Updated: Jan 18
Music is not a competition. We’re not here to say who is “better” but to simply point out the differences between DJs and producers for those who may not know. There are many people who don’t yet play instruments but want to dabble in music, in some way, but are unsure of what exactly they should do to start. Maybe they’re attracted to the live performances they’ve seen at clubs or concerts and they want to do something similar or maybe they want to create original songs from within a comfortable studio… Maybe they want to do both. In this brief overview, we’re going to cut right to it and explain exactly what DJs and producers do, to help clear up any confusion.
What is a DJ?
DJ is an abbreviation for “Disk Jockey” which is a person who plays recorded music, typically in front of an audience, using equipment such as turntables, cassette players or software. The DJ’s purpose is to keep the listeners entertained, which often means that they must be up to date on the latest trends in music and to know the top hits that their audience is expecting to hear.
There is much more to it than simply making a playlist, which is a common misconception and is actually quite an insulting thing to say to a DJ, especially one that works hard and is dedicated to their craft. DJs practice, just like any musician. A good DJ knows their equipment in and out. The more seamless a DJ can make transitions from one section to the next, during their set, the more pleasant the overall sound will be. There are plenty of knobs, buttons and switches to finesse in order to blend and loop musical ideas into something that isn’t just coherent but also enjoyable. Something else to take into account, they’re doing in front of others. That takes confidence.
Have no fear! If you’re interested in becoming a DJ, there are plenty of tutorials online which can help you learn the basics and get started right away. The first step, of course, is to get your hands on the equipment. BestDealsDJ has you covered. Check out our online store and you’ll find everything you need to become a DJ, today.
What is a Producer?
A music producer, sometimes called a record producer, is somebody who turns an idea into an actual piece of music, by creating and managing all aspects of the process from start to finish. What a music producer actually does is going to vary greatly between producers. While some may sit in a studio and record live musicians, others may work entirely alone. The possibilities are endless when it comes to music production. The layout and gear of the studio itself also depends on what the producer’s needs are. Surely, you’ve seen the million-dollar recording studios in the media, where popular artists bring their talent in and the producer works those raw recordings into audio masterpieces but this is not at all the only visual that should come to mind when thinking of music production. In fact, many top-selling artists today are crafting up hits in places that used to be impractical, thanks to major advancements in technology. These days, it’s completely possible to produce an album from scratch, in a bedroom, hotel room or even sitting on the beach, because music production software on laptops and high quality monitor headphones have given producers total freedom.
All it takes is a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), creativity and patience. How you learn to produce will depend on the software you choose. Before getting started, research a few of the popular DAWs and see which one seems like the best fit. Once you’ve decided, install the software and watch the tutorials or read the manuals that are provided, it’s as simple as that. Now, why do we often see producers sitting in front of pianos, drum pads, mixing boards, etc.? Well, this all depends on the project. In many cases, the laptop alone is enough to get the job done but based on the individual preferences of the producer, they may require more tactile options. MIDI controllers, which are available in our online store, serve as middle men between your fingers and the DAW. Basically, your recorded MIDI signals become the tracks of your song and you work from there. This subject can get very intricate and the sky is the limit so, we suggest researching all the different types of useful hardware to see which one interests you the most. The end goal is to create an environment with the best workflow where you can bring out your sound in the smoothest possible way.
You Can Do Both
As we mentioned at the start, there is no competition between DJs and producers. Though many may confuse one for the other, they are drastically different and both serve a purpose. While producers can whip up songs seemingly out of thin air, it’s not always the most enjoyable process to watch. That’s where DJs come in, with their skills to get the crowd moving in a live environment. Though you could, theoretically, sit on stage and produce a song, it would take a very specific audience to find it enjoyable, and though you could DJ in your bedroom, alone, the joy of engaging with listeners may sound more appealing. There are no rules but generally speaking, DJs are known for charismatic live performance and producers are known for meticulous building of songs, in private.
So, not sure whether you want to be a DJ or a producer? Keep in mind, these creative outlets can intersect. Some people enjoy doing both and allowing their creativity to spill over from one artform to the other. There are plenty of DJs who spin their own records that they have produced and you can too! Don’t wait, just get your hands on some gear and feel it out. With the right attitude, your musical journey can take you far.