A few years back, when the Passionate DJ Podcast was just a gleam in my eye… I wrote an article about beatmatching which occasionally goes “viral”.
I still remember the first time it happened. Right before bed, I noticed that I was suddenly getting loads of new Facebook and Twitter followers. Naturally, I was curious about the source of this surge, so I checked my site analytics. Indeed, I was getting inundated with new traffic! An exciting moment for a blogger.
Scary and Exciting
The first thing that happens when you log in and see that 400 or 500 people are viewing one of your articles right this moment, is a feeling of excitement, followed by a feeling of panic.
Facebook likes on the fan page nearly quadrupled, Twitter follows came in left and right… it was awesome!
All this traffic is exciting, because that's all any blogger wants… an audience willing to read their articles, and to engage with them. But panic quickly ensues, as you suddenly feel like you're writing to the whole world instead of your normal readers.
Prior to that day, traffic trickled in slowly because people sought out my content personally, or happened into a link. But in this case, a flood of traffic came in because people were interested in a highly polarized issue in the DJ community… the trusty old beatmatching vs. sync debate.
Turns out, I had reason to be concerned. Though some comments were from people who liked what I had to say, many were simply trolls who decided to lambaste me for “my” viewpoint on the subject.
Observation 1: Some People See What They Want To See
One has to realize that they'll be criticized, when posting things up for the entire world to see. I'm cool with that.
However, it is frustrating when people get upset at you for viewpoints you don't hold. I lost count of comments praising me for waving the banner of modern digital DJing, as well as those cheering me on because they thought I was slating laptop DJs.
Yet still, some people thought that it was a vinyl vs. digital debate (it seems like they forgot that you can beatmatch on any format!)
None of that was the case.
I would never say, “People who don't beatmatch aren't DJs,” nor would I tell anyone who does that they're dinosaurs. Yet, people seemed to think that I sat in one camp or another. My point was that, even though technology has enabled DJs to not worry about things like beatmatching, there still might be value in learning the skill.
I've learned that as a content creator (whether that's writing for a blog, or putting a new track out for public consumption), you have to grow a thick skin. Present the best form of your work, let it speak for itself, and realize that someone's not going to like it.
Observation 2: Words Matter
Going back and looking at that post with hindsight, I can see why people would immediately be charged on the issue.
I titled the post “10 Reasons Why You Should Still Know How To Beatmatch By Ear”. That was clearly a bad choice on my part. Considering the fact that I'm a multi-format DJ who spins records, plays mp3s, and in-between (DVS), I'm not someone who has any real format bias. I use them all depending on my mood, what is provided by the venue, or what makes sense.
Sometimes I use sync, though I'm not reliant on it. I don't care if anyone else does.
Using the word should gives a strong implication: that I think the old-school way is the correct and only way. That was not the feeling I meant to convey, so I kinda brought that one on myself. In today's age of sharing, linking, and quick scanning… I could've probably titled this more appropriately.
Observation 3: DJs Get Fixated on Such Unimportant Things
Hardly a revelation, right? But, this is the biggie… the one that actually gets to me. This all came about because of this one article about a polarized issue that, in my opinion, is one of the least important ones we discuss.
The things that I'm really interested in… the things that fascinate and excite me about DJing… all have to do with either the psychological aspects of the craft, or the artful expression of it. I wanted to touch on the beatmatching issue (because I thought that it would provide value to my readers), but it doesn't mean that I find it to be of utmost importance.
Whether you beatmatch manually, use a sync button, play records, use an all-in-one controller, or have found a way to spin player-piano scrolls to a drum beat, it has little bearing on my opinion of you as a DJ. What's much more important is the musical output, the artistic expression… the DJ's desire to meet the needs of their audience.
Admittedly, I find myself disappointed that this is how thousands of people got introduced to Passionate DJ, instead of by way of a more important issue… like needing advice for busy DJs with day jobs, or the struggles of women in the industry.
Observation 4: Passion Doesn't Equal Pragmatism
It's easy to be passionate about DJing, or about anything. It's essentially an automatic response; we have little control over it.
We need to realize that there are many different kinds of DJs, and many different paths that led us all here. Some of us care about different things. Some of us have different needs than others.
We need to be tapped into logic and reason at all times. What really matters when it comes to our DJing? Who really needs to be made happy? What's actually going to be the best tool for the job? What fits perfectly into my workflow?
As DJs, we're constantly putting our own personal brand on display. Everything we say, everything we do, every argument we get into behind the booth, and every name we call someone on social media… it all feeds into the image we project to our fans and friends.
And honestly, some things aren't worth getting all that upset about. Let's just play some tunes and relax.