MARINA DEL RAY- The life of a DJ has always involved shameless self-promotion in order to gain enough clout to break out other artists when promoting their work. This vicious and seemingly never-ending cycle of blasting emails, invading social networks, making phone calls to both promoters and club goers, and the constant bombardment of winning the next gig known as “the grind,” has been complicated by the clutter of the invention of the “Virtual DJ.”  Prior to the invasion of digital distribution’s low cost, user-friendly equipment that anyone can learn to use, a DJ’s job included spinning the one’s and two’s, crate digging through sacred vinyl, and doing everything possible to bring in enough heads to satisfy club promoters and gain influence over the record-buying public.

Push a button, mix a song
Hollywood, California based DJ Awesomo 3000 has been part of the industry for only two years and has already witnessed a multitude of changes, including the inevitable death of the traditional DJ. Awesomo 3000, who works as a house DJ in two clubs in the greater Los Angeles area and was  featured as a dance extra in videos Miley Cirus and Mars Bruno, said technology has made developing his business difficult. Consumer-based programs and the internet have created opportunities for countless independent and unsigned artists. It’s become a logistical nightmare for those trying to make a living, “Well, there have been so many new DJs that just cruise around and have their own laptop, it’s become really hard to make a living,” Awesomo, who also has his own duo called Kids From Mars, said. “It’s becoming more difficult because a DJ that may be less experienced, and not as good, may undercut you. I’ve had that situation a few times, where I’ll get a call from a club promoter and they will tell me that they are going with someone else who charged less than I did.” Longtime traditional radio DJ Funkmaster Flex discussed this very issue with Kid Cudi in last year’s Hot 97 interview shortly after he was named as the coveted XXL 2009 Freshman of the Year. Don’t tell me, stream me DJ Awesomo has adapted to the swarm of DJs that have emerged, and the furious competition that the internet has created. “I go through blogs in different languages, and don’t even understand what is going on. I get some crazy Japanese voices and Australian drum loops. It’s more about individual artists and just music, in general,” Awesomo said.  Awesomo has taken a look at the different avenues of streaming and digital promotion by not limiting himself to the various websites.  “Right now, I am using Ustream because you don’t just call someone and tell them that the party is hot. You can actually show them through live streaming in real time,” Awesomo said. “I think this is going to become more commonplace. Eventually, there will be iPods and other devices that will be built specifically for streaming. It will also give opportunities for other artists because you can build a whole set list of unknown artists now.”  Awesomo worries that technology could kill the art of being a disc jockey, and the traditional DJ will eventually and inevitably evolve into something else.   “A lot of it has to do with the virtual DJ, who can easily mix. If it can get intricate enough, it could kill the art of it,” Awesomo said. “I see it happening already. There are some DJs working at clubs who are just pressing buttons. That’s not a DJ. I think there should be another name for them.”  What is in store for the new generation DJ? As Dr. Dre said “Chill till the next episode.”