Why You Should Stop CDJ Shaming (A Message to Vinyl Purists)

Author : Lydia Castillo
February 15, 2017

Why You Should Stop CDJ Shaming (A Message to Vinyl Purists)

It seems that the prevalence of CDJ shaming is a direct result of the rise of vinyl-exclusive DJs.

Hey, I incredibly enjoy an all vinyl set when it comes around, but to those who negatively label CDJ users as talentless laypersons are completely missing the point.

Technology has directly revolutionized the dance music community, especially with regards to accessibility, capability, and creativity when it comes becoming and being a DJ in today’s world.


Accessibility and Capability

In the ’80s and ’90s, equipment used to cost tens of thousands of dollars and required technical skills to operate. On top of that you needed to have tasteful vinyl selection, a plug at the record store to hold those special releases the day they arrived, and the hustle to grow your sound.

Think about the tremendous effort of old-school mixing. Your costly vinyls needed to be labeled and plentiful. Your mixes better than anything out there and forget the idea of making a living out of it, only some truly managed to make a career out of it.

Today, CDJs paired with a mixer (which are still costly but not tens-of-thousands-of-dollars costly) are the standard for DJs of all levels who may be practicing in their basement for the first time or performing at sold-out dance festivals, clubs and events.

No longer do you need to lug around crates of vinyls, either. With CDJs you can use USB drives, delivering an unlimited track selection to your fingertips with the quick ability to browse through your library and pick the perfect song. All within a minute. 

Ergo I have questions.

What are the naysayers complaining about? The fact that their vinyl mixing skill took them years to perfect, while anyone with the aptitude and passion to become a DJ can do so with less effort using CDJs?


Song selection and mixing technique behind the decks are vital skills to creating your own sound and style. Fans will browse your mix track listing (if available) to decide whether your mix is worth listening to before even tuning in sometimes.

Vinyl purists will argue that feeling, interacting, and mixing with records is incomparable to mixing with CDJs, yet the counter argument could be that they’re limited to playing similar tempo-ed music.

Is that hindering their mixing capacity? Maybe. CDJs offer more inventive audio and pitch manipulation capabilities than anything else. They give more time for actual mixing while being a storyteller.

It’s frivolous to focus on what the messenger is using as a means to communicate, as long as that message is powerful.

The advanced technology makes way for an individualistic approach that we can all appreciate, and offers the opportunity to be as technical and creative as one can be.

Isn’t this something to be celebrated and not condemned?

I believe so.

Next time you’re ready to criticize the digital DJ ask yourself, “Is this directly and negatively impacting my listening gratification?”

It probably isn’t.