Navigating the DJ industry requires constant access to the latest news and technological developments, so you don’t miss out on trends that matter the most.
From choosing the best DJ mixers to digging out the latest releases before they hit the charts, DJs need to navigate a mountain of information.
In this article, we’ll break down how to navigate the DJ industry so you can find the best new electronic music to play with the latest technology.
How To Navigate The DJ Industry In 2024 (Step-By-Step)
As technology continues to evolve and bring new approaches to DJing, navigating the DJ industry can seem like negotiating a minefield.
We’ve covered the major trends you need to know to help you come out on top and deliver forward-thinking DJ sets that set you apart from the competition.
So, without further ado, here’s our complete guide to navigating the DJ industry in 2024:
Step 1: Follow The DJ Equipment Market
A great DJ requires the best DJ gear to deliver an outstanding set that incorporates a smooth mix with stylish transitions.
They also need reliable gear that will perform when needed, as anyone who has used shoddy DJ headphones with poor sound reproduction can attest to.
As the DJ industry evolves into the future, staying on top of the latest trends in DJ software and hardware is important to retain a cutting edge at your next DJ performance.
Whether you’re keeping an eye on the best DJ controllers available or considering upgrading your monitor speaker setup, it’s crucial to stay on top of equipment trends.
The world’s leading companies constantly update their products with exciting new features that allow for more imaginative and versatile transitions and mixing.
Club DJs and mobile DJs alike need to stay abreast of these developments in software and hardware, using the optimal DJ mixer for their professional sets.
Bedroom DJs should also pay attention to these trends, even if they cannot afford the latest Pioneer DJ controller.
Step 2: Join DJ Communities
Staying on top of the latest music industry trends, whether discovering new DJ hardware or the latest electronic music releases, requires a healthy communication network.
Word of mouth between DJs on the local level is a great place to start and find out about upcoming gigs, parties, and club events where you can DJ to a crowd.
However, most DJs are increasingly turning to various online platforms to build a strong network, buy the latest vinyl records, and stay abreast of DJ culture.
This involves everything from signing up for DJing forums and sharing insights with fellow DJs to joining popular Facebook groups for lively discussions.
It’s also worthwhile listening to the best DJ podcasts since these will give you a great insight into how professional DJs approach the craft.
Podcasts are available for all electronic music genres and are hosted by professional radio DJs, music producers, and resident DJs from the world’s biggest clubs.
If you’re looking for the best DJ mixers or just want to keep updated on the latest DJ industry news, joining online communities is a must.
Step 3: Broaden Your Music Sources
Traditionally, DJs built their music collection by picking up vinyl records or CDs from local stores or online marketplaces.
The landscape for DJing has changed significantly over the last two decades, with digital playback and audio file downloads more commonly used than old physical media.
This has paved the way for an increasing variety of resources DJs can turn to when looking for new music, to the point where the choice can feel overwhelming.
From the best music discovery websites to online stores and DJ record pools, there’s an abundance of music sellers to choose from when building your collection.
By diversifying your music sources, you can compile an outstanding collection of music files that sets you apart from the competition with sets that light up the dance floor.
This also helps you to branch out into new genres; for example, if you’re focused on hip-hop, it will give you the inspiration to try new music that complements your archives.
While staying on top of the latest releases is impossible, it’s also worth considering signing up for a record pool, as these services curate new tracks and remixes.
Step 4: Learn New DJ Skills
DJing is an art form that professionals constantly refine as they learn new techniques to improve their DJ sets and take advantage of their DJ software.
As such, staying on top of the DJ industry requires continually learning new DJ skills to create seamless transitions utilizing the latest effects and tools.
If you’re using the latest Pioneer DJ equipment or mixing on traditional turntables, there is no shortage of skills that can be added to your repertoire.
Whether this is learning how to scratch DJ or introducing filters, reverb, and other effects, each new skill has the potential to deliver unique and impressive sets.
This should be extended beyond simply playing music using traditional mixing techniques and transitions, with DJ technology creating new ways to play sets.
DJ software has evolved rapidly in recent years, not least with the introduction of stems that allow DJs to isolate specific elements from tracks while mixing.
Basslines, vocals, drums, and melodies can all be singled out with this technology to allow for more dynamic, fluid, and varied DJ sets.
Step 5: Use Online Streaming Platforms
As artificial intelligence and other technological trends continue to impact the online world, streaming platforms are changing their business models in tandem.
A large part of this change is being driven by the DJing community, with DJs increasingly turning to streaming platforms to promote their work.
Whereas Twitch, MixCloud, and SoundCloud have been the go-to resources for DJs to share their work, other platforms are stepping up to the plate.
This means that DJs who want to stay ahead of the curve need to look further afield to get their voices – and DJ sets – heard by as many people as possible.
You can start by learning how to add music to TikTok and the best ways to use Spotify as a resource for new music discovery.
These platforms not only allow DJs to share their recorded music and sets online but can also be used to connect with like-minded music lovers around the world.
Streaming platforms are planning many more innovative changes to their services over the years to come, and live streaming shouldn’t be overlooked as an alternative to DJing in venues.
Step 6: Explore New Venue Opportunities
DJs have traditionally performed their sets in venues such as bars and nightclubs and through work as mobile DJs at corporate events and weddings.
But while these venues remain hugely popular, forward-thinking DJs are branching out and taking advantage of new venue opportunities to play sets in.
Two primary venues becoming increasingly popular for DJs are retail outlets and gyms, driving additional revenue and reaching different audiences.
Human activity and music have long been intertwined, with music previously piped into shopping malls and gyms for consumers to enjoy in the moment.
Today, there is an increasing presence of female DJs in large shopping retailers, while organizations such as Scratch Events have hosted brand-related DJ sets.
Fashion shows for Victoria’s Secret have played host to DJs, and other hospitality events commonly feature live sets as part of their attractions.
As such, understanding how the new consumer gatekeepers use DJs is essential for picking up more varied gigs outside the familiar bars and clubs.
Step 7: Broaden Your Musical Horizons
We’ve touched briefly on the significance of opening yourself up to new resources where you can acquire music that was previously unavailable to DJs.
One of the main advantages of doing this is the fact that it helps you to broaden your musical horizons and find tracks from regional markets you might otherwise miss.
Exploring new genres allows for a much richer and more interesting journey as a DJ, creating varied mixes that don’t become stale and boring over time.
While there’s nothing wrong with specializing in a particular genre, the best DJs understand that variety is indeed the spice of life and strive to play sets accordingly.
In addition to sourcing music from as many places as possible, working with other DJs will open you up to new music from previously unheard artists and producers.
If you’re playing mostly mainstream electronic music, you should consider checking out some of the best underground DJs to see what smaller labels are putting out.
Commercial music might be popular, but if everyone’s playing the latest hit release, there’s little to distinguish one set from another.
Collaborating with DJs who don’t share your precise taste in music could lead to you hearing one song that changes your style forever, keeping DJing fresh.
Step 8: Experiment With New Technology
The music industry and DJs alike have never had more technology at their disposal, from advanced standalone controllers to cloud-based DJ apps.
By staying abreast of new technology and experimenting with it in your DJ sets, you can ensure your live shows continue to impress the audience.
There are two main technological developments that are in their relative infancy but have huge potential to transform how DJing functions.
The first, virtual reality, came to the forefront during the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, transforming the nature of interaction between DJs and the audience.
Complementing virtual reality is augmented reality, which opens up the potential for virtual DJ mixers and other controllers beyond physical knobs and sliders.
While it’s perhaps too early to say how these developments in DJ technology will impact the profession over time, the promise they hold is truly transformative.
Combined with the advent of artificial intelligence – which we’ll discuss in more detail later – these technological developments should remain firmly on your radar.
Step 9: Produce Your Own Music
Electronic music DJs are known for branching out and becoming producers to expand the number of unique tracks available for their sets.
There are many great programs you can use for music production, from free-to-use open-source software like Audacity to Ableton Live and Logic Pro for Mac.
These tools make it affordable to become a music producer in your spare time, learning the basics of engineering and composition from the comfort of your home.
You can spend some time researching how to become a DJ producer, integrating effects and other skills you’ve learned in DJing into your own tracks.
Once you’ve mastered the equipment used for music production, you can work it into your sets, playing recorded music simultaneously with original compositions.
If you want to break into the music industry, writing your own tracks is essential for standing out from the crowd and showcasing your individual style.
DJs who can play a musical instrument have a clear advantage, giving them an understanding of the composition and melody they can use in their tracks.
Step 10: Use Artificial Intelligence
As artificial intelligence chip giant NVIDIA’s sales continue to climb, there’s no doubt that AI is here for the long haul and will impact all walks of life.
The influence of artificial intelligence on the DJ world is already being felt in many ways, changing how DJs mix and how people find new music.
AI-powered music recommendation systems are rapidly taking over the industry, making it much easier for DJs to track down new songs for their sets.
Algorithm-based DJ software that analyzes tempo and key is transforming how DJs perform and democratizing the hobby to a far broader audience.
Likewise, the music industry is utilizing AI to help them produce music automatically, for better or worse, creating a track from start to finish in a short space of time.
While artificial intelligence is in its infancy, the pace at which it is becoming ubiquitous in all aspects of DJing means it’s essential to keep on top of its influence.
So there you have it, our guide to keeping on top of music industry trends so you can excel in the competitive world of DJing.
With technology developing rapidly, building a network of DJs and online resources is essential if you want to stay abreast of the latest developments.
DJing has never been this exciting, and the arrival of artificial intelligence points to new and innovative strides in the evolution of the art form.
Keep on top of the latest releases with a subscription to ZIPDJ and download the best music for your DJ sets.