A Different Viewpoint: 5 Reasons Why Vinyl DJing Beats Digital

| Read time: 3 mins
Last updated 18 August, 2014

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5 Reason Why Vinyl Beats Digital DJing
Vinyl: Is it the only ‘real’ way to DJ? Pic: Lasse C

‘Junglist For Life’ disagreed strongly enough with our manifesto post 5 Reasons Why Digital DJing Beats Vinyl, that he or she sent us a reply to it, “5 Reasons Why Vinyl DJing Beats Digital”.

It’s a viewpoint that’s well argued and that shows just how big the divide can be between new “digital” DJs and the old school who were brought up on vinyl and record shops. Here is the reply to us in full:

5 Reasons Why Vinyl Beats Digital DJing

Vinyl DJing
DJ Chackey, spinning with two decks and a mixer. Pic: FUZIKEN
    1. Sound quality. If people think that music played off of a CD or MP3 sound the same or better than vinyl, I recommend they get their ears checked. Vinyl is fuller, rounder, and has deeper bass. There is no warmth from an MP3. The slightest bit of clipping created by the DJ will cause harsh distortion coming from a digital medium; vinyl is much more forgiving.
    2. It’s a tangible product. You OWN the music. It isn’t some folder sitting on a hard drive with little thumbnails for all of the cover art, conveniently viewed in iTunes. You have a shelf full of records, every one telling a story about where and how you obtained each title. You can’t hold an MP3 in your hands. You can’t smell an MP3. We aren’t even sure if a CD or a digital file has the ability to last for more than 50 years, yet vinyl has proven itself for double that amount of time.
    3. Quality versus quantity. As a DJ, walking into a party with 50,000 tunes on a MacBook does NOT make you a better candidate to work a dancefloor. When DJs used to spin vinyl, they would put far more effort into the songs they purchased (as they came at $10 a pop). Because they had fewer tracks in their arsenal, they were able to practise with each one far more, meaning they knew how to navigate through their music much more effectively than someone who randomly plays free MP3s they downloaded off some blog the day of their gig.
    4. The social aspect of buying records. Back in the day, if you wanted to buy music, you had to physically get off your a$$ and go to the record store to do so. You had to, you know, actually interact with people working there. You were interacting. Making connections. There weren’t any listening stations and the whole concept of “try before you buy” was non-existent. When you bought a record, you were taking a chance. Now in the digital era, people sit on their computers, listening away to everything. Newer artists will just get tossed by the wayside in favour of the status quo. What this breeds is the “Beatport Top 100? syndrome, where everyone just ends up downloading the same stuff that stagnates on said chart for weeks at a time. And at the end of the day, people wonder why the music played at EVERY party sounds the same. It’s because it IS.
    5. The music itself used to have VALUE when vinyl was the dominant medium. With the proliferation of digital, music has become more disposable than ever thought possible. The tangible product is no longer there, and with all of the free content popping up online and the lack of quality control, EVERYTHING becomes noise. Everything has a shelf life that now lasts days, not months. Songs are no longer judged by how good they are, but instead how NEW they are. As digital technology continues to push away vinyl, you can count on the headaches endured from the breakneck speed at which we consume music (for free) now to only get worse.

You wouldn’t catch me DEAD spinning a CD or an MP3 at a party. If a friend sends me an unreleased track I love, I have an acetate cut. I’d sooner pay $100 for a dubplate than play a CD that sounds much worse, even after it has worn down.

Vinyl is expensive, but I’ll pay however much is necessary to keep it real.

Thanks, Junglist for Life. So readers, what do you think? Should we be keeping it real with vinyl? Where has the social aspect of buying music gone now that DJs obtain their tunes online? Do all DJs play the same thing since digital came along? We’d love to hear your constructive thoughts.