Do You Have EVERY SONG? by Mark Johnson

July 15, 2012 by Mobile Beat Staff Writer

It’s no secret that I am not a fan of the endless game of song counts and the inclusion of this statistic in advertising or other promotions for their DJ business.

In previous articles I have reviewed this from many perspectives, including the threat of another local DJ having more songs and implying that he is a better DJ, the concept of knowing your music enough so that you can offer an alternate song if you don’t have it, and the impossible pursuit of having EVERY SONG.

Somehow, today’s climate of intangible measures seems to be creating a similar false value system, especially in the social media realm. What’s important is the number of friends on Facebook, the number of followers on Twitter or the number of downloaded apps on your smart phone.143-3717

Am I the only one who doesn’t buy into this never-ending game? Perhaps my negativity is because I have experienced several occasions when the person who answers first loses. I have a huge vinyl album collection and once in a casual situation someone asked how many LP’s I have. So I answered roughly 30,000 and that person said they knew someone who had 35,000 albums. So in that instant, my extensive collection that I have worked on for almost 40 years wasn’t the best. Remember Maverick, second place is first loser.

I also collect miniature liquor bottles and again the count question came up. I replied 1,100 and a different person trumped me again. I participated in a tennis serve speed contest a few years ago and when mentioning my 102 mph serve, another person thwacked me with his 105 mph.

In all cases, both my answer and theirs weren’t presently verifiable. I was speaking from a perspective of honesty yet I know that the tennis guy was answering from an “I must win” perspective. But since I spoke first, I left the door open to lose in each case.

You see, that’s the trouble with using numbers. There’s an infinite supply of them. Look at our society’s infatuation with numbers. Biggest baseball salary, biggest lawsuit, biggest lottery prize and unfortunately the biggest national debt. A trillion here and a trillion there and soon we’re talking about some real money.

I revisit this topic yet again because I ran into a local DJ with a storefront and I wandered in to ask some questions. The secretary was very helpful with generic answers to my normal DJ questions. She eventually handed me the DJ’s card…and on the top it said “300,000 Songs.”

300,000 songs??? I stepped back and asked how they can do that and she gave me the standard tera-byte answer. I asked if I could get a list or be able to look through them and she said only after the booking is made. I guess that’s fine.

I asked about any songs that I may want that are not of these 300,000 songs. She said that if it’s before the event, that they would be downloaded. I asked if it was during the event and she said that all their DJ’s have 4G smart phones and can download any song at any time and will play it.

Hmmm. I wondered why it didn’t say 300,000+ songs, with the plus sign indicating this enhanced service. I don’t know the global total number of songs recorded to date, but I bet it’s over 300,000.

So what’s to stop another DJ down the street from printing “350,000 Songs” on his business card. Or the next one stating “500,000 Songs” etc. When does it end?

What if a DJ had the cojones to put the phrase “EVERY SONG” on his card? Would not that be the ultimate trump card (no pun intended)? “Hey everyone, I’m the first DJ to declare that I have EVERY SONG.” He must be the best DJ.

Obviously the concept of EVERY SONG is impossible on a tangible basis, ie one’s hard drive. But with cloud storage and all the internet music services and wireless connectivity, we are not far away from EVERY DJ claiming that they too have EVERY SONG.

Imagine 15 years ago putting the phrase “We Have The Electric Slide” on your business card. Seems kind of assumed. Well, we are heading towards the phrase EVERY SONG being on all DJs’ business cards.

So, to all the DJ’s who play this numbers game: What next? Once all DJs claim possession or access to EVERY SONG, how would any customer choose one DJ over the other? Remember, when everyone is special, no one is.

Then I guess you’ll have to revert to focusing on the intangible aspects of your DJ business. Things like musical knowledge, vocal techniques, customer interactions, crowd reading, mixing techniques and overall professionalism. Things that 1) can’t be measured and 2) can’t be downloaded or acquired with trivial effort.

When I see a DJ focusing on song counts first, I wonder if he is lacking in the other areas. I also wonder if his potential customers think he’s lacking in those areas as well.

Look at these two phrases on a DJ business card: “3 Years Experience and 300,000 Songs” or “20 Years Experience – 10,000 Songs.” Who would you hire?

Print

Mobile Beat Staff Writer (228 Posts)

This is the general editors account for Mobile Beat Magazine and Website. Who reads Mobile Beat online and in print and attends Mobile Beat events? DJs, VJs and KJs to start with, especially those who own and operate mobile entertainment services. They provide music, video, lighting and a myriad other entertainment choices for corporate events, wedding receptions, dances and innumerable other gatherings.


Filed Under: Issue #143, Music, Sales & Marketing