

Today's commandment is the most important of them all. Without it, none of the others matter. Here it is:

Commandment #1: Be in it for the music.

OK. We're about to explain why this is so important, and what you can do next to better apply it to your DJing. But, if you like this rule, to help us to spread this campaign far and wide we're asking you to do something for us, that we wouldn't normally ask. We're simply asking you to "Like" this page using the Facebook Like button at the end of the post. Thanks!





Of all the commandments, this is maybe the hardest to "teach". After all, you either have a passion for music, or you don't. Here's some resources to help reinforce why music is such an important passion to have if you want to be a successful digital DJ:

  • The best checklist we have for you to reassure yourself you're in this for the right reasons is our 7 Tell-Tale Signs You’d Make A Great DJ post. Go and have a look and see how many you can answer "yes" to!
  • We also recommend you look at some of the issues raised by readers that help to shed some light on this area: the best reader's letter with advice on how to show your passion for music while DJing is Your Questions: Help, I Look Boring Behind the Decks!
  • One of the best books you can read and absorb to make you realise the musical dedication that the best DJs have is reviewed in our post The Record Players – DJ Revolutionaries. This book contains interviews with DJs from the very first (Jimmy Savile) right up to the present day, and is pretty much required reading if you want to see the kind of lengths the best DJs go to for their art
  • Try reading stories of real DJs who are breaking through right now in their respective countries. We recently talked to two readers, Marvin Kamikaze and Domas, about how they got into digital DJing. Reading their stories will give you a sense of how love of music simply has to underpin any efforts you make to be successful as a digital DJ.

We hope this material has been useful to you, and thank you once again for Liking this post in order to help us spread our campaign for better digital DJing far and wide...

• Watch out tomorrow and for the rest of the next nine days as we reveal, one by one, all ten "commandments". And thanks again for your support.

Check out the other parts of this series:

What are your views on our first commandment? Do you know DJs who seem to not care less about the music? How can you tell those DJs from those who are in this game for the right reasons? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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  1. Fantastic video Phil, I agree with everything you said.

  2. Great article. Very insightful and I can't wait to see/hear the rest of the commandments. Definitely, Be into it for the music! Most important above everything else.

  3. Forcing someone to like an article before reading defeats the whole reasoning behind someone liking an article. I'd suggest removing this functionality as it's a terrible form of forced advertising.

    For example, rather than actually browsing the rest of this site and possibly telling friends about it, I'm moving on. It's better to rely on quality content. If the quality is there people like Audio1 will refer more quality readers here. (which is how I originally found this post)

    • Phil Morse says:

      This is a special campaign, and in return for our extra content (we don't normally do this kind of thing), we're asking you to help us spread word of the campaign - that's all. If you don't agree with the rule or don't see the worth in our push to lay down some ground rules for digital DJing, fine - don't click the button, that's cool by us. We've given you the "rule" anyway, so you've not been forced to do anything in order to see it. (If you really want to see our content but don't want to support us, you can always unlike it afterwards... that's cool by us too). :)

  4. thank you very much for this post...i was just wondering this point browsing many music blogs etc...people tend to imitate each other and they're not in the business because of the love for music...

  5. CosmicRift says:

    Every read is so rewarding! Cannot wait to hear from the rest of the segment. Great video and great advice!

  6. Great video/article. It speaks the truth.

    I still think though DJs need to work to get more control of the music now...because too many spots will simply look for human jukeboxes over talented DJs.

    "Shut up, don't think, don't be creative...just make those bitches over there happy so I can get laid"

    That's the attitude many owners/managers/promoters carry now.

  7. like you said man djing is all about the music without the passion of the music like djing with no soul

  8. Hi I'm still undecided of which midi controller should I get one is the Pioneer ddj-s1or the Numark NS6. New I love the pioneer products but, the problem that I have with the Pioneer ddj-s1 no booth. Now I'm not a really Numark fan but, they have more features like booth and 4 channel.. Can someone help me.

  9. wow its only been 15 months!

    funny how time flys when you're having fun ha!

    brilliant tip there mate and something every DJ should keep in mind, regardless of their skill set

    i just wish someone would tell the hoards of promoters/dj's in London that :(

  10. Hi Phil, Im not having much luck here, have clicked the like button nothing happened have then unliked and liked again 3 times but no video is showing up!
    A puzzel indeed

  11. There is only one reason I Dj and that is the music I Love Music in many shapes and forms I love DJing and playing tunes that I'm passionate about, and when both the crowd and me are dancing, thats the moment I know I'm a real DJ and that doing something you love can be so rewarding!

    I love my Job and even if I didn't get paid, I would still play records (MP3's) to whoever wants to hear them!!!

    Rule one is the most important Agreed!!!

    Keep up the good work Phil.

  12. DJ Tovar says:

    Thank you for everything that you have done DDJTIPS! I can't believe that it's been 15 month already... This site has reminded me of soo many things that you forget over time... especially when dealing with sour/grouchy club owners/promoters... It is very easy to get in "Business mode" and just stay there... sometimes you need a reminder of why you started DJing and why you still love it! Thanks Again!!!!

    • Phil Morse says:

      Thanks for your support! The quality of the stuff on here is pretty much directly related to all of your comments and encouragement. It sometimes takes two o three hours just to clear the email inbox every morning, but at the end of it we have ideas for half a dozen new blog posts, and normally a couple of dozen new friends too!

  13. It is really sad how many of the new up an comer DJ's are doing it for the fame and recognition. They don't care about practicing their craft for hours on end at home before going out there and what I find even sadder is the number of club owners who hire them because they prepared to play for free or R500 for a full nights set.
    They will play anywhere and not for the love of it but to get exposure and recognition and sadly most of the time play terrible sets banging out any popular tunes in any order not bothering about flow, mood or crowd response and many times end up killing the floor. If you don't love the music enough to practice the hours on end it takes to get all these things right then you should not be DJing.

    • Phil Morse says:

      Hopefully some of those DJs will stumble across us and stumble across our commandments and realise they can have more fun and get more fulfillment doing things for the right reasons. That's our hope.

  14. Duh! After reading the first 8 "commandments", the whole thing looks more like a marketing campaign for yor your blog and/or FB page... I don't see why this one differs from traditional CD / vynil DJing advices: you do it with passion for the music and to get the best money, alcohol, sex, etc. that you wouldn't get otherwise. Just kidding.

    • Phil Morse says:

      For the reasons stated, Christian - that the barriers to entry and the skillset required to chase the glory are so much lower with digital than they ever were.

      • And that's a good thing: i always encourage others to start DJing when they have the passion. I give them my best advice and i kick them in the butt when play bad music because they feel they have to (peer pressure!). In the end, when competiion is fierce, those likely to succeed are mostly innovators (and i have been to sooo many parties where big names played terrible boring music). In my next club, i'm thinking of putting a "money back" guarantee :)

  15. Adam Sharizman says:

    So, true, that entry price for Djing is very low. Apart from the video, what do you think will happen to the world of Djing? Will there be more kooks? Posers?

    • Phil Morse says:

      I think basically everyone will be a DJ - DJing software, apps, hardware, streaming services etc. will be everywhere. This is good, because it will sort out the real talent from those who could afford the gear in the past!

  16. Jona Menasso says:

    Phill i just started now reading the commandments and i have a question about this first one...

    Is It Wrong to be in it FOR THE MUSIC (oh god knows i funkin' love music), to be in it for the technology that a also love and be in it to try to make a living out of the thing i love the most?

    Please i need to know..


  17. Joost vd Berg says:

    Great video! Im going to parties/festivals for over a decade and finally starting to pick up DJing.If always had an interest but never made the step to get in too it. And now I have! Big thx to this website that I finally know were to begin :) But one thing I already knew for sure... I'm in it because I love (electronic) music! your

    thx phil!! love the simplicity of your site/videos, im defenitely going to buy the DJcourse!

  18. Thanks for the article, I agree totally with commandment number 1. Going to go read the rest of the articles now :)))

    I have met so many new DJ's that just want to get into it because they think they will become famous or popular if they get to play in clubs.

    What happened to doing it for the love of music and actually being passionate about it. Heck, I know first hand that doing it for the love of music is the only thing that keeps you from giving up when it's hard to start out.


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