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How Long Will You DJ?



Recently, a friend asked me, "How long do you think you'll be a DJ?"  Who knows?  I've been a DJ for well over a decade and the playing field for the working DJ becomes sketchier and sketchier by the day.  Just this past week, people I know have informed me that they are doing DJ gigs for bar tabs (& no money), being hired without any DJ skills just because of their gender and/or sexual orientation…and then you have to ad in the usual stuff like nepotism, politics and being undercut by hungry low-pay DJs. 

While in NYC recently, I saw a young woman "DJ" using iTunes.  The bartender wasn't shy about telling me that the young woman was hired because of her good looks and not her DJ skills.  "She fits the image of the bar", the bartender said.  Did I find this experience disheartening?  You bet.  The average professional DJ spends at least $500.00 on DJ software and break-out boxes alone (not to mention controllers, turntables, mixers, and CD players), so imagine how it feels to invest over $1,000.00 in DJ equipment just to have a young girl with freeware and a laptop out-gig you just because she looks cute in the venue.  So the question becomes not "how long will I DJ?" but "How long CAN I DJ?"

The short answer to my friend's question was, "Until it ceases to be lucrative".  Currently, traditional DJs are being sent to the welfare line by pretty girls and robots.  Either you have a pretty girl train wrecking while winking at the guys in her tight dress or you have a bot guessing what your music taste is because the bartender typed "Rihanna" into a program hooked to the sound system.  While I currently have the blessings of a sophisticated audience that will settle for nothing short of the real thing…I have no idea what the trends of the future will bring.  The future is tomorrow and until then…I spin. 

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