The DJ part of the 2017 Musikmesse was a strange non-event. What had once been a huge, busy event with lots of new gear on show appeared to be no more. Instead we got a boring, tiny and frankly tacky little room with very little of interest in it.
Aside for a second from the fact that there was nothing at all new at the show for DJs to speak of, the new-look “DJCon” room frankly felt like an afterthought, a startup show, and a poor one at that.
A few brands bravely soldiered on but seriously, you could have been in and out of the DJ part in five minutes and missed nothing. So many big brands were missing, those who were there were drastically scaled down. NAMM it certainly wasn’t. If I’d have been a paying punter, I’d have been asking for my money back.
Worse, it was embarrassing. Leggy girls in tight tops and high heels giving out magazines. Do we really need that, in 2017, folks? Unbelievably, there was even a large stand dishing out some kind of “elixir” to help men attract women. Right in the DJ hall. Maybe that was a joke I didn’t get, but I think it was serious. It was pretty bad taste, whatever; more like a throwback to the worst 1970s mobile disco culture than the exciting modern DJ/producer world I recognise.
At a time when DJing has seriously grown up, with amazing talent coming through, and great gear available for the modern DJ to play, remix and produce on, do we really need sexism and tackiness shoved in our faces like this? It felt like the room was demeaning the whole art of DJing, and I felt a little embarrassed for the organisers, and sad for the lone female DJ I saw playing a set opposite that “elixir” stand.
The organisers surely need to act fast if they want to turn this around: They need to strike attractive deals with all the companies that stayed away to get them back, get the DJ exhibitors mixed in with the studio and production equipment as they used to be (after all, DJing and production overlap hugely nowadays) and ditch the sexism and tackiness – DJing moved past that decades ago.
While we got lots of interesting stories, did some great interviews, met some wonderful people and had a thoroughly good time, it was in spite of the “DJCon”, not because of it. A real shame. I wonder if they can rescue it?