menu
What is the difference between a music producer and a DJ?

What is the difference between a music producer and a DJ?

Written by: Dexxter Clark
A DJ makes music, right?
And when he is in a club he makes music on the spot, right?
no and no.

A DJ plays music that others (or himself) produced before the DJ gig.
The Music producer is the person who makes the music so a DJ can play it.
For Example:
When I’m operating the cd player on a party of my friend and play “Madonna - Like a prayer”, I am the DJ.

When I am Madonna (or collaborated with her), I am the producer.

(I am aware that I’m oversimplifying things here, but it’s just to make a point).

Where the confusion comes in is when a DJ also produces his own music.
And since 95% of the famous DJs distribute music under their DJ name, everybody assumes that that always is the same person.

That can be, but doesn’t have to be the case.

To clarify what a DJ does.

A DJ tries to make a smooth transition between one song and the other.

If the DJ does his job right, people won’t even notice that the DJ ‘pasted’ 10,20,30 songs together.

A DJ can only manipulate a song and make a (fluent) transition.

In other words, a DJ needs to have existing songs to work with.

A performing DJ can (depending on the equipment):
influence the volume influence the low/mid or high frequencies influence the key of a song influence the speed of a song influence the order of parts of a song (digital only) mix in prerecorded sound effects like a bass drop, horn, riser etc scratch making a basic beat from scratch with a drum computer do a basic mashup, like playing a vocal over an existing song use effects like echo, delay, reverb etc.
But a performing DJ can not: make a song from scratch

more music producer confusion

To make matters even more confusing, there is a grey area.

There are DJs that indeed make a song ‘live’. They have a program like Ableton Live in which they have prepared little pieces of a song in advance and can combine them on-the-fly (and even play an instrument on top of that) to create a song (or multiple songs).

He can hape a song tailored to the needs of the audience.

In the 70’s and 80’s DJs where only DJs and music producers, only music producers.
But that started to shift in the 90’s when it was easier to make music with computers and DJs also started also to produce music.

Nowadays, most DJs produce music and a lot of producers DJ behind the decks.
And it has even gotten to the point where you have to produce music in order to get DJ gigs.

If you are serious about DJing and want to take it to the next level on the CDJ,
you should check out my CDJ 2000 video course.

Share this article

If you took value from this article, please share it on social media.

Website url:

Author

photo author dexxter clark
Dexxter Clark
Music Producer / YouTuber

Read more about the author


dj
music producer
music production

Read also ...

Mac or PC? What is the best computer for music production in 2020?

Mac or PC? What is the best computer for music production in 2020?

[VIDEO] What is better for music production MacOS or Windows in 2020? If the PC is so great, why are a lot of people using iMacs for their music? And vice versa? In this blog will dig into the pros and cons of both operating systems from the perspective of a music producer, ...
How to become a music producer dj - This is what you need to know

How to become a music producer dj - This is what you need to know

A lot of people mistake the job of a dj/producer for a simple job, you only have to play music, right?
And all the money, chicks and fame will automatically flow towards you.

Sorry, that I have to burst your bubble here.
Becoming a paid DJ that travels ...
What is the difference between a bootleg and remix?

What is the difference between a bootleg and remix?

When you are producing a song and you use elements from other songs, you need permission from the authors, even it’s a soundbite of just one second. As a music producer (in music production in general) it is important to know what is allowed and what not. Also ...

Online music production school is always nearby

Yes, indeed you can go to a music production school. Those have a building to maintain, staff to employ and an electricity bill to pay. You pay for that, and that can be expensive. I won`t say that is bad, because they probably can teach you how to learn music ...
Why iMacs are NOT the best laptops for music producers

Why iMacs are NOT the best laptops for music producers

[VIDEO] Everybody seems to think that macs are the best computers for music production or the best laptops for music production. And I’m here to open your eyes and tell you, that is not the case. Apple has done such a bad job lately that it has become painfully clear ...

FREE e-book

free ebook music production Introduction to DJing and music production.

CDJ 2000 Video Course

Learn Pioneer CDJ 2000 with this DJ course Complete CDJ 2000 video training for the DJ that has no CDJ at home