Latest Tip for WCS DJ's

Mistakes DJs Make When Choosing A DJ Name

Choosing a DJ name is one of the most important early decisions you’ll make when getting started as a DJ. Get it right, and you’ll have an instantly recognizable name that tells the world the kind of DJ you are and helps get you noticed. Get it wrong, and all kind of obstacles will block your path to success. Here are some of the rookie errors people make time and time again, and that it’s simple to avoid:

1. Picking something nobody can pronounce – What’s the point of having a DJ name that when people see it, they all say something different? Go for something nice and simple that won’t come out of people’s mouths wrong
2. Picking something nobody can spell – OK so people can say it right. But if they can’t write it down correctly when they hear it, it’s nearly as bad as not being about to pronounce it. You’re introducing a needless layer of confusion
3. Not registering your URL and social media handles – You really, really do want to get the .com version of the name you choose, and your handle on all the main social media sites too. Don’t leave this to chance; get them all as soon as you choose your name, even if you don’t plan on doing anything with them for a while
4. Picking something that ties you to a genre – Your genre will die. Hopefully a long time before you do. So don’t be “Dubstep Warrior”. Even if the type of music endures, there’s no telling when your tastes will change. Choose something that’ll have a chance of working for your whole career, not just for the current season
5. Worrying about finding something totally unique – If there’s a company selling canned fish in Kazakhstan that happens to use the same name you want to use for DJing, don’t let it stop you. Yes, be careful. Yes, don’t take someone else’s DJ name. Yes, test on Google to see if you can “own” the word or phrase you choose as a DJ name. But don’t be hung up on every use of a word or phrase out there. Not many words are 100% unique nowadays
6. Not considering how it will look as a logo – It’s not enough to choose a DJ name on its own; you need a logo too. For flyers, for your website, for your social media headers, your Twitter “square” logo, for your “cover” artwork.
7. Picking a name nobody likes – Look, just because you think something is cool, doesn’t mean the world will. So test your name on as many people as you can before you decide. At this stage, you’ve not committed to anything, and it’s cost you nothing except time. Don’t go any further down the line until you know the name you’ve picked actually does say what you think it does to people, and that they like it
8. Not choosing a name at all – If you don’t choose your name, your name will choose you. Someone will just shove something on a flyer, or you’ll make something up on the spot, and it’ll just kind of stick, and there you are – an ill-chosen, badly fitting name that doesn’t serve you. Don’t be that person! Choose early, and choose wisely…
AND FINALLY…
Choosing a good name may take some time. Don’t expect to come up with something overnight (although you might). It could take weeks or even months. But don’t leave it to chance. Start work on it as soon as you start DJing, and keep at it daily until something sticks. Later on you’ll be glad you did.

Why Smart DJs Play More Than One Style Of Music

Here are 5 reasons why:

1. It will expand your tastes: There’s a lot of good music being made outside of your comfort zone. Don’t fall into the snobbery trap of thinking only your style or genre is worth your attention. Your audience may publicly admit to only liking RNB or hip-hop, but I can assure you they sing into their hairbrushes to Lady Gaga behind closed doors. Accept that good music comes from all angles and that picking the best of it for your collection, then trying to incorporate it into your DJ sets, will help you to get even the coolest people’s hearts singing and their feet dancing before their heads say “no!” – that is if you do it well.

2. It will expand your skills: Yup, “if you do it well”. It’s easy to feel like the hero mixing Pop all night. It’s an absolute other game, mixing, pop, rock, blues, rnb, oldies, and funk (for instance), into a skillful, coherent set that wows people and keeps them on the dancefloor.

3. You’ll get to DJ out more: I understand that you want to play, but so do your DJing peers, and there are never enough slots. Get out there too soon, and you could ruin your reputation before ever getting started. Hone your craft. Play normal bars, lounges, student hangouts, mobile or wedding gigs. This will prepare you for larger, pro gigs, i.e., National Dance Events.

4. You’ll learn to read crowds better: As I said above, people are a lot less “cool” behind closed doors than they admit to, having all kinds of guilty pleasures in their private musical lives. A good DJ can tease these tendencies out of a crowd, by playing across the board and watching carefully. Uniting a disparate crowd into a single, throbbing mass on the dancefloor takes a lot more DJ interaction and observation, a lot more give and take. It’s more exciting, riskier, and it’ll make you a better DJ

5. You’ll get more longevity as a DJ: Your scene will die, period. I’ve been DJing a little over 10 years and have seen various genres rise and fall. If you don’t move on, you’ll also fade away. Add new music to your palette from all over the place. Sure, one style may dominate, but try to take gigs where you can play “across the board”. It will keep your interest up, challenge you, and extend your career as a DJ.

All Music Can Be Categorized by Just Three Attributes…

Interesting Reading: Some parts being shared here.
For full article please visit:
http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2016/05/17/music-genres-three-attributes/

“After significant statistical analysis involving 102 different pieces of music and 26 different genres and sub-genres, the research team distilled those clusters down to the following: Arousal, Valence, and Depth. According to the study, every single piece of music — across any era, style, or origin — can be accurately described by using those three areas.
These areas are more fully described as follows:
(1) Arousal describes intensity and energy in music;
(2) Valence/Behavior describes the spectrum of emotions in music (from sad to happy);
(3) Depth describes intellect and sophistication in music.

Additionally, the research team also discovered that characteristics describing music from within a single genre(including both rock and jazz) could be accurately broken down by these same three categories. But on the edges of any ‘genre,’ things can be very difficult to classify, which is why most music fans have trouble defining their taste in music.
Indeed, the finding explains why most listeners prefer music that spans multiple genres, radically different styles, and divergent eras. As an example, a lower-intensity chill dubstep track might rank low on the Arousal scale, provoke a mellow emotional Valence, and offer only moderate intellectual sophistication. Those levels could match an acoustic style song, and help to explain why one person likes two seemingly-different styles. Even a laid-back trap song could provoke similar rankings.
“Genre labels are informative but we’re trying to transcend them…”
All of that suggests that genres may be outdated, but more importantly, tied to societal and surface factors that aren’t as directly related to the core music itself. “The findings suggest that this may be a useful alternative to grouping music into genres, which is often based on social connotations rather than the attributes of the actual music,” the research group relayed. “It also suggests that those in academia and in the music industry (e.g. Spotify and Pandora) that are already coding music on a multitude of attributes, might save time and money by coding music around these three composite categories instead.”
At best, genres are clumsy tools to describe music, though at worst they limit our ability to accurately and completely describe a piece of music. “Genre labels are informative but we’re trying to transcend them and move in a direction that points to the detailed characteristics in music that are driving people preferences and emotional reactions,”.

How Do I Remember To Play My Best Tunes Without Rigidly Planning My Set?

I get many questions about organizing music libraries and it’s a good one, because it touches on how much a set should be “planned” and how much should be spontaneous.

Firstly, I recommend you pack a “Bucket”, if you will, for every gig. This means having a playlist where you carefully comb through your collection, moving across songs you’d like to play on the night. You’re aiming for about double the number of tunes here than you’ll actually play. This helps you to focus and gets you thinking in advance about the set structure, the crowd and so on.

This kind of preparation is different to rigidly planning your whole set…
On the night, you’ll find it much easier to play from such a “Bucket’ while at the same time be able to be “spontaneous” in your tune choice, especially if you practice DJing using that folder for the few weeks building up to the set – you’ll start spotting good tunes with transitions you can use. This kind of preparation is different to rigidly planning your whole set, and means you’re unlikely to miss playing any of those “must-play” tunes.

How To Create Your Unique DJ Sound

Part of being a successful DJ is creating your unique DJ sound, Anything is possible in the DJ world. For you to have a chance at real success, locally, nationally or internationally, you’ll need to stand out from the rest and create your own unique style.
Many DJs you’ll see and hear when you go out play similar music to each other. There’s not much really wrong with this, as long as they’re making people happy and as long as people are dancing.
But if you want to be better and rise above the average DJ, get real, you need to step up !

Your music selection, the order of your tracks, the style of mixing and the blend should all be in your style or DJ sound. Your style needs to be unique to you. No one else can play in the way you do. DJs may try to copy you, but they’ll never do it, because only you know how to react and surprise people with your unique style. So, this is how we do it!

1. Find rare gems
First up, you need to get busy searching. finding random websites with solo artists, contacting bloggers that few others know of or digging into your own collection. The ideal way of creating your sound is to find the best combination of least known but most catchy and memorable tunes. The kind of tunes that have dancers on the floor staring at you and crowding around to find out what they are.

2. Be a punk
Go against the grain. You’re there so that people can enjoy themselves, but there’s nothing wrong with being a rebel with your DJ style. This doesn’t mean you playing a set for yourself, dancing away in your booth while everyone else looks at you in bewildered silence and disappointment. But it does mean you play against the grain. Drop surprises. Be a bit crazy.

3. Be eclectic
Being eclectic means changing your style. This style of playing reflects a unique DJ sound and you’ll be remembered far better for it. If you’re playing electro, then drop some pop and R&B, just to show people you’ve got gutzbah. Why not be crazy and drop in some old Eric Clapton. Vary within your genre, push the boundaries.
Get to know how to play various styles. As well as creating your own sound, you will get noticed and may even get more gigs as your style can be adapted to any venue, not just single-genre venues.
Practice mixing five different styles and then try it on a night out.

4. Mix old and new tunes
Why you should mix old tunes? Isn’t DJing all about the best new amazing tracks, hot off the block? No it’s not. And you’d be making a mistake thinking it is. Alot of the music you hear today is older music recycled. Loads of what you play right now is based on older tunes, containing samples from other tunes. Certain tracks may simply be direct copies.
When you make a shout back to old tunes people love it.
Likewise, there are a couple of Daft Punk tracks which sample heavily from old soul and funk. When I drop them, people still love it. It goes on..
When a certain style is fashionable, give a shout to old styles that are similar too. New music trends are a rehash of old ones.
Not only does it make people dance, but it shows you have depth. Also, you may have some older party animals in the crowd. They’ll absolutely love you for blasting out tunes of their young days.

Five Steps To Perfect Your DJ Music Library System

1. Only admit to your DJ library the tunes you actually know you’ll want to DJ – and purge it of anything else;

2. Make sure your files contain the metadata that’s important to you – artist, title, any remix titles, year, genre and bpm

3. Know how to sort and filter your files and how to listen to them day-to-day – when you’re not actually DJing or practicing

4. Have a way of choosing a set of possible tunes for any particular gig – and of getting that set of tunes into your DJ software (and on a mobile device, Just in case!)

5. Regularly Back Up – not only your music files but any work done on them with any other software you use (ie; cue points, bpm adjustments, etc)

That’s it.

Don’t be just a DJ, be involved in the whole night and Pay Attention!

See the bigger picture – there’s always a bigger picture. The night is not about you. Your job is to understand and raise the vibe in your venue. It is about people coming together to have fun, of which music is THE huge part sure, but not the whole story – not by a long shot.
Good DJs, in their minds, should always be asking questions. They’re always observing, looking for ways to build excitement and pleasure for their audiences, This could also be things that are often not directly connected to the music,.

How about some random DJ questions:
What has gone on in your city today? Has the local football team won? Lost? Are people happy, angry, dejected?
Are they tired from a long holiday weekend, or raring to go at the start of a long-awaited one?
Is it cold outside? Is it cold inside? How can you literally warm your crowd?
Is the place filling up too fast, so people are uneasy? How can you soothe them, make the vibe more welcoming?
Can you get soft, red or softer lighting on the dance floor? Can you get control over any of the lights and start coordinating them with your music?

When did you last walk round your dance floor? You can do this even when you\’re playing. In fact, I’d encourage it.
Are there not enough people in yet? How can you bring those who are in the venue together “under one flag”, and get that atmosphere built? Is there a drinks promotion on that’s taking everyone’s attention away from the floor? (So what do you do? Fight it, or play incidental tunes until they’re a bit drunk, bored of it, and ready to dance?)
Are there too many boys in? Too many girls? How is that affecting the vibe? How can you react to it? Do you want to use a microphone? How? How can you use the volume in the venue to alter the mood? Do you even know how loud the music is throughout your venue? What is happening in other rooms in the venue? How can you complement that/vibe off it?
Talk to your crowd and find out the answers to some of these things?
Getting into the mindset of your crowd builds your enjoyment of the night immensely, and they’ll respond by talking to you, catching your eye, including you in their night. If you’ve got hands to shake, people’s eyes to catch on the dance floor, other DJs to bounce ideas off, you’re not just ‘there’, you’re having fun!

Finally…
You can do more with either of the two pieces of equipment you have than a DJ with two decks. Equipment won’t make DJing interesting – music and people will. You could DJ with an iPod and done right, have an electric night. Concentrate on the art of DJing, not the science of your equipment. (Or, if you’re really hardcore, and venue permits, you could cover the BPMs on your screen, disable your sync buttons, and beatmatch the whole night manually. That’ll definitely give you something to do between tunes! 🙂 )
Good luck, and have fun.

All Music Can Be Categorized by Just Three Attributes…

Interesting Reading: Some parts being shared here.
For full article please visit:
http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2016/05/17/music-genres-three-attributes/

“After significant statistical analysis involving 102 different pieces of music and 26 different genres and sub-genres, the research team distilled those clusters down to the following: Arousal, Valence, and Depth. According to the study, every single piece of music — across any era, style, or origin — can be accurately described by using those three areas.
These areas are more fully described as follows:
(1) Arousal describes intensity and energy in music;
(2) Valence/Behavior describes the spectrum of emotions in music (from sad to happy);
(3) Depth describes intellect and sophistication in music.
Additionally, the research team also discovered that characteristics describing music from within a single genre(including both rock and jazz) could be accurately broken down by these same three categories. But on the edges of any ‘genre,’ things can be very difficult to classify, which is why most music fans have trouble defining their taste in music.
Indeed, the finding explains why most listeners prefer music that spans multiple genres, radically different styles, and divergent eras. As an example, a lower-intensity chill dubstep track might rank low on the Arousal scale, provoke a mellow emotional Valence, and offer only moderate intellectual sophistication. Those levels could match an acoustic style song, and help to explain why one person likes two seemingly-different styles. Even a laid-back trap song could provoke similar rankings.
“Genre labels are informative but we’re trying to transcend them…”
All of that suggests that genres may be outdated, but more importantly, tied to societal and surface factors that aren’t as directly related to the core music itself. “The findings suggest that this may be a useful alternative to grouping music into genres, which is often based on social connotations rather than the attributes of the actual music,” the research group relayed. “It also suggests that those in academia and in the music industry (e.g. Spotify and Pandora) that are already coding music on a multitude of attributes, might save time and money by coding music around these three composite categories instead.”
At best, genres are clumsy tools to describe music, though at worst they limit our ability to accurately and completely describe a piece of music. “Genre labels are informative but we’re trying to transcend them and move in a direction that points to the detailed characteristics in music that are driving people preferences and emotional reactions,”.

Successful Music Prep for Dance Competitors

There is a transition between playing competition music from CDs, and the DJs ripping that music onto a computer to be played during the competition. In most cases the music played during a competition will be played from a computer.

My experience, at an Event: I received 26 songs from competitors across all the “competitor selected music” divisions. A total of 12 CDs were turned in, three of the CDs were not labeled in any way. Five of the CDs were not “audio CDs” and were burned as “data CDs” instead. Of the remaining songs, 5 had to be e-mailed to me – in most cases, the ONLY copy of the song the competitor had at the event was on their phone! Of the mp3’s, three are below 192kbps bitrate. This is a long way from the “desirable” method for getting music to the DJ for a dance competition.

Tips on editing music

BEFORE any editing takes place, convert any mp3’s (or other compressed format) to wav. Almost all music editing programs use the wav file format for actually editing the music file. Keep the music in wav format during the entire editing process. Note, this conversion will not magically recover the lost information, but it will help to minimize additional losses from converting to and from mp3 multiple times.

When the editing is complete, save the final edit in wav format and use that to burn any CDs. If it is necessary to convert the music from wav to mp3, use mp3 settings that equate to: “320 kbps CBR Joint Stereo.” There is NO reason to ever use a lower mp3 bitrate for music you will use in competition.

Preparing a mp3 for use in a competition

Almost all music played in a competition is played from a computer. In practical terms, mp3 is the “best” format to use when presenting music to the DJ for a competition. Of the existing music file formats, only wav and mp3 can be considered “universal” in terms of support. The mp3 should ideally be the highest bitrate available, 320kbps CBR is preferred. Even at this bitrate, the mp3 file will be just under 2.5MB per minute. This means that a 2-3 minute routine song will be between 5MB and 7.5MB in size. This file can be e-mailed in an “emergency.”

If possible, providing your music to the DJ on a thumb drive may be appreciated…ask the DJ about their preference. Be sure to update the ID3 tags to include the division, name(s) of the competitors, and special instructions (e.g. cue to start music, instructions about tempo changes, etc).

There is no standard way among the various DJs to put the tag information into existing ID3 tags. I prefer to have the “Artist” field contain the division, and the “Title” field contain the competitors names (lead first, follow second), dance position, and the “Comments” contain any special instructions. But, I am both flexible and willing to move tags to suit my preferences.

Final thoughts

During a competition, the DJ booth is a surprisingly stressful and very busy place. Keeping your instructions to the DJ to a minimum is in your best interests – “Push play when we nod” is my favorite kind of “special instruction.” Everything you “need” from the DJ to give your best performance, is another point of risk in your routine: tempo changes, a complicated walk on to the floor, requiring the DJ to ride the sliders to level the volume during the song, and so on.

If I had spent $$$$ preparing for an event – on coaching, choreography, costumes, event passes, travel – not to mention the time invested in practice….I would want to control every point of risk that I could. If not getting the song played at +1% would make a difference to my performance, I would alter the song (in wav format) and burn a new copy to CD. If having a difficult time hearing the intro would put me off the beginning of the routine…I would increase the volume (using the wav file) and burn a new CD.

How To Find The Time For DJing

DJing is for many people a hobby, or at best a part-time pursuit. But a great thing about digital is that you can work on your DJing in lots of places. You can practice on your iPad or even your iPhone; you can buy tunes while on the move; and you can rehearse in your headphones on the sofa while the rest of the family watches TV. Using “downtime” to practice DJing is a smart move.

It pays to investigate ways you can access your library anywhere.
iCloud (http://djtips.co/icloud), Dropbox (http://djtips.co/dropbox), and Amazon Cloud Drive (http://djtips.co/cloud-drive), for instance, all will let you manage your music library from multiple devices. That way you can work out a system where you can buy music at work, and have it waiting for you on your other devices automatically.

As you progress into DJing and start getting DJ gigs, be aware of the pitfalls of juggling DJing and “real life”: tiredness, loneliness, schedule conflicts, motivation and even uncooperative bosses; all call for pre-planning, organization and sometimes sheer willpower, in order to fit your DJing career and “real life” together. But, I think the rewards are worth it… ,

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