Skratch Basti'd Post & Current Thoughts on Being a DJ


Interesting post from Skratch Bastid. I've been running this blog since 2008. I've certainly seen the interest in mixes decline over the years. I completely understand where Skratch Bastid is coming from. A high quality mix is labor and time intensive; and the fact of the matter is that a very small percentage of the music listening population actually understands and appreciates all the subtle details that go into a quality mix. Understandably, many mixtape DJs have been discouraged by these realities and no longer create such mixes. Skratch Bastid was certainly one of the elite mix creators; and I'm happy to see him return to the arena.

With all that said; DJs just need to get more creative. If beat tapes can thrive in today's music listening environment; so can mixtapes. You think your favorite beatmaker cleared all the samples on his latest beat tape that he posted to Bandcamp? Of course, he didn't! If your excuse for not making mixes is the copyright police; first, you need to let your nuts hang a little bit. Second, you need to get more creative with your mixing and your mix posting game.

Until recent years; being a DJ was a world with vast resource asymmetry.  In other words, you had to have the resources of a DJ (two turntables, mixer, and a lot of records) to actually be a DJ. Those resources weren't cheap. As a result, the DJ world was relatively small. Through the advent of various new DJ oriented technologies and music streaming; the DJ world has flattened. Barriers of entry into the DJ world are now incredibly low. Vast DJ tools now exist for minimal cost. Access to nearly all the music in the world now requires no more than $10/month music streaming subscription. The monopoly on resources (DJ tools and music) that DJs once enjoyed, no longer exists. Consequently, many DJs feel unappreciated and redundant. No wonder so many have withdrawn from creating what was once the DJ's most marketable and tangible commodity; the mixtape.

What a shame. If you thought of yourself as a DJ, and really thought that owning and playing records that most of the public didn't own made you special; well, you were never really a DJ. A music collector at best; but certainly not a DJ. If you thought owning equipment that others didn't, made you special. Well, you were never really a DJ either. A consumer with good taste in music equipment, perhaps; but not a DJ.

Buying a saxophone and owning a bunch of John Coltrane records doesn't make you John Coltrane. Playing the saxophone all day and all night might not make you ever play the sax like Coltrane; but you could at least call yourself a saxophonist. For all the past, present, and future DJs; I ask, what are you? If you're a DJ; get more creative with your craft and figure out a way for your craft to be heard. If that sounds like too tall a task; that's fine. Enjoy listening to music however you see fit. However, don't confuse yourself with being a DJ. Being a DJ isn't owning equipment that most people don't have. Being a DJ isn't owning music that most people don't own. Certainly, owning equipment and music is necessary to being a DJ; but it's so much more. If I have to explain it to you, you just wouldn't understand.

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