Okay, preface… I own a DJ Company and I love vinyl. In fact I even consider myself a Vinyl DJ. That said, I feel I’m more than qualified to say that the thought of someone “DJing” with vinyl in this day and age is just… no.
I recently read an article from 2017 titled “DJing With Vinyl: Is It Actually More Expensive Than Digital?” from the 6am blog. It’s a great piece actually, and does a great job cost comparison, which is what it set out to do. It also made reference to the astounding comeback that vinyl has made, also true. Starting out my DJ career using vinyl, recently revisiting said collection with the intention of picking up where I left off over two decades ago. To collect, not to DJ with.
More Music Is Always Better
A good DJ is sort of like a wizard, and the songs are like the magic spells. The more powerful the wizard, the more spells they know, and in the case of the DJ, the more songs they have. Three decades ago I was schlepping eight crates of vinyl 12″ and LP records to every gig or club. Squeezing them all into my car, carrying them up and down stairs through rain, sleet, snow. and sometimes treacherously worse (for the vinyl), scorching heat. The crates were heavy, each holding a mere fifty to sixty records. As a DJ, I was carrying quite a few 12″ dance mix records often having only one song, so eight crates – while obsessive – was actually quite finite.
Today’s good DJ can carry the equivalent of 1,000+ crates on a hard drive. More songs, more power. Sure, the DJ won’t ever have reason to play more than a small fraction of that, but still, you can never be too prepared. Going digital has allowed the DJ to have endless titles available at their fingertips. Mixing and spinning on vinyl is certainly a formidable skill, of which I myself possess, however, as a practical application it’s simply impractical. So says the Vinyl DJ. Opting for carrying an eight gigabyte hard drive over humping crates isn’t being lazy… Work smarter not harder.
The Wear and Tear
In addition, there’s the bit I mentioned earlier about the rain and snow and… heat. Vinyl melts is extreme heat, so transportation in July or August can have it’s pitfalls. No leaving it in a hot car and so on, or even worse an outdoor even with exposure to direct sunlight. And in pouring rain it gets wet, even when great pains are taken to prevent it. Not to mention the wear and tear of constantly bringing them from place to place. In endeavoring to build upon my decades old record collection, I’m sad to report that a fair amount of it has been re-building. DJing beats the heck out of a vinyl collection. This time around my record collection stays put, coveted and loved in a safe, climate controlled environment.
However, if because of some novelty or nostalgia you still feel compelled to be a Vinyl DJ in full effect, have at it and good luck to you.
a.k.a. DJ Dumbledore (an inside joke)