Here Are The Results From Our 2020 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 find out as much as we can about your DJing, the gear you use, your favourite software and music, your aspirations, and more.

The result is The Global Digital DJ Census, 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 35,073 people from our community who completed this year’s census are concerned. Thanks to all of you for being a part of it.

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 Denon DJ, and also to Pioneer DJ, Roland, Serato, Traktor, Virtual DJ, Reloop, Rane, Allen & Heath, Numark, Hercules, Mixed in Key, IK Multimedia, Algoriddim, Beatport, DJcity and Beatsource.

Obtaining the full survey results

In this article, we are running an abbreviated version of the results, with highlights from four areas: Audience demographic, DJ type/experience, gear/software, and music.

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, we’ll be emailing you 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, please note that we run this every year 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.

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, annual salary, and the percentage of your income that comes from DJing. This information helps us to get a clear picture of who is interested in DJing in 2020.

The big takeaways from this part are that DJing is still hugely male dominated as an industry, and that Fatboy Slim was right when he said: “DJs are not like footballers, we don’t have to retire!” – there are substantial numbers of DJs spinning from the ages of 18 to mid-50s, and plenty older than that too.

Our community is mainly based in the USA and the UK, with Canada, Germany, and Australia in places 3, 4 and 5, and you are pretty much 50/50 when it comes to relationships, half of you being settled with a partner, and half single. (Brings to mind the old joke, “What do you call a DJ without a girlfriend? Homeless…”)

Full details about the level of education and job status of the community are included in the PDF download (there is too much detail to include here), but in short: You’re a well educated bunch, and most of you DJ as a hobby alongside a pretty good day job – less than 10% of you get the majority 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.

A full 40% of you have been DJing for over a decade, with only around one in five of you classing yourselves as beginners, although the majority of you are happy to say you’re “still learning”. This isn’t how it was 10 years ago when we first started running these surveys, indicating that DJing as a hobby is definitely maturing.

Around half of you play out at least occasionally, the other half DJing at home or playing parties. We see a nice, even split between mobile / wedding, DJ / producers, club residents and party DJs, although many DJs do aspire to the big, touring DJ lifestyle!

There’s a pretty even split between those who play an instrument and those who don’t, maybe reflecting the growing importance placed on producing music as well as just playing it. So it’s maybe not surprising to see that keyboard/piano is the number one instrument you like to play, with guitars and drums coming a respectable second and third. (We clearly have some closet guitars heroes among our number, me included…)

DJ Set-up (Hardware, Software, Etc)

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 with.

Not surprisingly maybe, a laptop plus DJ controller is still the biggest choice, but nearly a quarter of you are now using “all-in-one” systems, a fast growth area. Interestingly though, many of you seem to use those systems with a laptop and DJ software, so while the standalone capability of such systems seems like a “nice to have”, the USB drive is by no means replacing the laptop just yet.

You are certainly gear lovers, with all but 5% of you spending on your set-ups in the past 12 months, and many spending quite a lot (note that in the chart below, numbers have been converted to dollars). Pioneer DJ is by far the most popular brand of gear, with Numark, Native Instruments (ie Traktor) and Denon DJ the next three favourites. After Pioneer DJ, Denon DJ is the brand you most aspire to, a big leap since last year, reflecting its position as the biggest challenger to Pioneer DJ nowadays.

When it comes to DJ software, Serato remains the leader, but Rekordbox is now in second place, with Traktor and Virtual DJ equal third. The Windows/Mac split among the community is about 60/40, and Android and iOS are about equal.

In this, the final section we’re sharing in this post, we look at the kind of music our community likes to play, and how it plays it.

Most of you describe yourself as “multi-genre mixing DJs, ie “open format”. That makes sense in this age where DJs are expected to span BPMs and genres with technical expertise, and is a big change from a few years back, when “single genre mixing DJ” was the biggest category. 15% of you adopt more of a mobile DJ style of playing.

Musically, house in its various forms still has the edge over hip-hop/R&B (which remains the biggest single category) when it comes to what you like to spin, and it’s great to see you have an eclectic love of all types of music when you’re away from the decks, too! A large number of you like rock music – possibly the same people who play guitar, from above…

Most of you nowadays use download stores, with Beatport out in front over iTunes (Bandcamp is a respectable third). Most of you subscribe to a streaming service, too, with Spotify way out in front – such a shame it isn’t in more DJ software, then.

Talking of streaming, Beatport Link has yet to take off among our community – we’d expect to see that grow its base as it gets incorporated into more platforms. Only a third of you subscribe to a download pool, with BPM Supreme out in front over DJcity.

Let’s close with a look at some trends…

  1. More people are identifying as hobby DJs (bedroom, just for fun), mobile DJs, and casual paid DJs (lounge, bar, pub and the like), with fewer people saying they are DJ/producers, club residents, or touring DJs. This seems to indicate that increasingly, lots of people are DJing simply as a hobby, and are very happy with it that way!
  2. As we mentioned earler, Rekordbox is a big winner in software (up 12%, actually), with Traktor notably falling back. But we also saw a 21% increase in djay for iOS: It has a long free period on its new subscription model, though, so it will be interesting to guess from next year’s results how many of those people Algoriddim has converted to actual payers.
  3. The iTunes store is falling in popularity, with Bandcamp and Amazon gaining – possibly due to Apple downgrading the store over Apple Music streaming in its Music app? Meanwhile, talking of streaming, SoundCloud Go and Tidal show big gains in their still relatively small shares – no doubt due to their wide availability in DJ software. Curiously, though, Beatport Link is static (it has actually fallen back a little year-on-year, but the numbers are low so maybe not statistically significant at this stage).
  4. There appear to be some clear winners coming through among the record pool companies with BPM Supreme up a whopping 26% among our community and DJcity rising 14%, at the expense of all the others; Digital DJ Pool and Promo Only in particular have dropped off markedly year-on-year.
  5. In hardware, Denon DJ at 13% of the market has seen a 71% rise, Roland has seen a 60% rise (although is still only 2% of the market), and Pioneer DJ’s dominance has actually fallen just a little (down 4.8% to 52% of the market)

For us, there are two really interesting developments. First, the rise of all-in-one/standalone DJ systems, and what this will mean for the companies who aren’t involved who may find the going increasingly hard (only 4% of DJs are looking to upgrade to Traktor according to the full data, for instance, a big drop year-on-year). Second, the new battleground of streaming in DJ software, where it’s very much anyone’s to go for the win right now.

Anyway, as ever it’s been fascinating to bring you the census this year, and our thanks once again to main sponsor Denon DJ, and also to Pioneer DJ, Roland, Serato, Traktor, Virtual DJ, Reloop, Rane, Allen & Heath, Numark, Hercules, Mixed in Key, IK Multimedia, Algoriddim, Beatport, 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 18 February, 2021


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