Here Are The Results From Our 2021 Census, The Biggest DJ Survey In The World

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 4 mins

Every year here at Digital DJ Tips, we conduct a unique survey with you, our community, to take a snapshot of your DJing, the gear you use, your favourite software and music, your aspirations, and more.

With COVID-19, lockdowns, furloughs and more changing the DJ landscape so much in 2020, this year’s survey was always going to be particularly interesting.

So here it is: The Global DJ Census 2021, easily the biggest survey of its type conducted anywhere, and today we’re publishing the highlights of the results of that survey. Scroll on for a revealing look at where the industry is at, and where it is headed – at least, as far as you, the 32,027 people from our community who completed this year’s census are concerned. Thanks to all of you for being a part of it.

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Alongside the census, we run a prize draw, which is contributed to by practically all the hardware and software companies that supply DJs with the systems they need in order to do their job. So this year we’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks to main sponsor Pioneer DJ, and also to Denon DJ, Roland, Serato, Allen & Heath, Traktor, Virtual DJ, Reloop, Rane, Numark, Evermix, AIAIAI, Hercules, IK Multimedia, Mixed in Key, Algoriddim, Beatport, UDG Gear, DJcity and Beatsource.

Obtaining the full survey results

In this article, we are running the highlights of the results. Want to see the full results, including actual percentages and numbers itemised, and the other categories that we haven’t included here?

If you’re already a Digital DJ Tips member, you’ll have received (or will shortly receive) a link to obtain the full results PDF as a digital download, where you can see numbers breakdowns and extra info on all the featured sections, plus further sections detailing our community’s social media habits, other interests outside DJing, and more.

If you’re in the industry and we’re not currently working with you on this, please note that nonetheless we run this every year as much as anything as a service to YOU – so if you would like to obtain the full survey results PDF, please get in touch and we’ll happily provide you with a copy. And we’d love you to consider joining us next year as an official partner, too.

DJ Demographic Info

This is the section where we find out who is taking the survey. We want to know your age, gender, education level, country of residency, relationship status, household size, whether you work (and if so, what you do), and similar things. This information helps us to get a clear picture of who is interested in DJing in 2021.

You are a multi-generational bunch, as we have a clear spread of DJs from all ages. Sure, there are fewer community members under 18 and over 55, with the peak being between 25 and 44 years old, but as we said last year, the spread of ages in our community is indicative of what Fatboy Slim says: Unlike footballers, us DJs don’t have to retire!

You’re overwhelmingly male, most of you live in the US (with the UK, Canada and Australia the next most popular countries), and you’re a pretty even split between married/long term relationship and single.

Half of you have full-time jobs, with the rest of you a spread of self-employed, students, part-timers, business owners and out of work. The vast majority of you don’t earn much at all from DJing, with 70% earning less than 10% of your income, and only 8% of you earning the majority of you income from DJing – before COVID-19. Right now, over 90% of you are earning less than 10% of your income from DJing.

DJ Type & Experience

DJing is a broad church, and a DJ who plays high-class weddings is very different to an experimental DJ/producer playing techno in underground clubs! So here is where we find out what type of DJing our community is involved in, how long you’ve been doing it, and what your aspirations are.

As befits the age range of our community, you also have a wide range of experience levels, from a healthy 18% who have just started or been DJing less than a year, to a full 40% of you who have been DJing for more than a decade.

You’re a proper spread of DJ types: While the biggest single group of you identify as bedroom/hobbyist DJs, we also have wedding DJs, DJ/producers, party DJs, club/resident DJs, pub/lounge DJs. Not surprisingly, many of you dream of being superstar touring DJs!

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Even in “normal” times, you tend to play out only occasionally, with only 25% of you having regular public gigs. However, you love the idea of livestreaming, with 16% of you doing it regularly, a quarter of you having tried it, and half of you wanting to give it a go. When it comes to livestreaming, you’ve tried all platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, but for us it was interesting to see nearly 40% of you having livestreamed on Twitch. This is nearly double that of Mixcloud Live, which is currently the only 100% legal platform for DJ livestreaming.

Just like livestreaming, you have a big interest in making music, with nearly half of you who haven’t tried it, wanting to. Nearly half of you count yourselves as musicians as well as DJs, with the keyboard/piano being your favourite instrument.

DJ Set-ups

Just a generation ago, it was two turntables (three if you were Carl Cox) and a mixer. Now, it’s hard to imagine a wider variety of DJ systems out there. So here is where we dig deep into what our community is actually using to DJ and make music with.

The majority of you DJ on a controller with a laptop. Around 10% of you use CDJs/club-type separates, and 10% of you use all-in-one controllers with USB/SD drives instead of a laptop. Around 60% of you are Pioneer DJ gear users, with Denon DJ, Traktor and Numark taking that figure to 90%.

DJ software-wise, Serato DJ and Rekordbox DJ are your most popular platforms, with Traktor and Virtual DJ vying for third and fourth spot. When it comes to production software, Ableton is the majority choice, with FL Studio very popular too, and Logic in third place. One in 10 of you use Serato Studio. You favourite gear release of the past 12 months was the new Pioneer DJ CDJ-3000 (30% of you) followed by the Pioneer DJ FLX-6 (9% of you) and the Denon DJ Prime 2 (7%).

Music Styles & Sourcing Of Tunes

What kind of music do you like to play? Where do you get it from? That’s what this section looks at.

To start with, most of you (nearly two-thirds) class yourselves as “mixing multi-genre DJs” – you play a bit of everything, and try to do it well! However, house and its variants are easily your most loved genre, followed by hip hop. At home, though, you listen to all types of music, with rock, reggae, pop, jazz and indie among your preferred non-DJ genres.

Nearly two-thirds of you buy music from online download stores, with Beatport out in front, ahead of the iTunes store and Bandcamp. You also buy from smaller specialised stores like Traxsource and Juno Downloads. Also two-thirds of you subscribe to a music streaming service, and for a full three-quarters of you, that service is Spotify, despite it not being in DJ software (Apple Music, also not in DJ software, is second). SoundCloud Go+ is the most popular of the services commonly found in DJ software.

Even more of you are a member of a download pool – nearly 70% – with BPM Supreme easily your favourite, followed by DJcity and Digital DJ Pool.

Social Media

Where do you hang out online? Are you doing it for entertainment, or learning? What are your favourite DJ channels? That’s what this section aims to uncover.

Not surprisingly, maybe, Facebook and Instagram are your favourite social media channels, with YouTube close behind, and Twitter, Snapchat and TikTok following those. Also not surprising for a survey conducted by Digital DJ Tips, Digital DJ Tips is your most-viewed website – but you’re a vociferous lot, and you also love to read content from Crossfader and DJ TechTools, plus more mainstream DJ sites like Mixmag, DJ Mag, DJcity, Resident Advisor and others.

On YouTube it’s the same story, although it’s great to see so many smaller DJ channels on your radars too, with the likes of DJ Angelo, DJ TLM, Phil Harris, Carlo Atendido and others adding to the bigger names mentioned above. Many of you spend a long time on YouTube, too, with three-quarters of you spending between an hour and five hours a week on the channel, and 7% of you spending more than 10 hours!

At least you’re doing so for education – double the number of you watch YouTube for education as watch it just for fun.

Let’s close with some trends…

One of the most useful things about conducting this survey every year is spotting the trends year-on-year, and so here are a few things we’ve spotted comparing this survey with last year’s, and going back even further:

  • COVID-19 has hit DJing hard – No gigs, huge drops in income. Two-thirds of you say it has negatively affected your DJing life. But guess what? You’re spending more time learning than ever, and interest in DJing appears to be at an all-time high. Maybe you are just following your dreams more… or have just had more time this year to spend doing what you love, for fun!
  • Livestreaming is the big newcomer – With more than half of you wanting to try it, and most of the rest having already done so, livestreaming is not only the “flavour of the month”, but is also here to stay, with the vast majority of livestreamers saying they’ll do it after lockdown. Twitch is the dominant “DJ-friendly” platform, with Mixcloud its only real competitor for hassle-free streaming – although YouTube when done right is also a choice for DJs
  • Rekordbox has caught up with Serato – Pioneer DJ’s software platform is second to Serato, but practically level – a huge rise. It has gained at the expense of both Traktor and Virtual DJ. Bearing in mind Pioneer’s continuing dominance of hardware, that reinforces its position as the leading DJ brand
  • Serato Studio has become a production force – From nothing a year or two ago, Serato Studio is now used by 10% of DJ/producers, which is a huge rise. We remember when Rekordbox software was in this position (see above) – we wonder if Serato Studio’s growth will be as fast from here on in? A dedicated controller or two would help…
  • There’s been a big drop in buying music – Down from around three-quarters last year to two-thirds this year. Many of you are obtaining lots of your music from download pool, of course, but also…
  • There’s been an accompanying big rise in music streaming – Among the streaming services available to DJs in their software, TIDAL’s reach has doubled year-on-year from 7% to 14%, Beatport LINK’s has also doubled from 4% to 8%, and SoundCloud Go+ leads the way with 19% (only a small rise, though). The open format-friendly Beatsource LINK has yet to make a real dent though, with only 2% of you using it. Music streaming as a viable alternative or addition to buying music is definitely becoming a thing, though…
  • You have a huge appetite for online learning – You’re spending a long time online learning about DJing, especially on YouTube, where you have more choice of channels and educators than ever. Joining bigger online schools such as ourselves and Crossfader are many smaller – but fast-growing channels – a trend which has accelerated in the past year. It’s great to see so much choice
  • More of you are single than married! – Let’s end with a silly one. For the first time ever, we have more single DJs than married in our community. It could be because you can’t actually get married right now thanks to lockdown, or it could be that lockdown has led to more divorces! Either way, romance has not been a winner in the 2021 census…

There’s one other trend that isn’t in the census results that we can share: Digital DJ Tips had its fastest year of growth last year in its 11-year history. For us, this again underlines the huge swell of interest in DJing.

Our job now as DJs, a community, and an industry, is surely to capitalise on this growth and keep DJing in the spotlight as an awesome thing to do going forward. The more people who are enjoying DJing, the more healthy the hobby and culture will be going forward.

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Anyway, as ever it’s been fascinating to bring you the census this year, and our thanks once again to main sponsor Pioneer DJ, and also to Denon DJ, Roland, Serato, Allen & Heath, Traktor, Virtual DJ, Reloop, Rane, Numark, Evermix, AIAIAI, Hercules, IK Multimedia, Mixed in Key, Algoriddim, Beatport, UDG Gear, DJcity and Beatsource.

These companies support this endeavour year after year, and we’re grateful to them for being so generous in helping us to make this possible.

As ever, we’d love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to share below.

Last updated 3 September, 2021

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