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Understanding EDM Subgenres: The American Scene

Posted By — October 22, 2016

Many music fans think of the rise of EDM as a purely American phenomenon, but as any well-informed DJ knows, musical movements in the UK, Europe, and Jamaica had as much to do with today’s EDM sounds as the American scene did. That’s not to say, however, that the American electronic music scene of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s wasn’t important in shaping the sound of EDM; in fact, many of the EDM subgenres we hear on the radio and in clubs today came out of Detroit, Chicago, and other major American cities. But before all of that happened, there was one movement that would change American dance music forever: disco.

The Rise and Fall of Disco

In the 1960s, electronic music production was already taking off places like Europe and Jamaica, but American music fans would have to wait until the 1970s before they got a true taste of electronic dance music, thanks to a dance hall known as the discotheque.

During the 1960s, the world of disco was dominated by R&B acts like the Jackson 5 and Sly and the Family stone that relied on more traditional live instrumentation, but by 1970, DJs began to [...]

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What’s in a Tempo? How EDM Tempos Affect Music Listeners

Posted By — October 7, 2016

If you’ve been DJing for a while, you’ve probably noticed that most songs within any given EDM genre will be fairly similar in tempo. So if you’re playing a Jamaican dub set, for example, you’ll probably find yourself setting your tempo clock somewhere between 60-90bpm (beats per minute) most of the night, while a DJ at the club next door playing drum and bass might be spinning tracks with tempos around 165-185bpm. Why is it that EDM tempos vary so widely, yet remain so consistent within subgenres? Here’s a quick rundown of how tempos affect us as music listeners, and what that means for DJs.

How EDM Tempos Affect Us

In the same way that major or minor keys can make us feel happy or sad, slower and faster tempos can also affect our emotions. In fact, a 2003 study from the University of Montreal found that when it came to creating sad feelings, a slow tempo was actually more important than a minor key.

At the same time, while a slow tempo paired with a minor key can evoke sadness, a slow tempo paired with a major key can be relaxing or even uplifting. This was [...]

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How to DJ Techno Part 1: History and Mindset

Posted By — September 23, 2016

While rave culture reached its peak in the 1990’s, techno as a genre is still alive and well today, and any DJ who has an interest in EDM should have a basic understanding of how to DJ techno. Even though it may sound simple to the untrained ear, there’s actually a lot more to learning how to DJ techno than simply learning to play a 4 on the floor beat on a drum machine. To understand a little more about what defines techno as a genre, let’s take a brief look at the history of the techno movement, as well as the basic philosophy behind how to DJ techno music today.

From Underground Beginnings to Mainstream Success

While almost anyone you meet on the street today would know what techno is, it’s important to remember that techno started off as a purely underground genre. Techno originally arose in Detroit in the late 1980s as a blend of American funk and house sounds with European electronic influences. By the early 1990s, techno had gone international and was beginning to find mainstream success. Raves became popular in places like Detroit, Chicago, and London in the early 1990s, but it wasn’t until 1996, [...]

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How to Build a Cheap DJ Booth Using IKEA Furniture

Posted By — September 10, 2016

Every DJ needs a place where they can set up their DJ gear, store some records, and maybe keep some keyboards and other production tools. The problem is, most of us can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars on a custom piece of DJ furniture, but we don’t want to just set up our turntables on a piece of plywood held up by some cinder blocks either. Fortunately, there’s a great way to build a cheap DJ booth that not only works well but also looks pretty sweet. It’s called the IKEA DJ booth hack.

What You’ll Need

The main component in the IKEA DJ booth is the KALLAX 2X4 bookshelf, which costs about $100 and comes in a variety of interesting colors like yellow, red, and green, as well as plain old black, white, and natural wood. While you’re at IKEA, you’ll also want to pick up one set of 4 4″ CAPITA cabinet legs ($15), one set of 2 6” CAPITA countertop brackets ($20), and one 74″ LACK wall shelf ($30). All together your bill should add up to about $165 plus tax. The only tools you’ll need for this project are a [...]

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Starting Your Own DJ Podcast Part 3: How to Make Money from Podcasting

Posted By — September 2, 2016

Recording a DJ podcast and getting it on iTunes is one thing, but if you’re really serious about podcasting, you’ll want to learn how to make money from podcasting as well. That way you can cover the costs of things like recording equipment, music licensing fees, and your own time, plus you might even be able to make some extra cash to help you pay your bills as well. In terms of using your DJ podcast to make money from podcasting, you have a few monetization options to consider.

Direct Sponsorship 

The most common way to make money from podcasting is to find sponsors to buy advertising time on your podcast. This ad time could take the form of radio-style ads, or it could be integrated more seamlessly into your content (for example, you might spend two minutes in every episode talking about the latest products from a certain sponsor). When it comes to sponsorship, there are two ways to go about things: you can find your own sponsors, or you can join a podcast network (more on that below). The advantage of direct sponsorship is that all of the ad revenue goes [...]

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