Mobile DJ vs Club DJ: The Line Is Blurred

The perception that Mobile DJ’s and Club DJ’s require different skill sets is fairly commonplace, and in the US it seems the line has been drawn more so than anywhere else.  I think the lines are blurring, and rapidly. 

A “Mobile DJ“, often referred to as a Wedding DJ, DJ’d events such as Weddings, 50th Anniversaries, Birthday parties etc. DJing for events like these required simple blended “radio style” transitions between tracks, rarely did they beat mix, apply effects or perform other more performance oriented DJ techniques. Most Mobile DJ’s also act as Master of Ceremonies, working the MIC for the duration of the event, an acquired skill not everyone (THIS GUY INCLUDED) has the talents of pipes for.

Club DJ’s” were the DJ’s who always truly mixed their music on beat and typically in key, a continuous set-list mix that kept the dance floor packed and the cocktails flowing. Many performance DJs also incorporate scratching, and use other advanced mixing techniques. Without having to work the MIC like a mobile DJ, they’re focus was on creating an unforgettable musical experience for party-goers.  This still holds true today, although the art has been supplemented somewhat by technology, with DJ software making it easier than ever to perform the basics of blending and mixing so DJs can focus on other aspects of their performance.

Times Are Changing…

DJing is more mainstream than ever.  And truth be told, “Kid’s” (including big kids) today want to be the next Armin Van Buuren more so then becoming a member of “Steve’s Mobile DJ’s” They want to emulate what they see in the club, on TV or on radio mix shows. DJ’s are essentially today’s rock-stars of the 80’s.  While I personally wanted to pick up a guitar and be the next slash at age 12, youth of today have accessibility to all kinds of great and affordable DJ’s equipment and software. You don’t need to go out and purchase Technics and spend countless hours of practice to mix (well at least the baseline basics).

Just look at the most popular DJ controllers available, such as the Pioneer DDJ-SX.  It’s tabletop, thus doesn’t fit in a traditional mobile DJ 19″ rig, and includes large platters for applying scratch techniques and pads for triggering hot cues and samples.  I see younger mobile DJs using these to perform at Bar Mitzvah’s.   They use the features too, it’s not just there to look pretty.   DJs are entrenched in pop culture, and people simply expect a Mobile DJ to perform like club or mixshow DJs do.

The Future…

The reality is that most bedroom jocks may never make it in the club world, and will find the mobile DJ business an excellent and profitable alternative. What’s different is this younger generation wants to mix and truly perform, they want to create that party atmosphere and hone their blending skills just like those big-name jocks. More and more when I’m attending a private event I find the DJ’s are taking queues from the club world and a truly mixing, scratching and creating on-the-fly mashups across many genres. They also spend less time on the mic, which is a welcomed change in my book.

In the UK and Europe in general it’s already rare to hear the term “mobile DJ”. They are simply DJ’s. My generation and the latest expect the DJ to mix, they want a party atmosphere at their private function like they get when they club hop on the weekend. I think it’s apparent now that the lines between a mobile DJ and a club DJ are becoming more and more blurred, and employers and patrons expect the full-on DJ experience. DJ’s that don’t perform and mix are quickly becoming obsolete dinosaurs, or relegated to older crowds that simply don’t know what their missing.

What are you thoughts?   I’d love to hear from you on this topic, so please comment below!