Over To You: Should DJ/Producers Always Be Expected To Play Their Hits?

Phil Morse | Read time: < 1 min
Booed Darude Sandstorm
Last updated 30 August, 2017


Darude on tour in 2015. Do you think it’s important that DJ/producers play the tracks they’re known for?

News broke this week that Darude had been booed and heckled for not playing his huge hit from 2000, Sandstorm, at a gig. (he says he did play it, just a remix, by the way). But should DJ/producers always have to play their biggest tracks when they DJ? Or is it something that stifles creativity and progress?

I remember conversations I had when I was a full-time club promoter with some of the DJs I booked. The club I ran was really open-minded and quite small, and DJs really could get away with playing anything. And they loved playing for us! “I don’t have to play what’s expected of me here,” one said to me once, “and it’s such a breath of fresh air.”

But conversely, I saw Kings of Leon headline a festival recently. There was a palpable sense of a job not quite done, until in the encore, they hit the instantly recognisable opening riff of “Sex On Fire”. Not sure what would have happened in the crowd of 10,000 if they hadn’t played it…

One thing that springs to mind on the matter is this: A school of thought around the existence of tribute bands (and remember, there have been tribute DJs too…) is that they play what the fans really want not what the act themselves would rather play.

But what do you think? So should artists be compelled to play their hits gig after gig? Or is it alright to ring the changes?

Please share your thought in the comments below…

Click here for your free DJ Gear and software guide