Will Producers Make DJs Obsolete?

A lot of discussion has been circling DJ communities about the differences between DJs and music producers. Do producers make better DJs? Do DJs make better producers? Do you have to produce music to accelerate a DJ career? In this article I’ll explain the benefits of becoming a music producer and why producers seem to be supplanting DJs in headlining slots around the world.

DJs vs Producers?

Music Producers. They’re the lifeblood of your dance floor. They are the reason why you love music. It’s what so many DJs aspire to become. You wouldn’t be where you are without them.

The same applies for DJs. Traditionally, if they didn’t exist, producers wouldn’t have another source of outlet for their tracks. Especially for the ones who are producing EDM. The ultimate validation of a track is in a packed dance floor, but without the DJ that would be impossible.

But the overlap between DJ and producer is thinning. Primarily because the music creation/performance industry has been democratized by music tech retail businesses. Accessibility and affordability of most music production applications have made it easy for everyone to DJ and produce. Abundance in technology creates fierce competition in the marketplace, which means every minute, someone somewhere is working on their music production skills. Next thing you know, you’re buying their music from Beatport and they are touring the world.

Photo Credit: Melvin Foo Photography

The ability to create, express, and sell your music to everyone is an entrepreneurial endeavor which expands beyond DJing. It takes a courageous character to step outside of their box and create something out of nothing. It takes resilience to continue producing even when no one is listening. The transformation from DJ to producer might be one of the biggest personal achievement steps you’ll ever take.

Why? Think about it. From the entertainment perspective, a DJ is similar to a band that plays cover songs all night. They might be talented and skilled but that’s as far as they go. Producers are like songwriters. They can create, perform and license their music easily. They provide value to their fans, industry and marketplace.

In my opinion deep down every DJ is a creator of some sort. Someone who wants to share express him/herself creatively – but most never dig deep enough. Few who cross the chasm will outgrow their old DJ-only self and become a better performer as a result.

Here’s why:


Creating original tracks can most likely improve memory and sequencing. Through listening obsessively to music, one should be able to recognise the pitch of various notes and chords and be able to pick out different instruments.

The Mozart effect‘ (Shaw, Rausher, Ky 1993) hypothesized that music caused a rise in intelligence – tested by getting three groups of participants to listen to three different tapes. Group A got a selection of Mozart, group B got a ‘relaxation tape’ and group C got a tape of silence. All participants were then given a test, the same test, to measure spatial IQ. The students that listened to the Mozart sonata on average increased their IQ score by eight or nine points. However, this was only transitory and their IQ score dropped to pre-tape scores in about ten minutes. Other research has shown that preference in music also has an effect on test scores post-tape, whilst other research has shown different results where no IQ increase was found.

In my opinion, producing also can make you more intelligent. Being able to pick out notes, or accurately remix the works of other people are intricate processes that build multiple skills concurrently. It has also been shown that when creating music, regions of the brain associated with fine motor control are activated.

Producing will teach discipline and improve your memory. Being able to remember complex arrangements and patterns over a period of time will enhance your ability to remember other things (such as strings of facts) and will open up new neural pathways. A study by the New York Academy of Sciences looks at whether music training can make individuals smarter. Scientists found more grey matter in the auditory cortex of the right hemisphere in musicians compared to non-musicians The same applies when you are creating music in DAWs.

Also, in reference to muscle memory and multitasking music will help both these facets if you are playing a musical instrument or making beats. In my own personal experience, producing music has helped me to dissect everything with granular detail.


In the internet age, forget the idea of making music and getting picked up by a huge record label. Things don’t work like that any longer. You must learn how to sell, market, and license your music to different services. Each service requires special tactics and different approaches. For example you’ll learn that it will be really hard getting your fresh produced track to labels like Ultra or ToolRoom. Don’t expect to have your track listed on Resident Advisor, Hype Machine’s Top 10, or Beatport News in the first year.

Selling your music will teach you the discipline of the ‘patient’ hussle. It’s probably one of the most important skills you’ll ever learn. Adding street smarts to the hussle makes you attractive to everyone you meet, and these qualities might have never surfaced if you were just DJing.

Also the art of acquiring fans is changing everyday. Don’t expect people to follow you just because you have tracks on iTunes, opened for Alesso, or have a weekly residency at a big club. In my opinion, attracting fans is about influence on many fronts – like domain experience, thought leadership in your genre, consistently putting out great music and so on. You’ll learn that marketing is about authenticity and providing value to people who care.

All that stuff will take time. You need patience coupled with tenacity, which are core qualities of any business person. Some producers have that extra quality that makes them never give up.

I see this extra dose of tenacity in only about 1 of 10 everyday producers –  if you’re not naturally one of these people you probably know it, too. You see that peer who always pushes things further than you normally would. When are you going to get further out of your comfort zone and be more tenacious? It is really what separates the wheat from the chaff.


Photo Credit: Dennis Wisnia

Unlike the relatively solo-focused world of DJing, music production is heavily influenced by collaborations. It could be with musicians, drummers, vocalists or other producers. You’ll learn how to leverage your weaknesses against your collaborator’s strengths. Communicating creatively and passionately about a project is a very gratifying experience. Music has always been a huge connector of people, but harmoniously working on a musical project is an out of world experience in itself.

You’ll learn that working on music with people is a very personal undertaking (especially vocalists). Being careful with their thoughts and opinions will teach you to become diplomatic and empathetic.

A simple example:

For my second EP, I had spent five hours a day (on top of my day job) working on it with one of DC’s most creative producers. All the tracks on the EP had vocals and there were problems with one of the vocal performances. After numerous retakes at a professional studio and then again at my private studio, I concluded that our vocalist wasn’t capable of a quality cut, so I suggested to my partner to scrap the entire song and look for another vocalist.

He agreed that our vocalist needs work, but he was adamant to give her a chance and be patient. I reluctantly agreed. The project was now five months behind schedule and started to get pressure from the label. It took three months to complete that specific track, while the other tracks in the EP were mastered and ready to go. I still wasn’t happy with the finished product but I know she gave it her all. The track ended up selling 4 times more than the other tracks on the EP.

That experience taught me that being a team player isn’t just about working with others to achieve a common goal or product. It’s really about empathy, patience, open communication and most importantly giving someone a chance to do their best. Not sure how I could have learned all of that if I was just DJing.


As I’ve said previously on my other posts, being a great music producer/DJ is about moving the ball forward a few inches every day. What astounded me when I switched from being a DJ to producer was the sheer amount of decisions I had to make during the music creating process. The minutiae. Some of it incredibly important.

The decisions sound so basic when you’re not the one having to make them. Should you go with a Tech House or Deep House track? Should I create it in Ableton, Logic Pro, or Cubase? Should I sequence every instrument or hire musicians? Should you use plugins or outboard analog gear? Should I sell it personally on my site or find a label to pick it up? Should I start my own label? Should I offer it for free to my SoundCloud followers or hide it on my drive until I find a label?

It never ends. And there is no such thing as a music production decision with complete information. The best producers have a bias for making quick decisions and accept that at best 70% of them will be right. They acknowledge that some decisions will be bad and they’ll have to recover from them. Producing a track might be a game of inches but you don’t get timeouts to pause and analyze all of your decisions. It’s a creative, emotional, productive and detailed undertaking. Quite a challenge!

Making these small decisions helped me improve on other aspects of my life. Now I tend to make strong resolute decisions quick. I stopped sitting on the fence paralyzed.


I strongly believe you learn a lot about yourself by stepping into the shoes of a producer. You’ll notice rapid growth in other areas of your life that’s not directly related to music. You learn what you do when you get punched in the face many times by labels, distributors, and other industry folks. You learn that you are bad at many things, lucky if you’re good at a handful of things, and learn to leverage your weaknesses to other producers.

Your inner producer will ultimately render your inner DJ obsolete.

Header Photo Credit: Greg Sagayadoro

Mohamed Kamal is an ex SiriusXM DJ/Producer turned entrepreneur from Washington, DC. He is the Founder and CEO of Gigturn, a platform that connects DJs with fans and gigs.

becoming a producercollaborationdjsmusic producersnew york academy of sciencesproducersproducers verus djsProductionthe mozart effectwhy produce music
Comments (135)
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  • ChoTime

    Hey, no one’s going to say anything? This is a beautifully written article, dude! I’m a long-time guitarist, and even making some stuff on Garageband recently has opened my ears in an odd and very noticeable way.

  • Jean Ja-q

    DJs will become producers using this hack!!!

  • prog

    music production is the way to becoming a famous DJ. I mean look at all the people that are famous now. martin garrix became famous from animals. no one cared about how smoothly he transitions between his mixes.
    ultimately it’s all about money. if the big labels can see that they can make million off of you then the moment your sales drop they’ll just replace you.

  • Spencer Barnes

    This article is fantastic – full of wisdom & golden truths. Thank you for putting this out there! Like good music – your words resonated with my heart.

  • Elephunk Ghost

    I’ve heard this said many times before and I completely disagree. DJ’s play an integral role in the electronic music scene. The producers make their music in the hopes of it being picked up by a label and played on the radio or in clubs by…you guessed it…DJ’S! So in the end, we both have unique skill sets that we bring to the table. Both DJ’s and Producers are needed to make this whole thing work, just my opinion.

  • Weaver2

    I’d just like if most “producers” actually produced.

    The average producer buys pre-canned drum tracks, then pays a singer for vocals, then consults with another producer who actually knows music theory on how to change their song. All while using pre-built sounds in ReFX or your synth of choice. After all that, you then pay someone else to master your track.

    When all is said and done your track then sounds like everyone else’s because everyone else is doing the same thing. You’ve basically become a manager instead of a musician.

  • Danny Graglia

    I’m Musician i can play guitar, i’m on rock music, and i can control midis and keyboards to produce, i use my compositive skills for produce on electronic music, i’m a dj too, i think the best you can do is learn about music and then you can be a full complete dj and producer.


    if you’re sure you can do whatever you want to do, you should take the time to learn the craft and be the best you can be after taking the time to be a learned master at what you do. do everything you can to be happy with what you want to do but nothing can be accomplished if you don’t take the time to LEARN the proper technical way to do what you claim as YOUR CHOSEN CRAFT. producer, dj, whatever! we all need each other because we all play SOME role in the success of every record we touch. AND DO YOUR BEST whatever you choose.!.

  • vega

    Its quite interesting to see dj’s justify their imaginary talent. There is no comparison in the level of musicianship necessary to produce an original track vs dj mixing.Innovative producers know this. Creating a track from inception requires mixing skills that far exceed simply combining two tracks together and feeling the crowd. Its like comparing fast food to a gourmet chef cooking from scratch. No contest!

  • Danny Lee

    Mohamed, your articles are so motivating… Thank you.. it’s been a rough couple of years for me! soundcloud.com/btoyl

  • D-Jam

    I mentioned it in a response…but I’ll say it again here as its own comment.

    I don’t think being a producer will make you a better DJ. I do think DJs who want to make a career in the music business and hope to play big events (rather than just be a human Top-40 jukebox at the local bar) have to produce.

    The unfortunate reality is this is a popularity contest. Whether or not you’re talented seems less important compared to how many people you can get to come out to hear you play. Producing has mainly become a “go to” for DJs to get noticed. Demo mixes? There’s millions out there…but the guy who made some cool track, remix, or mashup that ALL THE OTHER DJS are now playing is the one who wins.

    It’s the hard ugly reality…and it unfortunately does flush the market with a lot of mediocre stuff. Unless some big change hits where every Tom, Dick, and Harry suddenly takes up guitar over DJing, this won’t change. You get into production now mainly out of interest, but also to build your brand up so you get the bigger gigs.

  • Rene

    I do like that this is becoming a topic right now because I think it’s so sad that many producers who aren’t good DJs at all are taking over the industry. And it also forces me to create music to even be able to play a set at a halfway decent venue.

  • Pat Hipsterkiller

    Depends on the style of music and what the crowds of each demand from the act.

    The worst of all however are producers who get paid to fake Live performances *cough*Justice*cough*

  • M. Scott Peck

    Being a producer vs. a dj in this context, is clearly another element of the rapidly developing conversation around EDM, and what it is and what it means to everybody involved in the whole reality of dance music. It seems that the “emergence” of EDM was/is really the emergence of dance music into the commercial music industry. In the commercial music industry, artistry is replaced by entertainment.

    Artistry is the reason why djs in many contexts today exist. (don’t forget that the creation of music is indeed creation of art, or can be )There are makers making things because they have to or have something to express. And there are djs playing all the beautiful things they discover that other people make that they believe will make on dance floors move/feel. Ultimately, these are mutually beneficial practices. Where would one be without the other?

    If you decide you want to make something, make it with intention. Because you need to. Because you hear something the world doesn’t. Don’t just make to say you made. Forget being a producer. Forget being a dj. And Consider the essential qualities of each.

  • Buckminster Campione

    I started producing EDM and Hip Hop in 1999 at age 16. After 9 years of constant progress as a producer, I was ready to incorporate DJing. I personally think this opposite path is the most beneficial in the process of becoming a great entertainer, and here’s why:

    Producing allows you to understand sound on a micro level, and how each frequency interacts with another. You understand pitch, timbre, key, chord progression, dynamics, tempo, rhythmic meter, and so on. This is like learning how to count, or learning the alphabet. They are the components that make up the numbers and words that you will ultimately combine.

    Once you understand the micro level, you can now zoom out and make combinations on the macro level. The macro level is the combination of the songs that have already been made. The songs are like words, or the parts of a mathematical formula. You now must learn grammar to speak fluently, or the order of operations to complete the equation. Combining songs is like combining words. Properly formed mixes are like properly formed sentences. Being a DJ is like being a journalist – you know how to spread ideas in an eloquent, yet grammatically correct manner. If you submit an article with misspelled words and poor sentence structure, do you think the publishing company would offer you a contract? Same thing goes with sonic arrangements.

    When I have performed at shows, other DJs seem to be intimidated by me when they know that I am a producer. I have a huge amount of respect for DJs. Performing in front of crowds of people is a gut wrenching job. I remember once a DJ came up to me and said “You CAN DJ, but you are NOT a DJ.” I agreed with him wholeheartedly, as I do not take the identity of a DJ. Performing at shows is my form of therapy. I once had a resident spot at a nightclub for good money, but I voluntarily left as it was becoming detrimental to my health, as well as my hearing. Performing for free at festivals and underground parties is so much more fulfilling to me, than playing for a nightclub owner that is only interested in selling drinks and blames me for all the fights 😉

    In conclusion, if your desire is to be an entertainer by way of distributing sonic arrangements, I highly recommend taking the “micro to macro” approach. The common path of DJ to producer obviously works, but why not spice it up and see what happens?

  • Henré Botha

    Can we stop talking about the Mozart effect? That experiment has been *thoroughly* debunked, over and over and over again.

  • Justin MCP Case

    Seen UKF live in the UK, the producers were shit live (Nero, Chase & Status etc), whereas Zane Lowe was easily the best there, though his productions are rubbish.

    The producers make better productions, but live, they just couldn’t compare to the raw dj skill of Zane Lowe.

    I am a producer, but tip my hat to the dj on the night showing how it was done.. Made me realize that there really is a completely separate set of skills involved..

  • Mobbinson

    you guys get the dumbest comments on this shit. with that being said thanks for another great article maybe you could do one on where to start? some tips and a little music theory for beginning producers??

  • -___-<(word)

    A great DJ can make his or her mix a unique musical production. There are enough tools that with preparation, a DJ can turn tracks that aren’t of their creation into something completely new, live. As technology advances DJ’s and producers will merge, not cancel one or the other out, with every new release of Traktor, Abelton, or Serato it is becoming easier and easier to basically produce music live. If you use Abelton live for DJing messing around with the production tools becomes natural, and vice versa if your mainly using it for production you’ll probably end up using the live features as well. The Ableton approach is sort of what I see as the future, for even programs like Traktor and Serato. Most recently this is shown with Traktor adding the Remix decks, and for Serato SP6, hopefully they upgrade it. More DJs and Producers should be using Serato Bridge or Traktor with Abelton or Traktor with Machine, that extra element will take a performance to the next level. A live electronic show from a DJ and Producers stand point should be the same, it should be a live production taking the audience on a journey, and making them dance and go crazy and shit, basically to stir up as many emotions as you can as smoothly as possible. Who says a DJ can’t lay down his own drum beat on machine or play a nice synth build on a keyboard live and who says a Producer cant do some live scratches or breaks in there set, its all about the sound your trying to achieve and how far your willing to go to reach that demi-awesome EDM sound thumping away in your head. As a DJ I like to remix and sort of Mash other peoples tracks, I use a lot of samples, most aren’t of my creation but Ill often take a 5 or 6 samples and sort of just make something new live, not exactly producing but it’s pretty close. I am thinking about adding a drum sequencing machine and synth to my setup maybe even throw in one vinyl turntable to scratch with along with my CD-J’s and mixer. The possibilities are endless for both DJ’s and Producers to do more both in the studio and live, its just how far you are willing to expand to allow more creativity.

  • Mad Zach

    I do not think that producers will make DJ’s obsolete because they are two completely different skillsets. Generally I feel that while producers are largely self indulgent and artistic, a great DJ is all about the people. If the people want to hear hyphy, you play it and make them dance. Its more about creative manipulation of people’s emotions. Sure there is a lot of crossover, but there are plenty of instances where a great DJ could never be replaced by someone who makes their own music.

    • Mad Zach

      and I’m a producer lol

  • Reme Stax

    Yes, even though I’m a DJ and I feel it’s an art to sense the energy where ever u are and play the perfect track to uplift everyone in the club, I do think that technology has made the DJ seem like a scam-artist. I think the future of EDM will be live production of music. Thank u. remeassante at yahoo.

  • Sebastian Rattansen

    Good article.

    You probably should have covered the issue of time though – if you’re a DJ/producer you’re spreading yourself across two activities which dilutes your skill in both. Time spent producing is time you could have spent finding that one killer track that noone else has. That trade-off means someone who focuses solely on one of those areas is always going to have an edge over you. Desyn Masiello is an example of someone who hardly produces at all but is obsessed with finding the best tunes. If he put more time into production, his sets wouldn’t be as good, and his DJing would suffer.

    There is also the ‘10000 hour’ rule. It’s generally agreed that to be an expert at something, you need to put a minimum of 10000 hours into it, roughly 10 years. See The Beatles, Tiger Woods, etc. Now if you’re a DJ/Producer, you’re going to have to put in 10000 hours to DJing, *and* 10000 hours into producing to get to the top level in both. That’s a huge time commitment. So I can see why people still focus on one exclusively.

    • Adam Ritenauer

      This situation is universal in today’s world. Most often one is either a creator or curator, because both require significant focus and time. Low barriers to entry create significant competition for creators and increase the amount of content curators must review. Ultimately this translates to increased specialization in both arenas. (This situation plays out in the blogging/media world, also)

      Conversely, I don’t think it will take 20,000 hours to become an expert DJ and Producer, since there is certainly some overlap in the skill sets.

      Also, it could be said that the exercise of learning to a DJ or Producer improves your perception and execution of the other. I can certainly say that learning even the most rudimentary of production skills has change my perception of what I consider “good” music, and certainly makes me enjoy music more in general.

      • Sebastian Rattansen

        Yeah that’s true, 20,000 hours is probably an overstatement with the amount of overlap. How about 15,000 😉 Still another 5 years.

    • Dennis Parrott

      Great point.

      I think that my earlier comment could be amended a bit in that DJs should perhaps “think about things like a producer does” so that you can raise the level of your live performance.. I still believe that looking at things like a producer does when they construct music will serve you well when trying to remix or mashup things….

      I am also a certified ski instructor and learned about the “10000 hour rule” in a book on teaching skiing… the author cited research done by the East Germans that showed that IF you “groove” a movement pattern (how you kick a soccer ball or make your skis turn) and the pattern is ineffective or inefficient (or both) creating a change in your execution to a more effective/efficient pattern will require a MINIMUM of 10,000 plus PERFECT REPETITIONS. usually it ends up taking more in the neighborhood of 20 to 30 thousand perfect repetitions.

      so in that 10000 hours spent in the woodshed working on your craft, strive for QUALITY in everything you do so that you don’t groove bad patterns and habits that you will have to work even harder to replace with better ones! all coaches will tell you that you play as practice… sloppy practice = sloppy play.

      • Sebastian Rattansen

        Agreed. 10,000 hours of no-effort practice is not going to make you an expert. It needs to be 10,000 hours of constantly pushing the envelope – pushing outside your comfort zone, to a higher and higher level of performance. That is hard work! Just writing it down is a bit depressing.

        Still, 10,000 hours of just average practice would still make you pretty good, you’d just not be Sasha 🙂

  • Cyrus

    This article is extremely poor in my opinion and written by someone who doesn’t really have a clue what they are talking about beyond some press release take on ‘EDM;

    ‘a DJ is similar to a band that plays cover songs all night. They might be talented and skilled but that’s as far as they go. Producers are like songwriters. They can create, perform and license their music easily. They provide value to their fans, industry and marketplace.’

    You are joking. Producers very often are profoundly mediocre performers who showcase their own tracks whether the environment suits or not. Vibe creation and atmosphere building is an art in itself – and grabbing bits and pieces from across the spectrum is what DJing in the original sense has always been about.

    One man’s ‘democratized’ is another man’s saturated. Before the bottom fell out of the business model you had both producers and DJ’s – both of whom had different skills and talents. There was a life to be made for both – and occasionally you had a crossover where someone was genuinely talented in both areas.

    Having a track on Beatport doesn’t make you a performer – and being a DJ doesn’t necessarily give you some magical insight into production. So let’s not justify some of the more dysfunctional aspects of the current landscape by pretending they do

  • Adam Allington

    “Also the art of acquiring fans is changing everyday. Don’t expect people to follow you just because you have tracks on iTunes, opened for Alesso, or have a weekly residency at a big club. In my opinion, attracting fans is about influence on many fronts – like domain experience, thought leadership in your genre, consistently putting out great music and so on. You’ll learn that marketing is about authenticity and providing value to people who care.”

    This is so true. I am currently in the process of signing my first track to a label, and it wasn’t opening for Alesso, or any other headliners I’ve provided support for that got noticed by people. It was sitting my ass down and working hard on a tune that people liked enough to spread the word about to their friends. Slow, steady determination really does seem like key the way to get by in today’s crazy fast paced cutthroat industry.

    Perhaps this video will help keep everyone working hard motivated!!

  • Scoop

    I think the whole producer fad will fade in the next couple years, and DJs will be able to shine more again. Right now it’s a a lot of people creating tunes in whatever EDM genre because its super popular right now, but when it drops in popularity (which it inevitably will), the people who only know this wont be able to compete with the ones who know new and old hip hop, soul, rock, funk, etc. The ones who spent all their time knowing everything will be ahead of the ones who spent all their time knowing a few things.

    Of course there will ALWAYS be a market for new producers but when reality hits for many of them I predict a sharp decline in the general producer population.

  • Kasata Sound

    Hey Folks, this question is super interesting to me. I have a show where I am actually trying to both at the same time live. I am having a hard time finding people who do this. Does anyone else know people trying this that I can check out? Here is a video of my latest attempt, hit me up on twitter or vimeo if you like.

  • Kasata Sound

    It is interesting to see all the different takes on this question. I feel like the big unifying concept here is musicality. Both producers and DJs creatively employ their musicality to achieve a desired result. There is an idea that DJs are doing something other than creating because their materials are pre-rendered tracks. I actually look at the tracks AS their materials. In an evening a DJ will have to negotiate more tracks and transitions than many probably would in a day of producing. Additionally, many producers in the industry might spend a day making very safe choices compared to a progressive DJ who is chopping and combing tracks in ways that are very bold and adventurous. The producer also does not have the immediacy of time as a huge factor because a producer can take their time making choices whereas a DJ has to give a performance while reading audience feedback in real time. All this is to say that I think there are very different concerns at play when producing and DJ’ing and there is actually very little crossover in the mechanics of the two art forms. Just think about how different the contexts are between going to a DJ gig and going into the studio to produce. Ultimately, ones success in any musical endeavor comes down to musicality, practice, and cultural relevance. There is a lot of cultural crossover between DJs and producers and that is why one often tries their hand at the other, not because the two skill sets are similar. Any DJ who wants to be a producer it going to have to practice like anyone else and vice versa.

  • CGL Productions

    I do agree that the fine line between Producers and DJ’s has thinned in the industry. How about just the art itself? How about the love of both and still exist as separate entities and not have one render the other obsolete? I have been a DJ since 1978 and I surely appreciate the evolution of technology into the art of turntablism to controllerism. When Mozart challenged the status quo of Classical music, people of the time were reluctant of his style. Eventually he became an iconoclast amongst his contemporaries. But that does not take away from Beethoven, Strauss, Wagner etc…They all have their place and so should DJ’s and Producers Here’s a hypothetical..Imagine you were able to project into the future to find that Producers are rendered obsolete because Artificial Intelligence has taken over the thoughts of the human endeavor…creativity. It will then be historically examined on the differences between Producers and DJ’s and conclude that both are of equal relevance …Let’s appreciate the art of both without putting the latest and the greatest pushing the pioneer to the side like and old unwanted shoe. Let’s not wait until we are dead and buried for historians to appreciate the art of both wondering why we did not do so as well.

  • Jacob

    This is one of the worst written articles I’ve read on this site. Come on Ean, step up your editorial standards.

    • Mr Luvva Luvva

      Agreed, it’s awfully written.

  • Partyghost

    I started producing a few years before I decided that I wanted to actually play out the tracks I was creating. Having terrible social anxiety was one of the reasons I always preferred creating in my own space then putting those creations out there for others to play. This was helped by djing with a close friend who had more stage presence and showmanship than I will ever have.
    What I’ve found is being on the production side makes me a better DJ, knowing what goes into making the songs I will play on any given night allows for much more creative expression behind the decks. On the other side of that, my DJ experience follows me into the studio in the sense of knowing what will go over well on the dance floor. Practicing both disciplines can only make you better at each!

  • Forealz

    Djs just understand the club better, so they make better tracks for the club.

  • Cesar Carrero

    Let’s not forget. that two days producers where are DJs Once Upon A time

  • Awesomer

    9/10 of the benefits this article associates with being a “producer” are also easily acquired by having this crazy thing called a “serious day job.” This article ignores the obvious : people who have day jobs outside of music will struggle to compete with people who (mortgage their future in order to…) dedicate themselves full time to DJing or production.

    Also from what I can tell, in 2013 almost zero nationally or internationally touring DJs are not also producers. Doc Martin (who used to produce back in the day…) and who else? Audiences know producers and they’re the ones buying the tickets, making DJs less relevant than ever.

  • cassandra

    DJ Fad is over. Been that way for almost 2 years now (the production art peaked quite a while ago – last real fresh ‘new’ sound was p robs, back in summer 2010 when he came out with say my name).

    So, a word to the wise, dust off your guitar and start another band for the first time since you quit your emo band back in 2006 to write dance rock. Oh, and yah, produce.

  • Jason Lee

    Will Producers Make DJs Obsolete? No. It makes sense that enjoying music, being able to blend songs mentally and physically, and read a crowd (just a few elements that define a DJ) leads to production of an individuals original music. It can work the other way around, from producer to DJ, but usually doesn’t. I find it interesting, having started as a DJ in 1988, that current technology has made certain professional DJs something of a live re-mixer. I see youtube videos of 11 year olds that “mix” when they’re not. They’re actually turning knobs and applying effects but not beat-matching or playing more than one tune. It will be interesting to see where that leads them (and the culture) in ten years. So, will DJs replace producers?

  • Abicus

    I think this article makes some good points. I think trying to create a song from scratch makes you realize aspects of the music that you never thought of before. However, most people who try to produce will not be good enough to ever sell a song. This should not scare people away though. there is something incredibly gratifying about creating a song from only the ideas in your head and its a process that i think would help any DJ to better understand the music they play.

  • Barry Euphorik

    Nowadays you have to be both a DJ and producer IMO. I can never see the day when DJ’s become obsolete though.

  • Murklin

    I started producing before DJing. I do believe there is commonality between the two. I mean, how can there not be. Most electronic producers are mixing their creations in depth anyway. An ear for music is certainly a pre-requisite and all the technical knowledge helps you understand the art of DJing even better.

    If as a producer you do not know how to work up a crowd then you cannot really expect your original creations to be club bangers anyway. In the end, it all comes down to effort. There is not denying that it takes a whole lot more effort for a DJ to be a producer than the other way round. Simply because producing is infinitely more comprehensive.

    If you a creative producer who is ready to work hard on being a DJ, there is nothing that can stop you, especially because of all the technical knowledge you have acquired.

    However I admit, I have see my share of great producers who are at banal when it comes to DJing, but I think its more because of complacency or devoting 90% of your effort producing. It could be that some of them believe the merit in creating their own tracks outweighs DJing and they just do not care enough. Ofcourse, that thought process is slightly egoistical.

    In conclusion, a person who is only a DJ cannot afford to be boring, on the other hand, a celebrated producer makes the crowd happy by playing his tracks and often gets away with average DJing.

  • Dominic

    A great or good producer does not mean that can propel your DJ career.
    Believe me, don’t live in a dream… There is very very few who are elected.

  • Rawrisk Diaz

    Im a producer and Im a DJ I get paid for DJing in a club every week but I LOVE be in my studio making music… I just hate that I can never sleep hahahaha
    I just catch myself every morning 10 am making music mixing or whatever and sleeping all day long….. I feel my recidency made me lazy

  • Royal Vasquez

    This is great speciallly the decision making process with all the possibilities and I mean all the million there is a continue to come out it can get over frustrating and specially when starting.. hearing and seeing all this daily software coming out you can get drowned by it quick trying to stay on top of “whats the latest” I would say start of simple or Stock and base on from there you will eventually need something and you would know what it is! just an opinion thanks DJTT

  • Michal Pardus

    Will TV make Radio obsolete?

    Same question

  • Wil Trahan

    Theres things about being a dj that you will never learn in a studio. It takes years to really learn how to read a crowd, and to program a set and the only way to learn these skills is to play out in front of people. There is a time and a place for (just about) all music and its a djs job to be able to recognize what to play, and when. Granted, the guys that do nothing but play 60-90 min sets at festivals don’t need these skills, but the guys that play long sets for musically educated crowds need to understand this art. In my opinion, coming from someone who’s been djing for about 15yrs, and really just starting with production, about 3yrs, the only thing that production helps with is getting you more gigs out of your local area.

  • Spla-douche

    To be a dj is like to be Jerry Springer; you give the crowd what they want.

  • Mathias Richardson

    I will say that I don’t see many producers who also DJ run mixers into the red.

  • Brenn

    Good article : )

  • Ollie Klein

    Amazing Article keep them coming! Very well written, props!

  • Vic Chang

    No. That’s ridiculous.

  • RetroGrade

    Anyone can download ableton and the array of plugins available out there, however you can’t learn creativity…

    oh and mixing and mastering play a HUGE role in anything you make

  • hardcoreplur

    I have met a lot of DJs who try to produce with small success. But I know of a lot great Producers who try to go back to DJing and fail hard. I believe it all depends on your skill set and natural abilities. I love DJing and don’t see myself producing anything, maybe a little controllerism is in my future though.

  • akiem

    I have produced and DJd both for years and understand…. but I think its more of ANYONE with a name can pass themselves off as a DJ the way technology has changed in the past several years.

  • ayoung

    might want to be careful referencing the mozart effect as the study the theory is derived from has been widely discredited

  • Joel Quest

    DJ is different that Producing. Just because someone can design a race car doesn’t mean they know how to drive it.

    Production takes an ear for sound, style, music theory, and knowledge of the software. It takes years to hone the skills to be a top level producer.

    Being a DJ is all about knowing when to play the right track at the right time for the right people. Again, it takes years to learn to read a crowd and accumulate a library of tracks

    Apples and Oranges. If you can do both well, you’ll be a superstar.

  • Rob Bamboo Cifre

    Yeah ask WIP if producers going to be taking over the DJs job. If anything I see the one who is manipulating beats on the fly much more of a better live PA then someone who spends days if not weeks on one song. I have been a DJ for over 20 years now… yet some producer who has been producing for 5 years.. and can sync a set is not going to be better then me…

    • Robert Bradford

      For arguments sake though Rob, does technical DJ’ing ability necessarily equal ability to move the crowd?

      If you take that argument to the opposite extreme. There are really technically talented hip-hop producers who toil in obscurity. While simpletons with baby-like producing skills (Soulja Boy) sell millions of singles.

  • bas

    I do both, but i like dj-ing much more,
    Everytime i produce some beats i find myself behind the decks after an hour.
    The whole industry nowadays is based on the fact that if you produce a hit record people think youre a good dj (as said below) but you can spot those djs i a minute. I am not the guy to sit still behind my computer for hours, i like to play with music, eqs,fx, loops and make exsisting tracks sound different.
    But the trouble is, if you dont produce, getting bookings is sooooooooo hard.

  • dj trouble

    I wish everyone would become a producer so the REAL djs can take the artform back & restore balance.. doesnt matter to me if people make whack music but I hate the fact that all these f**k n***az are whack djs

  • Anonymous

    Really fantastic, thought and debate-provoking article! 100% agree, especially for electronic music.

    It should also be noted that one of the best DJs ever, Gilles Peterson, shows that you can be an industry-defining DJ inspiring a huge swathe of the most innovative artists, by focussing to an obsessive degree on knowledge, selection and curation, to the point of running labels and elevating artists to bring the music industry along with you. Own productions have been a bit of a selection criteria for promoters, which isn’t always appropriate.

  • Steve Sepulveda

    I beleive this 100% true and that is the reason im going to start producing my own music!!

  • mor4sso

    As someone that was into producing FIRST and then became interested in Live Performance/DJing, I think that in order to really understand what it is that you’re trying to create, you HAVE to at the very least attempt both. I personally find more intrinsic value in the creation of my own music, but I am obsessed with the notion of creating a unique performance as well, and that’s something I never would have realized if I didn’t explore DJing/Live Performing.

    The fact of the matter is, you’ll never truly be able to understand what a producer works through in order to make a full track unless you attempt it yourself, and you’ll never fully be able to understand what a DJ actually does unless you’re up there on the stage trying to work the crowd.

    That being said, I think now, with the controllerist movement really picking up steam, it’s up to people like us, the new breed of producers and DJs, to come up with unique experiences and forms of expression, but the skills that producing and DJing require are mutually beneficial to the other process.

    Simple strive to create something unique and pleasing to you, and it won’t matter who judges you based on the label of “producer” or “DJ”.

    • Kasata Sound

      I agree with this post. I am actually trying to do a show where I do both at the same time because my trajectory sounds kind of like yours. It is interesting to see the two worlds meet gradually. Here’s an excerpt of my attempts.

  • Lewis

    You know youve made a good article DJJTT when were all discussing it at length!

  • Ean Golden

    While producing music certainly provides a wide number of supporting skills that “can” produce better djs – Production alone does make someone a great dj.

    “DJ’ing” requires a very specific set of skills, problems, and learned behaviors that can only be honed through years of practice. Producers that land on the stage (and the promoters that put them there) often (incorrectly) assume that they will automatically be great djs – which simply is not the case.

    My recommendation? Work on both equally as they will both provide tremendous value to the fans.

    • Mohamed Kamal

      Agreed. Dj vs producer is a false dichotomy.

    • Nick Perry

      Well said

      • Bernardo Bustorff

        If you think something is well said, don’t tell it to the person who wrote, just put a like…

        • Speezy Speez

          when you don’t think something is well said, don’t tell it to the person who wrote, just put a dislike…

    • Robert Bradford

      Ean, that makes a lot of sense. But by dividing your time between both producing and DJ’ing wont you be diluting your ability to be GREAT at just one? Or are quality producer/DJ’s just that marketable?

      BTW, its awesome that you still make time to take care of the DJTT audience. Managing your businesses and career has to be incredibly time consuming. Thanks for all the effort you put into this site.

      • Dennis Parrott

        If you think about it, chopping songs into bits and rearranging them can be looked at as “production”… You have to plan out what you are going to do with the isolated bits of songs before you play them out on stage. You need to do “production-like” things to make live remixing work.

        So no, I don’t think that one dilutes the other. I think that each activity, actual DJing and production, can inform the the other. Together they can make a much more interesting whole.

        If I simply play records using nice transitions and if I choose just the right records to play during my set, people may resonate with that and call me a great DJ. If I can do that _AND_ add to it things that I have built up from my production(-like) activities that permit live remixing, people may resonate and call me an amazing DJ because I brought that extra bit they weren’t expecting.

        And if none of my gear works right and my PA sounds bad and I am working with an unfamiliar mixer, well, they will call me a doofus. LOL

        Ultimately, doing both allows you to bring in new elements that you otherwise couldn’t.

    • Anonymous

      Totally agree, promoters often rule out DJs who haven’t produced. This isn’t always a great selection criteria but does mean that a nice production can propel your DJ career, (as well as be useful learning).

    • Rawrisk Diaz

      Still producing music gives you a complete diferent spectrum of EDM that just being a DJ.

    • Robert Wulfman

      Strangely I started out wanting to do both from the very beginning and I’ve always worked on both equally. I always see all these articles written for DJs wanting to/being erged to become producers. I guess I was doing it right the whole time.

    • Blorp

      “Production alone does make someone a great dj.” Did you mean… “does not”?

    • Adam Allington

      I definitely don’t take Dj’ing to the extent you do Ean (I mix without a laptop by ear, mix em in smoothly with eq and the channel fader, not much effects), and producing has definitely helped hone my ear when eqing tracks. I can hear things I could not before, and the quality of my sets have improved because of it. The reverse can be said from DJ’ing as well. Playing a lot of gigs keeps you in touch with people’s tastes, and mixing so many tunes really makes you understand the arrangement intuitively.

      I agree that although the skill sets are different for both, working on both is super important. It’s important to be able to DJ well when you perform, regardless of whether you produce or not. There is a DJ in our town who can’t beatmatch well, but has several releases on Beatport. A lot of promoters have given him several chances because of his production pedigree, but end up losing faith in him after he falls short time and time again.

    • Dr. Plasticine

      I am a music producer by nature and originally started that way. What I found is that once I began DJing I realized why people chose one song over another. A songs key, layout and design make a big difference! So to me becoming a DJ has made me a better producer. I even enjoy spinning my own songs more now because they make more sense.

    • rando

      “Production alone does make someone a great dj”

      line 1 ….hope its a typo

      can georgio moroder DJ ?

      • BKL

  • Lewis

    This article is well put together but it kind of slaps the role of a DJ in the face. At this current pace, the DJing world is blended with producers due the fact with such a high demand in the music production industry in regards to the recent explosion of dance music popularity has caused a drop in the quality of popular music. Now that anyone can sell their music through beatport, band camp or some other online method they dont need a label to make it past the dindgy clubs in less time than before. They can promote themselves to a certain degree using the internet and any clubs they play in and then a label will be in place simply to pick them as an act that can be playing anywhere outside of their local area.

    In this way, when dance music is less popular the fans will scrutinies more over the quality of the music their buying and the artists their paying to go see. it wont be a case of every kid with a little allowance from their parents looking forward to buying the next big dance track or trying to find an artist no one knows just to be cool. itll be true fans picking and choosing who lives or dies in the producing industry.

    So, in a way the DJ will never dissapear, they still need to play the songs they dont make and in most ways they need that DJ expereince to get some more attention than the way they do now.

    Also im sorry but jaguar skills has made like 5 songs or something and hes 1000% better than any producer. i dont see him dissapearing any time soon

    • Megowan

      For me the biggest advantage to producing your own music and working with other producers is that you personally create that access to unique dubs that no one else has. I’d say my main gripe with most producers turned DJs is that they have no sense of pacing or blending in terms of maintaining a certain level of energy. For the most part, many of them effect the shit of a track until it’s time to start the next one.

  • Double-0

    What kills the DJ culture is the sync button and “celebrity” DJ’s

    • Vic Perez

      What does the sync button have anything to do with this? Leave the poor button alone, it’s had enough.

      • Kasata Sound

        HA HA!!! TRUE! Never was there a more/less popular button.

    • Dennis Parrott

      AMEN AMEN.

      More so the “celeb” DJs than the sync button.

      The sync button is an enabler. You can use it judiciously and it will allow you to do other things in your mix that can bring the heat. You can abuse it and cause your audience to double over retching up their overpriced vodka. Like a gun, the sync button is just a tool. Use it right and things are OK.

      “Celeb” DJs on the other hand cheapen the culture and to an extent disrespect the entire art form of DJing in all of its styles. I cannot think of a “celeb” DJ that really did anything to further the art form. They are like vultures that swoop in, scoop up the cash and do nothing much to deserve it.

      I guess I should not expect a “celeb” DJ to make contributions to the art form. Not when people like Paris Hilton get paid tens of thousands just to show her ugly mug at a party for an hour…. These sorts of “DJs” are parasites and their management who put them up to these sorts of things are cockroaches.

      DJs who become celebrities because of real things they have done in music and DJing are fine. Someone who gets famous and then gets a 15 minute lesson in how to press play…nuh uhh.

  • JL

    As a DJ, It’s a natural progression to produce music if you are taking a career in music seriously. Putting your own music into your sets is the ultimate personal stamp on your style. This isn’t a new phenomenon though, DJs and the dance music scene has been operating this way for decades now. The big difference now is the barrier to entry to production is much much lower because of technology. In the past, it could take years to acquire, gain access to, and learn the studio tools necessary to produce professional sounding music. Putting in all that time was the blood, sweat, and tears required to create something of high quality. With the convenience of today’s tools, many people are attempting to skip over those years of hard work and the result is a lot of the similar sounding mediocre music we see filling the pages of online music sites.

    There is no substitute for hard work and putting in the time when it comes to consistently creating something of quality. That’s true in any field. Moving forward in a now saturated DJ field, setting yourself apart as a DJ isn’t going to be just about producing music. The crowds will become bored with the status quo sounds soon enough. This reoccurs over and over in music. The key will be creating something original. Something that pushes the boundaries of music and performance. Something that stretches your comfort zone as a creator as well as the audience’s comfort zone, in many cases. So when you go grab the latest version of Ableton and download all the VSTs your favorite DJ/Producer is using now, think about new ways you can use those tools rather than just emulating someone else’s sound. And if you can’t think of creative ways to use those tools, maybe it means you need to put in more hours (and hard work) with those tools to get a better understanding of how they work.

    • lewis

      Haha i just said this beneath you at the same time lol

  • Dalton Conner

    I come from a musicians background. I played in bands and did little projects here and there on Guitar, Bass, and drums. I did that for 6 years before I even thought about or got interested in DJ’ing. For me it felt like a crime to be playing other people’s music and not contributing to music myself when I started DJ’ing. I’ve written about 4 or so songs now and I can tell you; it’s a very freeing feeling. The only reason I think I’m a decent DJ is because I was a musican long before what I do now. And I must say playing songs you put countless hours into and all of your passion before or during DJ sets is a feeling like no other.

  • Lylax

    on the stance of being a DJ and Producer……alot of producers cannot mix….like skrillex.
    just becasue you can produce….does not make you a DJ AT ALL.

    • MellonHead

      wonder why that is? it’s not like they don’t know how to use eq to blend 2 or more elements together. aside from pacing and track selection isn’t that all mixing is? seems like audio engineers should have a huge advantage in that aspect.

      • Scoop

        I’m sure it’s no problem if its all same tempo, but if that’s how you DJ then I’m inclined to say that’s not a Dj or that’s an extremely limited, and thus, boring DJ

      • Kasata Sound

        I think the reason why that is, is because mixing in a production environment is about getting a good sound whereas mixing in a live DJ is more about the dramatic arc of the evening and having a solid command over your record collection which is a different skill than knowing how bled highs and lows clearly.

    • Ronald Edwards

      I think of Producers as the guys who build cars and DJs as the guys who
      race the cars. Having skills in both areas makes you better at both.

      The real difference between DJs and Producers is that DJs work in real time, with a crowd and make (sometimes hard) choices that need to happen so that the night will continue to be fun… their eyes are on the crowd. Producers may have more control over the pieces of music, but they are NOT skilled in live entertainment and they don’t tend to have as much flexibility when the crowd doesn’t respond to their pre-planned music… their eyes are on the music parts. Truly entertaining Producer-DJs are ultimately the goal, but I think it’s a mistake to say that Producers are inherently better at entertaining than DJs.

  • mygaff

    I think producers make for bad DJs, who played soulless sets that hold no groove. producers who performs live shows like Daft, underworld, orbital etc rock it out every time :-). I hate the term EDM, let’s stop getting away from the important things in life like House Music without pigeon holes 🙂

  • mygaff


  • jprime

    Producing and releasing tracks has helped my DJ career immensely. I’m glad I took the plunge into production long ago, it was an obvious necessity.

  • jjnipp

    Won’t become obsolete if you spin top40 or hip hop. Just Blaze and Bangladesh aren’t going around spinning tracks at every club who wants a DJ spinning hip hop. Different outcome than house, dubstep, etc. I think.

  • Jayson Joyce

    Producer/DJ is nothing new in the house music/dance music (now EDM) world. Since the beginning in NYC, Chicago, & Detroit producers like Frankie Knuckles, Kevin Saunderson, Louie Vega, etc. played and made their own music. Obviously the difference is that everyone can create and play now. I can show a 12 year old basic song structure and because of sync and key detection they can DJ a basic set. The same is true for making tracks- start with a popular DAW that time stretches and add loops from Loopmasters or Vengeance and you have 90% of the track made. That is the root of the problem. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. The amount of bad music being created is at an all time high. I worry that technology will destroy the art of Djing like it has destroyed the role of a recording engineer (try to make a living as a recording engineer today-if you don’t work with the top grossing artists you might as well quit and make your own music). The only way to make a decent living as a club dj (outside of the niche of weddings, small parties, etc) is to make tracks. You have to separate yourself somehow and playing everyone else’s tracks will make you $150 a night. You have to market something different. I really hope that new instruments like using Ableton’s Push get rid of the DJ standing infront of a laptop. At Ultra/WMC this year I felt the good and the bad of technology. At a pool party a very well know producer/dj was playing great music but when I got to the stage and looked his only interaction with the crowd 15 secs before a chorus or drop and 15 secs after. In between he was staring at his screen looking through his files. He might as well been reading a NY Times article while tapping his feet. Then I saw Eric Prydz on the big stage play a wide variety of his own tracks in a set and you could hear slight changes in BPM as he adjusted pitch. Was like night and day. I know there is only one Prydz but the idea is that you should try and be the like your idols, practice for hours a day, not find the easiest way to do the same thing in a DAW or Traktor. If people did that, then technology would be used to create new ideas, but now its being used to fill in for a lack of hard work and talent.

    • ooookay

      The thing is, What I personally feel makes a good dj. Is something you are born with long before you can ever remember. It’s being able to hold emotion and knowing how to read faces… Eyes.. Lips.. Body. Energy. Most DJ’s even producers that don’t DJ whatsoever are so clueless and so lost in it they think they can go up on stage drop some tracks and yell on the mic.. When the music should be doing the talking. I’ve seen and been through so many countless DJ’s that have been playing top 40′ and the same set for 5 years and they STILL don’t change it up. Because it works. They can get away with it. I think if you play the music you enjoy and bring a following every week as a local DJ are you if not one of the best in the world.. and those dudes are all underground. It’s crazy to me a PRODUCER can not dj… HOW? They skipped the simple steps and foundation. Today if you are not a graphic designer.. and visual artist.. doing motion graphics for live visuals.. you are going to be left in the dust. Producing comes along with that but that takes time but if you put the time in you are bound to find something. Step outside the box. Everyone should support everyone. These articles almost talk down upon when it all should be about the music. Support whoever plays and help them grow to be better. Thats all I can say. /rant.

  • Lion

    The thing about producers performing on stage with their drum machines and controllers, chopping their songs up in Ableton Live etc. is inspired by the DJs. The whole controllerism movement really showed what is possible and even what has been done is but a facet of the possibilities. Both sides, DJs and Producers have been feeding off each other for decades this is just the latest trick.

  • Rodrigo

    I totally get why jumping into producing music can help you become a better dj…

    But what if you as a producer suck, yeah sure you may have massive skills on how to do things on ableton, collaborating with people, fantastic music theory skills, but what if the outcome just sucks? How often do you hear an album (lets say 13 tracks) where every single track is mind blowing??? maybe every 15 or 20 years…

    I understand DJ’s have an inferiority complex but the truth is that creating music is great for people who have talent and they are unfortunately very few.

    • Mathias Bruus Håkonsson

      well it took 2 guys from Denmark 5 years to make a wonder album where every track was amazing, but it really didn’t get all the hype it deserved, because of not being pop and hitting the danish reggae-wave to early..
      and also are almost all the tracks to well produced to being an easy target to mix with for dj’s, its simply not produced dj friendly neither..
      but hey, its still a great album!

    • Mohamed Kamal

      the sum of experiences of being a producer added to your dj skills creates enormous growth

    • Andre Kleijn

      Calvis Harris album??? where nealy every track has been a huge hit in europe???

  • razlin

    Very good read, props

  • james marshall

    “The first and probably most important support for increased identification is enhanced feedback loops. The audience is psychologically closer to the live actor than the spectator is to an image on the screen. A real person is present and is thus a much more powerful stimulus than a flat, two-dimensional image. The physical presence of the performer allows the audience members to feel that they can influence the performers. Audiences do affect performers through a complex feedback loop mechanism. Their responses are communicated to the actor, who in turn, responds in such a way as to affect the audience. This, in turn, leads to more mutual-behavior-affecting responses which then act to further affect the players. The cycle will continue certainly until the performance is over and probably in the mind of the spectator and actor for longer periods of time. The audience response does affect the actor, influencing him in obvious and subtle ways to modify and enhance his performance. Applause, laughter, jeers, silence, disdain, indifference, etc. are the feedback modalities that reach and influence the actor. Many actors claim to feel this input very keenly”

    – found this tidbit when googling “performer audience feedback loop”

    i have been thinking about this lately and this is along the lines of what i have come up with.

    why was paul oakenfold such a horrible producer?

    why are chemical brother live sets so amazing?

    yes, all djs should learn how to play piano, even learn to freestyle some jazz or whatever… but become a producer? sell music? really? thats required to be a dj now?

    what i think is missing from the conversation is MAGIC. the magic of reading a crowd and ‘feeling them out’.

    yes – producers need to hone a different ‘sense’ to produce the ‘magic’ of an awesome track. but this is different than the ‘magic’ a dj has to produce live on-demand.

    its the reason a bunch of hippies followed the grateful dead around the country. and some producers have it, some dont. some can get it, and work at it, some might be walking down the wrong path trying to hone the skill.

    THIS is the reason why some people sound really fucking boring live. i mean big giant names with huge ‘sales numbers’ playing out at ‘massive festivals’ and they sound BORING AS HELL. some of them admit it themselves… pretty much everything is planned out so you better feel like ‘the mood’ they are playing.

    where as a ‘real dj’ can adjust and play what ‘your mood’ is.

    see the difference?

    when your ‘in the mix’ and you ‘feel the inspiration’ and stop playing your planned playlist and start ‘shooting from the hip’…is your music collection so tight you can load a track and drop it and mix in with oh ummm…. 10 secs?

    scratch that. can you rock a crowd one track at a time – no mixing? thats what i think really djing is… but that might just be me.

    this magic stuff… am i alone on this? is there no magic?

    when you are djing is it you who decides the tracks? or the crowd? its suppose to be a collaberation isnt it? and how will you communicate? is it the same kind of communication a producer would use? are you going to ask the dude in the back if the high hat is off?

    if you think you dont get to pause and analyze when producing a track i got news for you when djing for a live crowd… and sometimes listening back to small bad decisions sounds amazing when at the time i thought i completely lost the plot.

    so no, i don’t think producing will make you a better dj.

    • Ean Golden

      great point. If you follow this argument to it’s conclusion then it might be said that djs make better producers.

    • applejuiceb0x

      Paul Oakenfold is a terrible producer because he didn’t produce any of his tracks he paid other people to ghost write them and he put his name on them. A buddy of mine (who is in a successful band) did some tracks for him and sent them expecting him to “produce” or recreate them but all he did was send it to mastering and release it. Quality didn’t seem to be an issue for him.

    • D-Jam

      I personally think the producer route is mainly now to have “something to market” so you can play in the bigger spots. I agree producing won’t make you a better DJ (seen horrible sets from great producers). However, a name like Skrillex or The Crystal Method is one that draws out people…hence why they get booked.

      It’s tough now since where you DJ becomes synonymous with how many people you bring out. Hence why those with tracks out there get a leg up on the guys who simply practice to play amazingly well.

  • Ajacky

    I will have to partly disagree with this post. I am a DJ that has turned into a producer myself also but I think the main reason for that being an essential step forward nowadays is the state of DJing and popular music at the moment. Everyone knows that EDM is an easy genre to mix and the new DJ technology with Sync buttons and all has made it basically so easy that it’s no longer motivating to do just that.
    What should have been maybe taken into account in this text is that EDM is only a current trend and may also go away some day. Something new can arise and maybe the value of live performance will be more important again. The HipHop scene was alive and creative before 2010 and that culture emphasized live performance and technique and creativity in DJing. A HipHop DJ didn’t need to be a producer because the DJing part was also creatively satisfying and challenging to learn properly. How many producers actually can perform turntablist techniques properly? Is DJing really that easy compared to producing when you think about it this way?
    It is the sad truth however that the DJ culture at the moment does not emphasize creativity and DJing with the music of 2013 is so easy that it is no longer satisfying. So in this aspect the text is absolutely correct and getting into producing is what you should do now to stay competitive. Besides, producing is really quite interesting and fun also just as the writer pointed out.

  • AlbertEinstein

    Don’t producers make songs and play nothing but their songs at concerts? Don’t DJs control people by: playing all the hits keeping people happy and dancing and making on the spot mashups? And aren’t some djs performers like Shiftee? I don’t see how producers can make djs obsolete, unless my view of djs is different from the author’s view.

    • Dan White

      You’re spot on. Watch out for tomorrow’s companion article – “Why DJs Can Never Be Replaced By Producers”.

      • Impatient imp

        Still waiting for this.

    • celtic-dj

      i agree with you einstein…a producer must play his music or the labels music -can be played via mini disks or the latest cdj’s controllers -labels dont care – its all about money..not much freedom here,… in the psy trance scene producers use cubase for dj’ing and basicly just press play and act as if they are doing something..this is called a live act…and yes …you will get paid heaps of money for this fake performance – all you have to do is smile and wave your arms…the edm scene pays for your social status not your real skill…and what is real skill when dj the programs we use are always improving aswell as the midi controllers ???
      with all the 3d midi motion sensors coming out you can manipulate sound using your body…all the fake performers who do nothing on stage will have to adapt..finally a digital dj has more stage power then the traditional dj and the average DAW software technician ..the future is comming

      important tip for producers/dj’s :
      check out what chemicals you are feeding your mind with (for instance – lsd stays in the brain for at least 5 years!!)…most party drugs seriously cripple your mind to handle advanced technology systems (especially all the chemicals that are added to Tobacco !!!).

      • Stephen Senna

        100 right on tobacco…. i quit and its blown me up fast.. and im motivated

      • Speezy Speez

        LSD stays in your brain for roughly 48 hours.

    • KLM

      Simply not true. Producers who DJ play their own tunes along with others. Sometimes they play other tunes even more than their own.

  • troll

    I can’t wait for Ean’s next hot track!

    • Dennis Parrott

      snide commentary aside, I want to hear his next big mixes! he has a few mixes floating around on the web that are pretty damn amazing and I would like to hear more… midi fighters are great and all but Ean you are DJ — not an engineer!! (well, perhaps a self-trained one!)

      but even more than that, I appreciate the videos about mixing and controllerist techniques. i find them inspiring and educational.

      Ean – I want to say publicly “Thank You” for all you’ve done over the years to make digital DJing a reality. Without DJ Tech Tools I would never have gotten that Hercules RMX controller working!

      Thank you.