The State of Our Scene

There are times when we all sit back and think about the many obstacles DJs, ranging from the bedroom to the main stages, must deal with throughout our musicultural journey.

Self described as a 'producer/remixer/singer/songwriter,' Detroit native Aaron-Carl tunes into an ongoing case of the jades that I believe many DJs here in the USA unnecessarily have to deal with.

In his post, State of the Scene, on his blog The Revelations of Aaron-Carl, AC makes three powerful observations about other scenes that I know resonate with some local DJs that have struggled to make a living as artists.

"Promoters actually stick together
and support each other's events."

I find this to be mostly true in the few Latin American countries I have visited and played. People who listen to electronic music have a natural kinship given all the mainstream media stronghold on taste. This is a worldwide phenomenon and to think that promoters wouldn't coordinate efforts because of their ego is a shame.

A couple times, I have seen almost completely unknown foreign DJs booked and being professionally treated in countries you wouldn't expect to see much of a scene, definitely not like Miami or Detroit (which are so full of these pissing contests, it's ridiculous). We need to communicate more with each other. In music, I firmly believe in the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

"The DJs/Entertainment are
RESPECTED for their craft."

Many times clubbers who aren't familiar with the work of a DJ tend to think that anyone can do it. If so, please, be my guest and take a shot at it. This isn't rocket science, mind you, but to think that you can just walk in and spin a tight set without spending quite a bit of time looking for music or learning some mixing techniques, well that's just silly.

I also find that in South Florida, where I currently live, not that many people have a musical background, especially promoters. I blame this on handicapped and closing arts and letters high school programs throughout the state, but I am leaving that one for another post, in another blog, on another day.

AC speaks of DJs getting paid their Fee instead of the 'you take the door, we take the bar' bullshit so many of us have to endure. In fact, I can't even remember the last time I was paid a fee and not given some excuse about "slow nights" or "do this for free exposure." He adds,

"It's a fucking shame that some of Detroit's LEGENDARY DJs and artists
can't even make a decent living from their music. Superstar by night, meat
carver by day. The same one who rocked it out @ the club last night is the same
one you're cursing out at the local drive-thru..."

Why the fuck are WE (in Detroit)
running around, acting like we deserve
top notch talent, but we bitch about
having to pay more than $5 dollars
for a cover charge?

Tell me about it! Lets just say you are a promoter. Your venue is medium sized, maybe 400-500 capacity. you want to bring a medium level headliner that costs well into the four figures. Do the math: full capacity at $5 a head, you have $2500 to cover expenses!? that won't even cover the main DJ, not even considering guest lists, insurance, equipment, sound engineer, marketing, and all the other expenses that come with doing events. Oh and of course, your pay for all the hours you spent working on it.

So what do you do? you get sponsorships. And what do they do? they dictate exactly how the event goes. It is after all, their money. So you end up screwing a couple DJs over by underpaying them.

There is hope. People worldwide are beginning to understand what it takes to have a healthy scene.

I am glad to hear artists like Aaron-Carl reaching out, actively mobilizing a scene that has given the world so much pleasure. Detroit is one of those cities where it all began, and its influences you can find in so many mixes and nightclubs worldwide.

Will American cities be left biting the dust like their housing market? I hope not, but unless everyone works together, artists promoters and fans included, the end will come and you will forever be stuck with shit music.

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