Terry Sarten

Singer Songwriter

DJ’s mistaken for musicians

I have been getting around various local venues checking out the performance scene and find that on enquiry about live music I am told that they get in a DJ. Thinking a DJ is a musician is mistaking the ability to plug in a computer with being able to play an instrument or sing. DJ’s play records /sample songs / do remixes they do not compose or actually play the songs.
Some DJ’s are good at this and get paid well for lining up a sequence of tracks. This dependent on the actual tracks being very good in the first place. It is hard to build good dance mixes out of bad material. The DJ takes a sequence of great tracks and links them together -the equivalent of lining up a selection of Picasso’s best work and presenting in to us as a slide show with one picture after the other. DJ’s are not creating art they are in a sense plagiarising or ‘appropriating’ the creative work of others. If a writer nicked all the best bits out of other people book’s they would be pilloried for literary theft but for some reason when a DJ does this it is considered talent.
As you, dear reader, may have gathered, I feel strongly about this. As a songwriter/performer of live music, I pride myself on performing original work. To be side-lined by a person who plays records at people is a bit of a blow.
While on the subjects of crimes in music, I would also like to denounce the vice that is karaoke. This is a device that allows people who cannot sing to believe that after a few drinks that they can actually find notes and hold a tune, when it is clear that this is not happening. The sad bit is that it makes theme happy. I do not begrudge them their moment of hilarious joy but I do think that whoever invented the karaoke machine should be forever trapped in an infinite dawn in a karaoke bar.

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