Will computers eventually replace DJs?

When can machines play better than DJs?

A DJ will always be necessary because machines cannot read a dance floor. Do you share this opinion with many DJs?

Will DJ software really never be able to detect the mood of the guests? I think that's a dream of us DJs to protect our business model.

Music programs with automatic beat matching caused the first big revolution in DJing. Suddenly anyone can become a DJ.

Now all that's missing is a dancefloor fill level motion measuring device and any computer could hang up better than me.

Why shouldn't the same music computers soon be able to read any dance floor? Because we can't be that far away from the age of robo-DJs.

All basic technologies already exist:

  • Gesture recognition of the X-Box

  • Face recognition from Facebook and Google

  • Music suggestions with similarity function from Spotify and Amazon, Serato Pyro

  • Speech recognition from Siri and Amazon

A dancefloor fill level motion measuring device would revolutionize the world of DJing

I think such a dance-floor-degree-of-movement-measuring device has yet to be invented.

Until a few years ago, nobody could imagine that a car could park on its own. This task assumes that a computer must react flexibly to its environment.

Google doesn't think that's a problem at all and is even putting autonomous cars on the road. And you can already have an electronic parking aid in every mid-range car.

Read dance floor automatically

Perhaps we are not so far away from the fact that the DJ workstation will be rationalized away.

A few years ago I bought the Kinect camera for an X-Box. It is not just a conventional webcam, but an infrared camera to recognize people. The X-Box games are known for their gesture control.

I am curious when such systems will be directed onto a dance floor for the first time. Then every computer can "read the dance floor".

As a DJ beginner, I kept reading the term "read the dance floor". I just didn't get what I meant by that. The concept is also very difficult to describe.

In a certain way, "reading the dance floor" works by observing the environment very closely. FBI profiler Joe Navarro describes this concept in a great book on body language.

How exactly can I recognize changes in behavior among guests? That can be a barely noticeable rocking of the foot of a guest. If I asked people about it, they would stop immediately.

So when I read a dance floor, I observe behavior that I know will later lead to a full dance floor. I provoke these behavioral changes with the music that I put on. I am constantly doing tests and observing the result.

I save this observation as information in my brain. I can still tell you pretty much today which song led to a surprising reaction three years ago at a party on the MS-Brombachsee. And which song was best received by the kids in January.

My ability to remember and observe is deceiving me.

I became aware of this when I watched a video recording of a party in Terminal90. In the live situation I felt an incredible drive when I played "Been A Long Time". The bass was incredible. I had the feeling that the party would explode any moment. Then two girls said thank you and said this song was amazing.

On the video recording, the situation looks much more sober. All guests dance around the DJ area. But for the people 20 meters away, the song doesn't seem to have any extraordinary effect. You don't even bob with it.

Machines cannot be fooled

My own perception filters out things that I might not even want to notice or not notice because I cannot see through people. And some things I don't notice because I'm busy with the next mix.

Only a machine would provide a really objective measurement. A dance floor degree of filling movement measuring device would not give a subjective assessment, but always play the ideal music:

  • How many people are there on the dance floor?

  • How many people are there in total at the party?

  • What percentage of these people move to the rhythm of the music?

  • How has this value changed since the previous song?

  • Which correlations can be calculated to the time, key, speed in BPM and song order?

  • Which song needs to be played next in order to maximize the dancefloor fill level motion indicator?

Does this idea scare you that we will soon be controlled by Skynet? Or have you already reprogrammed the Kinect camera? Please write your opinion as a comment.

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