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Ebooks   ➡  Nonfiction  ➡  Music  ➡  Law  ➡  Rap and hip hop  ➡  Intellectual property

Hip Hop DJs and the Evolution of Technology: Cultural Exchange, Innovation, and

p.

27

“A must-read for anyone

Using interviews with world-renowned and innovative hip-hop

interested in some of

DJs, as well as technology manufacturers that cater to the market/

the lost and important

culture, this book reveals stories behind some of the iconic DJ

stories of hip-hop DJ/

technologies that have helped shape the history and culture of

turntablist history and

DJing. More importantly, it explores how DJs have impacted the

technology.”

evolution of technology.

—D-Styles, Scratch DJ

By looking at the networks of innovation behind DJ technologies,

innovator and member of

this book problematizes the notion of the individual genius and

the Invisibl Skratch Piklz

the concept of invention. Developing a theory of “technocultural

and the Beat Junkies

synergism,” this book attempts to detail the relationship between

culture and industry through the manipulation, exchange, and

“A precise and thorough

rights associated with intellectual property.

documentation of the

scratch DJ history in its

While the subject of hip-hop and intellectual property has already

purest form by an author

been well explored, this is the first time that hip-hop DJs have

who lives it.”

been conceptualized as intellectual property because of their role

—DJ Focus, Artist and

in the R&D and branding of DJ products.

inventor of the first

The book also addresses the impact of digital technology on the

optical crossfader for

hip-hop culture and

democratization of DJ culture, as well as how new digital DJ tech-

scratching

nology has affected the recorded music market.

[*ANDRÉ SIROIS *]

(Ph.D., University

of Oregon), a.k.a.

DJ food stamp, is

an instructor at

the University of

Oregon, where he

teaches

courses

on filmmaking and

PE

popular culture in the media. He has over 17 years experience as

T

www.peterlang,com

ER

a hip-hop, scratch, club, and radio DJ. His scratches have been

LAN

featured on numerous artists’ songs, including the gold-selling

G

single by Spose, “I’m Awesome.” He is one of the founders of

DJistory/DJpedia, a non-profit organization and archive dedicated

to preserving and telling histories of DJ technology and culture.

A Note from the Author

Thank you for downloading this ebook. I strongly encourage you to share it

anywhere and with anybody who may be interested in its contents. Since this

ebook is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY NC ND 4.0) this means

that you can share for download on any blog, website, torrent, etc. as long as

you give credit to the author (that’s me, AndreŚirois).

I am thankful to the publisher of this book, Peter Lang Publishing, for

allowing this ebook to be licensed under Creative Commons. While most

publishers who were interested in this manuscript balked at my insistence on a

Creative Commons ebook, Peter Lang embraced the idea. Whereas the

physical copies of the book will likely be found in university libraries, the

Creative Commons ebook allows anybody with access to a computer and the

internet to access it anywhere on earth and for free.

With that said, if you like the book and want to have a copy on your shelf (or

gift to someone else), please feel to purchase a hard copy. You can get copies

on Amazon, in Europe on Abe Books, or on the Peter Lang website. Any and all author royalties that I receive will be donated to DJistory and the DJpedia

Archive (www.djpedia.org / www.djistory.org), a non-profit I’m the co-founder of and the bi-product of the research conducted for this book. Please stay

tuned to the DJpedia and Hip Hop DJs and the Evolution of Technology Facebook pages for forthcoming projects (including a coffee table book on the first 35

years of DJ mixers).

Again, thank you for downloading. Please share widely and feel free to leave a

review on the Amazon site if you love or hate this book.

Peace,

AndreŚirois aka DJ food stamp

_Advance praise for _

Hip-Hop DJs and the

Evolution of Technology

“A must-read for anyone interested in some of the lost and important stories of hip-hop

DJ/turntablist history and technology.”

[_—D-Styles, Scratch DJ innovator and member of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz and the Beat Junkies _]

“A precise and thorough documentation of the scratch DJ history in its purest form by

an author who lives it.”

[_—DJ Focus, Artist and inventor of the first optical crossfader for hip-hop culture and scratching _]

“André Sirois (a.k.a. DJ food stamp) takes us where previous histories of hip-hop have

not: into the world of the technology companies that have long collaborated with and

profited from DJ culture. This compelling and thoroughly researched work forces us to

reconsider how technology is made. Rather than being conceived of and disseminated

from on high, Sirois demonstrates how new technologies are shaped with users in mind

and often developed in dialogue with them. We already know hip-hop as one of the

most important artistic, political, and social developments of the late twentieth and early

twenty-first centuries; Sirois makes clear that hip-hop is also a profound technological

force of its own. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the

full scope of hip-hop culture, as well as by anyone looking to understand the _synergy _

between everyday practices and technological advancement.”

[_—Loren Kajikawa, Author of _] Sounding Race in Rap Songs

“This is a very cool book…in so many ways. André Sirois presents fascinating stories and

valuable analysis that not only illuminates the DJ industry, but also speaks more

generally to the commodification of culture. The emphasis on intellectual property is

serious and significant. Don’t miss it!”

[_—Janet Wasko, Knight Chair in Communication Research, University of Oregon _]

Hip-Hop DJs and the

Evolution of Technology

Toby Miller

General Editor

Vol. 27

The Popular Culture and Everyday Life series is

part of the Peter Lang Media and Communication

list. Every volume is peer reviewed and meets

the highest quality standards for content and

production.

PETER LANG

.EW

RUSSELS

André Sirois

[*Hip-Hop DJs and the *]

Evolution of Technology

and Democratization

PETER LANG

.EW

RUSSELS

[*Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data *]

Names: Sirois, André.

Title: Hip hop DJs and the evolution of technology:

cultural exchange, innovation, and democratization / André Sirois.

Description: New York: Peter Lang, 2016. | Series: Popular culture and everyday life,

ISSN 1529-2428; v. 27 | Includes bibliographical references and index.

Identifiers: LCCN 2014027212 | ISBN 9781433123375 (hardcover: alk. paper) |

ISBN 9781433123368 (paperback: alk. paper) | ISBN 9781453913888 (e-book)

Subjects: LCSH: Turntablism. | Turntablism—Technological innovations.

Classification: LCC ML3531.S47 2014 | DDC 782.421649—dc23

LC record available at http://lccn.loc.gov/2014027212

Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek.

[*Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek *]lists this publication in the “Deutsche

Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are available

on the Internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de/.

Cover design by Alex Camlin

© 2016 Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., New York

29 Broadway, 18th floor, New York, NY 10006

www.peterlang.com

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgments

vii

)NTRODUCTION

XI

Chapter 1. Re-coding Sound Technology and the Vinyl Archive

1

Chapter 2. %XCHANGE

Technics AND

Chapter 3.

Corporation and Serato Audio Research

53

Chapter 4.

Development

77

Chapter 5.

%NDORSEMENT

Chapter 6.

Negotiation of DVS

139

Epilogue

167

Notes

173

Glossary

197

IBLIOGRAPHY

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

7RITING

4O

SOMETHING

without a shout-out section?

&IRST

FULL

WHOM

their busy schedules to let me interview them and share their stories and ideas

with me. Thank you! Special thanks to all the DJs (more than 50) who took

THE

the representatives from the DJ product industry and recording industry who

gave me an amazing amount of access and shared with me important (and

often unrepresented) perspectives.

)

have had and continue to have a powerful impact on DJ technique and the

advancement of DJ hardware. You are authors of this book as well!

)

for the tireless work (and patience) with this project through the many drafts

OF

feedback was so helpful and important.

viii

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

Most of the beautiful images in this book and on the DJpedia/DJistory

FLICKR

Thanks for all you have done for this project and spending long days listening

TO

IGGUPS

designed the dope cover for this book. Thanks my man!

Props are due to the School of Journalism & Communication and the

#INEMA

PROJECT

to my committee members for guidance and encouragement: Julianne

.EWTON

ADVISOR

PUBLISH

5/

ADVISOR

intellectual property law.

)

ING

ME

DEMONSTRATIONS

-AJOR

only in writing this book but especially as a DJ. Many of the ideas here come

FROM

TO

&REEMAN

HELPED

but forgetting people is part of writing shout-outs.

Special props to my dude DJ Calibur for helping start DJpedia/DJistory

WITH

SCRATCH

)

THE

MIXTAPES

and show love to me.

3HOUT OUTS

HAVE

THE

acknowledgments

ix

-#S

capacities.

)

FAMILY

OBBY

)

-OST

AMAZING

AND

WORKED

this book.

,AST

AND

THE

2)0

to both of you.

INTRODUCTION

)MAGINE

wage; you probably do something important. This rate is reportedly what Paris

(ILTON

AT

Hilton claims that this puts her in the top-five paid DJs globally.1

7E

_Forbes, _ 2 _ _ THESE

$*S

AND

TOTAL

WILDLY

(ARRISS

BASKETBALL

!ND

EARNS

3OME

OF

xii

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

THOSE

figures per night to DJ at music festivals or in high-end clubs in global party epi-

CENTERS

NUALLY

4HESE

THE

CULTURE

PLAYING

NOTABLE

phrase and concept that multinational corporations are embracing by placing

DJs in television ads and as the faces of marketing campaigns.

4HE

STANCE

that aired on VH1 and served as one long ad for Smirnoff-brand vodka with

$*ING

and Got Talent

tition television show along with global telecommunications conglomerate

4 -OBILE

2ED

AS

their brand value and cashing in.

,OOKING

0AULY

INTERESTED

aire celebrity DJs. Hip-hop DJs and celebrity DJs share the fact that they play

AND

THE

in the evolution of DJ technology in both technique and technical innova-

TIONS

INNOVATION

DEMOCRATIZED

$*S

technologies they rely on when commanding these enormous booking fees.

Hip-hop DJs have made important contributions to the evolution of DJ

TECHNOLOGY

VINYL

OR

digital DJ technology possible through a series of technique and technical

introduction

xiii

innovations over the last 40 years. The influence has been pervasive because

THE

encoded into the hardware (the technical). Most of these celebrity DJs rely on

DIGITAL

OF

WITH

from one song to another (“beat-matching”). Controller systems also have

ALGORITHMS

lowing anybody to DJ without having any skill or investment in the art form.

)N

ABLE

THE

by making products that allowed anybody to be a DJ without investing time

AND

SAW

RITHMS

UCTS

SIX FIGURE

OF

MENT

TO

hop DJs have allowed companies to use their authorship as brand name to help

AUTHENTICATE

leads to more sales. The era of digital DJing and celebrity DJs reflects the culmi-

nation of a long process that this book attempts to reveal by looking under the

SURFACE

&OR

4HE

nipulate music (loosely quantified as a break) on 12” or 7” discs. The hip-hop DJ

DOES

it hip-hop by manipulating it and adding his or her own style to it. The hip-hop DJ

must be able to take a small drum break or section of a song and use two copies of

it to manipulate it on-time to produce new music. The hip-hop DJ is interested in

COLLECTING

The main idea is that a hip-hop DJ collects different types of music and rhyth-

MICALLY

MIXING

xiv

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

YOUR

FORMS

hop DJ culture and art form.

4HE

WHEN

QUESTION

THE

there is an impact narrative to be written about the many ways in which new

TECHNOLOGY

HOW

to manipulate music has changed technical innovations. My inquiry is rooted

IN

ination of this dialectic as a technological system.

4HEREFORE

MADE

CODES

USING

ferring to the network or system of relationships between man/woman and

MACHINE

THE

USES

NOVATION

2AYMOND

vision as symptomatic technologies.5

velopments” became technology through social uses and were the result of

COMPLEX

AND

rather than revolutionary. Technology as a network is made by dialectical ten-

SION

ERS

both create and are created by technology _. _ 6

ENERALLY

TECHNIQUE

ADAPT

market. The story of hip-hop DJ innovation represents a feedback loop that

captures the dialectical relationship between culture and industry. Through

RESEARCH

$*S

introduction

xv

4HIS

ARE

innovations as tools.

)N

NICAL

ergism.” This concept is something that came from my research and is based on

the interviews in this book; it is grounded or emergent theory. Technocultural

SYNERGISM

ture and corporations converge to make “something” in a way that empowers

SOME

PRODUCTS

)

verge with companies interested in capitalizing on that logic. Technocultural

synergism is also a process where industry and culture come together to pro-

DUCE

synergism is a cycle of thesis and antithesis that produces new technological

SYSTEMS

CREATES

be addressed critically.

)N

RIGHT

LAWS

AND

GISM

$*

ativity begins by manipulating

BLESMIXERS

NIES

they cater to these uses by designing products for DJs (a more abstract and

SUBTLE

BETTER

IN

TECTION

TAL

WITHIN

INTELLECTUAL

TO

how hip-hop DJs are themselves manipulated as intellectual properties.

xvi

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

4HIS

AGE

books of their own.7 Race is surely important to the story of hip-hop DJ cul-

TURE

AND

and contributions of hip-hop DJs not being properly credited or compensated.

7HILE

EQUITY

hop DJs are manipulated as

ACADEMIC

pling technology have been framed as “criminals” or heroes who appropriate

INTELLECTUAL

little to no discussion about how hip-hop DJs themselves can be manipulated

AS

the concepts in this book could be applied more broadly to the various ways

in which our collective ideas become products that are organized and resold

back to us.8

5NDER

EXPLORES

SPECIFICALLY

around the network and innovations in technique and style are the byproduct

OF

COLLECTIVELY

A

are based around stories and mythologies of singular invention and originality.

“UT

through a creative network does not necessarily take away from individual

ORIGINALITY

THE

HISTORY

FOR

BOOK

frames hip-hop DJ culture as open source.

&ROM

ING

ARGUE

DJ technique and technical innovations are about the reinvention of every-

thing else and making it hip-hop. Hip-hop DJs did not invent turntables or

introduction

xvii

MIXERS

THIS

PRACTICE

)NTERNET

MEANING

tality of individualism fostered under capitalism and American intellectual

PROPERTY

ITY

THE

credit to people who have made major contributions to hip-hop DJ technique

AND

UATED

SOME

7HEN

TURE

Hip-hop culture (specifically hip-hop DJ culture) is a new media culture and

ITSELF

RONX

software that allowed people to sample from popular culture and make new

POPULAR

IDEOLOGY

them manually with two turntables to create new music should be consid-

ERED

3OUTH

ENT

DID

hREMIXEDv

into read-write devices.

)

MENTION

IS

OVER

WHO

50 hip-hop DJs from nine different countries responded to an online survey.

4HROUGHOUT

WITH

xviii

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

MY

TRANSCRIPTS

London and New York graffiti subcultures.9

)

PAGES

INTO

CAME

NEGOTIATING

the larger story. Data also came from analyzing other archival media such as

MAGAZINE

TERIALS

stress how important the interviews are to this book; they are the heart and

SOUL

)N

BY

ACCOMMODATED

DIGITAL

A

MUSIC

case studies presented here.

The research from this book also comes from many years as a participant

OBSERVER

the field. At points in this book there are stories or claims that have no cita-

TIONS

IN

BEEN

SCRATCHING

A

a week to help subsidize my record buying habit and my adjunct instructor

SALARY

WAS

academic pursuit. Hip-hop DJing was a life passion before it was an academic

ONE

)

THE

POPULAR

IN

TELEVISION

introduction

xix

AS

)

Train

Jam Master Jay. Seeing DJs scratch in music videos and on Yo! MTV Raps was

early inspiration for me.

3TILL

CELLULOID

MIXTAPES

had a Hollywood version of a DJ battle between DJ GQ and DJ Majesty.10

FOR

$*S

there were no access points for gear or information unless someone in your

social network possessed both.

)N

URBAN

AND

INFORMATION

4WO

ABOUT

3INCE

MY

FOR

WITH

SCRATCHES

GONE

STORES

AT

AMAZING

had lots of conversations about the topics in this book with other DJs—both

IN

DISCUSSIONS

we should begin having.

)

)T

)

LED

WRITING

Making Beats 11

xx

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

_Generation_.12

PARTICULAR

BOOKS

do as well.

.OW

FRAMEWORK

SELF

trying to outline a

POLITICAL

STORIES

CHRONOLOGICALLY

nocultural synergism. Chapter 1 is where we historically look at how hip-hop

DJs have manipulated intellectual properties by re-coding the uses of sound

PLAYBACK

hip-hop DJs associate with this technology and the vinyl record collection.

(ISTORICALLY

MANIPULATION

MARKET

$*

have been most relevant to a political economy of the hip-hop DJ. Chapter

2 focuses on two iconic and now defunct Japanese manufacturing brands that

CREATED

DIGITAL

MARKET

RESPECTIVELY

TERS

PROPERTIES

has happened in the market. Standardization of DJ products is understood in

RELATION

PRESENTLY

tion of DJs as intellectual properties have helped to standardize DJ products.

Chapters 4 and 5 really get into the heart of technocultural synergism

WITH

TELLECTUAL

HOW

SHIPS

MARKETPLACE

are themselves manipulated by industry as intellectual properties in R&D and

introduction

xxi

branding/endorsement. These chapters will hopefully redirect the discourse

ABOUT

THEMSELVES

KET

#HAPTER

DUCTION

ask DJs about how digital DJ technology has affected the culture and how the

CULTURE

DUSTRY

INDUSTRY

developed as a tool by and for DJs—to add a sub-narrative to the story of vinyl

records in the digital era.

)

NOGRAPHY

SYNERGISM

TION

we talk about their (and hip-hop culture broadly) relationship to intellectual

property and the cultural industries. The other greater purpose here is to show

HOW

tinuum (a dialectical relationship that appears on the surface to be composed

of discrete sides).

EFORE

THIS

HIP HOP

their stories here.

· 1 ·

RE-CODING SOUND TECHNOLOGY

AND THE VINYL ARCHIVE

h&OR

COMES

and the owner from which it comes…. Collecting is a form of practical memory.”

Walter Benjamin 1

(ISTORICALLY

VINYL

TICES

OF

MUSIC

point in the opening scenes of the documentary _Copyright Criminals _ when he

SAYS

reinterpretation of that history to us.”2 These collections are for use as tools

IN

and culture.

“Y

culture demonstrates aspects of what some scholars describe as “new media”

CULTURE

CONSUMERS

SHARING

MEDIA

TURE

USES

read-only culture.3

2

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

DEFINE

have been a guiding force in making the subcultural acts of sampling and

REMIXING

IS

highlights how innovation and reinvention are the product of (and travels

through) a creative network.

7ITH

CONSUMPTION

MEANINGSUSES

INDUSTRIES

IN

TEXTS

TO

ITS

THIS

to the ethnography and interviews that make up the bulk of this chapter and

remainder of the book.

)T

by hip-hop DJs that undermines the read-only ideology of sound reproduc-

tion encoded into vinyl records and turntables. This read-only ideology comes

FROM

LECTUAL

ULATION

CATER

components in the cycle of technocultural synergism.

DJ Culture, Sound Systems, and Discos

The histories of DJ culture and hip-hop DJing have been documented widely

in both academic and popular media.5

AESTHETICS

and also consider DJ culture as an ideology itself to ground this chapter and

the remainder of this book.

&ROM

FOR

pression.6

re-coding sound technology and the vinyl archive

3

METHODOLOGY

OWNS

ple in a slightly different form.”7

“DJ composition is the interpretation and reconstruction of something

THAT

!CCORDING

of reproduction) as a means of production. DJ culture is signified by the cut

REMOVING

IS

+ATZ

that borrowing from the past is not just a quality endemic to hip-hop DJ culture;

ITS

CULTURE

(IP HOPS

(a mobile discotheque) and “toasting”12

ADAPTED

main similarities between hip-hop DJs and reggae sound systems is that they

share a partial reliance on previously recorded music and rhythms.13

STYLISTIC

ACCORDING

IS

ORIGINAL

and sampling in hip-hop are about paying homage through the “invocation

OF

RIGHTED

authority.”16 Herc is credited with bringing the sound system culture to the

3OUTH

YEARS

discotheques and parks elsewhere in the city.17

7HILE

INATED

were in fact influenced by the practices of disco DJs as hip-hop “appropri-

ATED

Disco dance culture began in New York City in the late 1960s with DJs such

AS

GAY

industry latched onto the culture and began mass producing recordings that

were intended to be played at clubs.

4

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

Hip-hop can be considered a reaction to the co-opted elements of disco

CULTURE

WERE

$*

NARRATIVE

MIXING

IS

was one of the first DJs who required headphones to be part of the system so

THAT

with the record playing over the speakers. He would then hold the record and

let the turntable platter rotate beneath (slip-cue) and then drop the record on

time and on beat.20

4O

$*

RASSOS

DEVELOPMENT

THE

were invented and polished by a user before

4HEREFORE

SPECIFIC

innovations in mind.

$ISCO

DRUM

MIXED

STUDIO

AND

CLUBS

.EW

BREAK

THOSE

-OULTON

ULAR

format adopted by the recording industry for DJs (the 12” vinyl single is dis-

cussed in more detail in Chapter 6). The 12” vinyl single allowed for wider

AND

THAN

TOOL

ALSO

re-coding sound technology and the vinyl archive

5

Hip-Hop DJ Culture and Technology

Hip-hop DJ culture24

#ITY

MARGINALIZATION

and voice.25 Also—and this in no way trivializes it—hip-hop culture was a

BUNCH

culture developed as an African American and Latino (largely Puerto Rican)

MOVEMENT

DANCERS

-UCH

!FRIKA

CULTURE

FORMERLY

the early development of DJ style and technique during its embryonic stages (as

well as many other DJs26). The pioneering hip-hop DJs set up their homemade

SOUND

CULTIVATING

the DJ style which helped to create the lifestyle which came to be known as hip

HOPv

hip-hop because the culture began as live performances in parks and community

CENTERS

$*

LECTION

FIRST

ITY

POWER

to older crowds of hustlers and numbers runners at discotheques; commercial

radio was following by playing mostly disco hits.29 “UT

FOR

for teenagers looking for a party and creative outlet.30

REACTION

short rhythmic sections repetitively—a technique he coined the “merry-go-

round”—isolating and prolonging these breaks.31

THE

DANCING

“Y

MENTS

6

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

HE

POSITIONv33 Herc and other DJs demonstrated that a completed work could

be broken down into parts and used to create original music.34 According to

#HANG

the record from linear and temporal constraints.”35 “The breakbeat involves a

FREEDOMv

freedom of the DJ as listener to foster creativity with the collage of cultural

information he or she had available.”36

Herc also developed a reputation for having the most powerful sound

SYSTEM

(who is regarded as the first hip-hop MC or “rapper”) on the microphone

TO

WERE

event; DJs were the “orchestra” for the emcees to rhyme over.37 According to

RANDMIXER

rites of passage to his set.”38

Herc has been cited as one of the first DJs to obscure the labels of his records

SO

he learned from his father.39

JAMS

WAS

SAYS

robbing his mother and father for records.”40 /THER

THEIR

MOST

Herc brought the break to the fore and in the process set off the hip-

HOP

THAT

PICKED

TO

an activist.41 7HILE

HAD

CORDED

and buying records into regal disciplines.42

standard plays for other DJs:

)

hop and my crowd was just like “progressive” yKNOW

re-coding sound technology and the vinyl archive

7

SO

BUT

got into a heavy metal record you had on and saw the crowd react well to it then

these other DJs would start playing it at their parties.43

RANDMASTER

AND

VELOPED

HIS

learned in school and figured out how to open up the faceplate of a light

POLE

PARTIES

MISSION

thought that a DJ could be scientific with his style and considered himself a

scientist.44

RANDMASTER

AND

TECHNIQUES

IN

FOR

HIP HOP

ways to use home stereo equipment.46

UP

0ETE

AND

$*

HIS

PREAMPS

UP

)

ONE

GLUE

TO

IN

come into being.47

&LASH

AND

8

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

&LASH

CUTTING

take a particular passage of music and rearrange the arrangement by way of

RUBBING

record.”48

OR

do it seamlessly and on beat.49

4HE

&LASH

ORYv

A

full revolutions he would need to spin back the record he was cueing up in his

headphones to bring the record back to the beginning of the break—essentially

ADDING

THIS

MARK

CUE

theory.

&LASH

NIQUES

STAB

THE

BACK

DJs to incorporate acrobatic body tricks into his performances. He is largely

CREDITED

OF

a “slipmat” between his records and the turntable platter. Slipmats are now a

standard technology used in all DJ setups.51

USE

&LASH

7HILE

ING

with perfecting and introducing it to audiences; hip-hop DJs largely agree

and credit Theodore as the “inventor” of scratching.53

Theodore would do with the scratch was make it more rhythmical. He had

a way of rhythmically taking a scratch and making that shit sound musical.

He just took it to another level.”54

WOULD

re-coding sound technology and the vinyl archive

9

&LASHS

CORDS

scratch another record rhythmically over it.

&LASHS

HARDWARE

PRACTICES

THE

for innovation as a core value of hip-hop DJ culture and one that emanates

THROUGHOUT

hop DJ _as _ INTELLECTUAL

TECHNIQUE

4HE

S

BEGINNING

WHO

cause the DJ could let the emcee handle the mic so the DJ could focus on the

MUSIC

TIMING

THE

much-hyped battles and then eventually performances complete with chore-

OGRAPHY

FROM

recording industry in 1979.

)T

-#

tion of hip-hop culture into rap music.55

.ELSON

RELEASE

RECORD

WITH

that pushed the DJ to the background. The rapper was easier to endorse by

CORPORATE

hAUTHORv

hMOST

became commercial.

4HE

of the hip-hop DJ in two ways: (1) as hip-hop moved to studio-based rap

MUSIC

10

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

people who were part of the live hip-hop culture bought rap on records and

CONSUMED

PARK

background as digital sampling technology became the dominant method of

producing the music.

!S

WITH

into the culture in the late 1970s and early 1980s with digital sampling equip-

ment. According to Schloss in his study of the values and aesthetics of pro-

DUCING

OF

PREEXISTING

initially embraced because it allowed DJs to realize their turntable ideas with

less work.”59

THEREFORE

lined here (primarily the practices of chopping and looping sound fragments).

Digital sampling is a case where technology caught up to the DJ as the

manual or analog sampling of early DJs prefigured the cut-and-paste tech-

NIQUES

pling technology remediated DJ technique in a way that specifically suited

THE

get writing credit and publishing royalties from rap songs that he produced.60

The 1980s and 1990s were important decades for hip-hop DJ culture.

7ITH

hip-hop DJ technique and technology developed in the underground. These

IMPORTANT

PERIODS

EXPANDED

describes this as the time when DJ hardware advanced along with the tech-

NIQUE

ITSELF

THIS

“Turntablism” is a neologism for distinguishing a DJ who merely plays

records from one who manipulates records to create an entirely new composi-

tion.62

that brings the hip-hop DJ to the forefront and gets back to the framework

ESTABLISHED

BUT

re-coding sound technology and the vinyl archive

11

for coining turntablism

ABU

!ND

EOS

contested as both DJ Supreme and Turntablist Disk have laid claims to orig-

INATING

turntable in the “spirit” of a musical instrument.63

A

h)F

LOVE

make your own music.”64

4HUS

TIONSHIP

NIPULATED

TYPES

BRIEF

THE

PAGES

$*S

Technique and Technology

3INCE

TITIONERS

VOICE

AND

(OWEVER

SHIP

AND

for a crowd. No other element of hip-hop required this sort of investment in

THE

nical innovations affect these other elements like DJing. This is much of the

REASON

IS

INTO

is nothing quite like the dialectic between hip-hop DJs and the DJ product

industry.

12

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

4HE

MEANINGS

innovations are enfolded into the art form and thus bear meaning beyond

the commodity nature of those tools. DJs in this book noted that innova-

TIONS

6ESTAX

were the most important technical innovations within hip-hop DJ history.

(OWEVER

OF

tural capital; essentially knowledge related to using commodities.65 4HUS

THIS

FADERS

h“UT

THEN

THE

have evolved beyond what a lot of people can comprehend…but the thing

THAT

point that Quest makes is central to this book and technocultural synergism

AS

VATION

THE

1UEST

OR

TO

BY

USES

cal innovation is more of a reflection of us rather than us being “affected” by

IT

,IKE

hPROGRESSv

INSTANCE

EQUIPMENT

the creative network advances the art and technology of hip-hop DJs. “You

NEED

that way.”68

POINTS

SO

but all the stuff is connected.”69

re-coding sound technology and the vinyl archive

13

SOME

which counters the ideology of pioneering hip-hop DJs to push the capabil-

ITIES

vice versa.”70

of this relationship.

Part of hip-hop DJing is taking elements from the past and reinvent-

ING

“RONX71

KEEPING

hop DJ culture is a “hand-me-down” culture:

)

OF

BOX

%VERYTHING

us and we try to make the most out of it and put our own little twist on it and make

it dope.72

ABU

TORICALLY

ATION

AND

central point in his book Rhymin’ and Stealin’

ROWS

a matter of historical authenticity. As a way of demonstrating historical authen-

TICITY

AND

$*S

THE

MANIPULATES

HISTORY

Using Turntables and Vinyl Records

/NE

consider the turntable a musical instrument. As someone who has invested

YEARS

IT

14

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

UNCONVINCED

EXPLAINING

STANDARD

CREATED

POSITION

INSTRUMENT

MICALLY

table with +/- 8 percent pitch does not provide that much melodic range. DJ

0LATURN

as its strings and the hip-hop DJ plucking those strings.75 Steve Dee consid-

ers the turntable the “ultimate instrument because it plays all instruments.”76

,IKE

because it can be any instrument that the DJ wants it to be. Nu-Mark tells me

THAT

TURNTABLE

TEMPO

about it.”77

3TEPHEN

#OLLEGE

come from the redefinition of uses. “Every musical instrument that we

HAVE

CELLO

out as something that played music and already is easier to think of as a

musical instrument than something like a bow and arrow would be.”78 )N

CONTEXT

to an instrument is a process that “requires not a single individual but a

community.”79 The notion that this type of metamorphosis is a communal

process remains core to this book and my assertion that technique/technical

innovations within hip-hop DJ culture are the byproduct of collective

intelligence within a network.

The turntable becomes an instrument when it is put to use as one; not

EVERYONE

ALL

Although gramophones were marketed and “played” as instruments in the

EARLY

SOLELY

REDEFINITION

re-coding sound technology and the vinyl archive

15

BEGINNING

MANIPULATE

4HE

ALLOWS

TERVIEWED

WHATEVER

A

CANNOT

GUITAR

are applied that defines what type of instrument the turntable is going to be at

THAT

)VE

to touch sound.”82

4HE

HAVING

TEMS

CONTROL

from a turntable…not only is that an instrument but you are every instrument

ever if you want to be.”83 Steve Dee suggests that hip-hop DJs manipulate his-

TORICAL

MUSIC

h7E

manipulating that time using time.”84

&OR

tions and make both “beautiful” and “terrifying” noises. “The turntable is vi-

BRATIONSv

GROOVE

LET

*OHN“EEZ

CAUSE

tion was built.”86

the culture and the tool used to make music that the pioneering hip-hop DJs

DESCRIBED

TORICAL

CREATED

TEXT

MEANINGS

creator of valuable intellectual properties.

16

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

EFORE

and use of vinyl records was required for the DJ and turntable to act together

AS

DEFINED

CAN

TO

WHAT

KIND

hip-hop.”87 3HAMES

REINVENTIVE

read-write culture through re-coding.

!FTER

NALIZED

THE

AS

DIFFERENT

$63

utility value of DVS has allowed them to “trim the fat” from their collections.

3OME

of the DJ profession/culture or DVS has replaced the need to curate and use

their collection.

2ECORDS

how they feel to the human hand. Teeko considers records to be an organic

sound medium that help to create a powerful connection between the DJ and

the molecular matter of the vinyl record:

7E

CONNECTING

THROUGH

DIRECTLY

ANALOG

LEVEL

zeros and ones that replicate these frequencies.88

Turntablist Disk and Shiftee both stress the importance of the tactility of the

RECORDED

to create.”89 The tactile nature of vinyl records and the connection through

THE

HEAR

re-coding sound technology and the vinyl archive

17

that sound in your hand…. You can hear it in your hand.”90 7HILE

SOMEWHAT

MANIPULATE

of that connection lies the value of utility; it is simply easier to control sound

when it is encoded into a 12-inch disc.

$*S

%CLIPSE

connection to his records deals with the work that goes into maintaining such

a large archive. Some DJs also describe how the labor involved in collecting

CAN

-0

and seeing all the information on a vinyl record—also provides DJs with in-

formation that may not be available online.

4HIS

worked on or drummer played on; vinyl records represent starting points for

FURTHER

READ

SHITv

to find that record with the great break on it by going out and getting your

hands dirty.”92

+ICO

COLLECTION

BECAUSE

value if anything.”93

respect between DJs. “Just to know that this cat went through that generation

of having to run records down and be about records and losing sleep about

GETTING

&OR

ARCHIVISM

SUGGESTS

PRESERVATION

DJ Shortkut also makes a photo-visual connection by likening his collection to

a “photo album” that he can show his daughter so she can better understand his

PAST

and other meanings associated with the commodity that holds the music.

h)TS

SHIT

(IP HOP

18

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

IMPORTANT

AS

the music encoded into their grooves because the songs represent an import-

ANT

SOUGHT

#HAMP

time you take one out it just brings you back to that time in your life. Like the

feeling.”97

4HE

CAN

CORDS

STUDIED

TELL

IT

me.”98

OF

CORD

MOST

need to refer to it…. There are things on those records that are infinitely

valuable.”99

7HILE

much of the value associated with collections comes from how they are put

TO

MEANING

&OR

creation of the art and culture. DJ Quest compares his records to tools in his

SHED

TOOLS

THE

THERE

EXTENSION

they also represent an investment of time and capital that he puts to use in

DJing and production.101

)N

VALUE

.IKOLESS

TO

RECORD

re-coding sound technology and the vinyl archive

19

)

RECORD

AND

THEM

PLASTIC

Hip-hop DJs also move back and forth between collections for use and for the

preservation of history. Some hip-hop DJs amass records as sellers who rein-

troduce them into the secondhand marketplace as well.103

6INYL

CONTAINˆHAVE

-IKE

AN

7ITH

FOR

ME

HEART

EXTENSION

!GAIN

and in the production of culture.

Understanding the uses and meanings associated with vinyl records and

TURNTABLES

manipulation of intellectual properties in the form of vinyl records and turn-

tables is at the heart of the culture and is the starting point for the industry

THAT

AS

DJ community has collectively reinvented those techniques and technical in-

novations and thus re-coded their meanings in the process. Uses as manipu-

lations help to define how the culture conceives and ascribes meanings to its

TOOLS

SIMPLY

4URNTABLES

$*S

COLLECT

MENTAL

the music become preferable for practical reasons. Vinyl records also have an

EDUCATIONAL

SOUND

20

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

RECORDS

is often judged in skill in manipulation and not entirely in the tools used (as

WE

first introduced).

(OW

PORTS

CAUSE

PREFIGURED

the core of creativity in the digital age.105

MANIPULATE

culture has converged with industry. This reinvention through manipulation

BY

TURAL

THE

PROPERTY

convergence.

)N

TORICALLY

cal innovations from four manufacturing brands of importance to a political

ECONOMY

INTELLECTUAL

WILL

within technocultural synergism as a way of catering to the market for manip-

ulation and read-write culture.

· 2 ·

EXCHANGE AND RIGHTS IN THE DJ

PRODUCT INDUSTRY

Technics and Vestax Corporation

h)TS

WEALTHY

NOT

THAT

technological development.”

Bob Moog 1

)N

!FTER

MAND

WAS

Technics SL-1200 series.2

4HE

FOR

A

WAS

in 1989.3

culture.

0ANASONICS

“UT

THIS

INDUSTRY

had announced it had sold more than 3 million units of the 1200 in 30-plus

22

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

YEARS

&OR

log-to-digital transition for hip-hop DJ culture.4

7E

Technics became the standard in the first place. The ways that technical

INNOVATIONS

standardization is a process that is understood narrowly (usually as a com-

pany pushing its product on culture through advertising and using intellectual

PROPERTY

factors that play into standardization within a niche market.

4HE

OPPORTUNITY

RIGHTS

forces that have helped give rise to the formation of a political economy of

the hip-hop DJ. This chapter is a discussion of two former major players in the

$*

tices that helped establish those firms in the marketplace. “OTH these manu-

facturers have introduced products that have been important to the dynamics

of hip-hop DJ culture. My goal is to begin highlighting the creative network

AND

RIGHTS

CONSUMERS

drive this culture and industry “forward.”

To illustrate technocultural synergism as a dialectical tension within this

POLITICAL

products and corporate practices have achieved industry standardization: (1)

4ECHNICS

PROPERTIES

strate how hip-hop DJs are themselves manipulated as

an aspect of technocultural synergism that is fully highlighted in Chapters 4

and 5. Technical innovations that achieve standardization are the product of

A

CORPORATIONSˆAND

begin to see how convergence and collective intelligence function in the DJ

product industry and hip-hop DJ culture.

Exchange and rights in the dj product industry

23

The DJ Product Industry

4O

REMAINDER

ket more generally. The DJ product industry is part of the larger musical

INSTRUMENT

INDUSTRYv

GUITARS

7HILE

THERE

According to reports by Music Trades

market grew 2.1 percent in 2013 and comprises 40.6 percent of the global

MARKET

GLOBAL

INDUSTRY

products industry is significantly less concentrated.

Japan (34.32 percent) and the United States (31.17 percent) are the two

LARGEST

CENT

ELECTRONICS

product revenues are lumped in with the other audio products they produce.

4HE

HIGHLY

SAW

IN

THAT

to make innovative products. The larger companies follow trends by smaller

COMPANIES

in DJ culture.

According to Music Trades

$*

BRANDS

Rane Corporation is the 159th largest music products company in this indus-

TRY

5NITED

This market has been growing consistently since 2009 when it was at a lowly

24

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

fastest-growing market segment in the music products industry.

/N

THIS

CREASED

suggest that the rise in DJ controller sales coincides with the popularity of

ELECTRONIC

3INCE

THAT

PLAYBACK

be no data differentiation between turntables aimed at professional DJs and

THOSE

TO

WHICH

EFFECTIVELY

7HILE

ARE

the musical instrument industry is also structured like the recording industry.

Manufacturers in the DJ product industry produce equipment and are involved

in the marketing of new products to consumers. Some manufacturers import or

PURCHASE

others contract factories to assemble components or complete products bearing

their corporate brand. Some “manufacturers” are merely brands that design and

engineer products and then rely on third parties for the actual manufacturing.

4YPICALLY

other party for distribution. Some manufactures will handle domestic distribu-

TION

countries to reach international markets. Distributors are typically in charge

OF

UCATING

FAVORABLE

INTEGRATED

ers or even to consumers.

Various musical instrument manufacturers and pro audio/electronics man-

UFACTURERS

OF

Exchange and rights in the dj product industry

25

MOSTLY

SIFIED

UNIT

$*-

THE

TO

DEVELOPED

of large musical instrument and pro audio manufacturers.

)N

WHOSE

industry standardization; often it is the independent companies who are in

CLOSER

MISUSES

important factor in this book: Technical innovations introduced by man-

ufacturers follow and are reactions to innovations in DJ techniques. This

RELATIONSHIP

AND

gism in action. Standardization processes also demonstrate how the DJ is

the technology.

EFORE

3HURE

cal innovation can lead to industry-wide and cultural standardization.

Shure M44–7: A Case Study in Standardization

3HURE

audio industry for the production of microphones and monitors. A small part

of its current business is in manufacturing needles for turntables; it is cur-

rently the eighth largest global manufacturer in the music products industry.

!LTHOUGH

-n

SETUP

deliberate action by the company.

4HE

CULTURAL

CAUSE

SECTION

26

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

ONE

via D-Styles.9

0IKLZ

TIME

work with companies in designing technologies and then endorsing them.

)30

a segment of this in Turntable TV 4: Toiret for Godzirra 10) to bring back to the

United States.

!T

VENTION

ITY

THEN

$*

UP

SPECS

WORK

-n

$*S

IN

AND

REALIZE

and really like you guys to put more emphasis on your product because it is

DOPEv11

7ITH

THE

SORSHIP

PRODUCT

PHONOGRAPH

BINATION

STANDARD

OF

sion in its product design and was able to harness the brand value of credible

and popular DJs to authenticate the product within the hip-hop DJ market

AND

LATE

4HIS

ULATING

equipment.

Exchange and rights in the dj product industry

27

)N

innovates and is the driving force behind standardization. Standardization

comes from the dialectic between bottom-up production (cultural or grass-

roots) and top-down production (corporate). The catalyst in the “progress” of

TECHNICAL

of companies such as Pioneer and Shure are diversified in other industries and

MARKET

most of the corporate players in the DJ product industry is pro audio and DJ

PRODUCTS

ucts that drive hip-hop culture. They are relying on the culture to help lead

THEIR

this chapter profiling two manufacturing brands that were integral to a polit-

ICAL

brands that currently are standard within this political economy.

)N

BRANDS

THESE

$*S

LOG

HIP HOP

&URTHERMORE

GARDED

brands to market products.

/THER

.UMARK

are integral to a political economy of the hip-hop DJ. Although products

manufactured by these companies offer choice to consumers and thus compe-

TITION

their respective segments of the market.13

BE

economy.

4HE

ing on survival (the economics of production and reproduction) and control

(the political) within social life.14

culture framework to analyze the “consequences” of organizing and financing

cultural production.15

MUSIC

to industries that produce musical instruments.16

28

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

INDUSTRY

consider the people who inhabit the machine.17 My perspective is that there

is a culture in the DJ products industry that is especially interesting when

WE

TRATES

TECHNOLOGIES

technology as

PEOPLE

THE

work through technocultural synergism.

/N

DEVICES

$*S

ars have typically understood the cultural industries as those that produce

AND

THAT

is a “struggle” over the production of meaning. The DJ products industry is a

CULTURAL

DUSTRIES

are also socio-symbolically significant…consumers acquire and use products

not only to satisfy a need…but also to produce meanings according to their

specific values and interpretations of the world.”20

Since technologies are sites of continuous political and social struggle and

NOT

STAND

ways meaningful to their particular needs and circumstances.”21 The authors

note how technologies are embedded in social institutions and cultural sys-

TEMS

NOLOGIES

FOR

“their accessibility and availability provide people with more means to cope

with and even resist or subvert those same forces.”22 4HIS

principle of technocultural synergism.

Exchange and rights in the dj product industry

29

Technics

Technics is a brand of the Panasonic Corporation (formerly Matsushita) that

SPECIALIZED

WELL

OFF

THE

among DJs in the years after its release in 1972.23 Technics estimates that since

1972 it has sold 3 to 3.5 million of its SL-1200 series turntables.

0ANASONIC

TO

THE

TRONICS

multinational corporation includes more than 680 companies with global

DISTRIBUTION

lion in revenues in 2013 and it is the 83rd largest company in the world.24

!T

BEGAN

FIRST

RECT DRIVE

MARKET

SPIN

platter will turn at the same rate as the record.25

4HE

lution of the 1100 model turntable. Designed with audiophiles and radio

STATIONS

4HORENS

WAS

4HOREN;S=

WENT

IT

DURABLE

)

SCENE

4ECHNICS

ONE

of the brand made it a standard.

30

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

)T

TURNTABLE

became the turntable of choice among DJs because it dampened vibration

and eliminated feedback in loud environments. Panasonic was able to make a

SERIES

FADER

QUARTZ

IS

turntable and not simply a record player.27

&IGURE

Photo by Zane Ritt / Courtesy of the DJistory/DJpedia Archive.

4ECHNICS

moving into the 1980s by using its brand recognition with DJs and a market

monopoly granted by patent for the quartz DDS technology.28 This synergy

BETWEEN

$*S

was powerful and fueled the standardization of the Technics SL-1200 series.

7HILE

PRESENCE

motor granted under patent law that allowed the SL-1200 series to become

the standard.29

BELT DRIVEN

to license the rights from Panasonic or come up with its own innovation. To

Exchange and rights in the dj product industry

31

UNDERSTAND

amine the basics of its role in innovation.

Patents are based on economic incentives with an anti-monopoly (“lim-

ited times”) framework to structure those incentives. After the original rights

EXPIRE

PUBLIC

COMPOSITION

YEARS

A

a patent in the United States and throughout the world. U.S. patent law sup-

POSES

seeking a patent have the burden of proving that the idea seeking protection

IS

AN

fallen into the public domain into a new innovation will not be patentable

THIS

AUDIO

/N

PUBLIC

idea requires a licensing agreement and payment of royalties to the patentee

DURING

BECOMES

FILE

(ISTORICALLY

CORPORATIONS

INVENTORS

PENDENT

PROPERTY

)N

DJ turntables in the 1980s and into the 1990s was belt-driven models or turn-

tables not made for DJing.31

NEEDLE

NEEDLE

DISCS

sional options other than Technics during the time.

Although Technics began releasing entry-level consumer electronics in the

S

fessional turntable models that had adequate tonearms and DDS appropriate

32

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

FOR

HELPED

$$3

TIONS

DURABILITY

!S

sentially stayed the same and did not adapt to innovation in DJ technique.

4HUS

INTO

lectual property rights in the market without innovating.32

PIONEERING

proached Technics with ideas and were completely ignored by Panasonic.

7HILE

those DJs refuse to use 1200s and prefer other brands because the company re-

fused to acknowledge their contributions to building the market for the brand.

ECAUSE

helping to develop the culture using 1200s and having up-and-coming DJs

WATCH

HUGE

THE

HIP HOP

but they also created the market for it.33

/NCE

TURERS

PETITION

IN

began developing similar products with DDS and straight tonearms. New fea-

TURES

AND

OF

CHIPPED

how deep its roots had grown within the collective consciousness and prac-

tices of DJ culture. Almost any DJ coming up yearned to have a pair of the

ICONIC

you authentic.

“Y

CULTURE

NEERING

Exchange and rights in the dj product industry

33

AS

WAS

earliest and most successful rap record labels.34 To complement the tonearm

TRACING

BELS

!NOTHER

WAS

TURED

MUSIC

-ASTER

has a shot where rappers Run and DMC are superimposed sitting on top of a

huge Technics 1200 tonearm.

)N

AUTHENTICITY

battle scene in the 1992 film Juice

RAP

music videos that featured DJs.36 A common setup on [_Yo! _]

A

LONG

#LUB

SEMINATION

HIP HOP

BRANDING

during the 1980s and 1990s.

4HE

within a range of other cross-market promotions and commodities—was a

major factor in increasing consumer awareness of Technics and an easy way for

Technics to advertise to its audience. Although DMC DJ competitions began

IN

4ECHNICS

WINNERS

and Technics became the main global sponsor of the competition (eventually

THE

)T

products and saw the relationship with DMC as a major marketing oppor-

TUNITY

EVEN

TO

34

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

!LSO

Championships.38

Sponsorship of the DMC battle circuit was integral to the success of the

3,

its market and seems to have been the primary marketing conduit for SL-1200

turntables during the 1990s and early 2000s. Not only was the Technics logo

UBIQUITOUS

VIDEOS

NATING

$-#

!LBERT

COUPLED

helped in the standardization of the SL-1200s.

A statement from Panasonic finalizing the “death” of the 1200s was

posted on the DMC website in November 2010 and reproduced as news all

OVER

ANALOGUE

THIS

our product range has to reflect the accelerating transformation of the en-

tire audio market from analogue to digital.”40 The announcement prompted

retailers to nearly double the retail prices of their remaining stock of new

S

though they had also sold well before) and at much higher prices than in the

previous months.41

)N

S

LATE

LEADERS

NOT

ACCESSORIES

the idea was to keep you as a future consumer of more profitable products.

Smaller pro audio and musical instrument retailers had a hard time keeping up

WITH

MATELY

0ROFIT

MARKET

AND

turnover with these other brands as some of them could not live up to the

Exchange and rights in the dj product industry

35

S

HAVE

WAS

and thus there was no repurchasing from damage or obsolescence by DJs.

7HAT

BRAND

Technics used to gain market dominance was different from the companies

AND

it is clear that it was use by DJs that was the main factor in its standardization.

!ND

the 1200s held collectively by DJ culture. The meanings ascribed to the 1200s

BY

mance of the turntables are what helped to make them the standard.

The Death of a Standard

This chapter opened with a narrative about the “death” of the iconic Technics

S

TURNTABLE

CONDUCTED

OF

them if the iconic and standard line of turntables were actually discontinued.

7HILE

to the 1200s in the face of their potential death helps to give deeper under-

STANDING

standardization is a cultural process.

Hip-hop DJs had heard rumors about SL-1200s being discontinued for

MANY

TURNTABLES

rumors was that Technics is a Panasonic-owned brand that does not always

communicate well with the public. (Technics is a small part of this diversi-

FIED

Panasonic itself.42

7HETHER

ARE

$*

TURNTABLESx

FECT

36

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

THE

3, -+S

h4ONKA

KINDS

THEY

The Technics have always just been there.”44 Roli Rho thinks that 1200s are

the foundation of hip-hop DJ culture; they are also a sign of achievement as

$*S

think people would ever live without Technics 1200s because that is the base

OF

Skeme Richards thinks that 1200s became the standard almost acciden-

TALLY

THE

LOOKED

Mark considers the 1200 “a perfect piece of machinery” and anything that

WOULD

SAYS

&OR

TRADE

enough used units in the world that it will never truly disappear from DJ cul-

TURE

to pick up the reigns.”48

Pioneer unveiled a turntable that was strikingly similar to the 1200.49

companies are interested in the turntable market and seem to be more con-

CERNED

RELEASED

)MITATING

ture as iconography.

$*

CULTURE

IN HANDv

general.51

WILL

DEATH

will not be able to obtain turntables “they will never be able to say that they

ARE

IT

Exchange and rights in the dj product industry

37

BUT

YEARS

BE

HATE

ANYWHERE

A

DESCRIBES

PAST

as a signifier of this same type of authenticity but for hip-hop DJ culture.54

(OWEVER

NECTION

@‘OOD

ANY

!ND

UPON

DONE

SELLING

sold more turntables than Technics sold turntables.55

3TEVE

NEERS

ambassadors for Technics and helped in the standardization and sale of the

S

DJ Nu-Mark thinks that Panasonic was able to disconnect from the culture;

DJs were simply consumers of the brand and not active in branding or R&D

like with other technologies/manufacturers.

!LTHOUGH

h)

THE

THEY

USE

that we kind of became dependent on their shit…if it is the case that they are

NOT

ITS

HIP HOP

AND

AND

38

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

Vinroc says that the death of 1200s would be a “real sign that the indus-

try is really changing and the delivery methods for the music are changing.”

He thinks that the surge in the use of controllers or other hardware that

DOES

USE

as veteran DJs drop out. “The true key is once you start not seeing them

;TURNTABLES=

h!ND

will come.”58

)T

impact on the use and manufacture of new turntables (as noted earlier in this

CHAPTER

TERED

has also negatively affected manufacturing brands that were not able to par-

TAKEˆLARGELY

DUCING

has had a lasting impact on a political economy of the hip-hop DJ but failed

to stay relevant in the age of the digital DJ.

Vestax Corporation

&OR

MIXING

BATTLING

BARE

v

ERS

7HILE

!

OF

adapted the products they had access to.

)N

BEGAN

&URTHERMORE

OF

ONLY

THIS

Exchange and rights in the dj product industry

39

AND

SYSTEM

The smooth design of PMC-05Pro coupled with the new crossfader-

SYSTEM

DARD

CITED

IN

OF

see today.

&OR

%XECUTIVE

their products and recently was involved involved in the development of

6ESTAX

HELD

FINANCIAL

!CCORDING

7HILE

that it is in many ways a “grassroots” company that prefers working with its

PRO ARTISTS

6ESTAX

HISTORY

insects who have downsized and diversified themselves are survivors. This is

also true of companies: bigger is not always best.”60

6ESTAX

THE

ITS

HONORARY

OF

LEGENDARY

NETWORK

discussed.

)N

VESTED

MAIN

ACCORDING

“This might be demonstrated by providing instruments that are highly inno-

VATIVE

40

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

STYLES

POSITIVE

6ESTAX

-USICAL

ELECTRONICS

IN

OF

0!#/

VERTICAL

BUTION

)N

#ORPORATION

4%!#

DIOS

MANUFACTURERS

INCORPORATING

6ESTAXS

THE

AN

THE

BATTLE

6ESTAX

ITS

BEING

,ATER

TECHNICAL

nical innovation.

7HILE

RIGHTS

FOCUS

CONTEXT

0RO

CULTURE

HAVE

synergism that changed how DJ products are designed and marketed.

!FTER

THE

4RIX

Exchange and rights in the dj product industry

41

WAS

BUT

BETTER

0-# MK))

LOGO

&IGURE

in the early 1990s (bottom). Top picture by Zane Ritt / Courtesy of the DJistory/DJpedia

!RCHIVE

42

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

4HINKING

!ROUND

A

ITS

HAVE

MARKED

PRODUCT

OF

REPRESENTS

SAYS

layout has been born of my design is amazing.”65

!T

could get a sharper cut-in time for scratching was to use smaller crossfaders.66

4HIS

ISON

TIME

crossfader curve control in the PMC-05Pro.67

4HE

ERS

BROUGHT

6ESTAX

/NO

;3HIINOS=

OF

definitely one of the companies that listened to as many DJs as possible out

THERE

6ESTAX

ing at trade shows to help develop its product lines. The practice of listen-

ING

IN

TO

ufacturers listen because they wanted better tools and manufacturers were

INTERESTED

companies listen was also a way that the art form of DJing was legitimized

and it also helped to legitimize DJs who found themselves involved with

PRODUCTS

PRACTICES

Exchange and rights in the dj product industry

43

THUS

synergism.

)T

GAME CHANGING

ITS

!LTHOUGH

VENTORv

IN

CHANGE

0RO

ING

some detail.

)N

CIAL

DJ Shortkut was working the trade-show circuit for Numark. According to

3HORTKUT

IN

the crossfader was as loose as it should be and said that it needed to have EQ

controls. At a trade show Shortkut was eating lunch with a Numark repre-

SENTATIVE

DJs like himself if it would simplify the layout and make a smooth crossfader.

3HORTKUT

BECAUSE

Shortkut tells me:

.UMARK

OF

)D

NICE

talking to them.71

!CCOMPANIED

WOULD

IN

says Shortkut. “Then we just developed a relationship and they kept asking

FOR

3HORTKUT

3KRATCH

GIES

44

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

AND

STILL

FROM

AND

resembles the image that the 05 created.”73

h!T

IS

PENSIVE

WHATEVER

GUYS

SHORT

PRICE

FOR

seemed willing to spend the money to have the crossfader control on a cleanly

DESIGNED

GOLD ON BLACK

n

IN

AND

MARKETPLACE

SPLASH

MOVEMENT

to the hip-hop DJ market.76

3HORTKUT

ERS

of the DJ.”77

ALLOWED

$*S

THEIR

SCRATCH

eventually encoded into future technical innovations. The 05Pro was _the _

MIXER

$*

catered to the culture as a market.78

followed suit and began catering to the market for hip-hop DJs and 10” bat-

TLE

TO

Exchange and rights in the dj product industry

45

ACTUALLY

0RO

also deeply influenced the 05Pro and ultimately the DJ product industry

AND

/NO

IN

THE

8 ECUTIONERSxWITHOUT

!GAIN

4RIX

IN

TIONSHIP

made-do with the products that were commercially available and would mod-

IFY

h9EAH

TO

&IGURE

Ritt / Courtesy of the DJistory/DJpedia Archive.

6ESTAX

FROM

NICAL

46

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

THE

CIATION

the time. This does not discredit the intellectual properties that Shortkut and

OTHERS

TECHNICAL

OF

Nakama as “authors” of the 05).

-ANY

TERS

that get encoded into products. This is why “invention” is often associated

WITH

hINVENTIONv

PHONOGRAPH

MACHINISTS

WAS

American inventor that was associated with the phonograph that gave it

credibility in the market and helped to sell it. This association of brand

and invention often leads to commodity fetishization and belies the creative

NETWORK

TO

VENTEDv

with its invention. The DJs like Shortkut who supplied ideas often lie under

the surface of the brand name that is credited for the invention/design.

&URTHERMORE

4HIS

tries more generally that rely on beta testing and crowdsourcing (consumer

ELECTRONICS

)N

shadowed by the credit given to brand names. This feedback loop clearly

demonstrates the theoretical thread of this book in technocultural syner-

GISM

INTELLECTUAL

selves are manipulated as

6ESTAX

CATER

PRODUCTS

ANOTHER

PMC-07Pro.

Exchange and rights in the dj product industry

47

)N

CESS

*APANESE

PORATION

THE

IS

ENDORSING

authorship has been recognized as a brand but rarely as a designer (similar

politics were involved in the 05Pro).

h)

USED

a reversed

AND

BOX

0ERVERTS

$*S

called the Euro Scratch. This technique required reversing the channel fader

DIRECTION

WITH

SOME

WHEN

3-band fader EQs.

h“EING

ME

‘O

CREDIT

the 07 (likely a combination of the features/design and branding by Qbert

AND

DIRECTLY

EXPLAINS

ADMITTED

ON

FEATURES

STILL

find the pieces of paper one day hopefully.”

‘O

WERE

A

48

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

0RO

OF

a piece of hip-hop DJ history; he wants to be included in the legacy of the

0RO

)N

BLES

TABLE

was aimed at the scratch and hip-hop DJs and competed in both price and

FUNCTION

MENTS

CENT

a straight tonearm.

!LTHOUGH

OF

WITH

ECAUSE

TURNTABLIST

WHAT

sparked up and DJing was just such a strong piece in this whole urban

SUBCULTURE

JUST

know turntablism.”82

the years.

$URING

veloped two turntables with its pro artists geared toward DJs interested in

SCRATCHING

OF

ISTS

1BERT

#ONTROLLER

A

of the C1 in full detail in Chapter 4).

4HESE

AN

6ESTAX

YOUv

WE

WE

Exchange and rights in the dj product industry

49

BECAUSE

NOVATED

CONCEPTS

more interesting products.”83

4OGETHER

6ESTAX

cept was a portable scratch instrument enabling you to scratch anywhere

INITIALLY

DUCED

YEARS

DREW

@OH

&IGURE

DJistory/DJpedia Archive.

h7HEN

IDEAS

COMES

50

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

it to them and they took it from there.”85 The hype behind Qbert and the

1&/

6ESTAX

7HILE

ING

NENTS

A

2003. Rucker had actually been writing about the idea for a few years on

7EB

HAD

instrument.

4HE

WAS

ABOUT

CATED

PRODUCT

-USIC

!PPROXIMATELY

tured. The C1 is largely considered a market failure because so much money

WAS

AND

budding digital DJ market.

2ICCI

ONLY

HOW

S

AS

ANY

HAS

acoustics. The high-quality rubber feet of the turntable were made by Toyota

to completely reduce feedback noise due to vibration. Although it never was

RELEASED

BE

7ITH

)NSTRUMENTS

FOR

BLE

INTO

Exchange and rights in the dj product industry

51

the turntable.”88

PRIMARY

to deliver marketable products.

!SIDE

GLOBAL

ING

“a project team is organized and engineers from various countries gather for

THE

6ESTAX

CORPORATIONS

COMPANIES

BEEN

THE

/NE

6ESTAX

BARELY

own software (only partnering with other companies) to work with its con-

TROLLER

NEW

OPENED

IT

DEAD

BANKRUPTCY

itself.92

7HAT

bankruptcy is that it is a company that is bold and willing to take chances.

3OMETIMES

SOMETIMES

AND

dreams on paper and then try to interpret those dreams into a marketable

PRODUCT

PLE

decade.

This chapter started with the story of the Technics SL-1200 turntable and

ITS

PRODUCTS

BETWEEN

TURAL

52

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

AND

NING

CATING

WITHIN

THE

IDEAS

MAY

ERS

TAKING

and the dream into a reality.

(OWEVER

ITIES

subjected to the ideologies of individualism fostered under American intellec-

tual property law and the capitalist ethos. These inequalities may be related

TO

and who is considered the “inventor.” Antagonism over credit for innovation

IS

AWARDED

of this innovation stems from reinvention of the past. My thesis is that when

HIP HOP

VATION

07Pro begin to demonstrate the problem of networked innovation as it relates

to brand name association. The association of brand names to innovation

OFTEN

true creative network that lies under the surface of technical and technique

innovation.

7ITH

CONTEXT

look at two corporations whose synergy has produced products that are stan-

DARDS

PANIES

MORE

has had a lasting effect on hip-hop DJ culture and the DJ product industry

THIS

surface of this corporate synergy by profiling the companies and some of their

TECHNICAL

arisen in the contested invention of digital vinyl.

· 3 ·

EXCHANGE AND RIGHTS IN THE DJ

PRODUCT INDUSTRY

Rane Corporation and Serato Audio Research

“People want to put stuff out there and participate. This is information. This is

OPEN

EXPRESS

DJ Focus 1

2ANE

WHEN

was a relatively unknown company among

2ANE

2ANES

DORSEMENT

agreement to produce the hardware for Serato Scratch Live software.

/N

7ASHINGTON

May.2

THERE

GET

SPENT

BUT

service department and the assembly floor where it manufactures most of its

PRODUCTS

surprised by how casual it was; the headquarters had a family feel.

)T

7HEN

54

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

and inquiry into the relationship between hip-hop DJs and digital vinyl.

(OWEVER

44-

)

STORY

be looking at how hip-hop DJs have changed the design and production of DJ

PRODUCTS

AND

Rane Corporation

Rane Corporation started as a small operation gearing its products toward

LIVE

got its reputation for high-quality electronics. Rane was initially founded by

MIDDLE

#ORPORATION

DEPARTMENT

UNUSUALLY

perspective in making it succeed.”5 The quality and performance of its prod-

UCTS

Rane claimed that it produced a “new middle ground” for price point in the

market.6

(EADED

THEREFORE

Trades

UP

DIVISION

comes from DJ hardware as Rane is also in the markets for live sound and

commercial installation.

&OR

hLAYERSv

PLOYEES

ucts are assembled on-site (right through a door in the back of the office area).

h)F

BACK

parts specifically and testing them.”8 Rane products are also serviced at the

-UKILTEO

exchange and rights in the dj product industry

55

A

AND

good reputation. Rane is one of the few brands in the DJ market with the

h-ADE

Rane Corporation sees itself as being committed to its clients as well as

TO

common sense” at the core of its corporate philosophy.9

VALUE

durability; (3) innovation; and (4) overcoming design or production prob-

lems.10 Rane distributes its products domestically from its headquarters and

USES

INTERNATIONAL

2ANES

club/disco sound designer Richard Long approached Rane to redesign his

8

EXCLUSIVELY

THE

FIRST

ON

THE

ented toward house music DJs and for club installation.12

BLE

IN

MIXERS

7HILE

S

SCRATCH

and Peter Parker. All four of the DJs recognized the quality of Rane products

but stressed that their overall layout and 19” width were not practical for

hip-hop DJing. They suggested that Rane should make a product catering to

hip-hop DJs since the turntablist movement was at its second peak in the late

S

CHANNEL

THEIR

salesperson flew to New York City to sit down with the four DJs and members

OF

BORN

56

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

May suggests that Rane was “invited to the DJ party” and that those involved

in the R&D process also helped to market the TTM 54 via word of mouth:

$*S

WE

TURNTABLIST

WITH

REPUTATION

started to catch fire in the DJ world.13

3HORTLY

BATTLE

and the 54 are no longer in production at Rane). The creation and success of

THE

0RO

CHANGE

/NE

omy of the hip-hop DJ came in 2001 when it applied for a patent on its con-

tactless magnetic crossfader (eventually awarded in 2004).14

ADMITS

WAS

DYMIUM IRON BORON

LESS

FADER

was initially released in the TTM 56 in 2001 and became the standard fader

TECHNOLOGY

INTRODUCED

SALE

benefit DJs by setting a new standard for fader performance by a manufacturer.

7HILE

PRIOR

THE

May calls patents the “audio medals”17 of the industry—a sign of strong

engineering and the ability to come up with ideas of use to consumers—and

suggests that Rane is protective of its rights because within the audio industry

there are companies that will copy an idea without giving credit. “There are

some audio companies in the world today who have made a fair amount of

money by doing some of that. They can remain nameless but they know who

THEY

exchange and rights in the dj product industry

57

)N

&LASH

MIXER

2ANES

INTO

MEANT

NOW

AND

politics of name-brand DJs endorsing DJ products to authenticate them.19

Although Rane made technologies that were durable and had a great rep-

UTATION

MIXERS

PRODUCTION

THEIR

ATTRACTED

LEASED

PRODUCT

IN

ITS

:EALANDnBASED

SUCCESS

toward industry and cultural standardization.

)N

PRODUCTS

AND

vide to numerous record labels). Rane also services all Scratch Live prod-

UCTS

THOUGH

WHILE

Pioneer) entered into licensing agreements with Serato to make digital vinyl

HARDWARE

AGREEMENT

the Rane/Serato relationship in detail to show how synergy between corpora-

tions can lead to product standardization.

4HE

3ERATOS

33,

THE

58

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

AND

SHOW

digital technology that felt just like vinyl.

!FTER

to find a hardware manufacturer to design and produce the audio interface for

THE

!FTER

INTELLECTUAL

LECTUAL

that they are not going to take advantage of you and that you can be like-

minded in the approach that you take toward the industry.”20 Rane engineers

THEN

2ANES

also able to leverage its 20-year-old international distribution network in the

PRO

be key elements in the eventual standardization of SSL.

4HE

WHO

ABOUT

SSL among DJs was the fact that laptop computers were becoming stable and

could handle more information processing than previously.

“Y

RECORDED

This is not to say that SSL was fully embraced by all hip-hop DJs at first; in

FACT

AND

IN

DUCTED

$*S

4RAKTOR

AND

gramophone or CDJ

are all signs that the software is the standard DVS.

“The Scratch Live business and our relationship with Serato has been

OUTSTANDING

ASSOCIATED

ger as a result.”21

exchange and rights in the dj product industry

59

33,

FURTHER

recognizes that the success and standardization of the Scratch Live product

HAVE

OF

WERE

because of the acceptance…. There is a success factor and that is based on the

guys who use the gear.”22

5NLIKE

COMPETITION

TIONSHIP

also worked with DJs in R&D and used them to help design and authenticate

ITS

is a strong tie with DMC. Although both Rane and Serato began sponsor-

ING

0ANASONICS

that DMC announced that Rane and Serato would be the main co-sponsors

OF

was the first year DMC allowed the use of Scratch Live and other DVS soft-

WARE

event.23

“DMC is responsible for fostering the culture of competitive turntablism

and Serato are honoured to become a major sponsor of this iconic and pres-

TIGIOUS

published on the DMC website in 2010.24

whilst introducing new technologies for future world champions is a key Serato

PHILOSOPHY

competitive DJing continues to move forward into new realms.”25 The only

$-#

THE

2ANE

COMBINED

AND

4ECHNICS

MARKETING

BEEN

!UDIO

60

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

NEXT

PRODUCT

Serato Audio Research

Serato Audio Research was founded in 1998 by two computer science stu-

DENTS

.EW

DEVELOPED

IT

VESTING

with the idea of scratching music on a CD in a computer using the mouse.

4HE

technology did not allow for precise scratching and replication of the move-

MENT

able to come up with a technology that used multiple position indicators and

frequency resonation to allow for precise and fast movements with the control

VINYL

THE

SHIP

The commercial release of Serato Scratch Live (SSL) was in April 2004.

4HE

from a company known for producing a boutique studio product to an inter-

nationally recognized brand within the DJ community. “Now people know

THE

FORMER

NOT

RIBBEN

KET

(for whatever reasons) it seems that Scratch Live has been a driving force

IN

stay.”27 This attitude change he speaks of is standardization—both culturally

and technologically; it is acceptance of not only a product or system but also

of a new way of DJing.

$UE

ARE

BASE

exchange and rights in the dj product industry

61

RESEARCH

OF

THE

WITH

THE

$63

can presume that revenues and resources have grown dramatically since 2006.

,IKE

USED

$*S

7E

MORE

forum for a long time and anyone can come to us with problems or suggestions and we

ARE

feel they are dealing with real people. You can get on and talk to the engineer that

BUILT

criticism of their products to go up.30

7ITH

DEVELOPMENT

7ITH

IS

sample player upgrade or a feature where flipping the control records on the

TURNTABLE

ITS

TOMER

ers (part of its creative network) to give them better functioning tools with

EACH

Serato has made itself open to criticism and not put itself above its customers.

3ERATOS

nies has continued to grow since it first partnered with Rane in 2004. After

THREE

SOFTWARE

2008.31

WARE

TROLLER

33,

62

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

OF

software in 2014.

!LTHOUGH

2ANES

GEARED

ware and software companies working together to engineer a product that best

MEETS

the idea that they can get solid performance out of a software-and-controller

COMBINATION

around the world.”32

7ITH

$63

GROUP

TERVIEWED

HIP HOP

USE

TRANSITIONING

possibly because such small surfaces compromise and affect manipulation ca-

PABILITIES

CAN

TURNTABLEMIXER

SMALLER

#$*S

Aside from the development of DJ computer software and hardware part-

NERSHIPS

3ERATO

SIGNIFICANT

cultural power as taste-maker and can test new songs in regional markets.

,AUNCHED

BELS

allows DJs to influence the music industry: “DJs know which records work and

WHICH

directly to the record labels.”33 This system is made accessible to those who

have registered their software with Serato.34

7HITELABELNET

DOWNLOAD

3ERATO

COMPANIES

exchange and rights in the dj product industry

63

%NTERTAINMENT

cording companies and a DJ technology company.35

SERVICE

vice appeal to record labels.

#URRENTLY

SUBSIDIARY

7HITELABELNET

MUSIC

SECURE

&REDA

PER TRACK

3ERATOS

ferently by different customers: “Majors may want to use it in a carefully targeted

WAY

Another Serato business related to the recording industry is Serato

0RESSINGS

NoiseMap control tone on one side and an actual song on the other. Unlike

7HITELABELNET

Serato works selectively with record labels in this venture. The record labels

OFFICIALLY

Serato based on units sold. According to a former product manager for Serato

PRESSINGS

culture…. Serato Pressings allows us to work with record labels and the few re-

maining pressing plants to cut a collectible series of records.”38 The records are

USUALLY

SOMETIMES

CORDING

SSL is the highest selling 12” vinyl record in the last 14 years.

3ERATOS

3EPTEMBER

nounced that it was going to stop supporting SSL in 2015 (after nearly 40

SOFTWARE

software its standard DVS _and _ controller software.39

was released in September 2011 as a controller-only software with numer-

OUS

complicated to effectively develop different software for DVS and controller

HARDWARE

ESSENTIALLY

64

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

This announcement was greeted with controversy from the DJ commu-

NITY

44-

THE

FORM

THEIR

worked with all the Rane hardware. DJs can continue to use the current ver-

sion of SSL and the 57/SL1 past 2015; Rane and Serato promise to continue

to support the 57 and SL1 indefinitely.

3ECOND

FESSIONAL

WORKING

The main controversy in regards to the software itself is the inclusion of a

sync feature. Sync is a common feature found in controller-specific software

THAT

3YNC

SONGS

$*S

SYNC

FEATURE

destroy the art of DJing.”41

AND

SYNC

ITY

3ERATO

WILL

THE

SOFTWARE

EXCLUSIVE

Serato can now license and form partnerships with other hardware manufac-

TURERS

A

popular in club installations and within the financially fruitful EDM scene

2ANE

MANUFACTURER

MAJOR

IT

bottom line and viability moving forward.

exchange and rights in the dj product industry

65

4HUS

NERSHIPS

SERVICES

UNLIKE

BEEN

OTHER

SECRETS

5TILIZING

secrets allow for a perpetual monopoly over secret information that gives an

inventor an advantage over its competition. The holder of a trade secret is

NOT

HOLDERS

DISCOVERS

NOT

competition. Many companies in the DJ product industry use trade secrets

AND

been a common practice in the industry for manufacturers to reverse engineer

PRODUCTS

USING

UCTS

Serato has achieved adopted more of an open source mentality and wel-

COMES

THE

want to compete on price—quality is always going to be what separates us

from the competition.”44 Scratch Live has acheived market dominance and

STANDARDIZATION

ing its intellectual properties to other companies it has entered into working

AGREEMENTS

AND

SUBSECTION

ORIGINS

Digitization and the Contested Invention of DVS

&OR

BECAUSE

LATION

ORIGINAL

66

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

PRIZED

THE

turntablists remained “resolutely analog in a digital age.”47

TION

)N

player that had functions such as pitch adjustment and looping capabilities.

/NE

MEDIA

LEAP

ulated vinyl and allowed for scratching (it had a control platter on top whose

MOVEMENTS

SIZE

NOLOGY

Endelman summed up digital negotiation in a 2002 article about CDJs in the

New York Times:

(IP

TURNTABLES

NOTIONS

WHICH

little more than two turntables and a microphone.48

The Pioneer CDJ product line became a standard for electronic music DJs

AND

THE

regardless of manufacturer.

During the same time when CDJs were becoming standard DJ tools in the

ELECTRONIC

CONSUMER

ACCEPTANCE

technology that would allow for the manipulation of MP3s using traditional

vinyl records and turntables. The basic idea behind the digital vinyl system

(DVS) is to press encoded timecode to a vinyl record; the timecode is then

DECODED

CORD

products

!$#

OR

THE

exchange and rights in the dj product industry

67

ARE

over the loudspeakers.

4HE

COMPANY

-AGNETICS

PRODUCT

INTERFACE

PROTOTYPES

SOFTWARE

CONNECTIONS

COMPLETE

manipulate MP3s.

!T

&INAL3CRATCH

were also not reliable and MP3s were not a standard music consumption for-

MAT

TIME

IN

CREW

SYSTEM

many horror stories of DJs having to reboot their computers during the middle

OF

!ROUND

WAREHARDWARE

&INAL3CRATCH

PARTNERSHIP

WAS

products. The companies had several successful years as the Traktor product

GAINED

SHIP

Pro DVS. Stanton has since stopped manufacturing and developing the

3CRATCH!MP

and Serato Scratch Live/Serato DJ continue to be market leaders.53

is more to the invention narrative of DVS.

)N

were talking about rumors surrounding the leader and main producer for the

RAP

68

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

WITH

TERVIEW

“invented” Serato Scratch Live.54

h

HOUSEv

TO

2:!

BRING

%LECTRONICS

OF

WITHOUT

AND

was being displayed at trade shows.

)N

A

ONE YEAR

COSTLY

THAT

2:!

AND

HOP

COMPANIES

PUT

INTO

it.”56

AND

standard technology.

2:!S

EMBELLISHMENT57

A

$63 TYPE

TO

the contestation of invention and antagonisms over intellectual property rights

IN

,ET

.)4

.)

TWO

exchange and rights in the dj product industry

69

Scratch Pro. The fallout between these two companies caused a series of legal

ACTIONS

the woodwork to lay proprietary claim to the idea behind DVS.

)NSTEAD

RELEASED

OTHER

SOFTWARE

FOR

SOFTWARE

3CRATCH!MP

TO

USERS

/0%.

control.”59 The company claimed that this would allow DJs who owned the

ScratchAmp to choose the software that best-suited their style as long as the

HARDWARESOFTWARE

agreements or partnerships between software developers and hardware man-

UFACTURERS

%VENTUALLY

TWEEN

PATENT

used by most DVS products

AND

TO

3CRATCH

THE

THERE

WHICH

.)4

warded several U.S. patents for disc mechanisms used in signal processing for

DVS products.60

patents that protect an “apparatus for controlling a digital audio signal” and

A

PROTECTION

encoded vinyl for DJing.

)N

- !UDIO

70

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

on its patent _. _ 61

.)4S

EXPLOITED

ardized when intellectual property rights are ignored.”62

THE

SETTLE

!VID

IS

IT

THOUGHT

DVS companies that use its patented idea to have some precedence to go after

Serato.

)N

HIND

READY

have had the first commercial product using timecode encoded vinyl with

&INAL3CRATCH

APPLICATION

FLAW

Replicator that RZA talked about.

)N

claims of originality published before the patent application. Prior art can be

PUBLISHED

and must be cited in the patent application (almost all patents and innova-

tions in general are comprised of prior art). To assess the validity of a patent

APPLICATION

ART

ART

BEING

seeking patent protection you must apply in each country in which you would

like to have patent rights.

#ARROLL

IN

claims of originality in his article. Carroll cites an invention by a Swiss

MAN

SOME

PROTOTYPE

exchange and rights in the dj product industry

71

rotating disc on a large arm that was lowered onto the center of the turn-

TABLE

it manipulated sound stored on the computer. Carroll suggests that Rickli

was trying to find a manufacturer to help bring the product to market and

THAT

2EPLICATOR

2ICKLIS

&IGURE

*ANUARY

72

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

#ARROLLS

OF

with using turntables for digital audio playback as early as 1996. According

TO

33,

MECHANICAL

Gribben. “Steve suggested that he could press a control tone onto the record.

*AMES

PUBLISHED

ized the method.”64

WHY

.)4S

exchange and rights in the dj product industry

73

&IGURE

5NITED

!LSO

$63

3PACEDECK

STANDARD

SYSTEM

LICATED

REACHED

OF

MATTER

I

PATENT

CONVERSATION

OBJECTIONSOBSERVATIONS

.)4

should not be granted as the invention is not novel.66

)N

IT

A

EXHIBITED

SETTLED

WAS

thesis to add his research to their collections of prior art (presumably in antic-

IPATION

IDEA

- !UDIOS

FOR

Carroll also discusses his role in the concept behind DVS and using time-

CODE

developing in autumn 1997. Although he never developed the idea or made

ANY

IT

NOT

FIND

74

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

PURSUING

to find out years later that the DVS idea had been developed and that there

was debate over who had conceived the idea. Carroll admits that he is un-

AWARE

came from nowhere but somehow had managed to team up with Stanton to

BRING

)N

Virginia district court dismissed the case due to “inequitable conduct” on behalf

OF

PRIOR

ent application being denied. The interesting thing about the series of lawsuits

BROUGHT

OF

THE

4IMOTHY

SUITS

OF

THORIZED

!PPARENTLY

consider a “patent troll” as it is suing but not researching and developing DVS

PRODUCTS

ucts

SEEM

LEADING

from the original founders to bring suit on successful commercial products in

the DVS market rather than to further develop the product.

4HE

that courts have recognized the patent on the idea of using timecode encoded

VINYL

.)4

SUIT

PATENTS

also affect the people intellectual property laws are ultimately in place to pro-

tect: consumers.

4ECHNOCULTURAL

cultural manipulation of intellectual properties and re-coding the uses and

MEANINGS

MANIPULATION

exchange and rights in the dj product industry

75

manipulation by producing hardware that encodes the ideas and technique

INNOVATIONS

manufacturing brands have achieved industry standardization of some of their

PRODUCTS

EXPLOIT

3TANDARDIZATION

CULTURAL

LICENSING

PROCESS

PRODUCTS

BRANDING

ENCODING

BRAND

reveals the hip-hop DJ as intellectual properties that are manipulated by

industry.

/THER

OVER

ARGUE

LABORATIVE

rewards the singular author or genius. Using case studies and technocultural

HISTORIES

the hip-hop DJ as intellectual property to reveal some of the tensions created

through technocultural synergism. The goal is to show that hip-hop DJ cul-

ture is itself a valuable intellectual property.

· 4 ·

THE HIP-HOP DJ AS

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Research and Development

“The technology is already in us.”

DJ Steve Dee 1

/NE

4YPICALLY

SETUPS

WE

DRUMS

VARIOUS

STYLES

AND

COPY

WHAT

LEARN

advancing my skill-set. The session is where creativity flourishes freely.

4O

demonstrates how sharing and collaboration help DJs and DJ culture to ad-

VANCE

ITY

AND

$*

7HAT

78

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

ARE

manipulating intellectual properties. This willingness to share ideas in the

name of progressing the art form is an important characteristic of hip-hop DJ

CULTURE

convergence between culture and industry is necessary to bring new technical

innovations into the culture.

!LTHOUGH

wise not to romanticize its collaborative aspects. There are also clearly ele-

MENTS

ENFOLDED

hip-hop DJ culture creativity flourishes through a flattened and decentralized

NETWORK

MONEY

VIDUAL

source logic that is at the heart of the culture.2

7ITHIN

CHANGED

NOTS

rooted in the fact that DJs are now themselves manipulated by industry as

INTELLECTUAL

CIRCLE

nologies; through this love of manipulation and to create better tools for the

CULTURE

THE

lectual properties in the R&D and branding phases.

7HILE

ROOT

THAT

manipulated as intellectual properties allow this to happen because of a love

FOR

PRIORITY

source since hip-hop DJ technique innovation and technical innovation are

THE

SOURCES

COMPENSATED

singular author and individual genius constructed under capitalism seeps into

the network. DJs who might feel they have a claim to credit for innovations

that others are credited with often feel antagonistic and bicker with others.

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

79

)N

SHIP

CREDIT

BEGIN

THE

ies of innovations and how credit is given. The main goal of this chapter is

TO

networks rather than divine technologies/techniques invented by individual

geniuses.

The creative authorship of the hip-hop DJ is seldom recognized by the

INDUSTRY

RIGHTS

OTHERS

PUBLISHING

ideas about equipment design and function public domain the minute they

SHARE

CAPITALIST

THE

HOP

FORM

Chapter 5.

Presenting hip-hop DJs as intellectual properties that are manipulated

BY

important theoretical contribution to discussions of hip-hop creativity and

COMMERCE

and sampling in relationship to intellectual property (and laws) by focusing

ON

TO

SEE

music and technology industries.

R&D and Exchanging Intellectual Properties

7HEN

they had at their fingertips had been designed for TV/radio broadcast or live

SOUND

made with the DJ technique in mind. Disco DJs were the first to get attention

80

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

FROM

THEIR

OFTEN

NAMED

AT

technique.3

CAME

TURERS

NOTABLY

Co. and the GLi 3800 and 3880.4

(OWEVER

WHO

ers were manufactured with that style of DJing in mind. Hip-hop DJs in the

SS

WITH

HOP

A

HIP HOP

TO

the DJ in visual media and on recordings.

!S

$*S

THE

IN

HORIZONTAL

WIDE

MOST

MORE

HOP

FOR

HOP

not made for or designed with scratching and manipulation in mind. This is

WHY

THE

especially in the United States where it was rare). As we witnessed in the pre-

VIOUS

FOR

they are produced through a creative network and not by a singular genius.

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

81

Henry Jenkins theorizes collective intelligence and convergence culture

IN

suggesting that convergence is about active users/consumers who are empow-

ered by new media technologies.6 Collective intelligence is a process occur-

RING

“it is an ongoing process occurring at various intersections between media

TECHNOLOGIES

THE

he calls “participatory culture.” Jenkins delineates how media corporations

ARE

CONVERGENCE

CORPORATIONS

also happening at the grassroots level where “digitally empowered consum-

ERSv

bombarding them from the corporate level. Convergence is where both a top-

down push and a bottom-up pull collide.

!LTHOUGH

nomenon that Jenkins discusses actually began occurring long before fans

WERE

THERE

GENCE

pening in hip-hop DJ culture since its inception. Another element missing

FROM

power dynamics of convergence. Jenkins often suggests that consumers are

EMPOWERED

EXAMPLE

GIES

and technologies and then selling those products back to those consumers.

3O

ERTIES

to as technocultural synergism.

)N

tailed to illustrate one of the early successful instances of manufacturers listen-

ING

WHO

COMMODITIES

THAT

THE

82

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

#HAMPION

6ESTAXS

lowed and learned to incorporate DJs in product design.

3HORTKUT

THE

THEY

WHEN

did and what the company laid the groundwork for in terms of R&D was get-

TING

FEEDBACK

taking the idea first and making it real because we wanted a fader that would

be smooth and something that was comfortable for us…. They took an idea

from us and they did it.”10

)

FINANCIAL

MOTIVE

“and actually Shortkut and Rhettmatic both really had a lot to do with that

FIRST

with it.”11

0RO

tened to capitalize on products in the marketplace. Through all the research

CONDUCTED

DESIGNING

TO

BOXES

ABU

RELATIONSHIPS

only seminal in R&D but have been used to endorse products made by those

companies as well (most manufacturers work directly with their pro artists

AND

2ANE

best products are those working with DJs because most manufacturers do not

UNDERSTAND

that are having a tough time right now…. You need to talk to the musi-

CIANS

Nu-Mark says.12

6INROC

has been giving them feedback on its Traktor Scratch DVS product:

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

83

4HEY

IF

WHAT

JUST

make it better.13

$*

“reps from companies visit me at home in my studio and ask me questions

ABOUT

ACHIEVE

SCRATCHING

pleased to know that these companies respect his opinions “to where they feel

that your ideas will help them in the invention of this new piece of equipment

or this new software.”15

7HILE

adopted more aggressive approaches to acquire intellectual properties. Siya

&AKHER

FADER

2EGARDING

TO

CONDUCT

SHOWS

listen to your ideas and dismiss you straight away yet miraculously those ideas would

STILL

PRETED

ABLE

because of their lack of business know-how.16

Although manufacturers are listening to or soliciting feedback directly from

$*S

INSTANCE

publish plenty of customer feedback and are great places for manufacturing

representatives to gather intellectual properties and get feedback on products.

-IKE

BODY

are things that we keep…those are recorded and stored.”17 Rane sometimes

uses those ideas in its products. “So that can translate because ultimately the

END USERS

SOME

UP

84

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

4HIS

PARTICIPATE

of ideas on the Serato forums:

People are usually on the forum because they have questions and you want to build a

REAL

HAVE

mation down for DJs to go and read. Anybody who is interested can go and check

IT

RESOURCES

ITS

Some of the DJs posting in the forums are happy to share their ideas; some

ARE

technically savvy DJs will come up with ways to use features in Serato Scratch

Live that will influence future versions of the software:

There are DJs who will discover in the software that things can be done in the soft-

WARE

come up with something that is rather unique. And it could create a thought process

WHERE

system a little bit and get this as a result because this person touched on something

that we think a lot of people will be interested in.”20

-AY

SHE

PAID

THEY

$*S

THEY

OF

“There is a good amount of DJs that are humble and they put their two cents

IN

GOOD

suggests that it is up to DJs who use DVS and other gear to make the technol-

OGIES

better functioning products. Roli Rho says:

)T

AND

US

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

85

IT

SOMETHING

because we are the consumers that will buy their product.23

2OLI

BACK

FOR

WHOLE

reputation-wise.

Having access to the opinions and feedback of end-users ultimately leads

TO

TEN

$*S

IS

ucts they make do benefit the culture. The motivations and tactics of each

HARDWARE

ULTIMATELY

advertise for free seems to be a common strategy.

4HIERRY

A

h)M

)

listening to users.”24

SUPPOSITION

companies ignored the techniques and ideas of hip-hop DJ culture for so long

AND

-ANUFACTURERS

share by DJs.

$*S

DIRECT

vest ideas. This process has evolved from manufacturers completely ignoring

$*S

)NTERNET

ABOUT

FROM

oped products that do not do well in the market because they only collected

IDEAS

THE

86

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

WITH

OR

COMES

Credit for Innovations

ETTING

WITHIN

about who was the first to coin a term or “invent” a particular style or technique.

)N

ARGUMENTS

INSTANCES

CREDIT

setting others in the creative network. The person credited as “inventor” is

OFTEN

A

various writers and media perpetuate some of the claims (this book included).

Hip-hop culture and hip-hop DJs often choose to use the word “invent” to

DESCRIBE

HIP HOP

-ONEY

BEAT

ABU

and hip-hop DJ culture collectively agrees who is credited regardless of the true

SOURCE

NOVATIONS

OF

4HIS

vations are the product of many collaborators rather than an individual genius.

“UT

LAYING

prioritization of intellectual property rights and laws in society (ones that favor

CREDITING

and subcultures also begin to take on this individualistic ideology.

)T

STYLE

HAVE

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

87

SYSTEM

ART

RECORDS

ING

scratching that became the part of the foundation of modern hip-hop DJ style.

4HE

NEERED

LET

addresses this in his book Groove Music

FROM

TOR

AND

!LTHOUGH

TRANSFORM

Magnificent Jazzy Jeff.”26

TECHNIQUES

7IZARD

3KILLZv

DEVELOPMENT

on

A

the “inventor.”

Maybe it is best to consider Jazzy Jeff the one who popularized the tech-

NIQUE

SCRATCH

MADE

the product of a network of innovation that included other DJs and tech-

NIQUES

WAS

WHO

THOSE

(ERC

ACT

THESE

TION

)N

$*ING

by manipulating individual drum beats to make new patterns—essentially a

88

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

LIVE

BLY

hCOPYCATv

WON

ALLY

HIP HOP

nique innovation and the problem of identifying a single inventor in hip-hop

$*

IS

3TEVE

be able to get royalties from the industries that profit off of hip-hop DJ culture.

/R

THE

once you do that it will allow you to do these things before these companies

TAKE

TO

actually live comfortably off of just that alone because now the technology is

gearing towards it.”28

Patenting DJ techniques is plausible because in essence those techniques

ARE

for patent protection. Proving and citing prior art for DJ techniques would

BE

a DJ holding a patent would have a monopoly over the technique and pre-

VENT

(OWEVER

MEDIA

PATENTING

CREATIVE

chapter with the DJ session.

Steve Dee thinks that because new technologies encode the ideas and

TECHNIQUES

WOULD

domain. He feels like certain manufacturers have made a lot of money off of

THE

IF

“UT

TIES

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

89

!ND

YOURSELF

start looking at it as a business and our whole mindset has to change now and we have

TO

HAPPEN

MARKET

Steve Dee thinks that patenting techniques would be the first step for DJs to

GET

HOW

those ideas into products.

Proving that you “invented” a certain scratch or DJ technique could

be a problematic burden on behalf of the DJ seeking patent protection.

4HUS

who gave a technique a name and then popularized the technique under

THAT

Richards says that he can remember DJs “beat juggling” in Philadelphia in

THE

#OAST

0HILLY

made up names.”30

Skeme thinks that when technique naming became popular is when DJing

REALLY

BECAME

tional videos or in DJ classes. “Not to take anything away from everybody

ELSE

a major point with respect to patent protection: prior art and point of origin.

4ECHNIQUES

MET

point out individual divisions. Although it can be advantageous and partly

ACCURATE

A

+OOL

that had breaks recorded on them or without influences from Jamaican sound

systems and disco cultures. His ideas did not occur in isolation. This is not

to say that the innovations that came from Herc and the many hip-hop DJs

SINCE

problematic term to apply to these innovations since it suggests an individual

90

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

act and one that is often protected by intellectual property law/rights. You get

PAID

RIGHTS

OLY

AND

FROM

their contributions; inventors get credit and financial compensation. There is

a clear difference beyond semantics.

4HIS

TION

the short answer is maybe. Trademarks are usually used to distinguish the

SOURCE

OF

MARK

HIM

h4HE

patent or copyright). Anybody could copy the technique and make up their

own name for it.

)F

would need to make sure that no one uses that name for the technique with-

OUT

DOES

any trademark rights.31 Steve Dee would have to market himself in media

AS

identifies the technique as coming from a particular source: Steve Dee. The

MORE

THE

h4HE

TECTABLE

ARE

to get credit but also highly unlikely.32

!LTHOUGH

TO

HAVE

TELLECTUAL

ON

IF

FUCKIN

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

91

COOL

GOT

Shortkut admits that he did not even think about patenting his ideas but

WAS

HUMBLE

HIS

MATELY

IDEAS

interested in putting the ideas out there in return for products that will bene-

FIT

UFACTURERS

4HEY

%VERYONE

SHOULD

$ 3TYLES

S

ABOUT

COMPANY

$ 3TYLES

WANTING

CHECKS

)T

kin sketch because designing a technology does not necessarily generate an

idea that is technologically new and thus patentable. A great deal of product

DEVELOPMENT

APPLYING

where the rights granted under technocultural synergism become especially

IMPORTANT

NOT

LIKE

INTO

FOR

PROTECT

impossible to apply for patent protection or use other protective measures

NONDISCLOSURE

)N

what he considers a “triumph of vernacular technology” and an important

shift for the culture toward legitimization.37

92

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

h!LTHOUGH

NESS

SITIVE

15 years.”38

and making products they want outweighs crediting and compensating them

for their contributions. This question is especially important when listening

IS

TENED

POORLY

OF

CRITICALLY

and representative of larger dialectical tension (note that these dynamics in

RESPECT

INDUSTRY

%LLIOT

&!$%2

)

INVESTING

THE

THAT

DJs will get much better variety and quality of products if companies work

more on a trade secret basis to protect technology rather than with pat-

ents…. The best thing to do is develop relationships with people you trust.

You can license ideas without patenting.”40 He suggests using trade secrets

AND

product industry.

-ARX

HOUR

asked for royalties.”41

AND

with ideas is to prove that they are serious:

3ERIOUSLY

INGS

UCT

HIT

MONEY

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

93

-ARX

CALLY

WITH

you share it.

-ANUFACTURERS

HOP

CASE BY CASE

ABOUT

and then that stuff has to be negotiated on the front side.”43 May acknowl-

edges that some DJs get skipped over in respect to credit and compensation

BUT

someone has been forthcoming and there are people who supply us with the

INFORMATION

body who is out trying to steal ideas.”44

/NO

TUAL

CASH

has never been any monetary capital passed back and forth with a DJ or

6ESTAX

TRIES

TO

ENDORSE

SO

MOTIONAL

AND

motional opportunities can lead to revenue in other ways; this is a mutual

marketing relationship.

-ARX

!UDIO

GIVE

UNREALISTIC

MARKET

TRIBUTIONS

$*S

HELPING

AND

TISING

94

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

h“UT

ADVICE

EAT

WAS

AND

INGv

CONTRIBUTIONS

also feels that he has been fairly compensated for his ideas. Turntablist Disk

EXPLAINS

GIVE

enough ideas.”48

!GAIN

product feedback comes from many sources within the network. Roli Rho

says some DJs do not get credit for contributions made on technical inno-

VATIONS

WITH

COMPANIES

when the technology comes out and they try to take credit for their con-

TRIBUTIONS

GET

RECOGNIZED

GET

TRIBUTION

better resources to protect their ideas and if the system was geared to help

THEM

EXACTLY

SELL

SUCKERED

4HUS

in hip-hop DJ culture and the DJ product industry in respect to intellectual

PROPERTY

compensation for ideas within technocultural synergism. The goal has been

TO

CASE

INCLUDING

/NE

discussion is from the viewpoint of the DJs involved and considers the sto-

RIES

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

95

Rane TTM 54

)N

MANCE

)N

MIXERS

DJs involved in the process.

!ROUND

an AES convention51 trying to sell advertising space to manufacturers for a

Tableturns magazine that they wanted to start.52 The four DJs approached the

2ANE

FOR

MORE

always loved and hated Rane at the same time for making such a great product

BUT

basically made an inferior product.”53

2ANE

LOCKING

CANT

suggested that they had ideas for a product that would appeal to the growing

MARKET

tells me that Rane was open to their ideas and they discussed detailed design

CONCEPTS

DESIGNER

7E

WANTED

7E

look etc…. even down to the placement of the EQ knobs and how the knobs for the

faders should be…no one made fader knobs like we wanted so Rane had them made

ESPECIALLY

7HILE

body involved had different ideas on how to protect their ideas:

)

WE

/BVIOUSLY

TO

96

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

THE

MAYBE

really good job of treating me well.56

Sugarcuts does not think that the four DJs deserved royalties based on units

SOLD

BECAUSE

AGREE

CONTRIBUTED

FOR

THEN

AND

)

WAS

really spend that much time thinking about that. So to get some 54 royalties and

then end up having to get a lawyer to make sure that ideas that we gave them turned

into the 54 and into the 56 and into the 57…would we have made a good amount

OF

another DJ to help them out to do it? No. Should our name be on the front of the

MIXER

Although Sugarcuts would not get into the details of the argument over pro-

TECTING

tions for hip-hop DJs was more important to them than royalties.

4HE

build the instrument and sent them some of its sketches and eventually some

PROTOTYPES

Mike May says:

)T

business you are in you say you are listening to the people who want products de-

SIGNED

KETING

were more respectful and tried to build a product that could be useful to that commu-

nity. And the result was the TTM 54.60

-AY

INTEGRAL

!LSO

THE

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

97

“IG

CLOSER

THE

IN

BE

)N

HOP

6ESTAX

VERTISEMENTENDORSEMENT

ket. Sugarcuts admits that the four DJs were surprised that Rane listened and

THEN

renowned as DJs.”62 Rane did not use the DJs in marketing campaigns but

DID

WORD

INCLUDED

Sugarcuts says:

)

MIXER

first time we saw any of these great DJs on our Rane…. And all these great DJs tried

2ANE

TAKEN

The Rane TTM 54 was used at all of the Tableturns events and DJs were able

TO

)T

THE

“IG

WHAT

and think they know what would be good…some of them are right but most

OF

good.”64 Sugarcuts believes that the ideas that the four DJs gave Rane helped

the company to move into the market for hip-hop DJs and was integral to the

FUTURE

BEING

PACTED

FROM

98

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

Hamster Style

4HE

TON

stood out. The Hamster buttons reversed the direction of the three faders.

%SSENTIALLY

TWO

ECAUSE

SIGNALS

TO

SOMETHING

came from a style of scratching: Hamster style.

(AMSTER

the crossfader Hamster (or crossfader reverse) switch on. The Rane TTM 54

SEEMS

REVERSE

1BERT

STYLE

Coast scratch DJs because it imitated the hand movement of the “clicker”

PHONOLINE

while scratching (over using the crossfader). The clicker had a much sharper

CUT IN

FADERS

was simply an on/off switch for the sound.

4HE

0ROOF

tells me that the first type of Hamster switch did not come from a manufac-

TURER

TO

LEM

SCRATCHED

&OCUS

TABLES

THE

US

&OCUS

EXPLAINS “So he was the first to make a hamster switch before all these com-

PANIES

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

99

!LTHOUGH

“Hamster style.” DJ Quest learned this style accidentally after plugging his

TURNTABLES

$*ING

as a term beginning

7HAT

DEMOS

were involved with that. There was a lot of names that had come down and it was sort

OF

HAD

2ED

IN

and so he is real knowledgeable about the art. So they had him come out to do a

QUICK

HE

WAS

IN

that moment on that was used to describe the backwards set up of the tables into the

MIXER

!FTER

and “Hamster style” quickly spread.

DJ Quest says that Rane approached him in the late 1990s about calling

THEIR

tegrity surrounding credit for DJs). At that time Hamster style was largely the

accepted term for scratching the backwards style. Although Quest does not

HOLD

1UEST

“UT

THEY

IS

NOT

INGxFOR

CREDITED

TRYING

2ANES

hop DJ _as _ INTELLECTUAL

SWITCH

100

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

FACT

back in 1995 (the 05Pro did not have this switch).

$*

A

AFTER

Hamster story is the Rane TTM 52i manual. The image of a hamster in an

EXERCISE

!

Scratch Hamsters

VERSINGv

!

make one manufacturer comply and they began offering this feature on a popular model

INTERNALLY

to the idea originators. This capability has evolved to a point where the performer wants

(maybe needs) to Hamster

way or the other. Rane has obliged this growing request by allowing the artist to reverse

ON

7ITHOUT

from using “Hamster” on their products and therefore could not collect roy-

alties. Rane gave them some credit in their manual and established working

relationships as a way of rewarding the crew for their intellectual properties.

DJ Quest says he did not worry about companies using a term that he

HELPED

MOST

and helped put him and his crew in the mind and consciousness of the public.

1UEST

WITH

HOWEVER

SKILLS

KIND

people for using this or that.”72

Controller One

)T

to develop from an idea to a reality (a process briefly detailed in Chapter 2).

“Y

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

101

musician had waned considerably; the second great boom in the turntablist

MOVEMENT

had turned to the digital DJ controller market where profit margins are high

and risk is low.

4HE

BLE

PREPARATION

#

duced important parts for the C1 being destroyed in the 2011 Japanese earth-

QUAKETSUNAMI

TO

MELODIES

7HAT

HIP HOP

art form and instrument.73 DJs and companies were trying to use and show

to the rest of the world how the turntable was a legitimate instrument and

NOT

as a “real” instrument was the development of notation systems for it; some

ADAPTED

)N

THE

attempt to legitimize scratching as a valid medium of music-making and the

TURNTABLE

writes that “these DJs share central assumptions about the power of notation to

legitimize the instrument and reach new audiences.”74

for legitimacy of the art and instrument that contributed to the idea of the C1.

)N

and using pedals to change notes on turntables. Ricci Rucker began talking

ABOUT

THE

ON

$*S

on the show and says that many of the ideas for the C1 came when they would

TAKE

(OW

was talking about the foot pedal that would spin the platter faster. That was

THE

buttons for keys.”76

102

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

“Me and Ricci used to talk about ‘what if we had a turntable that had

DIFFERENT

FREE

to change pitch (the foot pedal).77

JUDGING

THIS

AND

INVOLVED

/NO

more than a turntable obviously.”78

MAKING

NOT

focus on what the market demand is. And obviously knowing that with the

#ONTROLLER

THAT

INITIAL

working relationships with for ideas.

-IKE

SAID

the time.”80 !

2UCKER

-IKE

4HE

BRAINSTORMING

THIS

of the turntable. He did a little AutoCAD design of how the turntable looks right

NOW

JUST

/NE

the C1.

4HE

IN

THE

Europe that he was interested in product design and working on a turnta-

BLE

MORE

SUBSEQUENTLY

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

103

WAS

WHICH

headquarters.”82

!T

ALSO

DESIGN

OPINIONS

THIS

6ESTAX

ABOUT

WELL

BUT

THE

JUST

turntable.”84

&OR

h4HATS

HOLDING

LIEVED

HIS

scales. That was a great feature that he added.”85

AND

to market.86

STRUMENT

#ONTROLLER

CONVINCING

COULDNT

me such a long time to get one.”87

7HILE

#S

BEING

DEVELOPING

notes using your foot:

)

WAS

ter. The initial idea was for this turntable was that it should primarily be controlled

via foot pedal. My problem with this idea was that in order to achieve any particular

note you would have to pass through every other note in the scale to get there. Even

104

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

if you could train your foot to be so precise in a live environment you would still only

BE

ON

OF

.OT

CONTROL

perhaps is that you had different contributors that had different ideas on how

THEY

PROCESS

enjoyed going crazy with buttons so that style suited my style.”89

WHO

PEDAL

7HEN

AMOUNT

FORUMS

limited marketing. Although Rucker and the rest of the Ned Hoddings crew

WANTED

THE

there was not enough money to market the instrument properly or to educate

THE

products.

Rucker says that there were numerous reasons why the C1 failed but

stresses that there needed to be more education on the instrument because

it was not just another product; it was a new idea in the form of a product.

h)T

CONSIDER

h-OST

TO

PEOPLE

CRAZY

gests that creators of new products “put AT LEAST 3 times the amount into

a marketing budget that you spent in developing.”92

7HEN

THAT

TROL

REALLY

4EEKO

AND

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

105

any other turntable.”93

&ADER

level of artistry for DJs because it “combines all the techniques developed over

time for scratching and puts that back with traditional music.”94

2EGARDLESS

BLES

who would ever be interested in buying this turntable already knew about it

VIRALLY

BUT

THERES

MERCIAL

SUGGESTS

in business so they can make more product.”96

responsibility of promoting the instrument on the DJs who helped to develop

it: “They put all this money into making the product and they dropped the

BALL

AND

BACKING

!LTHOUGH

STRUMENT

TURNTABLIST

LIMITED

RETAIL

TORS

the ultimate problem. The C1 is a custom-made instrument with a body that is

HAND CARVED

YOU

-)$)

AND

IS

THIS

4O

MARKET

these risks in innovation investment are not the only reason the company has

EXPERIENCED

NOT

ruptcy99). Devoted DJs continue to use the C1 and many think somebody will

PICK

106

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

Fretless Fader

)N

FOR

ACTUALLY

FACTURERS

ideas are not simply used by companies. The most notable DJ-as-inventor is

$*

an idea and make it a reality.

6ESTAX

but it never reached the market. Although you can change notes on the C1

USING

music was possible if the record hand was freed up to actually manipulate the

RECORD

*OHN“EEZ

MAKE

JUST

AVAILABLE

!ND

FADERv

ACTUALLY

had designed. That could have been really difficult to use if you think about angling

YOUR

CURATELY

PRECISIONx

SHOWS

IS

The C1 has a fader that allows a player to change notes in the same way the

BUTTONS

DEVICE

*OHN“EEZ

BUILD

7ITH

VIA

!ND

)T

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

107

TIME

CROSSFADER

CROSSFADER

AND

THATv

FOR

ONCE

THATS

*OHN“EEZ

SEE

0-# 0RO

THE

through two octaves.104

&IGURE

)MAGE

(E

JUST

TABLE

ON

SYNTHESIZER

TO

ABOUT

THEIR

of than this thing that will sell a couple.”105

108

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

DOMINATE

scratch DJ market is not one that many manufacturers are developing prod-

UCTS

!LTHOUGH

WILLING

GOING

this thing happen.”106

ABOUT

LOPE

ANYMORE

for the love…. The technology is there now and all you have to do is reverse

engineer the turntable and make something better (hopefully) and another

manufacturer will pick it up…that is hip-hop for you.”107 *OHN"EEZS

process and practice as a bedroom engineer—making his vision and dream a

reality without the help of a manufacturer—was inspired by one of the few

$*S AS INVENTORS

DJ Focus: Dedication Is a Must

7ITHIN

TECHNICAL

ISTING

EXISTING

come from outside the industry because he says the “outsider has nothing to

lose.”108

isting order of the market.

)N

mentioned: (1) SSL and DVS in general (replacing the 12” vinyl single) and

SMALL

2ANE

HOWEVER

“UT

impact on the DJ product industry and hip-hop DJ culture. The influence of

THE

TODAYS

only an outsider to the DJ product industry but also a self-described introvert

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

109

who spent most of his time alone in his bedroom tinkering with electronics

AND

THIS

(OWEVER

TIVE

&ADERS

GRAPHITE

causing crackling and bleeding signals (especially for DJs practicing scratch-

ING

a strong market in the early 1990s selling replacement crossfaders for their

MIXERS

CROSSFADER

!ND

the innovation changed the industry because soon others would follow with

CONTACTLESS

&ADE

FADER

$*

WOULD

DESIGNED

taught engineer who had many innovations that were simple yet revolution-

ARY

&OCUS

figure to his three younger brothers in what he describes as an impoverished

household. He would find discarded electronics around his neighborhood in

the fields and community centers and began taking them apart and figur-

ING

THEN GIRLFRIEND

A

SCHOOL

EVENTUALLY

TABLE

WAS

PATH

!LTHOUGH

THE

4ESLA

BALANCE

110

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

philosophy was to design products that he thought would allow DJs to im-

PROVE

LOVE

ENTERED

up against the business-minded Edisons.

)N

/FFICIAL

began doing equipment

MODS

and removed the spring and bearing that puts tension on the bottom for quicker

scratching. He also made “stopper plates” for faders that allowed for quicker

CUT IN

)

BE

BE

LAST

&OCUS

ALLOWED

BILITY

THAT

and shortly thereafter Tools of Destruction

a year to edit and arrange). Some small boutique DJ companies had reached

OUT

THROUGH

TURNTABLIST

SAYS

STRENGTHS

!T

3CRATCHMASTER

AND

IT

AND

NOT

HANDS

to him that the latter was the best option. He spent about a week in the fall

OF

IT

DISAPPOINTMENT

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

111

)

of epiphanies.

&OCUS

NIQUE

FOR

element that limited creativity. “There was such a burden with the old faders

THAT

1990s were made of graphite that used a trace from one end to another that

ALLOWED

THE

AGE

MUSICAL

6ESTAX

6ESTAX

control fader curve (cut-in time). This was his first epiphany: the VCA system

would allow for a true optical fader with no contacts. “The grand epiphany was

LIKE

VOLTAGE

&OCUS

CAL

0RO

IDEA

BE

TERS

CEPT

IT

WORK

PHOTOTRANSISTOR

&OCUS

FROM

GIVES

WOULD

(light source); (2) a resistor to reduce the voltage going to it; (3) the infrared

RECEIVER

PASS

.OW

OF

112

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

)NTERNATIONAL

RUN

SOURCE

SOME

PUBLICLY

TRIED

)T

-AGNETICS

3TANTON

MONEY

PIECE

&LORIDA

FLYING

SKETCHES

&ADER

A

from an impoverished background who wanted to make an impact and make

HISTORY

COMMERCIAL

h4HEY

“They could have gone in a way different direction. So they went really fucking

scratch friendly and started doing lots of scratch stuff. You have to give them a

LOT

3CRATCH

UCTS

INTO

OTHER

OTHER

MOD

TOR

4HE

MIXERS

&OCUS

TIME

DEMANDED

ENT PENDING

MADE

CROSSFADER

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

113

/N

ERS

3IGNATURE

PRODUCTS

&OCUSv

FACTURE

PROBLEMATIC

COMPANIES

OR

WHEN

IT

necessarily in the best interest of Stanton.

h-Y

ALL

the time Stanton was very open. You got to give them credit for that as well

BECAUSE

NOT

LONG LASTING

LIVED

-ESA

NEVER

DOWN

THING

COMPANY

STILL

IN

PROUDLY

AND

&OCUSS

&ADER

longer to achieve higher levels of skill.110 His innovations were also conceptu-

ALIZED

WITH

HE

BETWEEN

VATIONS

4HE

YEARS

114

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

POST

in the headphones without the signal going over the speakers. The SA-8 also

HAD

7HEREAS

outputs allow a DJ to record the signal from turntable one and turntable two

onto separate tracks in recording software. “There was just a lot of years of ideas

THAT

MOVEMENT

)N

ESQUE

FOR

$*

DOWN

MANUALS

HOW

HERE

BASICALLY

companies were going to jump on it.” Some may say that the SA-8 and other

&OCUS

pace that things unravel at. And you have people that are moving at a certain

PACE

THAT

&OCUS

equilibrium.” His idea sketch books are thick and he always has ideas flowing

THROUGH

SCENE

MY

&OCUS

BUT

trying to get a manufacturer to release it.

&OCUS

is that a good idea is a good idea and if you mention it to someone it could

RESURFACE

MAKING

which he contends is a participatory culture. “People want to put stuff out there

AND

KNOW

admits that his love of the culture and the altruistic nature of his innovation

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

115

MAY

has made peace with it. His deep-seated passion for and striving to be a part of

$*

at least.

&IGURE

&ADER

André Sirois / Courtesy of the DJistory/DJpedia Archive.

116

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

4HIS

AND

FOR

SEEN

RIGHTS

WELL

WE

PARTLY

also how brands and brand names often become linked to innovations as “in-

VENTORSv

can be manipulated as intellectual properties.

!LTHOUGH

the authorship of hip-hop DJs is most recognized by manufacturers and in-

DUSTRIES

hip-hop DJs realize that corporate recognition of their authorship/creativity is

IN

TO

THE

DJs have been manipulated as intellectual properties to authenticate products

in a market.

· 5 ·

THE HIP-HOP DJ AS

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Branding, Endorsement, and the Nature of Convergence

h$*ING

Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky 1

7HEN

IN

name. His crew joked that he would find his name “just under his nose.” At

THAT

MIXERS

7EST

.UMARK

WITH

$*

$*S

producer who is well-respected within hip-hop DJ culture. Nu-Mark is a brand

NAME

Although we do not commonly think of people as brands in our day-

TO DAY

ING

,E“RON

brand names that companies pay endorsement deals to in order to associate

THE

BRANDS

118

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

become brand names that are used by companies to endorse and authenticate

PRODUCTS

MARKET

.U -ARK

OWN

own brand-name identity.

OTH

4HORNTON

and credibility within the hierarchy of a subculture.3

TURE

WITH

NEW

OWNING

TAPES

HER

INVOLVES

HOW

NETWORK

ference and adds value to the recorded music and DJ product industries.

Although Nu-Mark found his DJ name by adopting and modifying a man-

UFACTURERS

become common practice for DJ technology manufacturers to use the names

of DJs with the highest levels of subcultural capital to market their products.

“Y

CAPITAL

OF

GOODS

why they need authentic DJs to back their brands. Manufacturers also rely on

these DJs to demonstrate the use of their products for both practical measures

IE

product (having a skilled DJ use a product in demonstration at trade shows

and in videos gives it authenticity).

!LTHOUGH

0ARIS

ufacturers have yet to use celebrities with such mass cultural capital to endorse

PRODUCTS

IS

BROADEN

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

119

TACTIC

TO

OTHER

element by associating their brand name with respected DJs.

!

HAVE

tremely hard to build up their reputations. The name-as-brand is what gets

A

opens other opportunities within numerous cultural industries. Although

DISTINCTIVENESS

tains that subcultural capital is also hierarchical: distinction does not mean

EQUAL

the presumed “inferiority” of others.5

MUSICv

masters of the scene.”6 4HAT

HAVE

scenes hierarchy.

DJs who amass subcultural capital become brand ambassadors for man-

UFACTURERS

CAN

authorship by the ways in which he or she is represented under the capital-

IST

HOW

NAMES

BRAND

SUBCULTURAL

becomes a tool for generating financial capital.”9

IN

INFORMED

dors is nothing new in the cultural industries—think of how everything from

SNEAKERS

cultural level in niche markets can illustrate how different forms of selectivity

within a network creates particular hierarchies and antagonisms.

!

and this brand name is how a DJ is most valuable to the industry as an in-

TELLECTUAL

ATE

HOW

120

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

SYNERGISM

AND

PROPERTIES

HIP HOP

IN

themselves with manufacturers also helps to authenticate them as DJs.10 This

DIALECTIC

Hip-hop has witnessed a number of conflicts over names and names-as-

BRANDS

GOT

because of all the DJs who have used Jazzy Jay as a name. The same can be said

OF

to differentiate him from another DJ Spinbad hailing from New York City.

!NOTHER

FAME

SIGNED

USE

$*

&IGURE

LEASED

-ELOS

the product/company. Picture by Zane Ritt / Courtesy of the DJistory/DJpedia Archive.

Another interesting case of brand names and intellectual property rights

IS

8 -ENˆFOUNDED

$R

$*

NAME

joined Roc Raida to make it one of the most recognized crews during the

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

121

mid-1990s boom

IN

INFRINGING

7ALT

AN

the recording industry and making albums with major labels made such usage

problematic.

4HE

album X-Pressions on the independent label Asphodel Records in 1997. Rob

Swift recalls the situation in which the name change took place after they

RELEASED

3HORTLY

the attention the group was getting would eventually raise issues because of the con-

NECTION

LAWSUIT

AN

reaching that point.12

#HANGING

CHANGING

Rob Swift says crew members eventually embraced the new name and consid-

ered the change symbolic:

!T

LIKE

8 ECUTIONERS

ING

8 ECUTIONERS

!

SERVES

7HEN

CREATE

TO

ARTISTS

can also face similar conflicts between their professional identities and brands.

7HAT

ecutioners DJ crew) to also change his name because it could possibly in-

FRINGE

122

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

product manufacturer Numark sent DJ Nu-Mark a cease and desist letter for

TRADEMARK

$*

PRODUCTˆAND

BRANDS

BRAND NAME

INDUSTRY

MATRIX

ANOTHER

using testimonials from interviews to begin deconstructing the relationship

BETWEEN

technocultural synergism as it is perceived by those directly involved.

*Adventures of Grandmaster Flash *

on the Wheels of Steel

)N

REATION

TO

$*

CREDIBILITY

WORDS

FANCY

S

THE

MIXER

LAR

ONES

LISHED

THEIR

&LASH

ACT

main draw with consumers.

)N

AND

ERAL

THESE

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

123

MUSICIANS

AS

CORDS

&LASH

name was used for its brand equity because he was the most popular DJ at the

TIME

&LASHS

hREALv

RANDMASTER

SOLELY

ified the technique on vinyl.14

TABLES

RECORD

brand name but not one recognized by copyright.15

ECAUSE

ONLY

left the label in 1983 and sued the company for using his name to sell re-

CORDS

-ORTON

TURN

&LASHv

OUT

cated the matter).

RANDMASTER

@‘RANDMASTER

SONx

for my own name.”16

&LASH

THE

ERABLE

NAME

AS

TRADEMARK

THUS

within a geographical region and within a product market.18 After the lawsuit the

LEAD

-ELLE

124

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

&LASH

TO

!CCORDING

took him out of DJing during the mid-1980s.19 )N

POPULAR

DEVELOPED

HIM

SCRATCH

&LASH

DUCE

BETWEEN

transform scratch by pressing a button instead of using a crossfader.20 Here is

HOW

4HE

ATEUR

with one hand tied behind their back.

4HE

the groove to create a rhythmic scratching effect popular in the current music scene.

h)

ECAUSE

$%3)’.%$

n’RANDMASTER

EMINI

TEAR

TURERS

form scratch for hours and days would ultimately ruin the crossfader and the

MIXER

4HE

AND

WAS

THE

purposes. This is not too different from the same tactics employed by Sugar

(ILL

CATION

RANDMASTER

seeking to use his name as a brand.

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

125

&IGURE

RANDMASTER

%XECUTIVES

ITS

LEARNED

UCTS

AND

OUT

TATION

DEVELOP

WAS

MIXER

2ANE

FOR

GO

HE

INPUTx

TO

&LASH

TO

&LASH

name on a piece of gear he was unsatisfied with. “He knew what was possible

126

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

AND

YOU

MONEY

HIMv

“UT

hFUNv

hFLOODEDv

TIONS

)

POSSIBLY

!ND

DERSTAND

diagram and make it work. Rick was so helpful.26

4HIS

WHILE

THE

2ANE

&LASH

THIS

THINKS

!ND

the credit that is due. He is one of the guys who made it through tough times and

HAS

fortunate to have a relationship with him and to build a product that he believes in

and uses…. And that relationship just came from his interest in the quality of prod-

ucts that we build.27

EING

AUTHENTICATE

the company benefitted from this relationship (over profits from sales of the

MIXER

IN

IT

shortly after the Empath hit market with the buzz that Rane was working with

&LASH

STANDARD

&LASH

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

127

TECHNOCULTURAL

7HILE

MANUFACTURERS

OR

EXPLORE

Harnessing Subcultural Capital

4HUS

2$

ELEMENT

ALSO

THE

6ESTAX

nature as endorsement. This trend continued with other manufacturers that

reached out to the most popular and credible DJs to make products bearing

THEIR

#RAZE

with their names and subcultural capital attached.

$*

8 ECUTIONERS

high point of the turntablist movement in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Typically

THIS

THEY

NEW

ON

POSTERS

4HE

MENT

4HESE

BUILD

THE

SHOWCASE

THE

(and rarely) DJs who have signature products receive royalties based on units

SOLD

DJ product industry.

128

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

$*

$*

SORTS

;MANUFACTURERS=

CREDIBLEx

cially good for the DJ because the DJ can shine.”28

WITH

OUT

THAT

PEOPLE

ARE

everybody.”29 Many of the DJs that companies were reaching for in the mid-

S

business side of the industry.

#HUCK

your product and using your product definitely shows in importance to the

BRAND

understanding between the brand and the DJ and why he is using it.”30

Mike May from Rane suggests that having DJs endorsing products adds

credibility:

!LTHOUGH

because of the work ethic they have and because of their star power and their recog-

NITION

YOUR

ARE

7HEN

BACKING

UFACTURERS

companies with the hopes of establishing an endorsement deal. Rane has a

GROUP

May suggests that all of the thousands of Rane users “mentor” the products as

well. May says that having these relationships are a “blessing for us because we

DO

porting us and we try to do the same thing right back. And that helps because

they are the guys who supply a great number of the ideas.”32

4HIERRY

“Artists as product ambassadors is a must.”33 Alari proposed that Qbert have

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

129

HIS

AND

SAYS

3CRATCHOPHONE

success of a fledgling product such as the Scratchophone.34

/NO

INDUSTRIES

EVER

obviously on a different level of dollars and markets as well.”35

THE

of the company and the DJs are interrelated—the relationship is dialec-

TICAL

FEW

AS

WITH

-IKE

AND

OVER

ECAUSE

$6$S

h1BERT

1BERT

what DJ should do.”37 Shortkut says that what Qbert and Yogafrog have done

with the Thud Rumble company “changed the game” in respect to DJs being

INVOLVED

and get your business straight for a lot of these companies to start messing with

YOU

$*

SECUTIVE

the late 1990s during his title runs. Craze tells me he would endorse anything

because he was young and broke at the time. “So for me being sponsored back

then was all about the loot. About the loot and just trying to get my face on

A

product that has my name on it.”39

3TANTON

eventually put his name on a signature series needle/cartridge (Stanton

situation:

130

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

4HE

WAS

SEEN

NAME

THE

hALRIGHT

THE

ONE

ECAUSE

STREAK

DESIGNED

could not get enough test-time on the SA-12:

!ND

THIS

)

ME

WISH

#RAZES

LATED

UCTS

THESE

subcultural capital to sell units and to authenticate the Stanton brand within

the market. (Craze notes that he did get a small royalty for these products.)

$*S

commodities within the industry. Roli Rho suggests that manufacturers seek

OUT

WHICH

endorsing DJs contributed to the R&D process.41

FOR

FOR

SIONABLE

$*

3HURE

SHIP

hBREAK

BONUS

h)T

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

131

RECOGNIZE

angle of it is how we get paid.”44

FURTHER

their subcultural capital.

4HUS

industry has been detailed as a dialectical one. DJs influence companies and

then in turn are themselves influenced by the technologies companies pro-

DUCE

how the superstructure influences the economic base because hip-hop culture

REACHES

IS

HAVE

nipulated as intellectual properties whose main authorial function is to be a

COMMODIFIABLE

of this relationship held by DJs and people in the DJ product industry. This

CONVERGENCE

LOOP

AND

THE

tionship and elucidate how this convergence is perceived by those involved.

DJs and the DJ Product Industry

Looking at collective intelligence and convergence in the case of hip-hop

DJs helps to illuminate a two-way flow of information between industry and

CULTURE

NIES

TEXTS

REMIX

COMMODITIES

INNOVATIONS

sibilities of DJs. This relationship is technocultural synergism in its purest

form. Many of the collaborators interviewed for this book suggest that there is

A

that DJ culture has the upper hand.

3IYA

hFEED

132

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

$*

guess we need them just as much as they need us.”46 Although there is an in-

TERDEPENDENCE

an awkward situation.”47 Marz suggests that the awkwardness comes from the

fact that hip-hop DJs try to be more business-like while industry representa-

tives try to be more hip-hop.

#HUCK

products the company made were what hip-hop DJs wanted and needed.

h4HEY

saw heavily used by the hip-hop community.”48

OF

MAKE

$*S

OF

-IKE

THINK

CESS

to use.”50 May says that Rane wants to be part of DJ culture and be recognized

FOR

)

THE

THE

PEOPLE

IN

in our day-to-day.51

-AY

that the tools Rane makes are a part of DJ culture because DJs have accepted

the brand.

Smaller manufacturers also see the dialectical nature of this relationship

AND

COMPANY

ADMITTING

TO

THINK

THE

$*S

WASNT

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

133

like it.”52

that benefits the culture is the main way in which manufacturers are involved

with DJs.

Some hip-hop DJs also believe that companies play a large role in the cul-

TURE

COMPENSATED

MADE

A

for them to create that and have it available to the masses for other creative

PEOPLE

NIES

hCOMPLETELY

these companies succeed and that they “have changed and affected the devel-

OPMENT

shaped the way we as DJs/turntablists create.”54

7HILE

$*

WITH

the industry forward.55

THING

they are not a part of that audience.56 Carluccio uses a restaurant metaphor to

DESCRIBE

have not necessarily bought the restaurant.”57

DJs have played a significant role in the formation of the DJ product in-

DUSTRY

CULTURE

Steve Dee.58 He thinks hip-hop DJs are more responsible for selling equip-

MENT

WITH

WITH

IN

ITS

TOOLS

TECHNICAL

!T

THESE

IN

134

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

have definitely made a lot of contributions but it all depends if the right artist gets on

their tools and find out that their tools make their job better.60

$*

CULTUREv

TIONx

ALSO

facturers cater to the demand until DJs have moved on to other types of tools.

)N

ERS

CHARACTERISTIC

PHONES

Quest feels like DJs have invested far more time into elevating styles and

DEVELOPING

THAT

OF

$*=

RANDMASTER

THE

SALES

TO

and sponsor a select few DJs. Giving back to the culture seems problematic

and it is hard to understand why a company would do that. Apple does not

GIVE

PRODUCTS

consumers is something only seen in niche markets.

7HAT

NIES

ING

3IYA

soul ripped out of the culture strictly for profits and no resources being put

back into the culture?”63

MANUFACTURERS

MEDIA

PRODUCT

uct reviews/news.

7ITH

Turntablist Disk does not consider manufacturers a large part of the

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

135

COMMUNITY

A

A

7HILE

THEM

THESE

THINKS

AS

COMPANIES

ONLY

CULTURE

know who is the backbone of their business.”66 He suggests that while this

SUPPORT

IS

TRICKLE

THESE

ECAUSE

ECONOMY

FACTURERS

IN

are not in the hands of DJs. Steve Dee claims that DJs could just use all the

IDEAS

their makers and distributors and then go get a distribution deal with some-

BODY

people are going to do it?”67

$R

vest in them could create a company and then place the DJs who have given

all these design ideas and done R&D a position on the board of directors. He

suggests that other manufacturers would go out of business because DJs would

flock to a company run by DJs.68

53!

PLAINS

engineer at building new technology or knows how to set up a company or has

the passion to pursue a worthwhile invention through to the end.”69

Some hip-hop DJs interviewed for this book think that the distribution

OF

FEEL

DO

136

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

DO

WORKED

CORPORATIONS

“UT

DJs typically see the culture as creating the market; manufacturers cater to

IT

AND

for granted. Hip-hop culture has given birth to many marketable commodities

AND

THAT

thing.”71

$*

relationship with industry. He says that the temptation is to say that commer-

CIALIZATION

GOOD

AND

AS

OF

PRODUCTION

Shiftee knows the importance of corporate sponsorship and thinks it makes

for a more vibrant culture:

)D

money and that the battles can put on better events…. but as far as commercializa-

TION

NEED

BE

MERCIALIZATION

GO

PROBABLY

/NE

SUPPORT

BRANDS

AUDIO

this type of giving through sponsorship also is a branding and advertising op-

portunity that commodifies the audience. Nothing—it seems—is free.

2EVIEWING

dustry helps elucidate another way in which hip-hop DJs are manipulated as

the hip-hop dj as intellectual property

137

INTELLECTUAL

IN

cultural capital and brand name and tying it to a product or a manufacturer.

7ITHOUT

authenticity for their products. A problem with branding and endorsement

is that DJs used to brand or endorse a product are often considered to be the

designers or “inventors” of the product by consumers. The confusion under-

MINES

DESIGN

INNOVATORS

have led to iconic and important innovations (both technical and tech-

NIQUE

PROPERTIES

equity in signature products and endorsements demonstrates how industry can

EXPLICITLY

7E

2$

powerful relationship of technocultural synergism highlights convergence and

COLLECTIVE

TURE

IN

THE

$63

TER

TECHNOLOGY

CHAPTER

democratization of DJing that has been granted by digital technology. Many of

the technical and technique innovations described to this point have helped

PAVE

light on what this moment looks like from the perspective of culture.

· 6 ·

SCRATCHING THE DIGITAL ITCH AND

THE CULTURAL NEGOTIATION OF DVS

h3O

really just incredible.”

DJ Babu 1

/N

shutting down both its NYC and LA retail locations. Due to the dual impact

OF

stores were losing money.2

&AT

strictly hip-hop music—was not only a proponent of vinyl records but also one

OF

especially known for handling the manufacturing and distribution of vinyl for

other independent hip-hop record labels.3

(OPv

with the great boon in independent hip-hop music in the mid-1990s and the

LAUNCH

$*S

INTERVIEWED

Despite the notoriety that the brand enjoyed with consumers of hip-hop

MUSIC

duction of vinyl 12” hip-hop singles was phased out by most record labels by

HIP HOP

140

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

EATS

the disruptive nature of the standardization of digital vinyl systems and music

DISTRIBUTION

sumption habits of DJs.

)N

TURNTABLES

TOOLS

+ATZ

ELEMENTAL

$.!

THIS

THE

33,

VALUE

HIP HOP

perceptions of the democratization of DJing in the digital era. The chapter

CONCLUDES

last few chapters of this book have looked at how hip-hop DJs have affected

TECHNICAL

hop DJ culture?

Digital Negotiation

)T

and philosophers have given considerable thought to the cultural shift from

old/mass media in the read-only era to new/digital media in the read-write

era. The process of this shift from analog to digital technology is often re-

FERRED

FROM

says it “distributes weight differently between the categories that hold culture

together.”5

)N

LAY

BETWEEN

ular ways in which they refashion older media and the ways in which older

MEDIA

write.6

scratching the digital itch

141

from the old and offers itself as an improvement. “Each new medium has to

find its economic place by replacing or supplementing what is already avail-

ABLE

BY

OF

innovations gain acceptance and become standards by appealing to older con-

sumers; their successes are based on the “capacity to keep alive the past.”8

&ARRUGIA

tems (DVS) in both practice and discourse with the introduction of Stanton

&INAL3CRATCH

NOLOGY

LECTING

to the fore the “ideological enforcement of standards for discerning the value

and authenticity of certain DJ practices.”9

resistance within hip-hop DJ culture to digital technology in general.10

)N

ON

to a much more visual skill” because DJs look at their laptop screen to use the

SOFTWARE

has brought a visual element to DJ practice (although DJs have always used

STICKERS

there are three areas where the “effects” of using DVS for DJing are most

prominent: (1) transportation of records; (2) acquisition of records; and (3)

the manipulation of records.12[* *]7E

linked to the digitization of the technology and the culture.

&ROM

SUCH

WITH

WITH

PLENTY

AN

OTHER

you do not have to play your valuable records; (2) you can have access to

all the music on your computer at a gig instead of being limited to what you

brought on vinyl; (3) you can manipulate two copies of the same song; (4) you

CAN

ulate any recorded sound without having to press it on vinyl; and maybe most

IMPORTANTLY

142

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

are also plenty of other bells and whistles within the software that give DJs in-

CREASED

OF

THAT

allowed them to focus more energy on creativity.

DVS technology has allowed hip-hop DJs to realize their ideas more eas-

ily

it to be manipulated. DJ Nu-Mark says that even the vinyl purists have gone

to DVS because there are too many advantages to the computer generation

OF

INTERNATIONALLY

WITH

0LATURN

AT

MEANSv

)

/F

NOT

)

vinyl is because he has been DJing with his records since 1992 and the medium

HAS

7HILE

THE

IT

than it is carrying crates of records.”17

AND

LOT

FEEL

IS

OBBITO

&OR

ESTED

SPEED

FOR

)

$63

the transition from the analog era to the digital era of DJing and embraced the

REMEDIATION

scratching the digital itch

143

-ANY

VATIONS

NOLOGY

and at the same time broaden the very things that we are doing. The technol-

ogy is already in us.”20

NEW

VIEWS

SAYS

OR

have it.”23

$*

EVEN

TO

OF

“a bit of an insult to people who have been into it 10-plus years” and have in-

VESTED

YOURE

took us 10 years to get to.”24 DJ JS-1 also notes the good and bad of this tech-

nology: DVS has made his job much easier and simultaneously has made it

EASY

FUCK

Skeme Richards suggests that the need for DJs to buy/collect vinyl records

WAS

had to buy records there would be[* *]99 percent less people calling themselves

DJs.”26 The issue of the ease of access to DJing enabled by digital technology

WILL

to note that the element of “democracy” of access has been a major point in

the cultural negotiation of DVS. Like in other professional fields where tech-

NOLOGY

media has opened those fields up to amateurs who are marketing themselves

as professionals.

/NE

standardization of SSL is the remediation of vinyl records. DJs note that there

ARE

ARE

TECHNOLOGY

CORDS

origin of it.”27

144

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

IS

IT

WAY

“new school” of computers.

!S

BECOME

vinyl could contain 1 million songs if you really wanted it to.”29

A

the “realness” of those records are a matter of perception. “Serato is vinyl to

MEv

siders DVS a “halfway” point between digital and analog “because you have

an analog feel with the digital medium.”31 7HILE

OPINIONS

THE

ECAUSE

TROL

THIS

controllers that entirely displace both turntables and records from DJ practice.

$R

EXPLAINS

brought into the modern world of electronics.”32

3IMILARLY

BRACE

PLAY

THE

hYOU

CONTROL

THATx

how to do that shit.”33

33,

$63

that are rooted in analog DJing.

(IP HOP

Making Beats

VINYL

being only raw material for making music: (1) commitment to hip-hop tra-

DITION

ization.35

scratching the digital itch

145

THAT

ritualistically connects DJs to hip-hop history and is a central act of hip-hop

$*

THENTICITY

DUCTION

ONE

AND

TO

IT

IT

3KEME

SOMETHING

h4HOSE

HAD

warm body.”37 4HIS

CONSIDER

DJs have with their equipment and records.

7HILE

AUTHENTIC

had come from the tradition of vinyl records simply did not feel like “real”

$*S

RESISTANT

or a real DJ…. So it would just feel weird to play original soul and funk on a

COMPUTER

ticity for many of the DJs interviewed in this book was how they applied the

NEW

$63

TURES

h4ECHNOLOGY

YOU

.OT

TO

FEELINGS

WHO

ONE

WHO

WHEN

THAT

146

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

actually using vinyl records. He gives credit to those who use real vinyl and

EXPLAINS

RECORDS

PLAINS

so he has more respect for poorly skilled DJs who at least try to use vinyl.

)N

HOP

TAIN

STRESS

OBTAINING

records “is much more difficult physically to do than it is just to sit on your

computer.”41

FUN

DIGITAL

FERENT

USED

TIREDx

MEANS

$*S

DJs collecting and curating those collections. DJ Daddy Dog talks about the

TIME

CONNECTION

DELETE

MORE

)N

for gigs gave those pieces of music increased value to the user. The process of

OBTAINING

than downloading and dropping files into virtual folders or trashcans. That

IS

ment; MP3s do not lead as easily to such bonds because they are disposable

and there is little commitment to obtain/maintain them.

$*

analogy:

4HE

LIKE

THE

the abacus because there are more efficient ways and easier ways to do math. So the

scratching the digital itch

147

SAME

like CDs came and everyone shifted over to the digital side because it makes life so

much easier.44

DJ Platurn suggests the work that hip-hop DJs from the vinyl era put into

the craft to become a DJ made them value the culture/art form more than

THOSE

AND

the craft much more valuable to the user. “These are things that you have to

MAKE

becomes that much more valuable to you and just to the art form as a whole…

BUT

RULES

IN

these “rules” since the vinyl-as-cultural gatekeeper has dissolved and older DJs

are not schooling them on these rules.

DJs speak of a right of passage where DJs pay dues and “graduate” to DVS. DJ

ABU

NOW

HAS

IN

fuck with it.”46

obtain vinyl and lugged records to gigs feel they have earned the right to use DVS.

2OLI

WAS

USING

LOSING

transition to DVS after he actually found himself in the minority of hip-hop

$*S

realized it was time to change:

)

$*

AND

)M

AND

4HUS

OF

148

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

TO

digital transition.

/NE

MEANINGS

TION

WHICH

(OWEVER

KILLED

RECORD

WHERE

THINKS

gave them the option to not buy vinyl—DJs decided to stop buying vinyl

records.

$*

GAME

7ITH

THAT

IT

$OG

SAYS

picking shit up.”51

INITIAL

SCREAM

SALES

GOING

J.Period thinks that DVS did not kill vinyl but “killed the usefulness of

vinyl.”53

MENT

HAVE

viewed in this book no longer need to use vinyl as a tool. As DJs negotiated

$63S

SPONDED

WHO

IDEA

ITS

son to really put anything out anymore because you can have everything as if

it is on vinyl through Serato.”54 Mr. Len thinks that DVS has hurt vinyl but it

also forced people to reevaluate what they are pressing. Mr. Len also stresses

scratching the digital itch

149

that “if hip-hop can claim anything it is that it kept vinyl around maybe 20 or

VINYL

DVS has made the art/practice/job of DJing easier for established DJs.

3IMULTANEOUSLY

MUSIC

LITTLE

OF

CONTROLLERS

HAS

WASHED UP

ING

Microwaving Democracy

“Microwave DJ” is a pejorative term that refers to DJs who instantly “become”

DJs by purchasing digital DJ technology and an MP3 library. The term first

APPEARED

!

got Serato or any other digital software/hardware that lets them manipulate digital

MEDIA

DONT

OF

WITH

MISCONCEPTION

EMBRACE

completely on it.56

)T

DVS. The main issue revolves around DJs who have not “paid dues” and have

gone into the market for DJ gigs and undercut veterans. Unless you are a

big-name DJ who plays in casinos or festivals and has large followings (those

BRAND NAME

WAGES

LOWER PAYING

of access to DJing presents both economic and artistic challenges.

)N

TH

150

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

machines would have a negative effect on musicianship. These concerns

HAVE

BOARDSSYNTHESIZERS

AND

MANIPULATION

ANTAGONISMS

ERS

mirrored this dialectic.

)N

AUTHENTIC

Debates about DVS in hip-hop DJ culture are a case in point of authenticity

DISCOURSE

he writes that authenticity claims establish in-group/out-group distinctions.57

(E

FROM

FINDS

FUL

NATIVES

hREALv

up numerous times in my interviews testifies to the centrality of technical

INNOVATIONS

The majority of the DJs interviewed for this book did not respond posi-

tively to the fact that digital technology allows anybody with a computer to

CALL

$63

RULES

microwave DJs totally miss out on. J.Period sums up the general sentiment:

h“ECAUSE

to enjoy but only a few people to do.”59 !S

this from J.Period represent how hip-hop DJs construct authenticity and build

distinctions between in-groups/out-groups.

(OWEVER

$*

ING

Shiftee thinks that this access is changing what it means to be a good DJ.

EFORE

BASED

SAME

scratching the digital itch

151

ISNT

on personal artistry and style and how they put things together.”60 Sugarcuts

thinks that what killed the turntablism movement of the late 1990s was that

IT

PLAINS

of entry you potentially have a greater value of and a greater number of young

talented people to enter into the market.”61

OTH

)

“comes to those who are true to the culture” and that it advances culture.

h)

SUCKERSx

HAPPENSv

imposed in the days of vinyl have dissolved and there is less quality control;

HOWEVER

INSTANCE

bought all the nicest equipment and a record collection but never built their

SKILLS

BUT

IS

between generations and was often related to technologies used: Pioneer

hip-hop DJs from the 1970s thought the 1980s DJs were suckers for using

BREAKBEAT

HIP HOP

and 1990s DJs thought 2000s DJs were suckers for using custom-pressed dub

plate records for battles.

DJs feel there is a sense[* *]of entitlement among the new breed of microwave

$*S

)T

crowave DJs skip the fundamental skills that came from learning with vinyl

RECORDS

THEM

used to spinning on a laptop who look at waves and instead now they have to

USE

SOFTWARE

WITHOUT

without the crutch of visual representation; they cannot use their ears and

MIX

152

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

DJ Platurn considers the actions of microwave DJs to be disrespectful to

the art form: “There are these DJs that came along before a lot of these guys—

you know the blog DJs and the laptop DJs—who really had to put a lot of

WORK

And that was everything; your personality is what drove you as an individual

artist when it comes to the DJ thing. Nobody does that anymore.”66 Many DJs

)

unable to put their own style into the music because they lack the technical

SKILLS

NOT

the time into the craft.

&OR

SECOND

GIRLS

THERE

$*

want to be cool and DJs who DJ because they want to DJ.”67 My collaborators

suggest that the new breed of DJs got into it only

LEBRITIES

$*S

TELL

in the way they play and you can kind of tell that the vinyl DJs still kind of

know their records better and they know when to bring in records.”68

$IGITAL

NOT

ARE

,INDSAY

BOOKED

have been able to become DJs because of the access provided by digital tech-

nologies.69

controllers and not DVS because DVS still requires the user to know how to

MANIPULATE

gigs from established professional DJs and changing the market economics of

THE

image of the DJ and what it means to be one; impressionable youth follow

suit. Since most of the DJs interviewed for this study survive financially on

$* RELATED

negotiation of DVS.

scratching the digital itch

153

There is now growing competition in the market for DJs that has threat-

ENED

more booking options because of this competition. Many times veterans who

have worked their way up to a certain pay level are having to take cuts be-

CAUSE

)T

ER LEVEL

top-notch casino club or festival DJ earning tens of thousands of dollars per

GIG

MARKET

been a great thing for DJ culture.

)N

PROMOTE

DMC Champ who currently does more work in the clubs than in the battle

SCENE

clubs too much cheap promotion:

.OW

COME

DID

CAN

GET

PROMOTE

GIVING

THE

ON

SCHOOL

DO

Traditionally it has been the job of the venue to promote an event and get

heads in the door; the DJ is there to make those who come through the door

HAVE

PLOIT

established DJs. There is increasing pressure on established DJs to promote

EVENTS

NORMAL

BUT

h7ELL

HAS

EXPLAINS

154

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

.EW

LUCKY

THEY

CROWD

/NE

DIENCE

MOVED

LACK

moters/venues that hire microwaves. Generally it is felt that the audience does

not know or care about the difference in DJs because they just want to drink

and hear the songs from their iTunes playlist.73 “UT

AUDIENCE

SKILLS

RECORDINGS

with what songs a DJ plays instead of how he or she plays them.

$*

DERCUTTING

DIGITAL

BATTLES

unfortunately with new technology it just makes it easier for anyone…it just

opens up the playing field so more people can jump on the bandwagon and

DO

BEAUTIFUL

MINUTE

FOR

as long as it saves the venue money. DJ JS-1 thinks that if DVS and other

DIGITAL

because it is much harder to build up a record collection and get a foot in the

DOOR

still be having more jobs and be making more money while younger kids would

be working to get to that level.75 He thinks that if it were harder to get access

TO

Vinyl was in its own way a gatekeeper to the culture and market for DJing.

!NOTHER

lection. There is an unspoken rule among DJs about requests: Either you do

not take them at all or you accept them and try to work them into your set if

THE

LEARN

scratching the digital itch

155

MANY

SHARED

THE

.OT

TO

TRUTH

do?”76

AND

need to make a living then they are going to conform and do what they have

to do to keep the crowd happy…. That kind of sucks.”77

h)M

TAINER

AND

YOURE

getting harder and harder for some DJs to get gigs where they are able to play

MUSIC

caving into the requests of promoters and audiences. Much of the reason why

PROMOTERS

sets is because they now have an understanding of what the DJ is doing. DJ

Nikoless comments:

4HEY

accessible to even them. Not everybody had a pair of turntables back in the day….

Now the audience is so equal to the DJ because in the mass perception the DJ is the

GUY

I0OD

The notion that everybody can be a DJ has also accelerated because DJs are

USING

TIMES

off of YouTube or download and play it. Making and imposing requests has

become much easier in the digital age; audience members at pre-digital venues

DID

DIGITAL

4HUS

nologies and some of the ways in which the economics of DJing have been

changing in the digital age. Democracy of access to DJing as granted by new

TECHNOLOGY

INTO

156

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

ARE

AND

AND

ADDRESSED

NEERED

Current Music Market and the 12” Maxi Single

The MP3 format was originally designed to compress video files in the early

1990s. Unlike nearly all of its predecessors—from the disc record to the

CD—companies within the recording industry did not introduce MP3 tech-

NOLOGIES

music were developed and marketed by huge computer technology corpo-

rations that had little interest in the sale of recorded music.80 The MP3 is

a format that came from beyond the confines of the recording industry and

EVENTUALLY

INGLY

vinyl LPs.

LOBAL

2013.81 !FTER

2014 there were three large recording companies that controlled the market

AT

-USIC

12.3 percent of the market for recorded music in 2013.82 The U.S. market is

STILL

HOLDING

continue to plunge (only 34 percent of the market).

)N

million units sold (9.4 million vinyl LPs shipped).83 After some abysmal years

FOR

LOWEST

the recent upsurge in LP sales has been increasing productivity at pressing

plants. Although there was fierce competition in the 1970s between several

DOZEN

PER

(12 of those are more boutique and smaller facilities). Presently the largest

scratching the digital itch

157

ARE

2AINBO

AND

records).

)N

3INCE

OF

catalogs can make up more than 40 percent of sales and 70 percent of profits

for a typical major label.85 *EREMY

that back catalogs become “an easy fall-back for a music company which owns

LOTS

opposed to the brand new and speculative.”86

4HE

MUSIC

THE

DJs buying records to use as tools. Although sales have gone up more than

PENED

The format is an innovation that came from DJ culture and it is the format

that kept vinyl alive through the 1980s and 1990s as it was the primary way

DJs consumed music. The format began as a way to distribute edits of popular

CLUB

BETWEEN

DIGITAL

reason why DVS and specifically Serato Scratch Live is a disruptive inno-

VATION

single.

Although it has been claimed that vinyl LP sales have skyrocketed over

THE

SINGLE

OVER

YET

WAYS

SoundScan data. SoundScan tracks sales of retailers that partake in its data

COLLECTION

IN

rise in vinyl LP sales appear to be so dramatic in part because the collection of

sales data began at a historic low point for LP sales.

158

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

6INYL

IN

!CCORDING

WAS

would seem that vinyl sales are producing profit for the industry as the only

PHYSICAL

SINGLE

WERE

ANNUALLY

VINYL

AT

REVENUES

MEDIA

)N

SINGLES

SINGLES

S

MILLION

This drop could be due to the fact that most labels stopped producing 45s

AS

#$S

ABOUT

S

THE

OUT SHIPPING

MILLION

REVENUES

the last decade.

3INCE

format used by DJs—these numbers suggest that DJs were partly responsible for

keeping vinyl records alive through the 1990s and into the new millennium (re-

CALL

the CD). This is because the 12” single is literally a format created by DJs for DJs.

“Y

4HE

WITH

v

scratching the digital itch

159

was introduced as a result of consumer demand rather than record company

innovation.87 4HIS

MUSIC

ESSENTIALLY

PRESS

ICAL

ARTISTS

LENGTH

FOR

)N

VINYL

HIS

DISC

OF

we went for the 12” format instead of the 10” and the song was ‘So Much for

,OVE

REMIXES

ORIGINAL

decided to meet the demand and produced the first commercial vinyl 12”

MAXI

single became a commercial format used by record labels (first independent

disco labels and then major labels) and made popular by DJs and club-goers.

Dance clubs and DJs became valuable promotional tools for recording

companies;89 record labels produced 12” singles of their releases once the mar-

KET

THE

h2APPERS

THE

and the music industry treated rap and disco genres the same: as passing fads

(which proved to be the case with disco). Through these early rap records

BEING

hip-hop DJ culture. The 12” would become an important tool for most DJs

DURING

NIPULATION

%ARLIER

COME

and demand of the format by closing its physical stores. Since DVS and SSL

BEGAN

160

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

NOMICS

industry professionals from that era.

$URING

MASTER

THE

incurred for a picture cover. Labels would then sell 12” discs to distributors for

ABOUT

AND

INVOLVED

IT

than with a 12” single. The cost of manufacturing color picture jackets also

HAD

MIES

with the hopes that there would be more pressings.

)N

FROM

DUCTION

AND

LABEL

OF

%#

artist received royalties only when Rawkus recouped its investment. Mighty

-I

record stores returned the vinyl and then they would get peanuts for that. So

THAT

THE

relates to a problem that spans the history of the music industry: recording

ARTISTS

EXPECT

$OUBLE

-EDIA

h3O

making our money back off of the 12s and using the 12s to create other op-

portunities.”91

$63

TERNS

scratching the digital itch

161

WORLDS

would walk out of a store with 15 or 20 12” singles and not even think about

it…. Now it would be like people really needed something to be super special

for them to buy the 12” up.”92 Quest notes that his company is selling far more

LPs than in the past because there is a market of non-DJs who want vinyl

RECORDS

ARE

a song on vinyl is to purchase the LP.

7HILE

LAMENT

v

4RAFFIC

BASED

/UR

NO

EVER

WITHOUT

OUT

A

would consider it a success.93

5P

0APA

hPRETTY

5NITED

LABELS

dates of their products being postponed as the larger orders by majors received

PRIORITY

RETAIL

LABEL

because they stopped selling. “The same people that were buying records eight

OR

WE

7HILE

D contends that DVS technology and music downloading are mostly to

BLAME

DONT

162

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

completely meaningless.”95

ERYBODYS

and record labels stopped producing them.

$*

IN

THIS

$ISTRIBUTION

shipment of vinyl for a large portion of independent hip-hop labels and has

SHIPPED

COME

AGO

like 500. “You just have to cut back a lot on the titles that you take in and

CANT

VALUE

The 12” single format was costly to manufacture/distribute and retail was

LIMITED

THE

many labels as a marketing tool for radio and club play. Most third-party music

promoters and record labels are now digitally promoting their music to DJs and

RADIO

SHED

HAVE

they “blast off” emails to radio and club DJs. This has leveled the playing field

as start-up labels or artists no longer have to promote their music via costly 12”

singles; it has democratized music distribution and promotion as well.

*ESSICA

OF

SENCE

ITS

IS

especially the people that we are sending records to because they are music

LOVERS

DOESNT

(AVANA

2ECORDS

ingful than sending an email.98

PROMOTIONAL

$OUBLE

scratching the digital itch

163

FACESv

*

RECORD

MP3 is not the same as getting a piece of vinyl.”99

2ECORDSS

age are the personal relationships with DJs; email communication feels cold

in comparison to phone or in-person communication.

.EVERTHELESS

CDs. Quest says that UGHH.com is now selling more vinyl LPs than they had

IN

has in some ways made it tougher for consumers since there is no quality filter

FOR

S

MADE

THRESHOLD

UFACTURING

ING

THE

0APA

are old school and we want to be able to go into a CD store and see our CD

there.”100

BUT

ITED

PROFITABLE

SO

%CLIPSE

THAT

A

you are going to run through it.”101 Labels and distributors have gone all out

IN

lunch pails and trading cards to slipmats and T-shirts. Papa D says that the

PHYSICAL

IMPORTANT

THAT

REALIZES

FANS

OF

DECADES

164

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

This brief overview of the vinyl market provides more insight as to how

THE

OF

TION

ERA

FOR

its usefulness as a tool.

$IGITAL

and have in many ways supplanted the use of vinyl recordings. DVS has been

successful because of “its capacity to keep alive the past” in that it keeps the

idea and _feeling _ of vinyl alive and is simply easier to maintain than a vinyl

RECORD

ERWISEˆ$*S

OF

UCTS

changed along with the evolution of the gear because DJs have contributed so

heavily to these technical innovations.

7HILE

AND

FOR

GATEKEEPER

AND

positive and negative effects on the culture. Now that anybody with a com-

PUTER

COME

being undermined. The general sentiment from these veterans is that DJing

IS

VALUE

EMPLOY

panding the creativity of hip-hop DJs.

This chapter brings us back to the introduction of the book and looking at

how digital democracy has paved the way for the age of the celebrity DJ and

THE

AND

played a huge role in this process. Digital products have come through tech-

NOCULTURAL

has been a dialectical shift in production and consumption patterns of hip-

HOP

scratching the digital itch

165

in the process of technocultural synergism; it is not an end but a node in the

NETWORK

and technique innovations lie ahead.

)N

ITS

TECHNICAL

FRAME

THROUGH

CRUMBLING

standing technocultural synergism and the histories of various innovations

that brought us to this point of democratization are of vital importance to the

future of the art form and culture.

EPILOGUE

)N

9OU4UBE

of these videos address many of the issues covered in this book—specifically

digital democracy and credit for innovation—and make important statements

ABOUT

THE

DJ Craze performing a highly technical DJ set titled “New Slaves Routine.”1

4HE

$

the world. The audio coming from the television is a pitched down version

of a skit from Tosh.O

KNOW

YOUR

Seeing these celebrity DJs on television motivates Craze to show the au-

DIENCE

$*

the same digital technology and innovations that allow anybody to “become”

A

AND

168

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

NEW

perception of what “real” DJs are. His video makes a powerful statement about

authenticity by linking it to having skills with an equally strong display of

how the DJ is the technology and not a “slave” to it.

4HE

documentary called _Founding Fathers_.2 The film contests the common narra-

TIVE

Fathers focuses on the DJs and crews from the late 1960s and early 1970s from

ROOKLYN

SUGGESTS

laid the foundational practices that would become the hip-hop DJ style.

Founding Fathers ruffled some feathers and had a lot of pioneering hip-hop DJs

firing shots at the claims made in the film.

The film looks at how some of these DJs modified technology and also

INFLUENCED

D.J. Vernon recalls the technical ingenuity of Ricky Grant of the Nu Sounds

CREW

TOOK

with independent control of the volume levels coming from the turntables

NOW

is touched on in this book and one that is embedded in the grand narrative

OF

IDEA

Grant.”3

AND

hINVENTORv

9ORK

S

)MPORTANT

ATIVE

nature of innovation and issues surrounding credit for innovating. At the end

OF

TIED

!ND

ventor of whatever it is never gets the chance to get to shine out of it. And they never

GET

HIP HOP

epilogue

169

watching that left out the meat of the story…. They bypassed the beginning of that

STORY

(OLLYWOOD

he helped to create; he wants his contributions to be added to the legacy of

HIP HOP

credit produces subcultural capital and adds to his brand value. The film en-

CAPSULATES

an individual when innovation comes through a creative network.

This book has used a political economy of the hip-hop DJ to highlight and

OUTLINE

DESCRIBE

LATION

HARDWARE

AND

BACK

BRANDING

HIP HOP

PROPERTY

3OME

NEW

or manipulate

with digitization is presented in an unflattering light. That kind of bias is not

my intention. My hope is for us to be able to look at the stories and opin-

IONS

TECHNOLOGIES

USˆBOTH

want us to be able to look back 50 years from now and know that the idea for

A

PRODUCED

SUCH

SAME

ORIGINS

EXCHANGE

INDUSTRY

WITH

we are leaving out the role of technological synergism that led to their devel-

OPMENT

170

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

hINVENTIONv

to think more critically about how we create.

7ITH

UNDERGROUND

NATIONAL

NOW

EVER

CORPORATE

ARE

TO

)N

ANALOG

think that the evidence here shows there is a clear link between their passing

AND

AND

ENTERED

PRINTING

print. A lot of fuel is used in the process of turning PVC into a record in your

crate. Vinyl records for DJs are now pressed and consumed with consider-

ATION

hits with a short shelf-life—the tracks that many working DJs need—would

BE

DISPOSABLE

NOBODY

(record stores and second-hand stores) cannot do anything with these types

OF

PUT

negative effects on the planet.

)T

ARE

)

WANT

CLUDING

OF

ETHNICALLY

DO

SYNERGISM

epilogue

171

)

TURE

started to think about how cool it would be to put the research to work in a

WAY

!FTER

A

$*PEDIA

AND

been building the physical archive with hopes of launching an online inter-

active museum and wiki soon. This book is one of the first major products of

THIS

will be free

$*S

)

AS

SCREENS

KET

THAT

love the things we do; we do it for the love. Companies and brands are always

A

tarnish the collaborative nature of human creativity. The hip-hop DJ is an

IMPORTANT

are the story that is designed from scratch.

NOTES

Introduction

CEMBER

top-5-highest-paid-dj-world/.

Forbes

omalleygreenburg/2013/08/14/electronic-cash-kings-2013-the-worlds-highest-paid-djs/.

(APPENINGv

mate-dj-competition-tv-show-is-actually-happening/.

4. EDM

by the recording industry to market this type of music.

1974).

KINS

AGE

TALENTED

INDUSTRY

HIP HOP

174

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

perspective in this book because it reflects the reality of it. Gender and race are beyond

THE

h-EN

n

/XFORD

IDEAS

New York

DY

AS

Supermen DJs).

7ESLEYAN

0RESS

Chapter 1

+EVIN

BREW

0ENGUIN

GROUPS

PRECURSORS

Capturing Sound

History of Rap

sic

9ORK

[_Rhythm Science _]#AMBRIDGE

2OUTLEDGE

VERSITY

notes

175

12. Jamaican toasting involved improvised lyrics over the records as they played.

.(

17. The documentary Founding Fathers

YOUTUBECOMWATCHV’B2” SNSFB

PENING

Joint!: The Hip-hop Studies Reader

9ORK

Groove Music

RASSOv

WIRES

SIGNAL

4O

EACH

SO

TIVEv

24. Hip-hop culture is typically considered to consist of four elements: (1) DJing; (2) emcee-

ING

$ISCO

other active and popular DJs at the time. There are many others.

Movement

!MERICAN

-ICHAEL

of the song or the “get down” part.

Bozos and Other Enemies of Creativity

176

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

(2000): 76.

WAS

THAT

THAT

HOODS

STREET

4HE

GRAFlTI

VERSAL

youth events to spread the positive messages of hip-hop—mainly that of youth solidarity

USING

active with chapters all over the world.

THE

SATION

rufmouth/rufsays/bam_interview.html.

in 2015 when inflation is taken into account).

MIXED

GETHER

BETWEEN

INTO

between turntable signals.

CALLED

notes

177

mats allow DJs to put a hand on the record and move it back and forth without moving

the turntable platter itself.

53. Theodore also perfected the art of “needle dropping” and is largely credited with this in-

NOVATION

the needle and move it back a couple grooves on the record to the beginning of the break.

7HILE

WAS

was able to do it scientifically and soulfully.

Stop

.EW

BEAT

DERIDED

its way out of New York City.

awarded to these producers but were kept by the owners of labels.

+ATZ

0RESS

RANOVETTER

thesis and this book.

INTERVIEW

178

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

with emphasis in their interviews.

RANGE

partly because of its value on borrowing from the past.

Chapter 2

Modulations—A History of Electronic Music: Throbbing Words on Sound

.EW

gizmag

ic-ceases-production-of-technics-turntables/16840/. Panasonic had also claimed that sales

of 1200s had dropped 95 percent since 2000.

notes

179

3. This sponsor relationship lasted through the 2009 competition series and the 1200 be-

CAME

ANY

support warranties and supply spare parts for the line as long as it could. Some people think

THAT

LY

THAN

failed to keep up with the needs of new DJ techniques. Still other DJs fault CD turntables

#$*S

OF

THIS

ESSENTIALLY

$*S

THE

OTHER

for other brand turntables that could live up to the rigors of heavy-duty manipulation. My

guess with a company as large as Panasonic is that the DJ market/culture probably had

MORE

THAT

happened to work very well for DJing.

!PRIL

http://digitaleditions.sheridan.com/publication/?i=203399.

TION

LEMATIC

SHARE

ON

www.djtechtools.com/2014/09/16/pioneer-dj-sold-for-551-million-pioneer-to-focus-on-

car- audio/.

!MERICAN

*UNKIES

BE

WARE

with Traktor Scratch being the main competitor with Serato.

180

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

LITICAL

-OSCO

0UBLICATIONS

The Sage Handbook of Media Studies

3CHLESINGER

in Mass Media and Society

DON

16. Paul Théberge [_, Any Sound You Can Imagine: Making Music/Consuming Technology _](Ha-

NOVER

0RESS

GESTS

[_es an industry.” _] 4HIS

+EITH

$UKE

21. René T. A. Lysloff and Leslie C. Gay [_, Music and Technoculture _]-IDDLETOWN

AN

MAN

BRIDGE

24. Forbes

4HORENS

IN

AND

BLE

PRODUCT

turntable in production.

USED

notes

181

TINUED

33. Technics has been publicly critiqued by many DJs for ignoring the culture and not endors-

ING

ularity of scratch and hip-hop DJing was peaking. Technics never sponsored or endorsed

A

HAPPENED

munity and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

37. Note that DMC has had other sponsor-based technology restrictions in its competitions.

4HE

PROVIDED

ALL

MANY

not an official sponsor of the battle that DMC actually had to buy the turntables and then

HAVE

39. Technics and DMC also worked together to produce numerous DJ commodities bearing the

4ECHNICS

SHIRTS

RATE

NPR

cord/2010/11/18/131418593/technics-1200-hip-hop-s-war-horse-goes-to-the-great-lock-

groove-in-the-sky.

41. The rise in price and activity is not necessarily rational; recall that there are more than 3.5

million SL-1200s in the world.

had last been updated in 2005.

-ARCH

NEER TURNTABLE RUMOUR5HI?SEI5

A

COMPLETELY

182

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

WITH

AUDIENCES

SORING

long-time sponsorship of the DMC DJ battles as a form of giving back but as marketing.

4HE

ABOUT

nesses are more altruistic in their relationship with the culture.

WWWHOOVERSCOMCOMPANY6%34!8?#/20/2!4)/.JSFJSCJTH HTML

com/v/products/detail.php?cate_id=42&parent_id=7.

REVIEWSARTISTS

was up.)

ER

NAME

THE

standard length at the time.

67. Curve adjustments to crossfader cut-in allow DJs to control how fast the signal from an-

OTHER

two records while a fast cut-in is good for scratching.

THAT

found the napkin in storage it had been ruined by condensation.

THE

WATCHVEH+KE+/+4XW

notes

183

LIKELY

PRODUCTS

distribution push in the United States.

CENT

MODEL

THE

1&/

ALANCE

FEATED

SIDEWAYS

PLUS

PONENTS

TO

EXPECTATIONS

VESTAXCOMVCONCEPTV?PRODUCTSPHP

ARY

ing-bankrupt/.

Chapter 3

184

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

COLLEGE

0RO

POINT

TANK

IN

EXTENDED

SERVICE

A

make my relationship as a consumer with Rane products known here in this book so that

MY

.UMARK

daily basis for gigs and work are Rane products.

ranebio.html.

7. Music Trades

com/publication/?i=184058.

9. “The Rane Story.”

upclose.html.

DIO

ENGINEER

for a bit more on Long and Rosner.

THE

-ATHEWS

signed to Rane Corporation.

17. The U.S. Patent and Trademark database shows that Rane Corporation holds at least 14

PATENTS

19. “Rane History.”

23. DMC had allowed DVS in the team competitions a couple years before.

notes

185

DATEv

the-dmc-dj-competition-is-going-digital-its-official-for-real/.

WARE

NZMUSICIANCONZINDEXPHPPI?PAGEIDPI?ARTICLEIDPI?PAGE

Skratchworx

interview.php.

MARK

using turntables or CDJs.

)T

dolphinmusic.co.uk/article/3430-interview-sam-gribben-of-serato.html.

-AY

HIGH QUALITY

LOW QUALITY

form of digital rights management (DRM).

3%26)#%

CESSED

TION

news/2517/serato-pressings-music-and-control-tone-on-limited-edition-records.

HTTPWWWYOUTUBECOMWATCHV0M/W8EFN.WFEATUREYOUTUBE?GDATA?PLAYER

40. This is when a commodity takes on a “double form” where the market for the product

EG

MIXERS

NEW

ITS

THEIR

186

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

SL4 interfaces.

EVER

GROUND

SITY

$ECEMBER

LRES%$$&&!#!#”

49. Serato Scratch Live works a bit differently than timecode systems in that noise is embed-

ded into its control records rather than time stamps.

THE DJ S NEW MIX DIGITAL lLES AND A TURNTABLEHTML

51. Latency refers to a time gap between the action of a DJ with his or her hand and the reac-

tion of the sound through the software.

(ISTORYv

atedigitalmusic.com/2008/04/ni-ends-legal-dispute-over-traktor-scratch-digital-vinyls-

twisty-turny-history/.

7HEN

large of an impact and did not serve as competition to Serato products like it does in 2015.

.)

Serato DVS monopoly.

54. Kotori Magazine

TOBER

Mqw4Zc&feature=player_embedded.

entele

that sounds like it used a technology similar to The Replicator.

ACCESSED

stantondj.com/stanton-legacy-products.html.

61. N2IT Holding B.V. v. M-Audio LLC

ce/2:2008cv00619/238013/.

notes

187

CESSED

http://bauerindustries.com/projects/?p=229.

Chapter 4

PIONEER

SO

FORMING

PROPRIETARY

doing in the parks was open source. Maybe they were showing off their skills to build SUBCULTURAL

performance where anybody could see and hear techniques was a form of open source

sharing.

CROSSFADE

INPUT

#O

shape.

5. A phono/line switch allowed you to switch between a phonograph signal for a turntable

AND

use of this switch and employed it like a crossfader to quickly/sharply scratch in a phono

SIGNAL

SWITCH

9ORK

,ONDON

188

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

IS

THAT

Francisco Chronicle

CGI BINARTICLECGIFCA$$)&+#1$4,

SUE

53

notes

189

51. AES is the Audio Engineering Society.

CUTS

the first place where many world-class DJs tried the Rane TTM 54.

$*v

190

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

-ARCH

OOKS

THIS

0AD

RIPMATS

Incisions Scratch Training

v

manufacturers. He also designed straight tonearms for Technics SL-1200 turntables and

RETROlTTED

ERS

3TANTON

team.

PLAYED

when you would scratch the audience would hear the “ahhh” in the left speaker and the

hFRESHv

you choose between scratching the ahhh/fresh simultaneously or just one of the samples in

mono.

DJWORX

THUD RUMBLE TRX SCRATCH MIXER52WD8T”

notes

191

Chapter 5

5NIVERSITY

#AMBRIDGE

ED

AT

association with a manufacturer.

8 -EN

IN

4HUS

FAIL

using digital sampling technology does in fact recognize producers as authors who receive

publishing.

ON

4HE

TO

&LASH

service market (serial number 78270544). He has held several federal marks over the

years.

A “cheat” is basically a technology that allows for a DJ to perform a technique without

HAVING

crossfader technology that allowed DJs to add two to three “clicks” to their fader tech-

NIQUES

192

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

add two or three clicks and thus make it sound like the DJ was performing a far more com-

PLEX

WHICH

SOUND

CONTROLS

phone at www.scratchophone.com.

39. $*

VIEW

notes

193

61. $*

INTERVIEW

Chapter 6

TEMBER

LABEL

structure.

are pressing vinyl.

4HE

&RITH

$EBATE

AND

-USICv

194

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

RECORDS

practice and the value of finding records was established by pioneering hip-hop DJs.

notes

195

de/Microwave_DJ.

FAMOUS

INTELLIGENT

VENUES

AN

PUTER

OUSLY

has lost control of its distribution methods and is more in the business of licensing rights

to other parties.

CORDINGS

ally determined at the distribution level and most major music groups distribute music for

independent labels.

83. SoundScan 2013 year-end data.

VINYL USAT?XHTM

196

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

TION

FOR

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/sep/20/beatles-emi-back-catalogue-reissues.

Epilogue

HTTPSWWWYOUTUBECOMWATCHV)ELXEWJ,,%

2. Founding Fathers

WATCHV’B2” SNSFB

INTO

NEED

lyze how these types of companies profit from devoted consumers by encoding their ideas

INTO

be concerned with the types of collective intelligence that happen under the surface of

that brand name and how a select few profit off of the creative network. Apple does not

innovate—it is a brand—but all the people who work for Apple and people who consume

and reinvent its products (its network) are the innovators. These are questions we should

ASK

telling technocultural histories.

GLOSSARY

Beat Juggle

TWO

position or beat.

Cartridge: The cartridge houses the stylus (aka “needle”) and connects to the

head-shell/ tonearm of the turntable.

Channel Fader, aka Upfader: _ _ This is another control for signal gain or “vol-

UMEv

MIXING

scratching.

Controller: _ _!

A

manipulate MP3 files from a computer.

Crossfader

MIXES

technique and acts as an on/off switch for the sound a DJ is scratching (it

is how hip-hop DJs create moments of silence when manipulating a re-

CORD

the left only the sound signal coming from turntable 1 will be heard over

198

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

the loudspeakers; when slid to the right only the signal from turntable 2

will be heard; when positioned in the middle both signals will be heard.

Crossfader Curve: Crossfader curve allows a DJ to adjust how quickly the

CROSSFADER

wants a

OR

ASICALLY

MILLIMETERS

MIXERS

modifications.

Diggin’: _ _ This is the act of searching for records to be used for manipulation

and music production.

Digital Vinyl System (DVS): This is a hardware/software system that allows a

DJ to manipulate MP3 audio files from a computer using real vinyl discs

as control surfaces.

Direct Drive System (DDS): This is a system for spinning the platter of a turn-

table using a motor attached to the platter. This is common in most turn-

tables aimed at DJs.

EQ

RANGE

and bass).

Gain

TUALLY

which we hear as volume.

Gemini: _ _ 4HIS

were popular in the 1980s and 1990s (specifically with East Coast DJs and

THE

Hamster Style: This is a style of scratching that originated from DJs plug-

GING

versing the direction you moved the crossfader to play a signal through

the loudspeakers. DJ Quest is credited for naming this reverse style

h(AMSTER

hamster switch or reverse crossfader. This style became popular because

it emulated the movement of the “clicker” switch and therefore was

PROMINENT

Headphone Cue: The headphone cue allows the DJ to cue up a record for beat

matching or scratching in the headphones while another record plays

over the loudspeakers.

glossary

199

Headshell

TION

Invisibl Skratch Piklz (ISP): This crew of DJs was prominent in the develop-

ment of DJ technique and product products of the 1990s.

Line/Phono Switch: _ _ 4HIS

type of incoming signal a channel is receiving (a line level or phono-

GRAPHIC

Coast) began using this switch as a way to cut sound from a turntable on

AND

THE

labeled it “transform switches.”

Melos: _ _ This is _ _ A

POPULAR

BATTLES

Merry-go-Round

style of playing the small drum break sections of records back to back and

in isolation from the rest of the song.

Mixer

IF

HEADPHONESCUEING

amplifies the phono-signals from the turntables and sends those signals to

A

the primary controls for hip-hop DJing and scratching.

Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI): This is a connectivity standard or

hLANGUAGEv

data that is then reflected in the manipulation of audio.

Numark: _ _ 4HIS

ERS

AND

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)

manufactures components under the brand name of another company

WHO

BRAND

TO

Pan: Pan allows you to change from a balanced signal to an unbalanced sig-

NAL

RIGHT

heard through the left and right speakers.

200

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

Pitch Fader: Sliding this fader will either increase or decrease the speed of a

RECORDS

MATCH

Platter

MOTOR

sound more accurately. The slipmat goes on top of the platter.

Quick Mix Theory

STYLE

A

rearranging songs and manual looping.

Scratching: Scratching refers to moving a record back and forth rhythmically

or musically over the loudspeakers.

Serato Scratch Live (SSL): _ _ This is a popular DVS system.

Slip Cue: _ _ 7HILE

of holding or moving a record back and forth while the platter rotates

BENEATH

playing over the loudspeakers.

Slipmat: The slipmat is a piece of felt or other slippery material that goes be-

tween the turntable platter and the record and allows the platter to spin

WHILE

friction in manipulation.

Stylus: This is the “needle” that follows the bumps encoded into the grooves

OF

Tonearm: This is main connection between the cartridge system and the turn-

TABLE

THE

Transform Scratch

and was popular in the 1980s/1990s.

Turntablism: _ This is a_ neologism for distinguishing a DJ who merely plays records from one who manipulates records to create an entirely new

composition.

Voltage Controlled Amplifier (VCA): This is a system for controlling audio

SIGNAL

)NSTEAD

NAL

through and then that is reflected in the amount of audio signal.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Interviews and Personal Communications

!LARI

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#AIPIRINHA

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RANOVETTER

REWSTER

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hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

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CRAZEARONI

HTTPSWWWYOUTUBECOMWATCHV)ELXEWJ,,%

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$*?-IXER?(ISTORYPDF

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Discoguy. “Tom Moulton.” Disco-Disco.com. A CCESSED

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D-Styles. _Phantazmagorea. _

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watch?v=VR8McH5pe64.

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groove-in-the-sky.

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,ESSIG

&EBRUARY

,ESSIG

,ESSIG

0ENGUIN

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[_York. _](AMPSHIRE

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-ILLARD

#AMBRIDGE

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hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

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2ANE

close.html.

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ABILITIES TALKS TURNTABLISMS BRIGHT FUTURE

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Serato. “Serato Pressings – Music and Control Tone on Limited Edition Records.” December

music-and-control-tone-on-limited-edition-records.

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3LACK

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3OUVIGNIER

#ORPORATION

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digitaleditions.sheridan.com/publication/?i=203399.

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210

hip hop djs and the evolution of technology

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index

211

INDEX

5th

4HE

v

!RMSTRONG

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!OKI

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212

index

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DJ culture

CULTURAL

DERIVATIVE

CULTURAL

DISCOS

index

213

SOUND

$*

_See also _ hip-hop DJ culture

$*

$*

$*

$*

$*

$*

$*

$*

$*

$*

$*

$*

$*

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$*

DJs

$*

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$*

AUTHORSHIP

$*

BRANDING

$*

COMPETITIONS

$*

DISCO

$*

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$*

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$*

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168

INNOVATION

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SHIFT

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SUBCULTURAL

n

SYNC

MANUFACTURING

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SALES

_See also _ CELEBRITY

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$*

$*

$*

$*$EALSCOM

214

index

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&OUNDATION

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Founding Fathers

(AMSTER

index

215

HAND

AS

(ARRIS

AS

(ARRISON

BRANDING

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CELEBRITY

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CREATIVE

(AWTIN

DEFINITION

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HIP HOP

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INNOVATION

hip-hop. _See _ hip-hop culture

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hip-hop culture

n

as an African American and Latino

INVENTION

MOVEMENT

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AS

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SUBCULTURAL

CONTESTATIONS

TECHNOLOGY

2ANE

TEXT

2$

_See also _ DJ culture

TECHNOCULTURAL

hip-hop DJs

TRADEMARKS

IN

)NTERNATIONAL

AFFECT

)4&

AMBIVALENCE

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ANALOG

)NVISIBL

ANTAGONISM

216

index

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M

)4#(

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J

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MANIPULATION

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,IGHTENING

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LOOSE

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,YSLOFF

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MUSIC

MUSIC

index

217

Music Trades

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PARTICIPATORY

PATENT

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N

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PHONE

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218

index

partnership with Serato Audio

3CHLOSS

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3CION

PATENT

3CRATCH

PRODUCT

3CRATCH!MP

PRODUCTION

3CRATCH!MP

SALES

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READ ONLY

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ENDORSEMENTS

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Remediation: Understanding New Media

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RIGHTS

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Serato Scratch Live (SSL) digital DJ

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SOFTWARE

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2OSNER

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RUB

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index

219

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4ECHNICS

3TANTON

#HAMPIONSHIPS

129

TECHNOCULTURAL

3TANTON

114

BRANDING

3TANTON

$*

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STANDARDIZATION

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114

SYMPTOMATIC

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SYNC

TIMECODE

4 -OBILE

4OADSTYLE

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220

index

Tools of Destruction

-USICAL

4ORQ

n

4OSH

RUMORS

4OTAL

SALE

TRADEMARKS

SUPPORT

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THIRD PARTY

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6ESTAX

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6ESTAX

TRANSFORM

6ESTAX

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Turntable Wizardry Stage 1

6ESTAX

turntables

6ESTAX

BELT DRIVEN

6ESTAX

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6ESTAX

DEATH

6ESTAX

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6ESTAX

AS

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NOTATIONAL

6ESTAX

VINYL

6ESTAX

TURNTABLISM

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Turntablist Compositions

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4URNTABLIST

TWIDDLE

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COLLECTORS

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hDEATHv

5NIVERSITY

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MANUFACTURING

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[_See also _]v

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6ESTAX

W

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LISTENING

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index

221

7EST

Y

7EST

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X-Pressions


Hip Hop DJs and the Evolution of Technology: Cultural Exchange, Innovation, and

Using interviews with world-renowned and innovative hip-hop DJs, as well as technology manufacturers that cater to the market/culture, this book reveals stories behind some of the iconic DJ technologies that have helped shape the history and culture of DJing. More importantly, it explores how DJs have impacted the evolution of technology. By looking at the networks of innovation behind DJ technologies, this book problematizes the notion of the individual genius and the concept of invention. Developing a theory of «technocultural synergism,» this book attempts to detail the relationship between culture and industry through the manipulation, exchange, and rights associated with intellectual property. While the subject of hip-hop and intellectual property has already been well explored, this is the first time that hip-hop DJs have been conceptualized as intellectual property because of their role in the R&D and branding of DJ products. The book also addresses the impact of digital technology on the democratization of DJ culture, as well as how new digital DJ technology has affected the recorded music market.

  • ISBN: 9781453913888
  • Author: Andre´ Sirois
  • Published: 2016-08-15 20:41:13
  • Words: 30251
Hip Hop DJs and the Evolution of Technology: Cultural Exchange, Innovation, and Hip Hop DJs and the Evolution of Technology: Cultural Exchange, Innovation, and