Keeping It Real vs. The Digital Revolution

by Marc

Have you ever heard the phrase “keep it real” when it comes to DJ-ing? This refers to the act of mixing using only vinyl, which is considered the first, but also the most difficult mixing technique. Mixing by ear seems old fashioned, as we live in the age of synced devices and almost automatic beatmatching, but how hard is it to actually “keep it real” and be a vinyl-only DJ? Well, that is another story…

Digital releases have been a very common practice lately, but surprisingly, vinyl sales have almost tripled since 2009, especially when you look into the underground electronic music genres. This is due both to the unique sound that vinyl offers and its value as a collectible object that fights digitization and mainstream genres. But is it worth to start a collection of this kind?

First, a vinyl collection is not something cheap and it needs time to grow, but it is very satisfying to have. Many labels nowadays are vinyl-only, being selective when it comes to the music they press and sharing the digital files only with a few well-known artists that promote the release. Therefore, by collecting vinyl, you will be required to really question each and every purchase, but being picky will help you define your own musical identity, which is a very good thing.

Prior to the digital revolution, DJ-s had to constantly dig for new records and purchase the ones they liked. Before a gig, they had to sort their collection, play the record through to understand the structure and even figure out by ear the key of the track, with the help of a piano or a guitar. In addition, carrying the records without damaging them and bringing the right ones to the club required more effort than carrying just and USB drive, like today.

However, many things have changed in the Digital Era, as the digital DJ tools such as controllers, CDJ-s and laptops are becoming more advanced and easier to use, being an accessible choice for the public. Still, using a laptop to play music brings an artificial feel that does not exist when playing vinyl. When you play vinyl, you can notice a fluctuation in terms of BPM and overall feel of the track, which makes the act of mixing, be more real, whereas a computer will always play music at a constant BPM. In addition, it is very easy to release music in digital format and play it straight away from your USB or send it to other people. Still, the motivation to release music on vinyl instead of the digital format might come from different reasons, such as making the track more exclusive or for the warm sound that vinyl offers.

The Digital Revolution brought many benefits, as it changed the way music is released and shared, but it will never be able to offer the real, tactile sensation you experience when touching your favorite record. Both formats have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it is up to you to decide which suits you more. We really want to know your opinion, so tell us down below on which side you are!

Source: White Peach Records

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