A-Trak about DJing

04/12/2019 Marki

A-Trak about DJing

The following claims of A-Trak are copy/pasted and taken from his twitter account. He talks about Djing in general and how it has changed over the past decades and in my opinion, he’s fully nailed it, as we see the same picture over here in Europe.

“I’m realising how much of a hole there is in the infrastructure for DJs in North America, specifically for open format DJs. The whole DJ business changed drastically in the last 10 years.. and there’s pockets of the DJ scene that kind of got left out.

“Those changes happened with the explosion of EDM. Money brings change and infrastructure – like in any sector. When DJs started having huge hit records and the event space boomed (festivals, tours hitting ticketed venues), the business became legit.

“DJs used to get known on the strength of their DJing (duh!). But then DJs started becoming known for their songs, and that created serious draw to other markets. That also created a need for proper managers, lawyers etc. The social media boom happened at the same time.

“The old school model was: most DJs had an agent-slash-manager, which isn’t ideal (church & state!). But most of us didn’t need managers before. I was DJing for 10 years – multiple-time world champion etc – before hiring my first manager.

“That model worked all the way up to the DJ AM era, when bottle service clubs became more prominent and Vegas opened up to more DJs. But those types of venues and clubs don’t respect DJs. So DJs need representation.

“After that, the music exploded and an entire industry was built… But what about the DJs who weren’t producing records? who, truthfully, are better DJs than most of those getting known for their hits? The club scene got caught in a bubble, a time warp.

“And here’s where it gets weird: then the EDM bubble burst. Club talent buyers started saying they were going back to booking open format DJs (for those who don’t know that just means multi-genre DJs rooted in hip hop). But most of those DJs don’t have modern agents, modern biz.

“The DJ explosion that happened earlier in the decade created fast growth but now I find the scene needs some nurturing. And there’s a lot of excellent DJs who still need representation. It’s wild: a celebrity DJ is more likely to have a legit agent than a good open format DJ.

“I think part of the problem is also because of the handful of people in a position of power in that club scene, that open format scene: it’s very cliquey which in my opinion hindered it from riding the big wave a few years ago. Some people were too self-content to even SEE the wave…

“The end result is a bunch of very, very good, skilled DJs who don’t have an infrastructure. I went to the Beyond The Music retreat last week, organised by DJcity & DJ Vice. It’s clear that there’s a big demand for mentorship, leadership and guidance in the scene.

“It’s a great start. We need more though. I don’t understand why the main booking agencies aren’t picking up more of these DJs. There has to still be a viable lane for DJs whose main focus isn’t to produce music or be an Instagram personality, but just to be a great reliable DJ!”

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