Without discs, are we still disk jockeys?

what jockey disk jockey DJ

Oxymoron |ˌɒksɪˈmɔːrɒnnoun: a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.

Such is the case with the new Pioneer XDJ-1000. A disk jockey or DJ as we have come to be known takes the name from the manipulation of circular musical media — well that’s my prosaic technical description anyway. But does Pioneer’s new product nomenclature really mean what it says? Are we now in the strictest sense of the name ex-disk jockeys? Is Pioneer trolling us with their whimsical acronym?

This isn’t a new topic, but I don’t think we’ve covered this angle before. But given the proliferation and preponderance of disk-free digital solutions, is the term “DJ” as valid as it once was? In the whole scheme of things, it’s becoming increasingly rare to find actual music being physically spun anymore. DVS just plays a time code and not actual music. And with CDs being ousted in favour of an entirely digital solution, can we technically call ourselves DJs now?

So if we’re not DJs, what are we? Music curators? Oh wait… MC is a thing. Audio chef? Sound sculptor? Ooooh that sounds incredibly pretentious — a bit like any job title with ninja or jedi in it. What about USBJ? Because that has no other connotations does it?

Of course we’re DJs

People do take things wasy too literally, and often berate controller users for not being DJs because they don’t use disks, or specifically vinyl. But the name DJ transcends the media that we use. If you play tracks one after another to a crowd and they dance, then to me that makes you a DJ. I don’t care if you slam, fade, beatmatch, or sonically craft samples and loops into a coherent sound sculpture —  you’re a DJ in my book. Don’t be defined by the hardware or the medium.

So just because Pioneer may have put a nail in the Compact Disc coffin (even the disk/disc thing is messed up), you’re all still disk jockeys. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You are more than the technology. You are a DJ.