DIGITAL MUSIC SURVEY – The DJs Format Choice
Back in December we launched a digital DJ music survey with DJkit.com and JunoDownload.com to find out what file format choice DJs are making and why. Historically DJs mostly used compressed MP3 files out of necessity as slow broadband speeds and hard drive storage availability made DJing with un-compressed files a challenge. Many years later both those obstacles are a thing of the past, but are DJs making the most of this and upgrading their preferred format to high resolution files? There’s certainly more information available now for DJs to understand bitrate and audio quality and with a very high percentage of DJs using digital files to DJ with on a USB drive or direct from a laptop it will be interesting to see the results.
We received over 300 responses globally from DJs of all backgrounds. 13% of the DJs that responded are full time, 52% were part time with the remaining participants being bedrooms DJs. The DJs had a wide variety of backgrounds with 57% playing at clubs and festivals, 31% regularly appearing on radio, 30% had a bar residency and 25% were in the wedding / mobile DJ market.
FORMAT CHOICE – SURVEY RESULTS
First up we asked ‘Which digital formats do you DJ with’, this was a multiple choice question and the results are not hugely surprising with MP3 taking the lead but what is interesting is the WAV uncompressed format is not too far behind.
Next up we asked DJs to choose which is their preferred format and again a very similar pattern to the general choice of format.
We also asked DJs to elaborate on why the specific format was their preferred choice and the answers we’re mostly in unison with those DJs preferring MP3 citing hard drive space and cost being the major factors. Those DJs who preferred uncompressed formats like WAV & AIFF again were mostly in sync saying quality is their main priority for choosing a higher resolution format.
Finally, we asked where DJs sourced their music from and encouragingly a very high percentage of DJs got their music legitimately with promo mail outs, friends and Soundcloud following in a collectively close second.
Worrying, just over 10% source their music from ripping online, now we never judge as we’re all in our own situations (one student we had didn’t have access to any legal download stores in his country), but as a DJ keeping your musical integrity and professionalism should be very high on all our lists. As we quoted in our Understanding Bitrate & Audio Quality article you wouldn’t be happy if you paid good money going to the cinema and they played a VHS on the big screen! Why should this be different for clubbers?
You can be the best DJ out there but if the music you are playing has been ripped online it has a serious amount of essential frequencies stripped from it that may sound fine on your laptop speakers but will be terrible on a club sound system.
Personally we’re very pleased with the results and although only it’s a relatively small sample of DJs the overall results show that we are becoming more conscious of the music we source to play in public. Hard drives are bigger and cheaper and broadband speeds give us the ability to download BluRay films in minutes so the initial obstacles we faced as DJs downloading uncompressed music are a thing of the past.
Also, congratulations to our 2 runner up winners, Martijn van der Voort & Dougie ‘DJ Dougster’ Gibson who both won a £25 voucher for JunoDownload.com each.