When hiring a DJ for your event make sure the DJ is what you need for your event to be successful. The new craze in DJ'ing is by using a laptop and music in the form of MP3. Is this form of DJ'ing legal?
"Yes & No"
There are many DJ's that have decided to stop using professional CD's and have turned to Laptop DJ'ing for many reasons. Here is just a few reasons:
Less equipment to take
Music library can be carried in the laptop instead of taking a book or CD case full of CD's
They don't have to "mix" the music the computer does it for them
Here is the problem that most professional DJ services such as T.O.A. Entertainment faces when it comes to some Laptop DJ's. Most of the music that other DJ's have on their laptops are not legal copies. The reason why the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA) has shut down internet music file sharing programs such as NAPSTER is due to the fact that people are "swapping" music that they do not own. One of the main reasons why the DJ business has grown over the past few years is due to the fact that people can now "download" a bunch of songs and can claim to be a "professional DJ". Is there a legal way to DJ like this? The answer is "YES" but here is the stipulations:
You must OWN (Purchase) the music that is on your laptop
You are only allowed ONE copy of a song per song ownership (I.E. if you have a popular song such as "The Twist" on 5 different CD's that song can be copied to your computer 5 times - Once for each CD)
My question is what makes this type of DJ'ing popular? T.O.A. Entertainment does not use a laptop at events and doesn't plan on it in the future. We use professional equipment including CD players and carry over 500 CD's to each show but lets figure out what the difference is between CD & Laptop DJ'ing.
Professional CD's if taken care of will last a lifetime and are always CD quality. MP3 Files can accidentally be deleted or even become corrupted and sometimes when downloaded are not complete songs at all! Also MP3's depending on how the song was created on their computer it may not even be close to CD quality.
Professional CD Players are created to be skip resistant. Laptops can be bumped, hit or dropped or even experience software failure and may encounter an "error" message and you are left with rebooting your computer which means that there will be no music being played until the computer reboots.
CD's are all mastered to give you the best possible sound out of the CD. If you listen close to an MP3's you can tell when listening to the sound levels that all MP3's are not created the same. If you have ever been to a wedding reception, school dance or bar & nightclub and seen a DJ that uses MP3's or burned CD's and heard the music change from extremely loud on one song and on the next song you can barely hear it you now know why this happens.
Please keep in mind I do not disagree with the way a person runs their DJ business but if you are hiring a DJ with a laptop keep in mind any of the things that you have read above could happen. CD players can fail also but that is why we always carry a backup CD player for just those cases.
The difference between illegal CD-R's & MP3's and professional CD's & MP3's
T.O.A. Entertainment strictly owns over 1500 professional CD's and does not use MP3 forms of music either on a laptop or on CD-R. We prefer to carry our music on CD to make sure that we don't encounter any problems. Some DJ's believe they are "legal" or "professional" because they use professional sound equipment but then they fail to purchase music because it is "cheaper" to download music off the internet. The reason why this is becoming a huge problem is when a DJ fails to even purchase music for his or her own business the people that really suffers is you the client. Ask yourself these questions if you are looking into booking a DJ for your event:
- Why hire a DJ that might not even have the music I request?
- If this DJ will not even purchase music for their own business then what kind of service do they really offer?
- If this DJ will not purchase their own music then will they even purchase a specific song that might not be available for them to download?
- Will this DJ still be in business or cancel after I pay them any money before my event?
I have personally heard and seen DJ's that record music off the internet, rent CD's from the library, & even go as far as selling illegal "burned" CD's for huge prices and claim they are "professional" & "Legal" CD's. If you are looking to book a DJ service that will do and has done any of these things then you have definitely not get your money's worth out of that DJ. In fact you have paid entirely too much money and received not much in return. How can a DJ that does these things and charges you more than $50.00 and has spent nothing for the music that they will perform at your event? In the case of the selling of "burned" CD's these DJ's are committing a crime and as a customer you have been a victim of fraud. If you are told when purchasing a CD from a DJ service that it is "professional" then ask for proof. If a CD is created for you or purchased by from a DJ the DJ MUST purchase the rights to record the song or songs onto this CD compilation that you are purchasing EVEN if the song has been altered, remixed or has audio clips added to the songs. If you have been told the CD is legitimate then have them show you proof. A DJ DOES NOT HAVE ANY RIGHTS TO RECORD AND SELL MUSIC TO CLIENTS AND OTHER DJ'S WITHOUT PURCHASING THE RIGHTS TO THESE SONGS! If you have been a victim of this please report it to the RIAA http://www.riaa.com and keep the CD for evidence.