As DJ [ diːdʒeɪ ] ( English disc jockey ) is referred to a person who on recordings stored music plays in an individual selection in public, what generally the term "hook" is used ( "Putting on the Records" from). In German-speaking female are DJs and DJ or rarely She-DJ called.

Despite having the same pronunciation and etymology to DJ differs from Jamaican Deejay . Etymologically, the term used is DJ moreover with LightJockey (LJ), Visual Jockey (VJ) and Video Jockey (VJ), indicating the close-knit with a DJ performance activities visual aids.


A young woman sets 1940 in abomb shelter in North London music.

Disc Jockey (DJ), and disc jockey or DJ (English disc "disc", colloquially record ; jockey " jockey , henchmen"), original name for a radio presenter who presents sound recordings on the radio. The term was coined in the context of the Top40 Radio in the United States in 1940 (see: Airplay ), later extended by shifting to other media on TV presenters and announcers from nightclub.

Already Christmas 1906 came at the first radio transmission on the East Coast a shellac disc used. As the first full-time DJ applies Elman B. Meyers in New York (1911), was the first star DJ same place Martin Block (1935). Radio disc jockeys such as Alan Freed helped in 1951 the rock 'n' roll to the breakthrough. Freed's illegal activities were that the vulnerability of the music industry for any type of corruption revealed. Freed was both the Cut In involved and instrumental in thepayola involved affair. After the invention of the LP (LP) 1948 of phonograms a creative medium ( John Cage : 33 1/3, 1969) and from DJs a myth of popular culture (George Lucas: American Graffiti , 1973). With the disco trend of the seventies, the rap / hip-hop in the eighties and Techno-nineties of the 20th CenturyDJs emancipated as a sound artist (DJ Culture) and producer. Scratching , sampling , remixes and computer technology made ​​sound recordings for any variable raw material for Metamusik. DJs became stars ( Sven Väth , Paul van Dyk ), experimenters ( Tricky , Coldcut ) or even philosophers ( DJ Spooky ). For the music industry, the disc jockeys at radio stations are still of great importance, because by their scheduling, sales of individual songs or artists are affected.

DJs in nightclubs 

If one defines a nightclub as a space in which can be people for money and Dance purposes of a schallplattenauflegenden DJ with recorded music entertain, so there was the first nightclub in northern England Leeds , namely already in 1943. main initiator and DJ for the evening was Jimmy Savile . [1]

The Early Years 

Mid-1960 began the first DJs to emancipate itself from the function of pure plate spreader. Had they previously placed a piece after another and in between moderates, it was especially Terry Noel [2] , the 1965 Arthur [3] hung in New York City, which began to expand the musical repertoire of the DJs and even new music to accomplish. Noel began to take personal control of the lighting system, built on a sound system that allowed him to make a sound travel through the space across and began to hitherto unknown freedom in mixing pieces to allow. He put one above the other several pieces to create new sounds and to produce records of music that were so not to be found on a record.

In Germany there were in 1963 about 10, in 1965 already 50 (partly traveling) DJs. The first professional permanent organization for DJs was founded in 1963 in Aachen.

DJs in the GDR 

In the DDR DJs to avoid the English word deejay were legally as records entertainer designated or abbreviated as SPU. It was based on the arrangement over nightclub events of August 15, 1973 (Coll. Of the GDR, Part I no. 38 of August 27, 1973) in addition to freelance or released records entertainers. Any future SPU had to pass an aptitude test and undergo a one-year special basic training followed by regulatory inspection at the district or city Cabinet competent for cultural work. Subsequently a was playing license granted. Only the "certified record entertainers" could play recorded music to larger audiences and had regularly in continuing education courses, so-called monthly consultations participate. Every two years, there was a reclassification by the Classification Committee. Another feature in the GDR was in numerous regulations and recommendations, was required to comply with the SPU. The most well-known scheme of " institution to safeguard the performing and reproduction rights in the field of music " (AWA) was the 60/40 control which SPU to committed, 60 percent of the program sequence with music productions from the GDR and the other socialist countries to shape.Temporary SPU were required to submit before every gig playlists to the AWA. Although the SPU had to reckon with checks and license withdrawal, the practice was in most nightclubs different. In the late 1970s 6000 records entertainers were counted in the GDR. In the 1980s, the terms "Diskotheker" and "disco-Moderator" were coined.

The revolution of the 1970s

In the 1970s, with the advent of disco music in the US, soon changed the techniques of DJs. Instead of announcements rhythmic elements were decisive, it emerged the first club mixes , the extended versions were the songs. The DJs began, the beats of different songs at the same speed, so imperceptibly, ineinanderzumixen what in the scene of electronic dance music to this day is common.

The culture of hip-hop had a great influence on this change. The turntables were transformed from mere player for musical instrument, the backspin and Scratching developed new possibilities in the DJ technique that significantly influenced the new styles of music. The backspin offered z. B. the ability to repeat any one rhythmic passage often so that turntables as an inexpensive alternative tosamplers could be used.



The duties of a DJ are varied and differ substantially depending on the music genre and job. There is on the one hand the classic pop DJ, as we know it from radio and discos. He often earned his living with this activity and plays music, depending on the taste of the public, from a wide range of genres and knows ideally the charts in recent years.


The main task of pop DJ is to offer the audience pleasant music and to entertain it well. Therefore, he is keen to play a balanced mix of popular music and to each plate a possible matching to find follower plate that keeps its program interesting. His work Technically confined itself to have time at hand the next plate and make a smooth transition to this. But more important than the technical skill is the ability to meet the tastes of the audience, or to influence the mood of the audience at this DJ-type.


This special DJ-type originated from the recent increase in demands of sport, business and lifestyle events. In addition to good moderation the audience wants to be animated and accompanied by adapted and aligned to the dramaturgy of the event music. Unlike a pop-DJ of the event DJ is not the sole entertainer, but works in close cooperation with the host and the various protagonists of an event. The Event-DJ takes on the mood of the players, the audience and the guests can enter by means of a comprehensive selection of music thematically and adapted to the situation on the event happening and enhance the viewers' emotions. The peculiarity of the event DJ is the operation. Apart from the necessary ability to recognize the musical taste of the audience and to be able to hang panels, the Event-DJ also works with tailored music jingles , which are recorded to match the events. It is pre-produced clips of songs intended to motivate the audience to clap along either, sing or dance along and can be quickly implemented and adapted to the situation by the event DJ. Especially in the field of sporting events of the event DJ takes to work flexible manner and aligned to the event happening music selection to be the main area of responsibility. A special form of Event DJs Wedding DJ. Thus, since the beginning of 2005 to observe that it can no longer deal only with the musical entertainment of the wedding party, but also take a great deal of planning. The close association of DJs with owners corresponding localities, sound engineers, event photographers and caterers has meant that wedding DJs can act as a kind of mediator between the sectors and their customers, the wedding couple. This results in these in particular special financial and organizational advantages. In addition, the maintenance of a wedding party is always a delicate task, but here it goes next to the moderation and Entertainment also always aimed at drawing the mood to plan the guests and their deposits, and the expiry of wedding personalized and direct. The challenge is to be able to respond flexibly and spontaneously, and while remaining as a DJ himself in the background.

DJ team

A DJ team usually consists of two persons, which is often specially give a specific team name, while retaining a "solo artist" their individual names anyway. The advantage (for organizers, audience & DJ) here is that both thrive together. Furthermore, a wider range can be played on musical styles, because each has its own individual taste. The nature of the performance will be set after a certain time. Some like to play in blocks prefer. Here the DJs change after 3-5 titles from. In a perfect interaction but both simultaneously operate the controller.

DJs specific genres 

Another type DJ can be found at Techno - House - Goa - or Jungle -Parties, and in some non-electronic music genres like salsa and jazz : He is a specialist in a particular style of music. This DJ aims to maximize the hypnotic effect of played him music by a flowing mesh mixing individual tracks.

As a reference, the record player produced since the 70s turntable of by many vinyl DJs Technics considered, which are very popular because of their durability and high quality DJs.

DJs of turntablism and hip-hop

Again a completely different type of DJ is mainly in the area of the hip-hop (and nu metal ), particularly the so-called. Turntablism to find - the boundaries are fluid. Here the laying is seen primarily as a creative means of expression and much emphasis on technical mastery of the instrument turntable set. Particularly Beatjuggling and scratching are in high demand. The DJ-activity is an integral part of the hip-hop -Culture and is considered one of the four elements of hip-hop (DJing, MCing , B-Boying and Writing ).

An important factor of motivation of the DJs in this area is the competition (Competition). In so-called DJ battles to DJs take to under the eyes of a jury to prove their skills. A busy scene is concerned with self-recorded mixes, cuts and scratching as MP3s exchange over the network and to compete with each other.

In hip-hop DJs, it is customary, the turntable is rotated 90 degrees to the left, so the tone arm back, set up so that the tone arm while scratching does not interfere. This is commonly referred to as Battle mode.

DJs on the radio

The development of the DJ culture began with the advent of music programs on the radio. As one of the first true Briton Christopher Stone , who in the 1927 BBC an entertainment program started with records. One of the most important pioneers was the American Alan Freed , the most successful DJ of the rock 'n' roll applies era has helped shape the concept itself decisive.

Germany's first radio DJs were z. B. Rudi Rauher who at the former WERAG ( West German Broadcasting AG ), later Reichssender Cologne , the forerunner of today's WDR , a brisk morning program with records went, he himself hung up behind the microphone. After World War II there were Günter Discher and the Englishman Chris Howland : This one put the week on the radio and is still with his nickname, Mr. Pumpernickel known. In the 1950s, his theme song "Melody Fair" of rang Robert Farnon from the FM -Studio the WDR . Million people were watching radio and listened to this popular show, was in the loose and chatted hemdsärmelig skipped a certain something to the listener. Chris Howland was because of its natural kind as a pioneer. Hundreds radio disc jockeys followed him over the years.

The then "big" with radio - and in some cases television career were Camillo rims , Chris Howland, time Sondock , Dieter Thomas Heck , Manfred Sexauer , and in the following years, Frank Laufenberg. Probably the most widely known and influential radio DJ was the Briton John Peel .

DJs on the radio, there is still in special broadcasts. In 1 Live there were a few years ago to now set "Party Service" with Piet Blank and Mike Litt . The Dance transmitter sunshine live has still broadcasts where "real" DJs, z. B. Klubbingman and Felix Kröcher hang. The author shows 1 Live Fiehe (one live, earlier space and time) and the black market ( eldoradio ) are moderated by DJs, which hang here only according to their own tastes and not to editorial guidelines.

As "real" disc jockey at the radio was really just, who hung up his records in the studio itself. Given z. B. had the ARD institutions equipment special disc jockey studios set aside where the DJ was a panel with at least two turntables available and the engineer only contributed supportive work until in the 1980s, the self-sufficient "Self Drive Studios" (first in private and smaller transmitters and later the ER-radio) arose. In which the radio DJ mixes the music without technician into the current program. Also "drives" it to the jingles, drop-ins, pre- and baking sellers. Some DJs on the radio, now calledfacilitators are called, the activity is limited only to the announcements, while a technician completed the installation of the music.

Resident DJs

A resident DJ ( eng. Resident "residents", "residents") or Master DJ plays regularly in a particular nightclub , in a particular club, at a particular event or a particular radio station. Residents characterize a club or a series of events with decisively.

Unresidente DJs

Unresidente DJs there are in Germany since 1963. This change periodically (every one to three months), the nightclub and had it very hard especially with the professional recognition. In the eyes of regulatory agencies, they were a "guests entertaining Labourers in catering". The employment office could not be clearly assigned Unresidente DJs. A unresidenter DJ needed for the concert period either a fixed employment contract or a traveling professional card. For the latter, however, a permanent residence was required the most did not because they were a short time elsewhere engaged.The direct sampling by the music industry has been extremely difficult to obtain and maintain, because the promoters for a not ever wanted to change the addresses of the artists and this always had to re-prove the other, whether it was the free sample sheets still "worthy". Only the intense lobbying it is thanks to them that finally around 1965 the DJ got the painting of plattenauflegenden laborer and was recognized as a profession. Even the Labour Office had set it, henceforth jobseekers DJs were centrally from Künstlerdienst supervised in Frankfurt and Munich.

Technology and techniques


The SL-1210 MK2 Technics , the world's most widely used professionalturntable

The mixer RM4200D DHD audio as the broadcast sector is used

The most important tools of the DJ are his turntable or CD player and his mixer . Like all turntable for the DJ market they pitchable (d. H. The speed is adjustable), with Technics in a range from -8 to +8%. By varying the speed, the pitch of the music piece is changed inevitably. The high-powered direct drive, the devices are able to accelerate a braked plate in a short time to the set speed. These properties are indispensable for a professional DJ.

"Modern" media such as CD, minidisk or the PC are increasingly used by DJs. There are computer programs that can be used via an adapter and other systems with turntables (see Digital Vinyl System ). Traktor Scratch , Virtual DJ , Final Scratch or Rane Serato Scratch are important representatives. The manufacturer of DJ-needed research also reinforced at CD-player, sharing more and more the characteristics of turntables. Thus there are scratch-capable CD player as the Vestax CDX-05, the z. B. containing a vinyl-filter, as old records should sound with the CDs. But the shift to MP3 will be further developed for the DJs. To appear pure MP3 player such as the Cortex HDTT-5000 & the Denon DN-HD2500, which operate without mechanical wear parts. This type of MP3 player is so large, in addition with samplers, equipped effects processor and other functions that they assume for many tasks a mixer.

At the mixer to special requirements of DJs found that, however, depending on the mixing style (and thus usually also music dependent) vary considerably. AVorhörmöglichkeit is indispensable. Generally desirable are also smooth faders and the high listening volume noise and Störarmut. Known mixers are the DJM series of Pioneer , x: one of Allen & Heath and the hip-hop mixers the PMC series by Vestax, HAK Ecler or the TTM Series Rane.

In techno and house value is placed on a clean sounding and powerful equalizer, so that for example a bass drum can be completely hidden. The standard here is the 3-band equalizer (bass-midrange treble). The manufacturer Allen & Heath has here, with the X: one 62 the first DJ mixer on the market, which also includes a 4-band EQ (bass-depth middle-High-mid-treble) that are normally only fitted in the professional segment. In this area are pretty mixer with many features - such as a beat counter and built-in effects devices - demand. In addition, the Rotary Mixer is used sporadically. There are basically very simple mixing consoles, which, however, clearly different from the sound quality of the competition. Moreover, they are also of the equipment at the level of the 70s and 80s, the crucial difference is that Rotary Mixer not have as generally faders (slider), but mostly large knob (hence Rotary = Rotary). It therefore has a longer path and thus more game for a smooth transition.

Simple Mixer with the majorcrossfader (transversely defined slider at the bottom)

When hip-hop, however, is important that the mixer is rugged and minimize wear shows. The hip-hop mixer are generally referred to as a battle mixer as scratching, juggle, etc. from the turntablism comes with two DJs in Battle called duel scratch to today. Until recently, one has the equalizer neglected, which almost all older battle mixer only a 2-band equalizer own (bass-treble). The trend in recent battle mixer goes for about 2-3 years meaning that the equalizer is equipped with no more knobs, but with Schiebepotis. In the upper price range, there is, especially in the crossfader always new developments, since it is the most used tool in battle mixer. There is even the mechanical and digital electronic fader. The mechanical faders are worn normally after intensive use after a few months, and there is this very large differences from manufacturer to manufacturer. The electro-digital faders are provided usually only in the class of 500 €.They are distinguished in that they usually have a lower resistance and by the almost wear-free operation have a significantly longer shelf life. Here, the technologies from one manufacturer to vary, many manufacturers usually give an extra warranty on their crossfader , the manufacturer Ecler's example on his Eternal Fader five-year warranty or 20 million cycles.

The latest technology are DJ controllers that look similar to a composite of two players and a mixer confusingly, but have only the controls and not have their own technology. Such controllers are remote controls for computer programs and can only be operated jointly with a computer is also.




In Germany pay techno DJs as artists a reduced VAT rate if their work can be classified as "concert".