2015 is the year of the DJ. There has to be some calendar that says that, because electronic music is crossing into mainstream culture at high speeds. Zac Efron is starring in a DJ movie. Kids across the world are pirating FL Studio & making mashups on Virtual DJ.
But above all this is the rise of Your Shot USA — the Tiësto led DJ reality TV competition. Your Shot USA is. essentialy the DJ version of American Idol. Thirty hopeful DJ’s compete for a slot alongside Tiësto at Ultra Music Festival Miami 2016.
Naturally, the DJ/producer community is outraged that their craft is being commercialized. However, Your Shot U.S.A. might be doing more good than harm for electronic music.
Pop culture attracts future creatives.
My musical journey started with Guitar Hero 3. I played piano for 2 years when I was little, but after 2 hours of playing Guitar Hero at age 11, I was hooked. I immediately decided I wanted to learn how to play my dad’s old guitar that was forgotten about in the downstairs closet. Nine years later, my passion for Metallica & palm muting turned into Porter Robinson & sidechaining.
When you bring creative subculture up to mainstream attention, . Sure, there will be poseurs, but out of every pop culture boom, there are legit learners. I’ll make a prediction. Within the next 10 years, there will be a massively popular and talented producer who will sheepishly admit that, “Your Shot got me into electronic music”.
A Google Trend analysis shows that people searched for ‘guitar’ coinciding with releases of new Guitar Hero’s. This may suggest that Guitar Hero had a bleeding effect into creating new guitar players.
New educational resources will emerge.
Say that Your Shot does the same thing that Guitar Hero did for me. After young people played Guitar Hero ten years ago, they had a moment. I can guarantee every Guitar Hero player considered or tried playing the guitar after playing the game. They might have thought it might look cool to be in a band, or a good way to land dates.
The setback for some would-be guitarists was money. Not everybody could afford to play the guitars they saw on screen. That barrier to entry is completely broken down with DJ culture because software is free. Programs like Reaper & VirtualDJ cost absolutely nothing besides some room on your hard drive.
Now, if Your Shot will bring more DJ’s into the scene than Guitar brought guitarists, there will be the opportunity for DJ/producer learning platforms to take off. Blogs such as this, YouTube production tutorials, and other educational resources about electronic musicianship will rise to prominence. More knowledge than ever would be shared & spread, benefitting the old-timers as well as the newcomers.
In Your Shot, contestants are given 30 days to master the art of DJing. You may be one of many DJ’s who think that this is impossible. “I’ve been DJing for 10 years, it’s not something you can learn in 30 days!”
Well, that depends on your definition of when someone has mastered DJing.
With any skill, there is a fence. Where it lie may be soon into the journey, or further down the road, but either way, there is a fence where becoming better requires massively more commitment than it ever has before. This is what separates the Jimi Hendrix’s and deadmau5’s from the rest.
Now enters new learning methods. The concept of meta-learning, or learning to learn, says that skill acquisition time can be greatly cut when the right conditions are in place. If Tiësto brings the right curriculum, environment, and teaching methods, 28 days may be enough to get contestants to the learning fence. They may not be able to go head to head with DJ Shadow or Carl Cox, but they could get far with expert advice.
You may think this is obnoxious. If it took you ten years to learn to DJ, ask yourself what you did for those ten years. Did you quit your job and spent 12 a day working on your sets? Did you have expert mentors with you every step of your learning process? Did you know that you could play Ultra Music Festival from Day 1? Did you live in a house full of other DJ hopefuls? Did you broadcast your failures and triumphs on national TV? Remember, these contestants are pausing their lives to solely learn the craft, without any distractions or misdirections.
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