History of DJing
The modern DJ's role as a performer who creates a seamless and extended mix of music for a dance party or club atmosphere evolved from radio personalities who introduced and played individual selections of recorded music on broadcast radio stations. In 1935, American radio commentator Walter Winchell coined the term "disc jockey".
In 1943, radio DJ Jimmy Savile launched the world's first DJ dance party by playing jazz records in the upstairs function room of the Loyal Order of Ancient Shepherds in Otley, England. In 1947, he claims to have become the first DJ to use twin turntables for continuous play, and in 1958 became a radio DJ at Radio Luxembourg. Also in 1947, the Whiskey à Go-Go nightclub opened in Paris, France, considered to be the world's first commercial discothèque, or disco.
In the late 1950s, sound systems, a new form of public entertainment, were developed in the ghettos of Kingston, Jamaica. Promoters, who called themselves DJs, would throw large parties in the streets that centered on the disc jockey, called the
"selector," who played dance music from large, loud PA systems and bantered over the music with a boastful, rhythmic chanting style called "toasting". These parties quickly became profitable for the promoters, who would sell admission, food, and alcohol, leading to fierce competition between DJs for the biggest sound systems and newest records.
1960s and 1970s
In the mid-1960s, nightclubs and discothèques continued to grow in Europe and the United States. In 1969, American club DJ Francis Grasso popularized beat-matching at New York's Sanctuary nightclub. Beat-matching is the technique of creating seamless transitions between records with matching beats, or tempos.
In 1973, Jamaican-born DJ Kool Herc, widely regarded as the "father of hip-hop culture," performed at block parties in his Bronx neighborhood and developed a technique of mixing back and forth between two identical records to extend the rhythmic instrumental segment, or break. Turntablism, the art of using turntables not only to play music but to manipulate sound and create original music, began to develop.
During the mid-1970s, Hip-hop music and culture began to emerge, originating among urban African Americans and Latinos in New York City. The four main elements of Hip Hop culture are graffiti, DJing, b-boying, and MCing (rapping). In 1975, hip-hop DJ Grand Wizard Theodore invented the scratching technique by accident.
In 1977, Saratoga Springs, NY disc jockey Tom L. Lewis introduced the Disco Bible, which published hit disco songs listed by beats per minute (tempo), as well as by either artist or song title. Billboard ran an article on the new publication, and it went national relatively quickly. The list made it easier for beginning DJs to learn how to create seamless transitions between songs without dancers having to change their rhythm on the dance floor.
In 1981, the cable television network MTV was launched, originally devoted to music videos, especially popular rock music. The term "video jockey", was used to describe the fresh-faced youth who introduced the music videos. In 1982, the demise of disco in the mainstream by the summer of 1982 forced many nightclubs to either close or change entertainment styles, such as by providing MTV-style video dancing or live bands.
Released in 1982, the song "Planet Rock" by DJ Afrika Bambaataa was the first hip-hop song to feature synthesizers. The song melded electro hip-hop beats influenced by Yellow Magic Orchestra with the melody from Kraftwerk's "Trans-Europe Express."
In the early 1980s, NYC disco DJ Larry Levan, known for his electric mixes, gained a cult following, and the Paradise Garage, the nightclub at which he spun, became the prototype for the modern dance club where the music and the DJ were showcased.
Around the same time, the disco-influenced electronic style of dance music called house music emerged in Chicago.
The name was derived from the Warehouse Club in Chicago, where resident DJ Frankie Knuckles mixed old disco classics and Eurosynth pop. House music is essentially disco music with electronic drum machine beats.
In 1985, TRAX Dance Music Guide was launched by American Record Pool in Beverly Hills. It was the first national DJ-published music magazine. In 1986, "Walk This Way", a rap/rock collaboration by Run DMC and Aerosmith, became the first hip-hop song to reach the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. This song was the first exposure of hip-hop music, as well as the concept of the disc jockey as band member and artist, to many mainstream audiences. In 1988, DJ Times magazine was first published. It was the first US-based magazine specifically geared toward the professional mobile and club DJ.
In 1991, Mobile Beat magazine, geared specifically toward mobile DJs, began publishing. In 1993, the first internet "radio station", Internet Talk Radio, was developed by Carl Malamud. Because the audio was relayed over the internet, it was possible to access internet radio stations from anywhere in the world. This made it a popular service for both amateur and professional disc jockeys operating from a personal computer.
In 1998, the first MP3 digital audio player was released. The "Final Scratch" system developed by N2IT shipped it first working units in early 2002 and DJs were spinning on digital vinyl by mid 2002. While it would take sometime for this novel concept to catch on with the "die hard Vinyl DJs", This would soon become the first step in the new Digital DJ revolution.
In 1999, Shawn Fanning released Napster, the first of the massively popular peer-to-peer file sharingsystems. During this period, the AVLA (Audio Video Licensing Agency) of Canada announced an MP3 DJing license, administered by the Canadian Recording Industry Association. This meant that DJs could apply for a license giving them the right to perform publicly using music stored on a hard drive, instead of having to cart their whole CD collections around to their gigs.
The introduction of the Pioneer SVM-1000 Audio and Video Mixer and other high tech digital sound mixers made a whole new culture of disco DJ integration. The proliferation of Internet technologies have also created a culture of disc jockey enthusiast groups. DJ battles imitating the events on the game gave the DJ industry a more competitive phase. The DJ industry has become increasingly about the atmosphere that goes along with a performance. Now not only does the DJ show deal with music and mixing but also lights and effect go along with it.