Increasing Complexity: Help or Hindrance?

December 4, 2016 by Stu Chisholm

W hen I began my DJ career in 1979, things were much harder. In the realm of media, vinyl records were heavy and bulky, and both records and cassette tapes presented many technical problems. Those included: how one could cue a particular song on a tape; keeping dust and dirt off of the grooves of a record; mechanical shocks from bouncy dance floors that could cause the record to skip; cue burn (the damage to vinyl caused by back-cueing); and so on.175-16-17

Even when CDs became the norm, eliminating most of those issues, they had a few of their own. Early CD players didn’t have pitch controls, and they, too, could skip if mechanically jostled. Error correction was abysmal, so a dust particle could ruin your day. Yet that 4-foot-high hand cart with 350 lbs of vinyl records became a more svelte 1.5-foot, 200 lbs of CD cases with tenfold the amount of music. Many DJs carried their library around in binders, making their music stash look like a true “library.”


Today, I bring more than twice that amount of music, all as MP3 files, and all on a small hard drive that fits in my shirt pocket. The bulk and weight are a thing of the past, which my aging back appreciates! SanDisk recently revealed a 1 TB SD card, which means that a library the size of my current one will fit on media the size of a postage stamp. All good, right?

Well… not so fast. You see, other things were easier than they are now, because we’ve introduced a lot of figurative “middlemen”—things that get between the music and our audience. For instance, you had to rip that huge CD library to a digital file format. For a large library, that can take tremendous time! When I first did this, I had five computers running more than eight hours a day and it took about several weeks.

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Filed Under: 2016, Mobile DJ Business