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I have a feeling that DJs are not considered as musicians here, and therefore their activity doesn't fall into this SE on Musical Practice & Performance.

A lot of DJ questions pertain to the use of music software, and they can be very specific and technical like Can I force Traktor to use more than one CPU when analyzing tracks?. This kind of questions is as useful for DJs as knowing how to cut your nails as a guitarist. For example, DJ TechTools, one of the most visited DJ advice websites, has tens of articles on just one specific music software (namely Traktor).

Now I'm totally fine if DJs are not welcome here, I would then go to SU and outside SE, but I would like that you make a clear statement so that I don't waste my time here.

13

This question has essentially been in discussion since the inception of the site. While I take no hesitation in stating uncategorically that DJs are musicians, I think the question we need to answer is:

Do the DJ and wider Music.SE communities serve each other by being on the same site?

To focus on Music.SE first, the idea of this site is to address all aspects of the theory of music (analysis, history, composition, etc.) and the practice of music (instrumentalism, technique, pedagogy, performance, instrument repair, equipment, software). What we find is that there is tremendous overlap between these different areas, and even across an incredibly broad spectrum of musical styles and cultures, there are things we can share with one another.

When we add the DJ topic into the mix, however, I think we find a few things:

  • The questions overwhelmingly favor the "practice" aspects of equipment and software
  • The existing user base does not find the practical questions interesting (not a lot of votes)
  • The existing user base is vastly underequipped to answer the questions of a practical nature (not many answers)
  • New users who ask questions in the DJ topic don't tend to ask or answer questions outside that topic

The tag has existed on and off for quite some time, I believe, but it didn't really stick until late last year when an established user of the site provided an answer to a pretty innocuous question that knocked our socks off. If you check it out, you'll see that it had to do with theory, not practice, and that the answerer was clearly drawing from other musical knowledge to provide a good explanation.

I think that's proof enough that the tag deserves to exist, however we may consider narrowing our scope to include only the musical aspects (harmony, rhythm, tempo) of the topic.

Something else to consider is how, also since this site's inception, there has been confusion over where to post questions about recording technology and things like sound reinforcement or PAs. At one point, there was a complete SE for Audio Production, then this was merged with the Video Production SE, and then just recently the audio component was split from that and merged with an external SE 1.0 site called Social Sound Design to form Sound.SE. At the moment, they are going through some growing pains while they redefine their scope. It's not really safe to migrate anything over there at the moment, but the hope is that once they settle down, that site will be an excellent place to ask these questions about practical equipment considerations. But, anything could happen. Maybe now is the time for a DJ/Audio Production proposal in Area 51?

  • The Sound.SE sounds like a perfect match for these Traktor-type questions at least. There were a lot questions there, and many even had answers. – Meaningful Username Mar 21 '14 at 12:01
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    I encourage anyone who considers Sound.SE a good fit to actually read the current front page and Meta a bit. As NReilingh said, there are growing pains. The existing community was strongly focused toward sound design for film/TV, and in the current climate I am not sure DJ questions would find a ready welcome there. Audio production & electronic performance seems to have become the hot potato of StackExchange. – Jonathan Van Matre Mar 21 '14 at 14:44
  • There is an EDM Production Area 51 proposal, but it's not getting a lot of love. area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/61246/edm-production – Kevin - Reinstate Monica Mar 21 '14 at 14:53
  • Jonathan - remember, there were two existing communities, not just SSD. – Doktor Mayhem Mar 21 '14 at 15:38
  • I would agree though, that Sound.SE would not be a good place for this question. – Doktor Mayhem Mar 21 '14 at 15:39
  • @DrMayhem It probably would have been more accurate to say "receiving" than "existing". Both communities were existing, but the sound design contingent was accustomed to having a site to themselves while audio production went from being a subset of A/V Production to being a subset of Sound. – Jonathan Van Matre Mar 21 '14 at 17:53
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    So, Sound.SE is not good, the questions are not liked, nor do they get answered here. There doesn't seem to be enough interest to have a DJ SE of its own. Should these questions just come here to die, then? – Meaningful Username Mar 21 '14 at 19:12
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    I am currently VERY confused about Sound.SE. As the split/merge from avp.se occurred, they received many questions about audio production and recording hardware, but the current community seems to be rejecting questions that don't have to do with Sound Design as it is traditionally known. Honestly, it looks to me like Audio.SE should come back from the grave and be home to DJing and non-sound-design questions being rejected by Sound.SE--but I have no knowledge of the current state of affairs there, just that there seem to be a lot of unhappy people expressing themselves on the Meta site. – NReilingh Mar 21 '14 at 23:44
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    @NReilingh I'm confused too. I asked 3 questions useful for Djing purpose in Sound.SE (sound.stackexchange.com/users/6753/…), 2 got upvoted, 1 got downvoted... I'm not sure what's going on there, I guess I'll ping their meta at some point. – Franck Dernoncourt Mar 25 '14 at 3:44
  • Dang, this means I made a pretty ignorant migration recently. Gotta brush up on the other sites. – Matthew Read Mar 25 '14 at 5:03
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    Here we go, on Sound Design meta: Are questions on DJ software like Traktor or Rekordbox on-topic? – Franck Dernoncourt Mar 28 '14 at 14:08
  • Btw there is a the dedicated chat room on Sound Design / AVP Merge Project. – Franck Dernoncourt Mar 28 '14 at 14:27
  • Regarding "I think that's proof enough that the dj tag deserves to exist, however we may consider narrowing our scope to include only the musical aspects (harmony, rhythm, tempo) of the topic.": there are important mechanical concepts to discuss too. Techniques and execution are a huge part of it, the same case as of any other instrument. – Lyd Apr 2 '14 at 21:36
  • @Kevin I feel that EDM producing strongly overlap with the sound design SE. I created a DJing SE proposal as no SE seem to accept DJing questions: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/72944/djing – Franck Dernoncourt Jul 10 '14 at 15:56
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I also think that detailed questions on Traktor skirt the line between (from the help page):

  • "usage of music specific software" (on topic)
  • "audio production techniques and equipment" (off topic)

I say that they skirt this line because I can imagine recasting several of the Traktor-usage questions into similar DAW-usage questions ("How can I ensure that Reaper is using multiple CPUs?"). And DAWs are more clearly of the second type than Traktor (or similar DJ tools) are.

The ultimate location of where the line lies, ends up depending on who ends up participating here; currently there are very few people (maybe only 1) with DJing expertise, and it's my perception that only a small minority of participants are focused on computer-centric music as well. Thus questions in these areas don't get much notice/response.

Back when AVP existed, I'd think that the second category of questions might fit there,but nowadays, they do not seem to have a good home.

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    I'm not sure about the past, but for anyone coming across this now "audio production techniques and equipment" is not part of our off-topic list. Questions about audio that have nothing to do with music are off-topic, but DJing clearly does have to do with music. Certain questions may be better suited to the Sound Design site, but are not considered off-topic on that basis. – Matthew Read Jul 16 '15 at 17:52
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I think there is a lot of confusion regarding electronic music, for both DJing and live act.

For me, blindly excluding synth, DJ (both of which come in analogue and digital flavors), and software questions from this SE is a huge mistake.

Synths, samplers, and turntables are our instruments. The interactions and dynamics are not much different from a guitar, a piano, or a trumpet, no matter how we choose to control them (wind-based, keys, movement detection, strings, sequencers).

It's the same "musical practice and performance" we all come here to talk about. Oscillators, filters, amplitude, envelopes, waveforms, frequency, etc are analogue to tremolo, vibrato, strings, tuning, timbre, etc.

DJing is no different. Mechanically, we can discuss about beat-matching or transition techniques, as we discuss about finger-picking or rim shots. Conceptually, there is harmony, melody, tempo, rhythm, everything, there is music.

Different DJs choose different instruments: Turntables, CDJs, cassetes, Ableton Live, Serato, Traktor, the same way you might choose a violin, a cello, or a mandolin.

Acoustic instruments have settings too.

I understand that the forum needs scope, it's important and healthy, but it is also important for the community members that want to implement the filtering to understand the concepts and differences involved.

Don't negate the benefit of this community to musicians because of their instrument choice, or because their instrument is not as popular as others on this SE.

  • I totally agree. 10 years ago when I was playing guitar, I would have asked technical software questions on virtual guitar amps of the exact same kind as the questions I am asking today on DJ software. I think what I am witnessing in most of the other answers is old-style musicians despising software-related investigations. I am used to it, even DJ communities are plagued with this kind of mentalities (e.g. auto-sync debate). – Franck Dernoncourt Apr 2 '14 at 22:14
  • Questions about synths/electronic music are not excluded, blindly or otherwise, neither are all software questions. – Meaningful Username Apr 2 '14 at 22:50
  • @MeaningfulUsername Some community members do try to exclude them, it's not rare to see close votes started on related subjects. There's a lot of confusion, specially regarding DAWs and which functionalities are relevant to practice and execution (which is understandable, DAWs are very complex tools that possess a huge universe of tools). From time to time you can also see community members commenting that this SE is focused on acoustic instruments. – Lyd Apr 2 '14 at 23:14
  • @JCPedroza I created a DJing SE proposal: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/72944/djing (edit: actually I have just seen you already added a question there :) ) – Franck Dernoncourt Jul 10 '14 at 16:00
  • @FranckDernoncourt Already following :) – Lyd Jul 10 '14 at 16:18
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From what I've seen (and I don't come here very often) a lot of these DJ "musician" questions are sort of like product support for their software... Helping somebody out with those sort of issues is completely different to the rest of the issues this board is concerned with. Personally, I think perhaps these questions should be elsewhere...

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    DJs are definitely musicians. They make music, even if you don't like it. – Jacob Swanson Sep 4 '15 at 0:15
  • Taunting DJs isn't productive, please refrain. It's true that software support is a particular area of expertise, but you should consider adding constructive reasons why they shouldn't be here. – Matthew Read Sep 11 '15 at 1:07
  • See the answer given above. Again, theory questions are obviously fine but "X Plugin won't work on X DAW - help" is not a music question. – Reginald Sep 11 '15 at 9:42

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