Wednesday, October 27, 2010

DMC DJ Battles are now going Digital

The DMC DJ Battle Competitions that were strictly vinyl for decades are now allowing digital media into the mix. This opens the door for many DJs but also is a sad sight as it eliminates certain skills that used to be required including a light record hand and record control, plus the creativity to find those few words, samples and phrases hidden within a record. Things will indeed be very different. Hopefully with the things that will e disappearing from the competition well also see a huge influx of creativity and imagination. No doubt actual mixing will come back into the equation and some creative use of digital equipment and software as a new medium for the DJs to paint their musical canvas' with. 

For more info on the actual changes check the post below originally posted on

Posted by Gizmo on October 19, 2010

Last night was the DMC 2010 world finals. From said finals came a few texts, but the one shown above - despite denials from DMC a couple of weeks ago - will come as zero surprise to anyone. It seems that Tony Prince announced that with the help of Rane and Serato, DMC will go digital - entirely digital too if the text is to be believed. Serato have also confirmed this with an official if slightly vague news item too.

Obviously, with Tony dropping this bomb late at night, and right before a booze laden afterparty means that the likelihood of getting further details in a hurry is slim. So I fired off the following questions to DMC HQ:

1. Are Technics out of the picture now?
2. Are Rane/Serato the only DVS sponsors?
3. Will you allow other DVSs to be used or will this be Serato only?
4. Will DJs be allowed to use all the tools available to them in the software or is it strictly for loading tracks without looping or cue points?
5. Is this really entirely digital with no real vinyl allowed?

My take right now is that sponsorship has been agreed, but the exact details of how this will pan out through the competition have yet to be thrashed out. 

Are Technics out of the picture now? Well I'd say that along with the continuing near certain demise of the long time favourite brand, then the answer is yes. It's been touch and go for a couple of years now, but I'd say that the DMC finals has just changed hands.

Will it be Serato only? Well I hope not. No offence to Serato because I love those guys - I'm thinking purely from a fairness point of view. Not everyone uses Scratch Live and I'm 100% against enforced usage of any particular type of technology. If DJs want to turn up with their own particular brand of DVS software then they should be allowed to do that. Yes of course I understand the needs and objectives of sponsors, but my own objective is the future of the battle scene. 

Personally, I think this news is great. This move simply cuts out the whole expensive making customs part for the battle DJ. Hmmm… but this alone isn't going to make the battle anymore exciting or encourage further creativity. I see no point in doing half measures - the entire menu of software options including loops, hot cues and effects needs to be allowed too. Perhaps then we could get back to some clever and creative mixing rather than juggling unknown custom beats and never really knowing if the DJ is actually performing or if all the action is pre-made on custom vinyls.

I really hope that the no analogue part is untrue. It's one thing moving forward to the place where everyone else has been for years, but to slam the door closed on the heritage than founded the entire DJ scene is plain wrong. 

UPDATE: This just in from Serato: "I can confirm that we endorse and support the use of real vinyl."

Early days yet and some careful thought needs to go into making the integration of DVS systems into DMC a success. Looking forward to seeing how this pans out. 

UPDATE 2: Official DMC statement follows:
DMC, the preeminent showcase for DJ talent around the world, are pleased to announce that Serato and Rane have come on board as major sponsors of the DMC World DJ Championships, a collaboration which DMC believes will take DJ creativity to an entirely new level with the ability to use Serato’s Scratch Live.

In order to balance traditional mixing and the popularity of digital vinyl playback, DMC have confirmed that from 2011 the 26 year old event will, like the DMC DJ TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP, permit the use of the software based system Serato Scratch Live in addition to traditional vinyl.

THE BATTLE FOR WORLD SUPREMACY will continue to support pure turntablism, two decks, vinyl and individual flair and creativity. DMC also plan an ON-LINE WORLD DJ CHAMPIONSHIP which will embrace visual mixing, the potential for which was seen at this year’s WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS with performances by DJs Woody and Shiftee.

DMCWORLDTV has established itself as the premier portal for DJ performances and now DMC has plans to launch DMC RADIO, a revolutionary channel featuring DJs covering every genre of dance & hip-hop music transmitting from a variety of servers around the world.

Sally Mclintock (DMC’s World Championship Manager): “We’ve been overwhelmed by the number of DJs who want to use Serato Scratch Live in their 6minute sets and we believe the creative landscape has now been widened. We’re very excited and really pleased to have the full support from Serato and Rane”.

Tony Prince (DMC Founder): “ I know the DJs will take up this new creative challenge and bring their art to a level no one can presently imagine. Expanding the DJ’s creative potential is what DMC has always encouraged and why we are the only World Championship in music that has lasted a quarter of a century, and I just can’t wait to see where the DJs take us with Serato supporting their musical creativity and inspiration in the years ahead. Whilst the DMC Championships will continue to discover the best turntablists in the world and the best DJ teams, we’re about to produce the next generation of DJs, the DJs of a new breed. We’re movin’ on up as we have done for 26 years creating new superstar DJs and my message to the next generation is to unharness their creative ability, check out the new possibilities of using Serato Scratch Live and get ready for the 2011 championships”!

Sam Gribben (Serato Audio Research, General Manager): “DMC is responsible for fostering the culture of competitive turntablism and Serato are honoured to become a major sponsor of this iconic and prestigious event. Preserving the art of vinyl DJing, whilst introducing new technologies for future world champions is a key Serato philosophy. We look forward to a long relationship with DMC, ensuring that competitive DJing continues to moveforward into new realms.”

Dean Standing (RANE CORPORATION, Director of Sales):“We’re excited to expand our involvement with DMC and be a part of the evolution of the preeminent DJ battle competition. We look forward to watching DJs use digital vinyl emulation systems such as Serato Scratch Live to further push the limits of their craft

Soooo... this simply confirms that Scratch Live is being allowed. The implication is that this will allow all sorts of creative opportunities, but doesn't actually state if there are any limitations or not. As I've stated previously, if SSL is simply a replacement for customs, then we can expect to see little in the way of a difference from what we already have. If however the full arsenal of SSL tools is available then we're in for some fun. 

But what about other DVS systems? It's going to be hard enough ensuring that the switchover from DJ to DJ is smooth without multiple DVS usage. Even the S-120 battle at BPM ran into a handful of issues with different versions of SSL and SL boxes. The logistics of handling audio interfaces and SL boxes needs careful planning. 

It does seem however that while this announcement is very much about the official sponsorship from Rane and Serato, other DVS systems (let's be honest here - Traktor Scratch Pro) are still very much in the picture - it's just a matter of working out how this technically can be handled in a live environment. 

How about NI put on their own battle and the winner goes head to head with DMC's for the first real world crown? Just saying...

Honestly, I could write an epic post on how I'd move things forward. This is a start but there's so much more that could be done. 

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