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Live Music almost a thing of the Past...

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Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2171

It's an argument of semantics.

What those guys are doing isn't DJ'ing. What those guys are doing is using turntables or CDs as a....a....synthesizer.
Perhaps it is.

Ok, so you say they're not DJ's.

Oddly, they refere to themselves as DJ's. Heck many of them even legally change their names to include the title. Their fans call them DJ's. The music stores that sell their stuff puts them under the DJ banner.

But you wish to limit DJ to the guy that merely puts on a disc and plays the song on the disc.

Ok, then what are these guys?

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST

Prominent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 815

*cough* Ashley/Ashlee Simpson *cough* using her recorded voice instead of actually singing. Something like that would have to hurt live musicians in some way to.

Colorado has also hit bars hard here with smoking bans, and the police lookin' for drunks too (which I believe are both a good thing). I read in the paper not to long ago that bars are having to pay a price for bands playin' covers, that also may be tough on bars and live bands.

I'm not sure about DJ's anymore. I have a hard time calling them musicians. It's not fun to watch someone spin a record unless their actually going to let the song play.

"If I had a time machine, I'd go back and tell me to practise that bloody guitar!" -Vic Lewis

Everything is 42..... again.

Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2118

What about the "entertainment for the audience" aspect? A DJ has 1000s of songs to choose from, and although he has a set list, most will adapt to how well the music is being received. At most party functions, a DJ will play at least one line-dance song. Last month, I was at a party where the line dance pulled in more than anything else, and the DJ played 4 different line dances through the rest of the evening. This wouldn't work at most parties, but it did here. The DJ adapted to keep the people entertained. He may even have hated doing it, but he'll get hired again.

Unless you're play with Hodge, it's pretty hard for a rock band to change the set list on the fly.

Next, how many bands can play a waltz and then rockabilly and then Motown with horns? And then play soft piano music during dinner? Some can, but most bands play what they want to, and hope the audience likes it. A DJ can go from Frank Sinatra to Frank Zappa in 30 seconds. As noted above, most live bands play CDs during breaks. Ever see a DJ take a break?

I love live music, I play live music, but I can't say that it is the best option for all occassions. The cost/benefit ratio doesn't work for all cases. I think that some of the arguments above are biased by the fact that we are the music providers, not the customers.

However, when I want to dance and have a beer, give me live music any day.


Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 5381

Like I said before, they may be musicians, they are performance artists, but they ain't DJs in the commonly known, dictionary, in usage for a hell of a long time sense.

I may call myself the King of England. It doesn't make it so.

Call them what you will, I've expended more energy typing in this thread than I care to admit.

I'm riding off into the next topic.


Famed Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 2811

Wow, found this one a little late, just read through four pages.

I think you guys, Arjen and El Rey Patzer (spanish for king patzer, look at me!) need to find a better word to use. They aren't DJ's. They may call them selves that, but it looks as if Mr. Webster disagrees with them, you guys wanna go up against Mr. Webster? Be ready for a barrage of English teacher's chalk and erasers to come flying at you.

The fellows in "Birdy Nam Nam" are talented, they manipulate sounds, ok I'm not even sure what it is they are doing, but it sounds cool. They are musicians. The term DJ was already defined by someone else in this thread, that is the definition the world uses. What these guys are doing isn't dJ'ing.

This whole discussion is pretty silly, because the people on one side are using one definiton for the word, and the people on the other are using another definition for the word. "Ya'll" aren't even discussing the same thing.

Turntableist, that's good. Call Mr. Webster, speak politely (so as to not get the Dictionary Mafia on you) and ask him to add it in for the next edition.


Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5038

I will go with Arjen, KP and (I think from quick skimming) Noteboat on this. DJ's that create house and techno and now many other forms of these are indeed composing through synthesis and creating an artform that is music. Those of you that play cover tunes or originals with borrowed riffs, copied rhythms and progressions are just as guilty of assimilation and synthesis. You may argue that you are producing your own artistic interpretation -- but honestly, do you think that grabbing samples, creating loops, layering and such are not interpretations as well?

Nick, I don't understand how you could not know what Arjen meant by "DJ." You're usually pretty on top of this stuff. His usage of the term has been around for more than 15 years, and is pretty much the only meaning of the term that would be even considered musicianship.

If names such as Sasha and (John) Digweed don't mean anything to you, there's a good chance you are misunderstanding Arjen's use of DJ -- 'cause these guys do not spin records at bar mitzvahs and weddings.

** comments about 'most' guitar players self-censored **

-=tension & release=-

Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4472


I've cleaned up a few things (this post included) in order to get this discussion back on track. If that's a problem, PM me and let me know. Sorry to be intrusive.


It seems that a lot of this comes down to the term DJ. You would think that folks who use the term "tone" or "fret" for eight hundred things could come to an agreement on that! :wink:

"Turntablist" (love it!) has been suggested. Would "audio artist" work?

And a question that occurred to me while doing some editing: Do DJs pay Union dues? If so, to which union? That might bring a new perspective to the table. Or not...


Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921

Unless you're play with Hodge, it's pretty hard for a rock band to change the set list on the fly.

Next, how many bands can play a waltz and then rockabilly and then Motown with horns? And then play soft piano music during dinner? Some can, but most bands play what they want to, and hope the audience likes it.

Most good front men/women will read an audience and adjust the setlist on the fly. The band has to be paying attention though - so you'll see that much more often when the musicians treat the gig like a 'job' instead of a party.

Bands take one of two approaches to music: you've got one - they play what they want and hope the audience agrees; they're gambling. If they're right, these are the acts that get signed to major labels. Most bands aren't right when they take this gamble. These acts end up making $0-20,000 for a gig, with the majority of them making $300 or less, and only the ones that guessed right getting more than $1500.

But the bands that make consistent money - the top-notch cover bands and wedding bands - they're in it 100% for the audience. And the pay shows it. In my area, wedding bands get $1,000-7,500 for a 3-4 hour gig. These are the bands willing to play the Chicken Dance followed by Hava Nagila followed by Rhinestone Cowboy, or anything else the crowd requests. There's good money in pleasing the crowd.

And these gigs are a lot of fun too... would you rather be playing a swinging samba and watching sexily dressed folks on the well-lit dance floor - or playing some angst anthem in a dark smoky bar for the hip crowd with attitude just so you can brag you played club xyz?

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL

Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 5381

Good God, dragged back again. Hey look, the horse is standing back up! Flog it some more.

Look, I'm saying these guys ARE musicians, they just are not DJs, or Disc Jockeys, in the traditional sense of the word. Maybe the word has changed. To tell you the truth I don't care. And no, I haven't heard of either.

Are samplers musicians? What if it's only a tiny sample? Did George Harrison copy he's so fine? Is it possible to make a truly original song anymore? Was that Nirvana guitarist great? Did I get a good deal on this guitar? Would you like to save a bunch on your car insurance?

With the energy expended on this topic we could solve the problem of world hunger and be well on our way to solving the problem in the middle east. I've got to get out of opinions and polls for a while.

Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4113

Dj's in the nouveau definition are Musicians!

Dj's in the commonly accepted definition by the horribly out of date dictionary are NOT!

George Harrison did not copy "she's so fine"!

That Nirvana Guy played a great guitar! (Fender)

I got good deals on my guitars!

I saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by not switching to gecko!

DIE! Horse DIE!


Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2801

LOL, the funniest thing about this post (there isnt much) is that Bobblehat was the original poster and he hasnt posted back about the topic since. ROFL.


“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)

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