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Disc jockey
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Disc jockey

This article is about disc jockeys in music. For other meanings of DJ, see DJ (disambiguation).

A disc jockey (often DJ or deejay) is an individual who selects and plays pre-recorded music for the enjoyment of others.

In circles and cultures where reggae and related musical styles are prevalent such as Jamaica, Panama, and other parts of the Caribbean and Latin America, the word "DJ" refers to an MC or rapper and the word "selector" is used as the title of the person commonly performing the roles of the disc jockey. Thus what Jamaicans call dee jaying, chatting, or toasting is called rapping in most other parts of the world. Recently, reggae artists who sing in styles similar to rap have also been called DJs.

DJs can be heard on the radio and at any number of social gatherings, such as weddings, nightclubs, art openings, warehouse parties, and high school dances. As a result there are many different types of DJ, each fitting into a particular niche defined by performance setting (broadcast booth or nightclub) and intended audience (jazz or hip hop fans). A DJ's performance style and the techniques he or she employs must reflect these considerations. For instance, wedding DJs play music but are often expected to act as a masters of ceremony who introduce the bride and groom, lead dances, or invite guests to play games. A DJ at a rave would instead be expected to introduce a greater technical element to their performance by manipulating the songs they play in order to maintain a given tempo and energy level.

Some consider deejaying to be not a single action but rather a series of actions that depend on situation and expectations. However, whether talk radio shock jocks like Howard Stern and Don Imus that do not play music ought to be referred to as DJs or "on-air personalities" is often debated.

Table of contents
1 Technique
2 Equipment
3 The DJ as an artist
4 DJ control and economics
5 Disc vs Disk
6 The People
7 Bibliography


See audio mixing, cueing, slip-cueing, phrasing, cutting, beat juggling, scratching, body tricks, beatmatching, needle drops, and phasing.


See turntables, CD players, mixers, headphones, slipmats, samplers, drum machines, effects processors, and laptop computers.

The DJ as an artist

A recent phenomenon in the music community (but primarily within the sphere of popular music) is the assertion that some DJs are not simply "playing records" but are in fact creating new music out of the playback and mixing of pre-recorded media. Fuelled mainly by the innovative mixing techniques that have come out of the hip hop and electronic dance music scenes, and regarded as a musical extension of the literary cut-up technique, this growing attitude posits that such a DJ is not content simply to beatmatch two or three records and layer them over each other but that the end product should emerge as a new musical composition. To achieve this goal, such a DJ may employ such techniques as phrasing, sampling, scratching, the application of effects (e.g., delay, flange, etc.), and any other technique the DJ feels inclined to use. Examples of such DJs as "artists" adding musical or dramatic value include DJ Shadow, Coldcut and DJ Spooky. In effect they are developing an aural montage that may be spontaneous/improvised or carefully crafted. There are parallels in surrealism and the visual arts.

DJ control and economics

Due to the control that DJs have over the music that is played on radio stations, some record companies have desired to use money to control disk jockeys. The bribing of disc jockeys to play selected artists is called payola.

Disc vs Disk

The name "Disc jockey" developed in the era when the only sound recordings available were analogue disc records. For the reason it's disc jockey rather than disk jockey, see disk or disc. Disc is more often spelled "Disk" in the USA.

The People

Radio DJs

Club DJs

Hip hop DJs

The DJ as Teacher

Another DJ who has been widely renowned is
Christian Marclay who as Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky taught at the European Graduate School

DJs in Rock Bands

In the late '90s Nu metal bands started to introduce DJs into their band to give their music a hip-hop style.Usually their role in the band is minor on live shows but they usually have a large influence in the recording stages.

Bands which include DJs are:


Hip hop
Breakdancing - DJinging - Graffiti art - Hip hop music - Rapping (List of rappers)
Fashion - Feuds - Slang - Timeline
East Coast - West Coast - South - Gangsta rap - G-funk - Horrorcore - Jazz rap - Alternative - Nerdcore - Old school - Hardcore
Trip hop - Freestyle - Hip house - Hip life - Go go - Miami bass - Nu soul - Ghettotech - Electro - Rap metal - Reggaeton - Merenrap
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