Is It Right To Ban Laptops From DJ Booths?

They say you're not doing something right unless you're upsetting people, and it seems that once again, DJs with laptops are doing just that (sigh). Check out this video in which 50-year-old DJ Leonard Remix Rroy lambasts the behaviour of laptop DJs who stare at the screen all the time as if they're "on Facebook". I actually find the video to make some fair points, but it's predictably triggered another bout of laptop DJ- bashing across the internet.

Ultimately my view is this: Of course there are laptop guys who spend time screen-gazing and sync-riding. But surely they just need some help and guidance, not lambasting? Have you ever seen a vinyl DJ on his first few public gigs? These dudes generally don't dancing around much either, It's a learning curve, whatever your gear.

At the end of the day, I think most of us agree that DJing is about crowd interaction, mastery of your gear, quick access to the right tune to play next, great knowledge of your, music, stage presence, charisma, and lots of other things besides. But…

Does it really, truly matter if you're doing this stuff on iPods, laptops, CDJs, vinyl, from USB sticks, cassette players, transistor radios, or with the Welsh Male Voice Choir?!

Well - and here we get to the subject of today's post - apparently it does. In an amazing new twist, according to one London DJ, there are parties where laptops - and the DJs they're attached to - are actually being shown the door…

Banning laptops from parties

This is actually the most interesting - if ridiculous - recent development in the whole debate (thanks Billybob for pointing this out to me). Because in a reply to the Rroy video over on his own Facebook page, UK house veteran Terry Farley says "laptops look shit" and "I'm glad some underground clubs are now banning laptops". Are they really?

Wow. Would you honestly like to go and party in a club that bans laptops? I mean, truthfully? Personally, I go out to have my mind opened a bit to stuff, not to have someone's silly prejudices forced down my throat. One sniff of petty gear fascism and I think I'd be out of there. Can you imagine a queue of happy, sweaty people leaving a great night and saying to each other: "Wow, that was brilliant!" then someone remembering, "Yeah, and it was all the better because there were no damned laptop DJs!"

Daft Punk

Daft Punk: Not welcome in a DJ booth near you?

Get. Out. Of. Town. I'd run from these nutters at speed. If that's the underground, kids, we really are in trouble.

DJs: Know your crowd. Know your gear. Know your craft. Know your music. Stay humble. Learn from your mistakes, and from your elders (when they're being charitable towards you). But please, use whatever damned gear you like. And if some tired, old "underground" promoter starts laying down the law to you about the type of gear you choose to use… start your own party. It'll be better.

Have you been on the receiving end of "laptop prejudice"? Have you come across parties where laptop-using DJs are banned? Please let us know your experiences below.

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Comments

  1. It’s not the gear.
    It’s not the medium.

    Traktor? Vinyl? CDJ? MP3? Serato? Virtual DJ?

    WHO CARES?

    DJing has sadly become some tired ego pageant, where it’s now all about the person, maintaining followers on social media, and ridiculous demands in riders.

    A DJ IS A CONDUIT FOR MUSIC.

    Nothing more. The music will be here long after you’re gone. It’s the only thing that is relevant.

    This BS has seriously got to stop.

    • Sebastian says:

      I agree but what changed is the effort you have to put in gathering music. It is much more about curation nowadays then any point in dj’ing. Someone just grabs some tracks of the internet fires up traktor and you are good to go. back in the days there was a lot more effort needed. U needed to learn how to work to decks, u needed money to buy the gear, buy the records, u needed connections in recordstores to get the good stuff, u needed to work to get to the root of music whereas now all the onformation is on the internet.

      On second thought they should ban the internet instead of laptops ;)

      • Ha ha, there’s a different view! :)

      • I’m a real noob DJ, and as a gen-Y I learned only so many stuff with my computer and the Internet. And I’ve had this question for too long: why is effort-less worse? Is it really a bad thing to have a flat learning curve? Not only with DJing, but with computers themselves, with new banking methods, new trends, almost anything that involves new tech.
        At one point, computers, Internet, Traktor, Beatport, digital pools, all came t life to make our life simpler. Why on Earth would we want it to remain difficult?

      • That’s just a dumb comment. Trust me I am a laptop DJ, but there is alot more to it then just downloading songs and using traktor. took me over a year and a half of practice to get to the point of its sounding really good.

      • Sebastian says:

        compare it to sports: If u would allow anyone to enter the olympics what would be left of them?

        It’s not a 1 on 1 comparison but should make my point. Having to make the effort and being dedicated ensures that quality comes floating to the top.

      • Sebastian says:

        I’m not trusting you. I play whatever they put in front of me. Serato, cd, vinyl, traktor. I don’t care I have used it all. And for a long time. I’ve seen the difference. I stand by my comment 100%. Curation is a lot more important.

        Offcourse it’s not the same for every scene. If u just play songs in a bar to entertein people no-one gives a shit. But the internet and digital dj’ing definetely changed something in the artistry that goes into dj’ing. But if u started playing digital I guess u wouldn’t know the difference.

        Good if u DO make the effort. Offcourse those dj’s are still there too but pulling the top 10 songs off beatport and mixing them with a midicontroller does not make you a good dj. Even if the crowd likes it. You are still a human jukebox. Not the kind of dj I would like to be.

        But then again maybe it’s just that I can’t handle the role of the DJ changed. Introducing people to new & quality music.

        I would much rather listen to the Theo Parrishes, moodyman’s, kerri chandler’s or even the Peanut Butter Wolf’s of this world than to the avicci’s and tiesto’s. Has a lot to do with how I look at dj’ing.

        Maybe you should take a longer look at the situation instead of just flat out calling my comment dumb. (because it just isn’t ;) )

      • I understand that you don’t like shite… and I understand that you feel Tiësto’s DJ-ing is shite (I really dislike his style as well)…. but you cannot say that he is on the same level as Avicci: Tiësto was DJ of the year from 2002 – 2004. He started in a local pub about a decade before that. Traktor was not really something a DJ would touch with a 30 ft pole nor Ableton live until 2004 (with Live 4)…. so obviously he can DJ in the traditional way. It’s just that he has become EVEN MORE commercial and thus shite since then.
        Tiësto knows how to curate, how to beatmatch, how to seemlessly blend 2 tracks using only high/mid/low & volume…. his manual skills are not bad…. it’s just his taste that’s dispicable.

        P.s. You have to be ultra commercial to become DJ of the year anyway – so his choice of music probably was neither your nor my fav’s in any era…

      • I made a trance mix and posted it yesterday. While I used sync to beatmatch, I put in a lot of effort exploring what tunes would merge fluidly together, when to release the next tune, the sound manipulation of EQs, and even the right spots to toss in effects.

        To the average person, they might not notice that…but I’ll say if any Tom, Dick, or Harry were to take the tracks and toss together a mix, they might not make it as fluid, or build the energy up and down in a good way.

        My point is there is so much more to DJing than just beatmatching. That with these new tools, the real basics, the human part, still has to come into play.

      • So, Sebastian…You are saying that the 8 1/2 hours I put into looking for music, that were MP3’s, was not as valid as the time you spent in a record store looking for music?! That just seems silly to me.

        It doesn’t matter what format your music is in, as a DJ, you’re still responsible for choosing tracks that work well together, that flow through a set, and that take you audience on a journey. I don’t how it matters if I spend my time looking through music, or vinyl at a store. If anything, I feel that I have to work MUCH HARDER to find original and unheard tracks with MP3’s because of the accessibility. I don’t have the benefit of a “hook-up” that hits me up and says, “Garrit, I have this amazing new vinyl for you that no one has yet.”

        As for my thoughts on the article, I couldn’t agree more with Phil. I have seen PLENTY of “vinyl/traditional” DJ’s that spend all their time looking at their decks and not the crowd. The video also shows nothing but hip-hop/scratch DJ’s. Those guys shows are designed to place them at the center of attention. However, electronic DJ’s were never meant to be the center of attention. In fact, we are supposed to simply be the curators of a musical journey that enlightens people and assists them in creating their own experience at the event.

        This whole drama between vinyl, CDJ, and controller DJ’s make me INSANE! I started on vinyl, moved to CDJ’s because I had way more options to be a better DJ, and then to a professional controller (DDJSX), because I had even more options. More options to create a better experience and sound. Technology helps us be better at lot’s of things, why not DJ’ing. I’m not saying that there isn’t something to be said for the old school way of doing things, but I’ve never DJ’ed with a vinyl DJ who can reproduce on the fly, cut/edit tracks, and re-work sounds into a truly mind bending set like the guys that use technology. To each their own, and the sound should be what’s important. It would be like Eddie Van Halen and Angus Young arguing about what is better…a Fender or a Stratocaster. Who cares, they both milk the sh*t out of it!

        *End Rant*

      • To the Tiesto bashers … somebody I know mastered a lot of mixtapes. Tiesto was one of the only dj’s who was able to mix his mixes flawless in one time, a lot of other big names did several reruns on certain transitions.
        Tiesto was/is technically a very skilled dj.

        Besides that … dj’ing is about playing the right track at the right moment and creating a vibe. If you do that via an automated way or fully manual … who cares.

        For a dj contest, I agree they disqualify laptop dj’s. You don’t want motorcycles to compete in the tour the france too.

      • Back in the day,you couldn’t get close enough to the DJ to see what kind of gear he had,and no one cared because it was all about the music. I heard wacked DJ’s on Technics and I’ve heard wacked DJ’s on Controllers or Computers. Technology hasn’t made people lazy,the lazy ones have always been that way,and it’s the dumbed down public with no musical culture,that has allowed bad DJ’s to flourish. I started off on turntables and now I use a controller. Records being stolen,records being lost in customs,lugging a hundred pounds of vinyl all over the place? Nope,too old for that now,and I prefer to use the common sense that god gave me,and do what makes perfect sense. I find it funny that it’s the guys who play vinyl and CD’s who are doing all of the whining. The way to solve it is by battling. None of that crab scratching and whatnot that we listened to as children,but well done sets with good sound and a better tracklist. That’s how you find out who the real frauds are,vinyl or otherwise. It’s the 21st century and it’s time to accept it and move on. Or don’t accept it. Just don’t worry about what the next man is doing,so long as you’re doing your thing,and you’re doing it well.

      • Curation! I knew I wasn’t the only one that thought this. There’s good music everywhere DJs should be the ones to find it. Small unknown labels can put out great stuff. I make it a point to always throw in ‘unknowns’ when I spin a party or whatever, and there’s always that one real music lover that comes up and asks “WHAT IS THIS!?” That always makes my day.

    • Camilo S. says:

      Man this is getting to the point that everybody is going to be Dj’ing guitar hero style but instead like DJ hero style…just pressing a couple buutons and its done!…perfect mix!, i began with traktor in the university cause i didn’t have the money to buy the gear, now a couple years that i had the means then moved to a Numark controller and after i have learned sold that and bought the mixer and cd units, now i have added a new controller, use both of them the thing is that the craft is being lost, now if you look all the livestets from the big names they barely touch the pitch controls or perform pitch bend, everything is pre-build, for me the fun of mixing is feeling the rush of running out of time looking for the track i want at the moment, begin to adjust cue and pitch and look for the spot to blend in…the thing is the gear doesn’t matter the thing is this is going to turn into Dj’s performing based on Sync button style?…and if this is the case: it is worth it to go to a venue or party just to see someone mimic and having a hidden jukebox???

    • Has anyone ever thought how great digital DJing has been to promote talented individuals who cannot afford pricey CDJs and mixers. DJing has been very restricted in the past, only really allowing those who had the money to get into it. I guess what I want to say is how wonderful controllers have been in allowing more people to try DJing.

      And besides, not everyone who buys a laptop and controller is automatically a good DJ. You still need hard work, talent, good ears and dedication. That doesn’t depend on gear.

      The only people who care about gear are other judgemental DJs, and you’re not playing for them. You’re probably playing for people who can’t tell their Traktor from their iTunes visualizer, and who couldn’t give a damn.

      • Well said Julia.

      • @Julia: I think that’s actually a very poor point. I had very little money when I starting djing in the mid 90s, but I was determined and I loved the music. I was extremely motivated to make it happen and I did, because I was determined. When the barriers to entry are high, people who are the most dedicated rise to the top. None of the people I came up djing with had money as a matter of fact. It was a bunch of broke-ass music lovers who knew every record on the shelf at the record shop because we listened to them all from week to week. A lot of those guys with money just got bored after a while most of the time if they weren’t dedicated.

    • “A DJ is a conduit for music”

      Love that idea. Poetic, LOL. And true.

      (sidebar):I once saw a comment that said someone was disappointed by a DJ because all he did during his set was “raise his beer to the audience.” I definitely had to speak up–that particular DJ had my friends and I dancing for 80 mins straight. THAT is what it’s about.

    • 1st off I learned how to dj using vinyl, I was one of the last DJs to convert to CDs. Now I use traktor set up with my cdj850, technology is always advancing. Traktor does not auto mix tracks, once the track ends, it’s silence. The end result is I’ve used vinyl and could if I wanted to, but using traktor has resulted in my sets having a more creative and polished finished product coming out of the speakers..

  2. I use a laptop and prob always will, with a USB I only have acess to a small sample of my music, I actually have a small issue with guys who only use USB because often it means their sets are planned, while this isn’t always a bad thing, I believe you should also be able to play to the crowd, and have that option of being able to go away from your planned sets, to be able to throw in a few gems here and there of your set isn’t going according to plan or just to have that option, besides I also do video, so can’t do that with out the laptop

  3. Shishdisma says:

    I dont really “ban” laptop DJs from events I run, but good Christ I can’t think of a genuinely positive experience I’ve had involving one.

    • DJ Mr Anderson says:

      I would have to charge more money if I had to buy and carry creates of records or had to buy CD’s. A lap top make it easier for the DJ to locate songs and does not need a mini van to bring creates to a gig.

  4. Before the era of laptops, DJ’s had to carry plenty of CD’s about…these days, the laptops serve as a reservoir of music files from which ur gear accesses music…on the other hand, some dj’s use just the laptop connected to a mixer pending when they acquire a DJ equipment (TT or CDJ)…if ur mix is fine, u can connect with the crowd plus other ethics u gotta observe…I don’t think there should be a prob…

  5. mr stiffy says:

    The public don’t care about what you use or what you even do in a booth, once you can play songs they want to dance to or even the occasional bad song so the bar can make a bit of money on refills. Laptops store a lot of music to have some of that music on vinyl would mean a 40ft truck following you around, then maintaining the turntables in the club etc… Even with CDs, a lot of clubs still use CDs so it means burning a cd if you have 100 CDs with 10 songs on each time is ticking to load up that track you KNOW is going to make a big drop but you can’t remember where it is. Technology is there to help us and it also allows a lot more people to dip there feet into the djing pool as well.

    • Must admit, I much prefer looking through CDs for music still. If i know the exact track I want then yeah, laptop is quick. But I rarely plan a set, and when I do use a laptop I’ll often have a CD wallet with me for inspiration.

      The main beef I have with laptop DJing is that it’s brought it to the masses. While this means some kids will get a break that wouldn’t have before, it does also mean there are some awful DJs playing in commercial settings where mixing ability doesn’t really matter. Fact of the matter is, the “general” public are NOT that into music. Sure, they’ll listen to a lot, on the radio, MTV (do they even play any music anymore?), etc. But most people will happily listen to ANYTHING on a night out.

      The people who’ll pay £15-20 to get in a “proper” club with a top DJ playing also won’t care what hardware is used as long as the mixing is spot on. And trust me, digital DJing does not improve a poor DJ! the songs may be beat-matched but it still doesn’t sound right – out of phase, dropping tracks during breakdowns, etc.

      • Literal says:

        My gear cost me $4500, laptop, mixer, 2 tech 1210s, and all the little bits in between. For the same price you can find a DJM 900 and 2 CDJ 2000s. That ain’t cheap.

      • Hold on though…maybe it’s just me, but when the hell did DJ’s get so selfish about what we do and our music?! What makes that our right?! Why shouldn’t this be brought to the masses and enjoyed by all???

        If everyone else felt this way, you would have never had the opportunity to be a DJ yourself. Music is not ours to own, no one owns music…especially DJ’s who (unless you only play your own produced tracks) mix other peoples music together to make it their own.

        I mentor and tutor young DJ’s in the area I live and I get so excited when the “get it” for the first time! If being a DJ is your passion, and DJ’ing professional is your ultimate goal, it shouldn’t matter who else is out there. It’s up to you to grow your skill set and set yourself apart.

        I feel like much of this has become this whole “feeling sorry for myself because it was easier for them”. Guess what, DJ’ing has always been as much about networking and creating your own opportunity as it has been about your skill set. Personally, I think having all these things more accessible has made me try harder as a DJ and has made me better. Also, it has given the music overall such amazing growth, so that we can choose amazing music to play for people. If those young kids didn’t have access to equipment at a fair price, a lot of the music we all play would not exist.

      • Literal says:

        On the issue of skills – how skillful is it to have a program tell you the key, they have your tracks synced at a buttons press, then blending in from intro to outro?

        I hate to be “that guy” but the thing that pisses me off about new DJs is they say “so what if I use sync? I’m using it so I have time to do more stuff”, but they’re not doing any more stuff, they’re just being lazy, and they’re not pushing any boundaries with skill OR music.

        THAT’S what kills me.

        • Why does everything have to be “skilful”? Why does it have to be made “hard” to be worthy? Where I do agree with you is that if a DJ is not doing it musically, nothing else matters. But a technically brilliant DJ can still be a dancefloor clearer…

      • sammsousa says:

        so true! in adition to beeing lazy when de do something is just adding verbs and delays! things have to be hard to be worthy because every real ”thing” is earned! just like playing an instrument! you wond be a real musician unless you put your 10 000 hours in! so when you get to that point you know youve earned it since you have put your time in! not saying that it isnt for everyone, because it is for everyone! only diference is that those that really want it will keep practicing everyday, those that wanted it ”just because” will give up soon! in djing to be real ”skillfull” you prob dont need 10 000 hours, but synk, cuts that ”practice time” down to 5 mins! for most people i see sometimes anyway… coz there really are lots of people nowadays that think ”oh i just need a laptop and am a dj” ive heard that over and over

      • Literal says:

        Why should it NOT be skillful?

        I feel like this new generation of “anyone can be a DJ”, while nice – has a serious potential for backlash. It lowers standards and frankly I find it very silly that any other path or career in entertainment REQUIRES skill, yet somehow the DJ is being dumbed down. YES anyone can do it – but WITH practice and WITH skill.

        Of course a skilled DJ can clear a dance floor. A talented movie director can make a box office disaster – but that person still has talent. People are afraid to be exclusive, but the problem isn’t that it is, it’s that people WANT to be included without trying to include themselves. If you want involvement then BE involved, BE practicing. Ask questions, even if you feel embarrassed asking them. We have ALL been new at one point but to say “why does skill need to be involved?” is kind of elementary.

        • The skill for me was, is and always will be in song discovery, curation and performance. How you do that is totally up to you – that’s my overriding point. Of course there are huge technical skills in DJing properly (and over the years I’m pleased to say I’ve even picked up some of them ;)) – but the music is the point. Not how “skilful” your method of performing it happens to be. At least, it’s the most IMPORTANT point. So yes, DJing is very skilled – but forcing people to learn the way you learned or somehow not be as “legit” is to me silly.

      • Literal says:

        Oh in no way do I mean “if you can’t scratch or beat juggle you’re not skillful”, I should have mentioned track curation. To me you (you as in people not you specifically lol) stop being a DJ when you stop learning: technical skills, new or old music, new or old genres, in any number or combination. If you are striving to be more, or to know more, then I consider that person a DJ.

  6. People banning laptops at their venues are crazy. You may as well say, “All I have are these old turntables. You have records, right?” It’s technology, you can either embrace it as it changes, or play catch-up later down the road.

  7. I didn’t won a Hardstyle-DJ-Contest, because i used Traktor with my S4 and F1. The promoter said that “the scene doesn’t accept Laptop-DJ’s, it’s a cliche, but it’s just as it is”. However, in the requirements for the contest they said “you may can bring your own Hardware to the Event”. Sad, but true.

    • Niels Bex says:

      I know the feel. I used to play some dj contests, but when the judges saw i was working with a laptop & controller, they didn’t even bother about the music.
      This is how the scene is nowadays and I personally hope it’s going to change soon. Till that point, I’ll mostly play private parties.

      Cheers

      • they are just making excuses. I’ve not come across a single DJ competition where the winner wasn’t already picked before it started (mate of organiser or whatever).
        Plus a lot of places now are chasing the student dollar, with often student DJs – they ALL use laptops!

        90% of these competitions are just free DJs for a few gigs.

        better of setting up your own night – you’ve already seen how easy it is to get free DJs!!! ;)

  8. Sebastian says:

    I play digital. Used to play vinyl and i’ve been buying vinyl a lot more lately. I wouldn’t mind laptops being banned. A lot of the mid-tier dj’s are soooooo generic, not making any effort to dig deep or even innovate or push boundaries.

    I think it would get rid of a lot of the generic stuff because the proces of buying vinyl is totally different to buying digital and you automatically get exposed to the people that know (call them curators if you like): the labels and more important the recordstores!

    I would miss the functionality and ease of use of digital and not having to carry around all that weight but i’m fine with whatever medium but I think banning digital could have some advantages. Having said that, it is offcourse never going to happen and would seriously limit some artists, but I can relate to the feeling that brought the bans on.

    • ” A lot of the mid-tier dj’s are soooooo generic, not making any effort to dig deep or even innovate or push boundaries.”

      here’s the thing – the majority of people, paying punters, are also generic. they are out for a good night with their mates, cheap drinks, flirting, etc.

      so a venue will much rather keep a £50 DJ playing top 40 than take a punt on a £150 DJ playing some genre he’s never heard of…

  9. Maybe some people are suffering from the following (definition courtesy of the boys over at the Virtual DJ forum):

    SYNCPHOBIA noun \ˈsiŋk-ˈfō-bē-ə\

    1 : an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a state in which two or more audio tracks move or happen together at the same time and speed as a result of pressing a button

    2 : an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a state in which two or more audio tracks match one another and work together properly as a result of pressing a button

    ;)

    • Mr Stiffy says:

      Lol I have synced before and I am not afraid to admit it :-O, of course you need to know how to get your tracks in phase if the beat grids are off (traktor user) so it does help to have a bit of experience with beat matching. Maybe some people are annoyed because they spent $5000 on the BEST equip on the market a few years back and now someone with a $250 netbook and a cracked version of virtual dj can pull off the same mix with a bit of practise, In a dj booth away from the clubbers people wouldn’t even notice the difference anyway.

  10. hmmmmmm…. this really is a sticky one. I have to agree with many points he has made in the video (and am probably guilty of a few of them). It does ultimately come down to

    ‘what is a dj/what do they do?’

    in the age of controllers and sync and visual BPM displays (yes you CDJ lovers who slag off controllers, you know who you are), it really does beg the question what does the DJ now do with all that time freed up from manually beat & phrase matching that had to be done with vinyl or even cd players before the cdj display starting telling us the tracks BPM???? If the creative ‘controllerist’, or even CDJ2000 jock is triggering extra samples, layering 3rd and 4th tracks, effects to build/breakdown, multiple loops, hot cues,etc… then there is a cogent defence of the ‘NU’ DJ and his/her technology… but TBH we have ALL seen plenty of laptop Jocks, hitting, sync, pressing play, and then doing absolute frack all except act like some fracking rockgod to the 40 people in the room of a large house party. Living out their DJ fantasy (which is fair enough), but not getting into it. I am going back to CDJs from a controller, as I do not use enough of the controllers potential to justify having it make my life so easy. back to CDJs for me to be a little more involved with the music. However, if you are rocking loads of the extra shit that technology gives us and not resting on your laurels then more power to you.

  11. Quite simply…..no

  12. I have my laptop over to the side if there is room in the booth for that. Only time I type on my laptop is if someone makes a request that I know I will play but it’s not in one of my playlists. I have a browser knop buttons to load songs to decks on my controller, I do still need to look at the laptop while browsing to see the songs.
    But I do agree on his view that some laptop DJ look like their on Facebook all night.
    Banning the laptop won’t stop the clubs from getting boring and bad DJ. Because it not the tools that make you a good DJ but what you do with the tools.
    A vinyl DJ that scratches all night just for the sake of doing it and not for adding something to the music, is no better then a laptop DJ overusing the beatmasher FX.

  13. I think the answer is really simple:

    I’ts not the principal’s job to decide what gear the DJS have to use.
    No matter if DJs are artists or just service providers.

  14. Steve Daniels says:

    I’ve just finished watching a documentary of Avicci who does all his work on a laptop before hand (and uses hours and hours perfecting his sets ) only to use a memory stick on stage when performing in front of thousands of people. You’re not going to tell me he’s doing it wrong. Maybe they should ban him!

    • what him and other “big” DJs who play at festivals and tours do different to just a regular club DJ is put on a show of sorts.

      people go there expecting certain things, particular tracks – there will also be visual elements. If I was getting paid £250’000 to put on a 4 or 5 hour show I’d practice it more than once also!!

  15. I remember when I bought my first drum machine. The majority of people lambasted me saying “that’s not music”. Then when I bought cd decks “that’s not djing”. I recently was refused a set as I didn’t play cd decks! Frankly this debate bores me, people should be concerned with their creativity, no one else’s. Surely people have better things to do with their time than be a hater. Rant over – I’m off to have some fun djing on my laptop ha ha!

    • while I agree that it shouldn’t matter what gear you play on, from a promoter POV if you have 4 DJ’s, all with different laptops & controllers, and only limited booth space it can be a right pain in the butt to swap cables and move stuff around all night. at least if every DJ plays on CD it’s easy.

      obviously doesn’t matter if you’re gunna be the only DJ all night!

  16. I am a pub/club dj and use my own pioneer nexus setup which I bought to use with Traktor but moved straight over to Rekordbox so my laptop is only a storage device for my music and occasionally I don’t use it and only use a pen drive so wrong to ban them as for me to carry 65000 tunes on disc would be near impossible.

  17. He makes an excellent point, we should be spending less time making love to the computer. I must say though, I am vinyl DJ (own traktor barely use it, love it though!) I am truly getting sick and tired of listening to CDJ Djs constantly complaining about laptop users. CDjs may not have a sync button but it does have a bpm readout making your job easier. I am still to witness a laptop DJ fake it on stage, yet I can’t tell you how many times I see CDJ guys constantly sneaking in pre-mixed CDs! Computer DJs, Do you thing and don’t worry about this complainers!

  18. From Wikipedia…
    “A disc jockey, also known as DJ, is a person who plays recorded music for an audience. Originally, “disc” (sometimes spelled “disk”, although this is now uncommon) referred to phonograph records, not the later Compact Discs. Today, the term includes all forms of music playback, no matter the medium”

    I guess change can instil fear and I see these negative reactions as just that, fearful reactions. The world we live in has changed drastically this century and we to make the most of it and change with it

  19. johnsonn says:

    Djing with ableton or traktor is easy as hell, and requires almost no skill at all, everything is in sync all the time. Of course it gives a lot more possibilities but really, how many djs do more technical stuff, most of them just mix tracks together to last phrases and that`s it… If sb is spinning vinyl I know that he has skill. Try to put a digital dj behind the traditional 2 decks and mixer setup and a bunch of vinyls… All in all, djing isn`t sth which is really difficult to learn, turnablism or finger drumming, that is sth which requires a TRUE skill and a lot of practice.

    • Dj-ing is, has, and always will be about putting the right track on (for the crowd in front of you) at the right moment.

      ALL other skills are secundary. Turntablism & fingerdrumming are all nice & cool – but people want to dance… and aforementioned nearly never let’s you do just that.

      With more tracks to choose from, a more demanding audience, and the ability to mesh multiple tracks it has not become a lot more easy.

      I could say that DJ’s used to have it a lot easier – they just put a record on and tied two tracks together – rinse and repeat ad infinitum. Nowadays most good DJ’s do something a bit different. Take Chris Liebing for instance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pohTY2x0J2Q
      You can hardly argue that what he does has less skill than beaing able to beatmatch.

      • sammsousa says:

        chris liebing (richie hawtin, speedy j, etc) has been playing for more then 20 years now! how he plays is constantly evolving! thru time! pretty much nobody just starting can pull of what those guys do! personally i think that for people starting this is the worse way to do it! even you say that it is about the right track! chries liebing plays almost just loops! and if he didnt have 20 years of experience allready i doubt that he coule make ”live songs” out of those loops, just like all the other ones! and thats where a rookie fails!

  20. I’ve been on the receiving end of laptop prejudice and frankly, I feel sorry for the DJ’s and promoters who think this way. They are motivated by fear – that they will lose their relevance, their residency, or their ability to keep up with a rapidly evolving art form.

    Some friends and me have done just that – created a night where people are free to use whatever gear they choose. It’s about the music, the mix, and the vibe. No one except elitist pukes cares about the equipment.

  21. While I agree with the conclusions of this article, the devil’s advocate in me feels the other side of the argument under-represented a bit. There are actually some legitimate concerns regarding banning laptops in the booth, the biggest of which is the simple fact that laptops can fail. I for one fell prey to this when I first started DJing on an NS7 (which is not a standalone mixer) and had my macbook crash on me in the middle of my set, leaving me to scramble for an alternative solution. While this obviously wouldn’t happen often, alternative media forms that don’t rely on laptops are traditionally more secure in terms of reliability.

    Secondly, what I believe the gentleman in the video was trying to get at is that laptops can sometimes lend to complacency. In no way do I mean to imply that using a laptop makes every DJ an intro-sync-outro-blend DJ, but there was an article I read (I believe it may have actually been on ddjt, but correct me if I’m wrong) which pointed out the simple fact that human nature tends toward complacency, and there have been clubs which have banned digital software such as Traktor outright because the DJs using them became lazy in their sets, creating the same boring routines day in and day out as a consequence of the sheer simplicity of syncing. Not using a laptop forces attention on the music, which in a lot of cases forces attention on the quality of the mix.

    As I mentioned earlier, I actually agree with Phil’s conclusions; ultimately a DJ’s craft should be judged on the quality of the output through the speakers, not on the methods leading to that output, but at the same time I can see why some clubs feel that laptops are in ways more detrimental than beneficial to the overall atmosphere they are trying to promote. I believe, however, that rather than promote quality by banning laptops in the booth, clubs should focus on the quality of a DJ’s output, regardless of the media. If a digital DJ is producing reliable, quality output week in and week out, why should he be reprimanded for his methods? His efforts should be rewarded, while those who perhaps do become complacent or lazy in their sets should be replaced with DJs whose attention to the craft is genuine, regardless of medium.

    • Sebastian says:

      Nahhh, vinyls have always skipped, needles have broken, cdjs have failed or skipped or refused to play a cd. That problem was always there..

      If anything, I trust my laptop a lot more than my vinyls. Especially since decks are pretty badly maintained nowadays.

  22. I simply don’t get the fascination and obsession with old technology. Do these guys also turn down the volume on their C-cassette player while answering their car phone to tell their boss they’re going to fax over the documents as soon as they get home? Perhaps later on watch a movie on their VCR and ponder whether Betamax would have been a better choice?

    Ban laptops from the DJ-booth? What are these guys, amish? The stupidity is simply mind boggling. And the previous comment about going back to CDJs because “I do not use enough of the controllers potential to justify having it make my life so easy”? I wonder if this person also refuses to use graphical UIs like Windows because they make using the computer too easy? Or refuse to use the telephone because, compared to the telegraph, it just makes communicating with another person too damn pedestrian?

    Without computers the stuff we as DJs play wouldn’t exist. So if the music is made with computers, why shouldn’t it be played with computers? Is there really such magic in taking a track produced entirely on the computer and transferring it to a physical medium like a CD or a vinyl that having the physical copy then miraculously makes you a “real” DJ, but having the exact same bits and bytes on the hard drive of your computer does not?

  23. Its a ridiculous discussion, I have similar respect for anyone being able to put on a great live set that moves whatever crowd its played for, regardless of their gear. Its about selection and designing the mix. Not wetter its executed using analog or digital gear. Skill comes in very handy but can be developed on any platform.

    The only argument that can be given to analog equipment is that it has an added sexiness and visual appeal over someone staring at a screen, but that’s more for the ego than the music.

  24. dj_aris says:

    95% of the people on a packed dancefloor don’t even know (glowing apples aside) what gear you’re using, provided that you ‘re keeping them busy dancing.

  25. it really shouldn’t matter what djs use…we all do this for more or less the same reason (money,fame, love for the music, connecting with your audience)….most djs I know either use laptops with cdjs or laptops with vinyl. some use laptops with controllers, some use a little mixture of the two (i.e. laptop plus controller (as mixer) and cdjs or vinyl.) some add other things to their set up like dicers, f1s x1s, mpcs, samplers…etc. djs should be more united, I know in some case we’re all competing for gigs but sometimes 1 guy might be more better equipped to handle a gig than another guy. technology is always going to improve to make things easier….I have heard horror stories from djs I knew back in the day that use to lug around crates and crates of vinyl….now its a little easier to transport stuff.

  26. On the subject of banning digital gear in clubs: Well, if that’s their rule, then it’s their rule. Not that I’m ok with it, I think that they’re seriously ruining their chances at good talent. Maybe they need better quality control.

    On the subject of laptop DJ’s: I think he makes a point that you shouldn’t stare at the screen all the time, nor you shouldn’t beat sync and and blend ONLY (which is an important distinction). If you’re going to blend a track, at least put some effort into it, or if your going to sync do something that you couldn’t do regularly. So I think that’s what his point is, not that all digital DJ’s are garbage and laptops should die in a fire.

    All this technology, people have to use it to a positive effect somehow, and I refuse to believe that it’s got to such a crap point that we need to start banning laptops at clubs. I’ve never heard anyone say “the night was better without that laptop”. A more accurate saying would be “the night was better without that laptop DJ.” (important distinction there) or more accurately the statement could leave the word “laptop” out of it.

  27. I still can’t believe this argument is going on. Tired of these old heads being so against digital or anti-laptop. It’s like saying you wouldn’t buy a car because it has Power Steering or A/C, because it’s not what “original motorists” drove. The argument is pathetic, might as well go back to medicine in the middle ages, when doctors were original with their solutions, see how stupid that sounds?

  28. Anti-laptop logic:

    You can’t use a car until you learn to ride a horse.

    End of thread.

    • lmaoooooo so true.

      “let’s go back to box set black and white tv’s, that’s how we originally watched movies, not with blurays”

    • Or you can’t use a cellphone until you learn to use a rotary phone.

  29. Bill Greenberg says:

    I don’t get it, but maybe because I’m only an amateur party/house-party DJ? In my circle (my summer community/camp and friends) the DJ is there to get the energy up and play music. There’s no “performing” and no one cares or understands what gear is used. In fact, there’s really little mixing or anything else – people want to hear the music they know the way they know it so they can dance. If I started doing anything like the DJs in the video above the party would empty out faster than I typed this. The ultimate skill is SONG CHOICE. We’ve had some real train wreck DJs lately – songs people don’t know, too many slow songs, the same song more than once. It kills the mood, kills the party. The only complaint I usually get after playing is that they’re exhausted because I never slowed down and they didn’t stop dancing all night! I’m not sure if there’s any higher praise or goal.

  30. DJ Cruz says:

    This does NOT make any sense. Lets take a look back at the evolution of DJing

    1 Back when all we used was records, we spent out time “digging” through crates looking for the next song we were going to play. We weren’t paying attention to the crowd. No one was saying back then “let’s ban milk crates from the DJ booth”
    2 CDs came along and much like records we spent out time “looking” through our CD books or our 500 CD collection in a carrying case.
    3 Now we are in the digital era and now we are “screen gazing”. While I don’t do this, truth is, if you are rocking the party, everyone is too busy dancing to notice or care. Only DJs look up at the booth and think he or she is screen gazing.

  31. BillyBob says:

    Just out of interest, what do the “superstar” DJs use? In the last few months, I’ve seen Rampling use a laptop (would these underground clubs ban him – one of the founding pioneers of UK rave/house music!), and Bob Sinclar, CDs. Wasn’t sure about Felix Da Housecat – warm-up DJ had a laptop, but it was hers, and she took it with her. He spent an age in the DJ booth beforehand, and I didn’t see him selecting/changing CDs during his set – CDJs behind in the booth. Pete Tong next weekend..

    I live in China, and I haven’t seen a pair of 1210s ever out here, except in the token DJ shop in Shanghai (at £1000 each) – glad I’ve still got mine – they’ll be worth something one day!

    Obviously has no bearing on the debate, but just curious

  32. dj parabal says:

    While I have played around on vinyl, I started on CDs. 15 years ago we were contantly being told that we were not “real” djs, because we didn’t spin vinyl. I’ll even admit that the first laptop dj I saw inspired the same response in me. It is all about ego, and grasping at anything that you can to feel special. Records and CDs get scratched and skip, which crowds just love. Each medium has it’s faults, and each has it’s benefits. The best DJs I have seen simply focus on the music, and good (not necessarily smooth) transitions. Some of the worst DJs have been strictly vinyl, but scratching over everything to the point that it ruins the song and makes it un-dance-able. Vinyl only nights are completely masturbatory, and clubs that refuse digital djs just want to stand in the circle. I have seen analog fail, and it was the same tradgedy as when my laptop rebooted mid set. It sucked, we fixed it, and the party at continued. If you are spending so much time worried about everyone else, it just has tells others how insecure you are about yourself. Stop trying to make everyone else do it your way, and just dance.

  33. I’m not even worried about some fascists deriding the gear I use. Most people have no idea what kind of gear is necessary to DJ and are positively blown away by my cheap ass Numark Mixtrack. Younger people are even more likely to be impressed by my all digital rig. Also, using a laptop does not mean Traktor-face. I watch the crowd, dance, and scratch all while wave-riding, syncing, and selecting the next song. If there is a problem, it isn’t the gear, its the DJ.

  34. Moralesx says:

    I’m a noob but I think this is just growing pains the DJ culture has to deal with right now. The technology is going to get to a point where CDJ’s and yes I’m sorry vinyl is going to be of the past. I don’t think there’s anything out there yet that can totally crush those platforms on a professional level yet. YET! Five years from now this dumbass debate won’t even matter. And really I’m a fan more of DJ, I don’t give a flying F$CH what platform a DJ’s playing on. They could spinning 45’s on their balls for all I care as long as whats coming out the speakers is bangin.

    • CDJs and even turntables will be around for a long time yet!

      It’s only the DJs who put on a ‘show’ that NEED a laptop for all the loops/effects/etc. Regular DJing in a club will just involve the DJ rocking up with a USB stick plugged into CDJ2000, or a laptop running with timecode vinyl or CDs.

      • Mr. DJ Adam Daniel do you even know what timecode vinyl or cd’s are?

      • atom12 says:
        04:16 30-May-2013
        Mr. DJ Adam Daniel do you even know what timecode vinyl or cd’s are?
        ————–

        yeah I do – that’s why I said CDJs and technics (more so CDJs) will be around for a long time still…

    • Literal says:

      You’re an admitted noob and think you can judge the future of gear?

      I myself use a laptop, not a noob, not a vet. I’m not a fan of news like this but it’s obviously a guy that wants to go back to when DJs would play like 5 to 10 records. Good grooves, good beats – no bangers.

      This type of move is like test grades in school. There’s just no other REAL way to see who is legit and NOT legit when you’re looking at hundreds of people.

  35. That guy is stuck in a time warp…. does he hate on the cavemen that used rocks and sticks to make beats? Did he not like the Harmonica player when the banjo player showed up at the party? Or maybe the washboard, rag on the drummer at the hoe down in West VA back in the day. GET OVER IT DUDE!

    It was Kool Herc that needled drop the breaks, then Flash added the cross fading into mixing, Theodore added the scratch, DJ Jones perfected beat matching, Jazzy Jeff transformed….the list goes on. Where does end? Only when hatters take over “what’s real DJing like Jazz Change is apart of DJing. In the future, party people will wear wireless head phones while dancing at the party. There will be no need for a big speaker system. And the DJ will not even be at the party. In the future DJ’s will recorded holographic virtual sets like we do pre recorded mixes.

  36. DJ Cruz hit the nail on the head —
    http://www.digitaldjtips.com/2013/05/is-it-right-to-ban-laptops-from-dj-booths/#comment-130795

    If you breakdown the argument-

    [Remix Rroy - leaning over the laptop]
    “If that is what you are doing all night, ”

    So, I started out on vinyl and CDs — so how did we look for our next track?

    As DJ Cruz posted, we hovering over the top of crates, trays, binders, and books pulling albums/CDs and looking for the next track to play.

    ** At least when looking at my laptop screen, I still have my peripheral vision that allows me to look at the crowd.

    Definition: “Peripheral vision – is a part of vision that occurs outside the very center of gaze.”

    Next quote: “doesn’t look like you are DJ’ng”

    Standing with my back to the crowd looking through my crates/trays/etc for my next track makes me LOOK like I am DJ’ng?? Interesting. So, our backs to the crowd or head down in a crate/tray/etc looking for the next track is OK? But looking through my ‘DIGITAL’ collection with my face forward or in the direction of the crowd is not?

    As for the examples of “Real DJ’ng” – (which only showed scratching and not DJ’s looking for the next track) …

    Regardless of the DJ’s name; scratching a record is not DJ’ng. It is a technique / trick to “hopefully” enhance the entertainment value of the music they are playing. And that is why there is a whole culture and terminology called – Turntablism.

    Definition: “Turntablism – is the art of manipulating sounds and creating music using phonograph turntables and a DJ mixer.”

    Definition: “Scratching – is a DJ or turntablist technique used to produce distinctive sounds by moving a vinyl record back and forth on a turntable while optionally manipulating the crossfader on a DJ mixer.”

    And I would take an ALL NIGHT screen gazer over an ALL NIGHT scratch DJ any day.

    Which really brings me to the only point that is ‘agreeable’ from this video. That is the point that was really trying to be made – which is not being engaged in your crowd.

    But to attribute it to only laptop DJs (because they look [gaze] at that screen) and the primary reason laptop DJs should be banned is pure stupidity. I have been to MANY of venues/clubs – where the DJ’s attention is clearly fixated on things other than their crowd – some chick, their phone (oh, which would be FB or Twitter), getting hammered with their crew, pose, friends, etc. and COMPLETELY ignoring their crowd.

    Our job is to provide for the enjoyment and entertainment of an event by playing music. Sure, we should indulge ourselves to be part of that enjoyment and entertainment – but when our only focus for the whole night is on ourselves and EGO then that is the real issue.

    So, if I go out and see a DJ staring at the laptop – but I (and the people there) had an awesome time – then more power to him/her for knowing what to play to keep the energy going and making the night worth it. That is a lot better than listening to HOURS of a DJ scratching over the top of every single track that gets played.

    @Phil – thanks for the definition post –
    http://www.digitaldjtips.com/2013/05/is-it-right-to-ban-laptops-from-dj-booths/#comment-130760

  37. I started with decks many years ago, moved onto cds when music became harder to find, and moved to a laptop about 2003/4. all things evolve, especially dj equipment?

    I dont use beat sync on my equipment (mostly because of the preparation you have to do to make it work properly) and have remapped to button to other uses, but I can state that to play the way I do would be damn near impossible to replicate on analogue equipment and thus I feel like I evolved with the medium.

  38. Its my ideas and the sound that comes out of them that matters. To say we must all conform to one method is to remove the ART. To condemn the very idea of innovation is beyond ignorant – without it there would be no djs or exploration of new musical styles, etc. You think the first turntable ever created was done so with scratching in mind? Innovation.

  39. LOL.. Tried to share this on Facebook, but apparently it’s blocked for being ‘spammy’!

    I honestly get so sick of this debate… It’s so freaking old! The same thing happened when CDJs came on the scene. I’m a digital DJ and have been my entire life. Would I love to DJ on tables or CDJs? Heck yeah! It’s just not in the cards for me at this point as the cost to get into something decent is WAY more than what I paid for my S4. And even if I did switch, I’d still be using my computer as my medium of choice for playing tunes. Fact of the matter is if you can play a set that makes people move, who freaking cares! Just play me some good music!

  40. There has never been or never will be such a thing as a “real DJ”. No matter what gear you use the most important thing is that the crowd are enjoying themselves. I’ve seen people play banging sets using 100% vinyl, using controllers,using Serato etc, using two Ipods on two different channels and all of those parties were successful. You can dj a party using one turntable and a mic and rock the crowd better than someone with all the gear in the world. Of course there are do’s and dont’s with every format but the main task is the same: Make your crowd happy!

  41. Christopher says:

    this is really a non-argument. the best show I ever saw was africa bambaataa (pretty much the godfather of hip hop. and how did this icon DJ? Scratch Live. It was an amazing experience and it takes the same amount of skill, if not more to master especially for someone like him who mastered the old school way before laptop. I actually think its really brave when legends like that adopt new methods and don’t ignore them. just my ideas.

  42. Ok, I watched the video and he makes some valid points…but I notice his whole context is showing DJs who come in with pre-planned sets, or DJs who don’t have to take requests, or DJs who are guaranteed a crowd that will love their stuff.

    Lord knows if I get a crowd that easy, I’ll be bouncing and smiling, and interacting more.

    Now what happens when it’s more of the usual? You come in and 2 songs into your set you have loads of trixies asking for different music, and a manager or promoter now saying to change the music?

    That laptop “Facebooking” as Leonard is alluding to is no different than when you now crouch down to go digging in your crates. How much interaction then can a DJ do when he’s now feverously digging to find music he can please a tough crowd with?

    I do agree that stage presence and showmanship mean a lot now, and if you have zero personality in the booth it’s going to hurt you in the long run. However, I get tired of how many “experts” seemingly want to tell others how to DJ when they aren’t the ones facing the hard times many club and bar DJs do.

    It’s a back and forth between DJ and crowd…and it’s hard to get interactive when you get a lame crowd of people who make your life miserable. It’s hard to get excited when the pack of trixies and amateur promoter now make you look forward to the end of your set and you leaving the now lame event you were trapped into playing.

    Response to Terry Farley coming next…

    • Now, for those who love the idea of banning laptops at events/clubs…

      From the moment I started using Final Scratch to this day, I notice the main opposition…the people who think it should ONLY be vinyl (no CD either)…are the very people who let themselves fall behind in the DJ world.

      First they complain how they can’t get gigs because they’re undercut by laptop DJs.

      So let’s magically ban laptops. They will then they complain how CD DJs hurt the industry and speculate how these guys probably illegally download all their music.

      OK, let’s get rid of CDJs then. These guys will then complain how crowds are too fickle and how much mainstream America “hates good music”, or how “the scene is sh!t” now and the music “sucks”.

      These guys really picked laptops as the easy target, when their bigger complaint is how the music/sound/scene changed with a new generation, and they were left behind. In Chicago, I’ve seen it many times…from the guys who can’t let go of WBMX, to the guys who bought every ghetto house record in the mid-90s and then stopped shopping around 1998, and even the few who pumped all the poppy Euro of 2001-2002 and now hate that it’s not in fashion.

      I notice many “vinyl only” DJs tend to not keep up musically. They moan how records cost too much now, or the music is crap and they don’t want to pay the money for mainstream music, etc.

      In my opinion, their claims and complaints are crap. They are like the many “web designers” I’ve known who only learned basic Photoshop and HTML…but now can’t find a job. They’re the print designers who moan how everything is digital now, but won’t learn how to design for it.

      I’m sorry…but we can’t live in nostalgia. You either keep up or be left behind. That’s the real world. Plus I especially had to learn long ago that it’s not my scene anymore…so I stopped complaining that it all went to sh!t and accepted it’s time to pass the torch. Never been more happier with DJing since. :)

      • infinite corridor says:

        I think you touched on my problem with this sort of criticism in a roundabout way– people who complain and put down (in general) feel threatened.
        If you are so secure in your superiority as a turntablist then what the flip difference is it going to make if a bunch of younger, inexperienced DJs have a sync button? If that actually threatens you– if they can accomplish what you can easier because of a SYNC BUTTON– then you SHOULD be obsolete because you are essentially saying you are a living sync button.
        Also, as others have mentioned, only other DJ’s really notice transitions and smooth blends and that biz. Some of my favorite musicians will DJ at events and they are not skilled DJs to my ear… but have amazing taste in music. And people eat it up!

        Hating is seriously a waste of time. Joss Whedon has a quote I’ll paraphrase: what is lost when you encourage someone who is new/isn’t skilled? Perhaps they’re not meant to do this thing and eventually will discover that… but if they are discouraged and give up straight away, maybe you are depriving the world of something great.

  43. I played a very fancy art opening about a year ago, the hosts hired me b/c they know that I mostly DJ on vinyl.

    Through a series of mishaps it turned out that I had a faulty XLR and could not get a replacement in time and therefore could not plug my decks into the PA.

    I did however have an RCA to mini and so I plugged in my iphone, ran the decks as though they were amped and played an amazing set from my phone that i kept hidden under the right deck for the 3+ hour set.

    The crowd loved the set, got a few gigs from it. Was even approached for more than a gig by young lady/fan after the show.

    Long story short, equipment doesn’t matter, it’s all about performance.

  44. IT NEVER FAILS !! Mozart ( I am a classical/jazz/rock/ country/ keyboard player, songwriter ). was made fun of because his radical music !! People went app shit when Dylan had the audacity to use electric guitars and bass, people thought Miles Davis was NUTS using ELECTRIC instruments on CD “Bitches Brew” ! This RULES crap never stops ! DJ Leonard – you gave some BAD examples of DJs – THEY WERE ALL GLUED TO THEIR MIXERS !! And the last guy could hardly play keyboard – BUT BLESS HIS HEART – he was trying and will get better ! I HATE WITH A PASSION SOME PEOPLES MUSICAL RULES — they come up with because they can’t or DON’t want to try anything else. GOD BLESS art is FREE EXPRESSION in any genre. MUSIC WITH OUT PREJUDICE !! Dj Lenard , DJing the way you do is an art form – PERIOD !! However, I can pretty well guess that EDM ( for lack of a better term ) will be completely different 20 year from now ! Brain transmitters might express are musical thoughts into music and for those that have the best thoughts translated by computer will make what we have now look like the first wheel. Don’t get stuck man ! AND DON’T SEND YOUR REMARKS TO deadmau5 ! You WILL get an earful. I use a 24′ screen LAID DOWN almost flat so I can see the audience AND KNOW WHERE my BASIC mixes, sound effects THAT I CAN ALL CONTROL through Ableton 9 and Launch pad. Basics ( mixes and tracks are made on Logic 9 ) AND I go out front with my new Keytar keyboard ( over the shoulder midi keyboard and ROCK !!! I can’t do your deal very well — BUT TRY MINE !! Lets keep musical prejudice out of at least the new music . MUSIC = NO RULES !!!! Duane Hitchings

  45. I really don’t enjoy having my laptop in front of me, the people can’t see what I’m doing with my hands and it just looks strange.

    I enjoy digital setups because of the freedom it allows me when it comes to choosing gear; I can mix/match pieces of kit to my hearts content and create a setup that fits my style. I don’t think going back to having a club standard is going to happen, nor should it happen.

    And as for the DJs he mentioned, if we looked back at the videos of them just starting out I’m sure not everything is fine and dandy behind the decks; most of the Seratoface jockeys are still finding their groove, in time they’ll no longer be staring at the screen.

    • What the guy on the video forgot to mention is that all those DJ’s he mention have pre selected routine when they play.
      As for Mr. Rroy, never heard of him before this video.

  46. This reminds me of the discussions we had back when I started djaying some 35 years (yes, I’m an old fart) ago. Back then the haters said don’t hire a DJ get a band, anybody can play records. The more things change the more they stay the same.

  47. I think the real issue is not in regards to the actual equipment. Instead it’s that there is a low barrier of entry. It is very easy to acquire a laptop (most already have them) a soundcard and a DJ controller. There is nothing wrong with these pieces of equipment.

    However because they are so easy to come by and use, there are more mediocre DJs than ever before. In the days of vinyl there were many mediocre DJs but the fact that DJing required buying turntables, records and a mixer and spending time learning to beatmatch, weeded a lot of lame ass people out of the process. You had to have a higher level of commitment to start then compared to today.

    Keep in mind I am a die hard traktor DJ. I’m not dissing on laptop DJs. I am one.

    What’s the solution? Become really good at what you do. Others will be happy with being mediocre. There will always be posers in any scene.

    • Promoters come into play here as well, as the market (American market at least) is far more monetized than before; cheaper talent allowing for more profit is far too often the course taken.

  48. DJ_ForcedHand says:

    I used to face haters who resisted djing on a computer so I challenged them to a DJ battle. Their faces turned white when I blew them away with everything I could do on a computer and the speed of my song selections… I simply blew them away. Most of those DJs use a laptop and Traktor now. The point here (as most people are making) is “It’s the talent of the entertainer, stupid! It’s not the gear they play on.” If you ban laptop DJs, you’ll just run all the new talent to your competition… and no one will pity you, because you make bad decisions.

  49. “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
    Charles Darwin

    I started using technics 1210s moved onto cdjs , and will be moving onto laptop and controller or laptop and cdjs/mixer !

    Move with the times or get left behind !! Doesn’t matter what format you play on !! Dj makes people dance that’s it !!!

  50. I often like to point out that as a Techno (and House) DJ, I should embrace technology. Both House and Techno were created by forward thinking individuals that used the new technology of their day to produce music or DJ. When there was a tool that they needed but did not exist, they invented it.

    The originators still embrace technology just as they have always had. It’s the people that came after them that insist that vinyl or other formats are “legit.”

  51. Frenkee says:

    I play vinyl since 1987, DJ-ing is for me a hobby which costs money but I don’t want to spend hours and a lot of money anymore in a record shop.
    The laptop is for me a light weighted version of the old back braking record bag.

    The DJ in the video is right, I found out I did the same in the beginning when using a midi controller and Traktor the first time.
    I think, there is an solution to avoid that facebook look.
    First prepare a playlist you want to play tonight or organize your music collection in a better quick searching way.
    Second, and this is what I’m going to do soon: sell the midi controller and go for the time code system.
    I think the audience like a DJ working with decks or CD’s and been entertain with a proper mix of music. (at least I do respect the DJ more)
    Place the laptop in such way you still can have a quick short look at the screen and you still can keep an eye on the audience.

  52. Djchillb says:

    I hate to think what he would make of me.

    Vinyl to cd to USB stick to controller and recently to iPad with external mixer.

    I would be the devil. At least I will be packed up and long gone before he gets a chance to moan at the end of the night.

    Love my iPad DJing

  53. What my avatar said —————->

  54. To me you have mixed up 2 different stories here.

    IMO the guy in the video is spot on.

    Whilst banning laptops from the box is ridiculous.

    Its all about how you use em.

    To use the horse versus car analogy,when using the car there’s no need to wind the window down and use the riding whip.
    However when using the car there’s also no need to play with all the toys at the same time.

  55. dj dub c says:

    i understand ur standpoint…a job is a job and u have to do it fully…..but with that being said, in my position i use a dvs system and i have no issues using the laptop and i also agree with the all damn day in the screen look, thats a horrible way to show ur patrons in the venue or club thats what u do, but at the end of the day, its just an opinion and its up to the individual to decide what they wanna do as a dj……i aint no judge mathis either lol…from one vet to another, keep it up mane!

  56. Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

    Trash a laptop DJ and Digital DJ Tips explodes!

    Hehehehehheeeeeee. It’s a hoot. At least his video got some attention. I had never heard of or seen the guy before, but I will remember him NOW!

    If you take away the – slightly overreacted, slightly overstated and slightly unfriendly – way he brought his message, the essence of his message wasn’t “laptop DJ’s are dumb and should be banned”, his message was:

    “If you are a laptop DJ, don’t act like one!”

    And I’d have to concur. There is a serious tendency and risk of becoming too engrossed in the technology going on. A desire to be 100% perfect and tweak everything tweakable (and let’s be honest, you can tweak EVERYTHING now). With 10’s of thousands of tracks on your laptop you inevitably will spend more time staring at your track library trying to find that one perfect next song.

    Compare it to the old vinyl days. You didn’t put your record crates behind you and go crate-digging with your back to the audience. Now the laptop is in front of you (I have moved it way to the side corner of my setup now) and can literally sits as a barrier between you and the audience, enhanced by you staring at it rather than standing upright and facing/looking at the crowd.

    Old skool jocks didn’t watch their records go round, or their CD’s. We’d throw the occasional glance it’s way to check if all was well but that was about it. The rest of time was thinking of what to play next, cueing the next track and watching the crowd. Interacting even. Out of the 3-4 minutes between transitions you’d spend over 2-3 connecting with the crowd and not buried in your crate or staring at your gear.

    A laptop CAN be a lot of distraction and it is a risk one must be aware of and act to accordingly.

    This guy is right in that performing is an integral part of DJ-ing. Technology is only the tool to help materialize that performance.

    So, while I don’t like the style or tone of his message, I do think there is some merit to what he is saying.

    By all means embrace technology, be a DIGITAL DJ with all the fun and features it brings. Use that to enhance your PERFORMANCE, but don’t be seen as the guy hiding behind his laptop.

    That much, I’ll grant him.

    Greetinx,
    C.

    • infinite corridor says:

      “The rest of time was thinking of what to play next, cueing the next track and watching the crowd.”

      I think that is *exactly* what the screen-gazers are doing. Unless they are actually checking facebook.

  57. hans kulisch says:

    great discussion. well i started also with vinyl , then cds and now am playing with serato itch. in an aleatoric way… i also did that before with cds. but its possible and the only thing which is important is the crowd should be fine thats it.
    how you do it is definitely not interesting… cheers
    hk

  58. only thing that matters is the final sound comming out the speakers.. give the anti laptop dj’s a medal for not using sync.. im not only a laptop dj with1200’s and thousands of records..im a controllerist.. i will destroy a vinyl dj with my technology.. stop hating and start stepping up your game.. theirs more djs with better technology.. the audience doesnt care.. stop hating..stop quantizing your productions too

  59. I have no idea what he is talking about, no one is wondering if I am on Facebook, because my DJ music is too busy looking and sounding good. First of all any DJ who is not using a mixer or play, then he might as well have a IPAD. But any DJ worth his weight is rocking the house and no one is wondering what he or she is doing unless the DJ has no idea what he is doing

  60. sammsousa says:

    interesting subject indeed! i dont want to see all clubs banning laptops coz that would be kind of stupid! but i actually suport those underground clubs that do that! first, if a club is and remains underground, shure it needs money to keep the club alive, but it beeing underground its obvious that money is not its major interest, therefor it has to be the music! as if its not a comercial club with major income, it cant book big djs, and lets admit that a lot of newcomers, that use just a laptop, dont neceserily play the best sets! so newcomers stuck with an x1 and a laptop are sort of in trouble imo! i used to mix also, just with an x1 and a mixer, and i was bored to death by it! i actually felt the need to learn how to beatmatch, to take it to the next level, by actually playing good music, as oposed to be playing some loops, and lots of fxs!
    djs that use traktor (or serato) just for its dvs function, those have no prob to play in one of those clubs, since they most likely have a backup cd bag anyway, it shouldnt be a problem for those djs to ditch the laptop for one night…since they can beatmatch anyway, and if youre not a big dj, that doesnt make tons of money, dont see why you should reject a gig, just because there are no laptops allowd!
    and about the crowd, i dont think that the club would actually have a sign at the door saying ”laptops are not allowed” so most of them might not even realize it, imo it is really just the clubs way to keep a good level of underground djing in it!

    cheers

  61. First of all, many people do not go to clubs and bars to watch the DJ. They go to drink, dance and get laid….Ooops, I meant to socialize. The only people watching the DJ are those who think the DJ is attractive and those jealous types who wish they had the gig.

    I hear it a lot about me playing a laptop. Still, my mind is focused on making most people happy, not a few biased knuckleheads.

    If they want to ban laptop DJs, more power to them. Yet, music the vinyl DJs play may still suck.

  62. Stazbumpa says:

    Banning laptops from clubs is a fairly retarded thing to do, and here’s why.

    This is DJ’ing: Play record A and then record B.

    That’s it.

    Everything else is superfluous, however fun or audibly aggreeable it might be. The skill of DJ’ing is to learn your music and play what the crowd wants, not what you want. A laptop is a repository for music and the software on them enables DJ’s to, you guessed it, play record A and then record B.

    Here endeth the lesson.

    • While I agree that banning laptops is completely unreasonable, I will have to disagree with you with regard to the oversimplification of DJing.

      If you can bring your music into the venue by other means, i.e. USB, CD, vinyl, then if you are asked to play that music, a proper DJ should 1) be able to bring said music in any format 2) play it without dependence on a screen and engage an audience. Even before playing music, a DJ is a live entertainer. If DJing is merely playing Track A then Track B, then isn’t the radio, Pandora, a premade playlist, etc. a DJ?

      The human element is the most important part to DJing.

      • Stazbumpa says:

        Playing record A into record B requires music and a means to play that music, the detail of what music and the way it is inputted is entirely irrelevant. If the club does not have the means for a DJ to use his preferred format then let him bring his own kit, which is precisely what I do. Having a huge MP3 collection and duplicating that on both vinyl and CD’s is an exercise in futility, besides which the cost alone is mind boggling.
        I agree that a DJ is an entertainer but let’s not forget that we play other peoples pre-recorded music, so the live aspect consists of us pushing buttons and reacting to the crowd.
        A playlist is not a DJ. Why? Because a DJ is a human being, playlists are not. The skill of a club or bar DJ, such as it is, can be boiled down to reading the crowd and knowing your music. That’s your “live” DJ if you like.
        Everything beyond these two core skills is, shall we say, icing on the cake. Nice to have but not essential by any means.
        We play others peoples music, one record after another. A into B. Left deck into right deck.

        It’s a relatively simple concept but people still get it wrong :-)

      • Just to be clear, my question was only rhetorical, but I’m glad we agree!

  63. strictlyt says:

    I’d have thought real underground clubs wouldn’t care about DJs using a laptop, they should be about the music.

    Any “underground” club that does is clearly just a club run by elitist idiots who obviously care more about trying to be underground than the music and the nights that they put on!

    As for the old DJs moaning about laptops, its probably because their skills are slowly being made redundant and they don’t know how to keep with the times.

    If Djing was solely about beatmatching and manually finding keys, digital DJing would not be big business.

    And on a final note while I am on a rant ;) I always wanted to do DJing as a hobby and it is digital DJing that has opened this up to me because it has been the first time I could actually afford to buy the equipment and music I want!

  64. This video made me chuckle… A couple years ago I was in a club in Florida. There were 3 DJ’s in the booth, all looking like that. I walked around kinda behind the booth and peeked… They WERE on Facebook! And, they were trolling chicks on Facebook at that!! SMDH. Hahahahaha

  65. Mario García says:

    And what about the Ipad djs? We suffer even more discrimination

  66. When I deciced to go laptop-all-the-way I made a simple rule for myself:

    I will acquire such an amount of midi controllers that whatever the case, once the gig – DJ set begins, I’m not allowed to physically touch my laptop….never….ever…..

    Simple, effective! Achievable with just a couple of controllers me thinks – whatever software you use.

    The advantages:

    – the laptop can easily reside out of sight – or at least not in between you and your audience
    – if you really know your track collection (therefore you know how each track evolves and when it ends) you can even switch off the damn laptop screen – take the “lid” (is this the correct word?) down and just dj like you would with CDs – vinyls. No waveforms needed, no screen gazing…
    – imagine when peopel realize that you are actually using a laptop, how stoked they are that you dont even touch it – watch it
    – makes the non-believers shut up

    Has worked for me ever since and got me gigs to places where laptopDJs were generally considered non-professional, amateurs, bad…Not trying to brag here, but its up to the individual to prove the close-minded people wrong because admittedly lots of laptop DJs ARE indeed looking like they are checking their e-mails – FB profiles.

    • I’m with you on this one. A lot of DJs who start out digital learn bad habits like staring at waveforms. The laptop is first and foremost a repository for your music collection. After that, it is there to help you navigate effects, kits, samples or whatever you’ve already mapped (or SHOULD have mapped) to your midi controller(s). Beyond that, any prolonged staring at a laptop is unnecessary and will ultimately detract from both your stage presence and the musicality of your performance. We’re DJs, not robots.

      Ultimately, most of what a DJ does can and should be done by ear, not by sight. Use your eyes to engage the audience and otherwise feel them out, see who’s moving, etc. If you’re shy, get over it. You’re paid to perform and not hide behind a screen.

    • Bugar Nugroho says:

      I Agree with you, Softcore. even though i still look at the waveform, i make the deck layout as small as possible on Traktor, so the waveform i see is only that “CDJ Style” waveform, not a “running” waveform. And i also turn the phase meter off so i can practice beatmatching entirely by ear.

  67. evil twin says:

    http://rinse.fm/news/interview-ltj-bukem/

    He talks in length about his move to Traktor Scratch and I do agree with him. I myself have been DJing on vinyl since 1997, added CDs somewhere in early 2000s, bought a laptop and Traktor a few years ago and I don’t think that the fact that you can beatmix two tunes on vinyl is a basis for your credibility as a DJ.

    However, as said before, the real argument which this video makes, is that DJ’s should not spend the entire set watching the screen and avoiding the communication with the crowd that they are playing to. The argument is not against the laptops per se. Although this is a tricky one. If you do try to pull off something more complex than simply blending a few tunes together, it can result in more time watching the screen than communicating with the crowd. From my own experience – if I have a laptop, two decks, X1 and F1 on the stage and I try to use them all, to the result of a damn tight drum&bass (good example because transitions occur more often) set with additional layers and FX, then I’ll spend most of the time on the controllers and the computer. I still need to be in control of what’s happening. If the crowd is okay with that, then it’s cool. It’s entirely situational.

    • evil twin says:

      As a remark, I rarely touch the keyboard on my laptop when playing out, because I’ve normally made some playlists which I can browse using the X1. Whenever I need to press some keys it’s mostly because I have thought of a track I could play which is not on my playlist, therefore I need to search for it. Or, to change the sort order in the playlist. I still need to see what I’m doing though, so staring at the screen at some point is unavoidable.

  68. here’s an example from my home town. strictly oldschool hip hop, strictly vinyl.
    https://www.facebook.com/BackpackersTribute/events

  69. They should be far worried about the music, the shitty music they all play, even the underground guys try to please the crowd so much to continue being booked “around the world” that when you go to hear them (yeah “hear” or “listen” not “see” there’s anything visual in a guy just playing songs)you realize that what they play doesn’t have anything to do with those great records they made and that are the reason you went to their sets in the first place and that obviously don’t give them enough money. It’s only about playing pre-recorded songs doesn’t matter what you use to do it for god’s sake!

  70. I also have one more witty comment I once posted on Facebook

    Laptop DJ: iPad for DJing? Get outtaaaa here….this is a toy

    CD DJ: Pffff laptop DJing is fake…….

    Vinyl DJ: What the hell is wrong with you people? DJing used to be an artform

    Guitar player: Are you guys kidding? Do you call yourselves artists?

    Beethoven: What the hell are you all guys on about?

    So, where does it end boys?

  71. This guy… as much as I want to hate what this guy is saying… he kind of makes good points. Use your laptop to help you, not as a crutch. I’m not a fan of sync, but his sync thing is a bit overstated however.

  72. DJ Ben Blayton says:

    Real simple if they ban I won’t be playing there!! I never touch my lap top while I play. I also prefer to have it on the side so nothing blocks my view and interaction with the crowd.

  73. Samie Wandedoo says:

    This is very funny, I learned how to mix music by myself, with a laptop, then controllers never played on CDJ or turntable before… I can keep people dancing for +4hrs. I know my music, I have a great playlist, I read my crowd I sync I mix 4channels yet I’m not “qualified” to be called Dj because “I didn’t learn how to ride a horse b4 driving”. Get your heads out of yo “azzez”… If you don’t have a great playlist n do not know how to manage ur crowd u r not better any other Dj becos u play with “CDJ 12000″ beatmatch with both yo ears n eyes no 1 in the crowd give a horses… I’ll never touch a CDJ or turntable for all I care…

  74. This is odd that promoters and club owners would be telling DJ’s what format they can only bring their media in. Who cares whether you play on MP3, CD, Vinyl, or just sing? Its about the MUSIC. I agree that with a laptop in your way we do look like we are just on FB so those of us that have that issue (myself included as i found out after a gig) just need to practice more to be comfortable with our library and mixing ability. I have the utmost respect for DJ’s that use Vinyl or just CD’s still. Digital DJ’s have it so easy. Even without sync. We have access to our entire library at all times. We can cue a track on the one in a split second because the cue is Saved. We don’t even have to beat mach if we don’t feel like it. The learning curve for digital is very quick. That is why people say anyone can do it. Because anyone can. But like any great hobby or skill, the best are easy to pick up but hard to master. DJing is hard to master. I know it will take me years to be good and even longer to be better. But I would like the chance and not be bullied because of the way I carry my songs around.

    I use a Novation TWITCH with Serato Itch in my live performances.

  75. ChrisAdamantium says:

    This is BS. I’ve been djing with a laptop for about 2 years now and wouldn’t have it any other way. I love not having to worry about having a scratched disc or warped vinyl anymore. Dont have to buy needles or carts anymore either lol. My favorite tho is I can have an organized track list for party banger sets right on the fly.

  76. Was it me or was all of the people he said “don’t look at their laptops” just looking at their time coded records?

    really who cares?

  77. last thing. If I were promoters I would ban cellphones in DJ booths.. I mean really

    • Good point!

      • phreakwavedj says:

        its the same damn discussion like some years before..vinyl vs cd..today you see the same people, that spit on you as cdj, jumping around with a dvs system or using pioneer decks. vinyl dies in the moment on of the bigger politions notice that as environmental pollution or waste of important resources!.

        my 2 cents

  78. I think we should ban all graphic designers because laptops make it too easy and accessible to make art. I also only read books that someone wrote with a quill, Gutenberg can suck it.

    …yaaaa that’s how you sound

  79. I’m a fan of Northern Soul and old Ska & Reggae. I learnt my trade many years ago on vinyl but have made the decision (after becoming a radio presenter) that its digital for me from now on. My last gig was done from the pulpit in a former church. Unfortunately being digital precludes me from DJing at 90% of Soul & Reggae events as they are actively promoted as ‘playing from vinyl’. One downside to this is that ‘collectors’ are seen as being DJ’s, when there is an obvious difference between the 2. Ironically I’ve seen DJ’s at vinyl-only nights playing brand new reissues :-)

    As far as I’m concerned it’s “what’s in the grooves that counts” not what medium it’s on.

  80. It seems to me that the heart of the issue is really around innovation. People who are used to doing something a particular way that is more exclusive are threatened by innovation as it generally tends to be more inclusive thus raising the level of competition which helps to fuel more innovation all the while pushing out that which no longer appeals to the whole. In the end it is all about expression and community. If you are expressing yourself and creating a community around your work then who cares how you did it?

  81. Puzzler says:

    Slow news day (just kidding!)? Let’s just get over this ridiculous debate and leave it for the narrow minded, link baiting bloggers, etc.

    Let’s also understand that there’s room for all of it. It’s totally fine if some parties or clubs want to focus on vinyl only or even ban laptops. Who cares? I might even go to one of them now and then, just for a change ;-p. As far as I’m concerned, it just means that my events will flourish by comparison.

    Last, please don’t define people by their age. There are plenty of open and narrow minded, forward and backward thinking people in every age group. I’m 62, look 20 yrs younger, feel 30 yrs younger, and I’m more open to new and progressive music and ideas then most people I meet. And I can still blow up dance floors in ways that most DJs of any age haven’t yet conceived.

    Age just doesn’t matter.

  82. Beatsmith says:

    I’m completely new to DJ’ing however I’ve been a drummer for many years, no promoter would dare turn around and say you’re not allowed to play you’re electronic kit so why should anyone have the right to ban laptops, at the end of the day your gear is your instrument it doesn’t matter if its a laptop/controller or a set of decks/mixer.

  83. I haven’t gotten through all of the comments but after reading a few, a couple thoughts came to mind that I didn’t want to lose, so… I skipped to the end and will read the rest later.

    First, someone mentioned “unheard, hard to find tracks” and how part of being a Dj is introducing people to those awesome tracks. My question for the folks actively doing so… How’s that going over with your crowds? I find that a lot of crowds could care less, and are even annoyed that they “don’t know this song”. In other words, most of the crowds I’ve run into in the past few years are more and more, comprised of people who don’t care at all what you do as long as you play their song. Not so much requests, but popular music that they’ve heard 12 times already that day.

    Second, back on topic.. I think the author of the article is pointing to what a lot of laptop dj’s do, and that is intro outro mixing, using sync. Right now controller/laptop dj’s need to be pushing the envelope and using the tools to take it to the next level and not just phoning it in.

  84. I’m flabbergasted, at the very least, with the video authors comments. Those comments are akin to a live band saying that djs don’t play REAL music…I’ve been on both sides..probably best I don’t say any more.. :)

  85. On a fundamental level, it’s just people’s inability to embrace change. That’s all it is. It’s something different and they don’t like it. It goes for just about everything. It’s the same people that claim “things were better in the old days”. Great. fantastic. Imagine where we’d be if these sorts of people were in charge or at the forefront? We’d be walking every where and sending messages via pigeon carriers, whilst listening to people hum and tap on their thighs.

    If you’re achieving the same result/end product, who cares? Let people crack on with it, if they don’t have any actual skill then they won’t be around for the long term, will they? Therefore – don’t worry about it.

  86. Will SOMEBODY point where I said at ANYTIME that (((Using a Laptop was a Bad Thing))) I never said that. Nor did I CRITICIZE the use of Digital Technology AT ANY TIME in this video.

    I did say, DJ’s that play about on their laptop WHILE DJing makes the DJ look like they are on Facebook and NOT really DJing. That is very true! If a DJ is spending MORE TIME (Looking at their laptop like a Deer looking at headligts) – they don’t look professional at all NOR does their actions garner patrons at the venue they’re playing at to video record them in action.

    My video has nothing to do with OLD v.s. NEW. It has everything to do with looking PROFESSIONAL. In all of 30 minutes, I can teach a 4 year old child how to push buttons that load up music, show them how to cue songs up, and with use of two sync buttons…they can push play and accurately blend music together ALL NIGHT. Too Easy!

    What I can’t teach an adult in 30 minutes is professionalism, style, finesse, and performance techniques which will enable a DJ to gain additional jobs or build a fan-base. A person can look at me play and say “I want to learn how to do that” – the same person looking at a push button Sync DJ and say “I CAN do that” – which is a major difference.

    • I think your point is off because what you are saying is not necessarily true in all cases.

      You are wrongfully equating looking at a computer to not being entertaining. There are people who spend most of their time looking at laptops who are bounds more entertaining than some vinyl technicians. For an example I would much rather go to a Girltalk show than a Funk Master Flex show. Despite him looking at his laptop, girl talk puts on a really good show. Funk masterflex how ever does not put on a good show.

      It’s all in the presentation of your show. You can look disengaged doing anything. I think the most common thing I’ve seen are djs trying to fix sound problems

      Lets not forget that 90% of what people like about live djing is what is coming out of the speakers.

      I am also willing if you are playing for an extend period of time(anything over an hour) there will be times you look bored as heck

  87. Leelively says:

    what the users of laptops like myself ,,as a certified ableton tutor i make all my own drum , bass and instrument loops trigger it via controllers and perform like this ..basically using all my own stuff going far and beyond some idiot just spinning vinyl claiming his god ..most vinyl djs that say this are the ones that cant get there head around what modern tech does and how to use it best ,,,yes there are some that sync and press play …but theres far more that use modern tech more,,,also how can anyone moan and then go off and by cdjs and traktor etc ,,

  88. what amazes me is that there’s no discussion whatsoever about SOUND. The more digitization and compression, the less the pulse of the music is transmitted to the audience. In a world where everyone is plugged in 24/7 and where mediocre sound quality has become the status quo, I applaud DJs who still play vinyl, as they are educating their audience (whether they know it or now) as to how good a recording can actually sound. How shameful that we have club sound systems available to us and we choose to play shitty low bitrate MP3s on them. If you’re gonna play with a laptop, I say “more power to you” – but don’t make the mistake of thinking that there is no difference in the power and impact of playing high-quality vs. low-quality recordings.

    • Nobody thinks that, and it’s something we discuss in detail regularly around here. :)

    • Unless you’re spinning shitty hardcore records from the mid 90s like half my record collection.

      Seriously, I love raverbaby but their old records are pressed like shit. I’d take a well mastered MP3 over them any day.

  89. This past Monday, I came across an electronic jukebox that was mixing music (EDM) automatically. At first I thought it was a recorded mix left to play by the resident DJ, but I figured out that wasn’t the case when I heard certain songs playing again, not necessarily in the same order. (If it makes anyone feel better, not only was the machine replaying songs, but the EDM was completely out of place for a Monday night at that particular venue. It was actually quite hilarious how inappropriate it was.)

    Anyway, I mention this because I can see in a few years a version of this jukebox that might be able to go through a whole list inputted by the bar owner/manager, all “perfectly” mixed, albeit by a computer. Or maybe it can do it already, and it just wasn’t programmed that night…

    Just goes to show you that if you’re stuck staring at a screen and demanding a paycheck for mixing, don’t be surprised if these electronic jukeboxes take over your regular bar gigs in the near future. The only thing that will set you apart is getting creative with the tools the software/laptop affords you, learning to read crowds, and using your own energy to lead a crowd/party (i.e. move around, dance, get on the mic..tactfully, bob your head to the beat at the very least!) Computers, at least for the foreseeable future, won’t be able to replace that part of DJing.

    In the alternative, maybe that’s just an inevitable step in the technology, which will in turn reduce the amount of paying gigs since many bars could turn to this instead of paying a person for a few hours. The DJ market will just get even more competitive than it already is with fewer gigs for an increasing amount of so-called “DJ’s”.

  90. DJ Jomoh says:

    Banning laptops is going to either A. Bring forward horrible DJs with CDJs, kill all vinyl enthusiast and make the game open to people who have the money to afford expensive equipment or B. Bring DJing back to its heyday in where creativity is essential to further your career and only the people who really put in their time to learn the craft will excel.

    Also everyone bashing computer djs should not shy away but instead their skills should be more critiqued because of the obvious help we’re getting. Without innovation in music NONE of us where vinyl, cds or mp3s would call ourselves DJs. Critique skill NOT equipment.

    *Aoki (Serato)/Martinez Bros (Traktor)/Diplo(Serato)/ATrak(Traktor)/Jomoh(Serato)*

  91. I loved this video. Made me smile if nothing else:)

  92. It does not matter if I use a laptop, vinyl, itunes, cd’s, watever! That can never replace the passion and love and archival knowledge I have for music. Thats what rocks a crowd. Knowing what songs to play and how you play them for a crowd is primary, everything else is secondary.
    Word!
    DJ J-Hooks
    djjhooks.com

  93. Nicholas says:

    Apparently people dont like laptop djs because it seems they have it ‘easy’……thats certainly a whole load of bull….i’m a laptop dj…in the literal sense of the word. i’m not any close to affording even a cheap controller(though the mixtrack pro is in my sights) but i make the best of what i have…..i use virtual dj because it has one big advantage over the rest of the other software; its insanely easy to map! I’ve mapped out the keyboard on my laptop to near controller accuracy (i’m not bragging here) that it always surprises people whenever i’m doing my thing and they hardly see me touch the mouse touch pad at all….i’ve done a few gigs at a local bar and i have realised what it really comes down to; no one on the dancefloor cares what equipment you’re using, your greatest weapons are your song selections and intelligent use of samples and effects….i’ve seen some of these djs with fancy equipment & watched them get booed or play to a half-full floor because they focus way too much on scratching and beat-juggling that ends up killing the vibe on the dancefloor….so all these people that loathe laptop djs…i’d suggest that you suck it up and accept the game has changed and digital has become mainstream….of-course there are some particularly crappy trainwrecks of laptop djs who do it just because it gets them chicks but some of us actually spend loads of hours improving our skills, creating samples…..basically one cant scratch using a laptop, but can pretty much do anything a controller or turntable can do…..the bottomline is, turntablists cant seem to come to terms with the fact that they are becoming less relevant and more of specialist djs whose gigs are fewer and come far in between…….at first i was hesitant of using the dj tag because of the fact that i have no equipment to speak of but not anymore……

  94. Alright, here’s a question: Do vinyl DJs not stare at their decks also? I’ve seen plenty do just that. It may well be a smaller issue with them but it’s still there.

  95. Robert Hode says:

    Yes. Bring back cranks to start car engines and abolish power tools for plumbers and carpenters, have your laundry hand wash all your clothes and rip off the power chord of your kitchen blender. Progress always scares some people but it is inevitable and after enough time passes it seems that the new thing is normal and natural and the old thing silly and antiquated.
    There have been Luddites throughout history, and they have never succeeded, not even once, to stop progress.
    Deal with it.

  96. Best thing to do is get a stand and move it to the side of your controller/tables. That way, no matter what, the crowd sees you and you see the crowd whenever you’re not specifically looking your laptop.
    If you have your laptop dead center in front of you, no matter what you do, your eyes will be drawn to the screen.
    Also, use the load buttons, file buttons, and scroll wheel things on your controller/mixer if it comes with them! Looks SO much better than messing with a keyboard and trackpad (most people wont even know you’re looking for a song, they’ll think you’re just messing with the music playing!).

  97. I remember back in the day, and starting out as a viny DJ, everyone was making fun of all the CDJ guys because it wasn’t vinyl; now you’ll be hard pressed to find an actual turntable standard in a club.

    I just think it’s silly that vinyl and CD DJ’s are slamming controller users when, really, you’re still just playing other peoples music. I’m talking Trance style DJs, this doesn’t really apply wit hip-hop style beat juggling.

    But really, Let’s take a step back and evaluate our threshold for what skill is. How long, really, did it take you to learn to beat match well? Like, 1 – 3 months? What does it really matter? I’m thankful I can beatmatch as, having used Traktor, I find it’s beat analysis to be wrong at times.

    However, Laptops offer great access to your library with huge, readable screens and I find Traktor’s looping and sampling functionality to be excellent (better than most affordable CDJs I’ve seen).

    I also find it odd that there is now a resistance that DJs aren’t jukeboxes. Maybe it’s just that I’ve been going to small raves for the last 12 years, but most places I go to the DJ isn’t even on an elevated stage. The DJ IS a jukebox. Sure it can read the crowd, sure it can beatmatch; but you’re just playing music people want to hear.

    This is why I never understood people paying hundreds to see Tiesto (I’ve seen him and his set wasn’t even that good). He’s an accomplished producer, and I feel the great music he MAKES should not be dismissed. But really, he mixed his tracks as well as the next guy.

    • Jimmy Butler says:

      It’s all about the music, STUPID! Nobody cares what you’re playing on nowadays. You can remix a tune on the fly without having to buy two copies. Being able to tuck your laptop, controller, headphones and a change of clothes into a cabin bag is a great thing. You can locate any tune immediately. You can have all of your tunes with you everywhere you go
      This is the biggie.

  98. The Truth says:

    With articles like this it only fuels argument away from the real problem which is:

    Its becoming less about the music and the quality of the music and more about what people turn up to gigs for.

    its a bit like reading about the old grumpy people who complained about the TB 303 when it first came out saying it was not a real bass instrument.. look what it did for electronic music.

    The sad reality is the only new people who are successful are the people who pay for soundcloud followers and fake facebook likes this is why promoters are booking these clowns. Go to any “underground” DJ who has over 50 000 followers and look at how many comments they have… they have 10 comments then their skill were paid for.. Wake up and start supporting the real fucking talent rather than accepting the fools who play and produce bland crap and start a movement that isn’t based upon hype but rather quality…

    sheesh….

  99. Here is the “unofficial” Massive Magazine (http://www.massivemag.com) take on this, and the reason why I feel our opinion matters is because we are one of the few groups of people who actually had careers that spanned from: all analog with some digital help from Roland’s MSQ Midi/Sync converter, 2 Turntables and a mixer setup Dj sets, then eventually in 1998 we started to experiment with hooking up two PC’s through a mixer so we could do Live “Tracker Sets”, and then eventually as USB controllers and Reason came onto the market I think I was the first one in the US “Scene” who toured in 2002 with a laptop, reason, an oxygen 8, and a external audio interface with two outs. This allowed me to do literally perform a live PA hybrid DJ set by running two simultaneous Reason songs which were individually assigned to the left and right channels of the DJ Mixer.

    This is when I started seeing a lot of artists, especially within the IDM and Breakcore scenes do what I termed, “Fruity Loops Sets”. This is where people like “Girl Talk” cut his teeth with this way of doing things.

    About this time, we also started clubs being outfitted with CD-Js and DJ’s bringing in their own CD-Js for the reasons of playing their own tunes. That was fine.. Honestly, getting a dubplate cut in America wasn’t as easy as it was in London. So this was more out of necessity, then a means to get away with something or compensate for a lack of skills.

    Many of us who spent hours doing it the old way got salty, and I hate to say it. But along with the fact that we were heading into our late 20’s and 30’s.. A lot of really good producers and DJ hung up the head phones at that point in order to concentrate on finding real jobs to pay our rents. IMHO, I also sucked at DJing on CD-Js.. so that gave me all the more reason to just say the hell with it.

    Eventually, Serato came out with the Vinyl control records. Now this from my point of view is:

    THE ONLY LEGITIMATE WAY TO DJ IN THE DIGITAL AGE

    Everything else, is just a bunch of glorified “Sound boards”. Unless you are manipulating the tracks in realtime with a USB controller, I am sorry to say, you are not doing a live PA. You are playing an WAV file. Nothing more, nothing less.

    It’s ashamed to see so many new artists not experimenting with the old and new, but they seem to have completely taken the music, and the art behind producing and playing the music into merely a “Cheap Vehicle for Fame”.

    Give it a couple years, the kids will figure it out.

    • They already have, and the standards of our readers are much higher than the lowest common denominator you outline. Remember, we sell DJ training, and so we attract the people who “get it”.

  100. Ellaskins the DJ Tutor once said:

    Real DJ’s play…

    Vinyl? No
    CD’s? No
    Laptops? No
    USB Sticks? No
    Controllers? No
    Themselves? No
    Bananas? No

    Real DJ’s play MUSIC

  101. The Black Mafia says:

    I don’t believe the legend that is Leonard ‘Remix’ Rroy was saying ban all laptops. It seemed to me that he was saying if you use a laptop then use it as an additional vehicle to get your music to the crowd; engage with the audience because without an audience you may as well play in your ‘house’. See what I did there?!

  102. I have started part-time wannabe DJing about two years ago and of course I have NOT bought a CD Player or a Turntable so far, because I’m not sure if I can handle the real stuff. I want people to stop bashing on “Push Button DJs” if they don’t even pretend to be a real DJ.

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