With the rise of technology, there is also a rise of deejays. But deejaying wasn’t always digital. Back in the day, DJ’s had to use vinyl records. You would see DJ’s show up at a club venue with crates of vinyl records and a set of two turntables. Back then deejaying was much more expensive. Now all you need is a deejaying was much more expensive. Now all you need is a laptop and a DJ controller.
Vinyl deejaying is the art of deejaying with the use of a gramophone. The term ‘Vinyl’ (Polyvinyl Chloride) as it was commonly described in the 1950s, is the material that was used to make a gramophone record. It took up the terms vinyl record or just vinyl in recent times. Vinyl is also referred to as an analog sound storage medium and is played on a turntable. It is the main traditional form of deejaying.
The introduction of vinyl records brought about the popularity of Disc Jockeys as an art of music and a profession. Towards the end of the twentieth century, there was an increase in the number of DJ’s in town. Even recently, the use of the gramophones has not been abandoned by its DJ experts despite the digital competition. Some of the reasons include:
DJ Dinero talks about his experience as a kid in New York getting into deejaying with his big brother. “We didn’t really have like an official DJ setup. Like I started just playing music off my record players that had the receiver on the bottom of the record, and like the record on top, the record player on top.”
DJ NVS Styles
DJ NVS Styles has been a DJ instructor for over ten years. When asked about his instructor statistics between vinyl and digital, he says, “The lessons that are requested the most to teach are the DJ controller for sure. The only vinyl requests are either older DJs or a DJ that wants to learn that way. The average age group that requests vinyl lessons are ages 15-25 and then 35 and older.”
The DJ controller has made being a DJ so much easier. There is so much emerging technology that makes the DJ’s job much easier. Many old-school DJs did not agree with the new technology because they feel you no longer need to have skills and just have to push buttons. When Serato created software to emulate the vinyl system while using your laptop, it made many old school DJ’s happy. With a laptop and DJ software, you can start practicing even without a controller. And now with music being digital, music is so much cheaper to buy than having to buy actual vinyl records.
Transition from Vinyl DJ to Digital DJ
DJ’s are divided as to the use of vinyl and the digital. In one part of the divide, contemporary DJ’s prefer the use of a vinyl when mixing, while on the other hand, especially the newer generation appreciate the digital. But we can’t ignore the impact of technology on man’s very existence. And this singular fact is the reason for the introduction of Digital DJ. The following are the reasons why:
DJ Epps is what you will call a traditional DVS, (Digital Vinyl System) DJ as he prefers the vinyl. He says, “Thank God that Serato kept, you know, the vinyl situation in their software. Thank God that they did that because I love the feeling of touching a record. I love the feeling of putting a needle on the record you know. You know scratching on a record is totally different from scratching on a Pioneer controller. It is totally different. Our cuts and our scratches are much cleaner, we’re on time with our backspins. Turntables for me are everything.” He started his trade using vinyl records and has transitioned to digital to stay current with times. He was born in New York and moved to Miami, Florida, and it was there where he started his profession as a local DJ. He now is known worldwide and is booked all over the world for his DJ services. He likes that he no longer has to carry crates of records.
DJ Finesco started deejaying in 2014 during the digital DJ era and is now the youngest DJ at Excitement radio in Miami. He was only 13 when his uncle, DJ Epps, bought him his first DJ controller. He explains how the younger crowd that follows him, does not show interest in the craft of the vinyl deejaying. “Today the evolution of hip-hop has changed a lot with time. The teenagers only care about image, their following, and going viral. So, when they go to a party, they just want the DJ to play good music. They do not care about the art of scratching. Before, it used to be all about the DJ.”
Marco Jimenez used to be a house music DJ back in the 1980’s and went by the name of DJ Night. He used to have two Technics turntables, a Gemini mixer, and many crates of records. He stopped deejaying when the CD’s came out because he said it wasn’t profitable for him to be a mobile DJ. When asked for his reaction to the digital DJ era, he said, “I am amazed and I appreciate what they have done with the new technology. Being from my era, the vinyl DJ technique is more comfortable for me, but I definitely would like to learn the new digital stuff.”
We cannot eliminate completely the use of a Vinyl despite the coming of Digital DJ, but when assessed based on changing times and dynamics, the coming of the digital form is here to stay and will only get better.