Scratching Out Authorship: Representations of the Electronic Music DJ at the Turn of the 21st Century
Popular Communication, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 21-38, 2006
18 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2006
This article argues that the DJ is represented by the electronic music industry as the creative author of his or her music. I examine commercial discourse aimed at the consumer of DJ-mixed music, such as rave flyers and electronic music CDs, as well as discourse aimed at the DJ-consumer, such as trade magazines and gear catalogues. In all of this discourse, the DJ is presented as the culmination of creative musical technology, a musical author-god who carries on a long tradition of patriarchal authorship. In light of these observations, I argue that the DJ's authorship comes not from what he or she does but how those practices get represented in a capitalist system. Further, I argue that the industry instilled the DJ with authorship to fill a vacuum left by the increasing anonymity of dance music producers. The DJ becomes a tool for generating social capital within a music scene, and this social capital is turned into monetary capital via the sale of DJ-related commodities.
Keywords: disc jockey, DJ, rave, authorship, electonic music, discourse analysis
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