TikTok DJs: 5 Creators Rewriting the Rules on Social Media
TikTok DJs are the latest group of creators to change what it means to make music online.
By now, we’re all used to TikTok’s ability to elevate new artists and producers with its viral mechanics.
But DJs are also flocking to the platform to showcase their skills and grow their following.
So what is the TikTok DJing scene all about? Can you even be a true DJ on a social media app?
For this article, we asked five rising TikTok creators about the expanding role of social media in DJing, and what it’s like to spin tracks on the world’s fastest growing music app.
What is TikTok DJing?
Some post unexpected song pairings, while others pull off virtuosic transitions, drops and breaks.
The app’s reliance on trending audio makes it a natural fit for DJs since they can easily work viral tracks and sounds in their content.
DJing on TikTok rose to prominence during the global pandemic as a way for audiences to stay connected to club culture while health restrictions made it impossible to party in person.
But the trend appears to be here to stay, with at least some of the audience for traditional DJ sets finding a home online.
Some listeners follow these accounts to find fresh tracks and new takes on old classics, while others simply appreciate the good vibes and a friendly presence on the decks.
DJing on social media: 5 creators share their thoughts
Despite the growing audience on social media, plenty of TikTok DJs are caught between the energy of live sets and the possibility of viral success on the app.
In fact, integrating the two experiences is a key issue for the TikTok DJs we spoke to.
Here are 5 creators on the challenges, benefits and differences between DJing live and online.
“DJ-ing on social media is more content focused, instead of focusing on a community of an audience like how I normally would at a club/venue, I’m putting out my creations to the world, and that has to be adjusted to the majority of the globe’s favourite tracks.”
“This means that I’ll have more time to come up with ideas & transition methods, whereas if this was done live – it involves lots of quick thinking and it sometimes might not work as great as it does without practice.”
“For social media, creators are restricted in terms of the duration of our content. As most TikTok users have short attention spans, we’re required to make a quick & strong impact to catch the attention of the audience within a certain time period – this can sometimes be challenging as not all mashups sound great short.”
“Social media also allows others to save and re-use sounds. If it trends, it could potentially bring up the streaming numbers to the tracks I’ve used. Live transitions are meant more for the audience to bring up the vibes, and usually isn’t recorded unless it’s planned.”
“DJing on social media versus in clubs is very different. On social media in order for videos to do well you have to keep up to date with what’s trending online and try to do things that haven’t been done before.”
“People also want quicker mixes as videos are short. Whereas in clubs you’re more free to do what you want and don’t have to necessarily conform to current trends.”
“Social media has impacted my career a lot as I feel like it has helped push my name out there and it allows people in other countries to hear about me. I feel like most of my international bookings thus far have come from seeing me on either instagram or TikTok which is really cool. I feel like all DJs should try and put themselves out there on social media because you never know who’s watching.”
“I feel DJ-ing on social media allows for you to reach a broad and international audience all at once without ever having to leave your house which is an incredible feat technology allows us to achieve. However, the energy and atmosphere that you can create performing in front of a live crowd will never be topped by social media DJ-ing in my opinion.”
“DJing on social media is obviously a lot different than DJing in person because you can’t read the room or feed off the energy of the crowd. That being said, DJing on social media is a great way to get your sound out there by showcasing your remixes – edits – and the style of music you play. My mindset is to just have fun with it and share good music with music lovers.”
“DJing through a social media platform can actually have a positive impact on your career because of a more targeted and larger audience you reach in a very short time and I think it can open new different opportunities for you.”
“There is no limit when it comes to social media. Tiktok is global and the algorithm allows you to reach even new people which are not on target and completely new leads.
“On the other side the club is real, and let’s not forget real life, only real things can touch your skin. Hearing screaming and literally feeling the energy of the people will never beat the infinity number of views or subscribers.”
Various contributors from the LANDR team of music mentors.
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