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It’s always great to receive feedback on an article after it is written, especially if it’s positive feedback.

Such was the case with my CBS Local piece on “The Best DJs in Atlanta.”

It got me thinking about the DJ business and how technology has changed the profession over the years. We all know how technology has impacted the music business, but what about DJs?

One of the top DJs in Atlanta, Jeremy Ladd, who is the operating partner of House of Music Atlanta was able to fill me in on what the profession was and what it has come to be.

“In the 1970s, it was about turntables and multi-channel mixers,” explains Ladd. “In the 1990s, we moved into digital technology with CDs.”

Ladd said this was good news for DJs with large vinyl collections because they could carry a lot more music with CDs.

Now, the news is even better.

“With the mp3, you can carry a laptop and external hard drive vs. 17 crates of records and CD books,” adds Ladd. “You can also move faster between music and it makes mixes a lot faster and cleaner.”

Heather Sharp, aka DJ Heather B of takes a different view, but it’s still about technology.

“I have found that even with today’s fast moving technology I still prefer vinyl records,” states Sharp. “Now days I use Serato Scratch Live made by RANE when I am preforming out and simply love the sound and feel only vinyl can produce.”

Deep down, Sharp lives in fear that true mix DJs will soon be a thing of the past and most likely the next generation will have know idea what a turntable even is.

That would be a shame, so I asked Sharp if it just too easy to mix songs in 2012?

“Today anyone can learn how to mix one song to the next,” admits Sharp. “Technology has come so far that anyone can buy a mixing program and with little effort start mixing.”

“Not so fast,” says Ladd.

“Old school DJs have an arrogance, as they think it’s easier to be a DJ.”

Ladd says while the fundamentals remain the same, being a good DJ takes a lot of work and it really is an art.

“You can’t replace the human element,” smiles Ladd.

Ladd offers up this advice for new and aspiring DJs.

“Get two turntables and some crates of records and practice.”

Other changes in the modern DJ world are positives, Ladd states.

They include the program Ableton, which Ladd says is cutting edge when it comes to remixing and recording songs. Along with the fact that DJs now can reloop, save the reloop and then cut and save them in real time.

Armed with his MacBookPro, Ladd says there isn’t much he can’t do and he’s looking forward to what might be coming next.

That includes huge HD video screens in the clubs that will play music videos and improved interface devices.

No matter what technology throws at the DJ industry, Sharp says she “sticking by her guns.”

“I don’t think I could ever give up mixing on vinyl records,” boasts the effervescent Sharp.

“It is ingrained into my soul and brings me more pleasure than spinning on CDJ’s or any other type of digital DJing.”
The next time you see a DJ, you’ll know the skill and thoughts that go into each and every performance.