Have you ever been at a party and just hated the music?
Nothing the DJ plays makes you want to move?
How do you usually describe that party to friends?
Maybe like this?
“The music sucked.”
“The DJ is so terrible.”
There are definitely some objective ways to measure the quality of a DJ. These are a few that come to mind. Feel free to add to this list in the comments.
- Playing songs with poor audio quality
- Poor control of sound quality
- Mixing songs (works for other genres, but with Salsa, not so much)
- Too many identical songs in a row (tempo, mood, etc)
- Inability to read the room
- Emptying the dance floor
However, on many occasions, I’ve heard people say a DJ sucked just because the music wasn’t to their liking.
Have you heard this or read social posts like this? I know I have. Hell, even I used to say this, until I corrected my approach to reflect the truth.
When I started dancing, I danced to everything because all I was listening for was a beat. Over time, I started to hear the music differently. Some songs inspire me to give it my all on the dance floor, others are neither here nor there, and then there are some that make me wish I stayed home.
But, whether I dance or not, whether I’m inspired by the music or not, doesn’t necessarily mean that the song sucks, nor does it mean that the DJ sucks. Even when we’re not enjoying the music at a party, we can still find the dance floor packed with plenty of people saying they’re having a great time.
Why is this topic important?
There are two main reasons, one internal and one external.
Dislike vs Judgment
We’re often very quick to find external justifications for our personal dissatisfactions. Instead of acknowledging that we’re not satisfied due to a matter of personal preference, we say someone else is performing poorly because they are not catering to our personal preferences. This is not to say that you can’t dislike something or someone, but try not to equate your dislike with the actual quality of that thing or person.
“I don’t like this DJs music” is more accurate than “This DJ sucks.”
Saying either of the statements above amongst your close friends isn’t a big deal. Though it would be better if we spoke accurately, the effects of the conversation usually end when the conversation does.
However, when we decide to publicly post our dissatisfaction on social media, the effects are longer lasting and it’s extremely important to watch our words.
Why? Because DJing is a profession that depends on reputation and word of mouth. Expressing your personal preferences in music as if it’s a matter of performance on behalf of the DJ could damage that reputation and affect how often they get booked.
It’s not always easy but the more aware we are of our thoughts and our words, the more responsible we can be with our expression of those thoughts. This is something we should all strive for, especially if that expression is posted across social media and could impact someone’s livelihood.
- What do you think constitutes a “good/bad” DJ?
- Do you think your criteria is objective or subjective?
- Have you ever miscommunicated your personal preferences as someone else’s performance?