DJing is in constant flux. From the rise of different genres to the technology that we use to play and listen to music, lots of things have changed for DJs over the past decade. Part of our responsibility is to be informed regarding where music is, and where it will be going.
So let’s take a look at 10 trends that we will see in this new year.
1. The rise of Afrobeats
This music genre coming out of Africa has been around for years but the general public did not become aware of it until recently. It’s a blend of tropical and tribal vibes with some very catchy vocal melodies. It fits perfectly for a daytime set and has a lot of fun energy.
2. Drill music goes mainstream
Drill Music is a hardcore hip-hop genre that came from the toughest neighbourhoods of Chicago but much like house music it has been adopted by other parts of the world. Now you have scenes like UK Drill or Australian Drill music that captures the same raw energy but each region adds their own twist.
3. Growth of Baile Funk
This latin-influenced dance genre is becoming bigger and bigger. With more major dance music festivals like EDC making their way to Central and South America, more people are becoming aware of Baile Funk. It is a blend of modern dance music with more traditional latin styles that is sure to gain even more popularity this year.
4. EDM goes even faster (150-160 BPM)
When big room EDM hit the mainstream the tempo was usually in the range of 128-130. Now we are seeing more EDM artists push for an even faster tempo, very reminiscent of the Happy Hardcore and Gabber sound from the 1990s.
5. The continued decline of the album format
Streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music have changed the way the majority of people consume music. With how fast music is released now, more artists are moving toward releasing singles or short three to six song projects rather than full 12-15 song albums. It has become more valuable to release single songs consistently over the course of the year rather than one big album release each year.
6. More genre-specific DJ driven music festivals
Big multi-genre music festivals such as TomorrowWorld and Electric Daisy Carnival have been around for a long time and are still huge, but as more sub-genres of music become more popular we are seeing the rise of smaller genre-specific festivals. Events such as Soulection’s Sound of Tomorrow are a great example of DJ driven festivals that focus on one style of music.
7. TikTok becoming the source of viral hits
Instagram was the place to find all of the viral music hits over the last few years but in 2019 we have seen a shift of these hits becoming popular on the new social media platform TikTok. The majority of these types of viral hits are due to a younger demographic creating something around these songs and the younger generation has begun gravitating more toward posting on TikTok compared to other social media apps.
8. Standalone DJ controllers coming of age
While Pioneer DJ has had standalone DJ controllers on the market for years, 2019 saw Denon DJ release the Prime 4. It took the standalone DJ controller concept and refined it further and became a sought after unit for many DJs looking to buy a new piece of gear.
With the increased competition we are sure to see even more innovation and more models in the coming year: in fact, Denon DJ recently launched two new Prime standalone devices, the Prime Go and Prime 2. Pioneer DJ already released the flagship XDJ-XZ late last year – does it have something up its sleeves for 2020?
9. Music streaming in DJ software going mainstream
While DJ software has had streaming service integration for some time now, Denon DJ was the first to integrate streaming services directly into its hardware. Being able to show up to a gig with just your headphones and have your entire library of music was wishful thinking just a few years ago, but with more DJ focused streaming services like Beatport Link and Beatsource it is slowly becoming a reality.
10. Spotify playlists becoming the new mixtapes
The days of creating a mixtape to share with others look to be behind us. Now “curating” a playlist on a streaming service such as Spotify has become the status quo on how most people share their music. Many of today’s songs catch their break because of being added to playlists with huge followings. DJs can take advantage of this by creating and maintaining playlists to share with their audience with tracks that they love.
Being ahead of the curve is important as a DJ. Even if all of these trends do not apply to what you play, it is important to be informed. Moving forward into this year and beyond keep an eye on these trends and stay informed about what is going on in music in general, it will make you a better DJ.