Coronavirus

‘R.O.A.D. Podcast’: Joe Maz and Jonathan Shecter Debate the Effectiveness of Wearing Masks

R.O.A.D. Podcast

On this week’s episode of the R.O.A.D. Podcast, the crew hosted a political debate between DiscoTech‘s Joe Maz and The Source co-founder Jonathan Shecter. The two guests shared their different opinions on the election, lockdown, masks, pandemic, vaccine, and more.

Disclaimer: Some of the views and opinions expressed in this episode of the R.O.A.D. Podcast do not reflect or represent the views and opinions of its hosts or DJcity. Also, some of the information that was referenced in this episode has been debunked and disproven by science, facts, and peer-reviewed research. We encourage all our listeners to do their own research on these topics from reputable sources.

Watch an excerpt above and the full interview here.

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Related Post: ‘R.O.A.D. Podcast’: Are DJ Careers Now Becoming Side Hustles?

Red Bull Cancels the 2020 Red Bull 3Style World Finals

Citing concerns about “health concerns” and noting “the advice of health authorities around the world,” Red Bull has canceled the 2020 edition of the World Finals of their popular 3Style World DJ Championships, which had been previously rescheduled for 2021. There has never been a cancellation in the event’s decade-long history. Emerging from the brand’s music-as-culture aims, the contest has become the world’s largest open-format DJing competition, featuring two-dozen finalists from around the globe.

Competition cancellations for the event’s World Final (previously scheduled for Moscow) were an April 2020 Coronavirus casualty. However, the likely inability to host packed, indoor nightclub competitions with hundreds of attendees over several rounds proved to be the determining factor for the cancellation of the 2021 attempt at the competition. Hosting empty venue or online-only DJ sets as competition would not necessarily be dissimilar or unique compared to any of the thousands of DJ sets already streaming online.

No further details have been offered regarding what could occur in place of real-time World Finals competition. However, Red Bull 3Style has suggested revisiting the 2020 National Finals on Mixcloud.

Related Post: Red Bull 3Style Announces Headliners for 3Style X World Championships

‘R.O.A.D. Podcast’: Cosmo Baker on the Racial and Political Tensions in Philadelphia

R.O.A.D. Podcast

On this installment of the R.O.A.D. Podcast, the crew spoke to South Philadelphia-based DJ Cosmo Baker. The renowned DJ discussed racial tensions and the current temperamental political climate in Philly.

Baker also broke down his recent altercation with Joe Maz over COVID-19 on Twitter and explained how the infamous party, The Rub, got started in Brooklyn.

Watch an excerpt above and the full interview here.

Follow the R.O.A.D. Podcast on Facebook, Instagram, SoundCloud, Twitch, Twitter, and YouTube.

Related Post: ‘R.O.A.D. Podcast’: Are Nightclubs Taking Advantage of DJs?

DJ Shawna Talks DJing the NBA Bubble, Going Viral, and Thriving in the COVID-19 Era


(Source: DJ Shawna)

DJ Shawna is the official DJ for the Milwaukee Bucks. She’s also a DJ who twice went viral during the NBA’s just-completed “bubble” season in Orlando, Florida. For the seasoned spinner and former college basketball player, her COVID-19-shortened NBA campaign included championship-level achievements. Shawna made LeBron James dance, Carmelo Anthony rap, and Chris Webber speak at length about the greatness of her skills during a TNT broadcast. In the midst of these accomplishments, she learned self-confidence, increased her skillset, and embraced her success while learning the true definition of the idea that “comparison is the thief of joy.”

Paraphrasing a lyric from Drake, Shawna notes that the scenario that allowed her to travel to the NBA’s bubble “went from 0 to 100 real quick.” She’d been working for the Bucks for four years, and 2020 was her first as the team’s official DJ and in-game producer. “Johnny Watson, who’s the head of all game production at the Fiserv Forum [the Milwaukee Bucks’ home arena] texted me to see if I’d be interested in DJing at the bubble. I filled out a questionnaire that was less than 10 questions long, from the NBA, a few days later. A few days after that, I was on my way to Orlando.”

Once there, the NBA’s short season found Shawna (not unlike WNBA “wubble” DJ, DJ Heat) as one of four DJs (and the only female) for all of the league’s 30 teams. Playing as “home court” DJ for teams from two dozen-plus different cities would seem difficult on the surface, but ultimately proved to create a fun challenge.

“Typically, the teams wanted to hear the same five artists: Pop Smoke, all the ‘Babies’ – Da Baby, Lil Baby, you know, plus Nipsey Hussle, and Drake,” Shawna says, jokingly. She recalls the Miami Heat’s preference for Pitbull, the Brooklyn Nets wanting “non-stop Biggie,” and DJing for the Houston Rockets being fun because she could play numerous Paul Wall throwback tracks. Player warmups would also take two to three hours before the game, so she oftentimes added extended Motown, old school hip-hop, R&B, and disco sets alongside her playlists.

Shawna’s aforementioned viral social media moments were also key parts of the experience. Regarding her shoutout on TNT from Chris Webber and Brian Anderson, Shawna notes that it was the first game back after the entire Milwaukee Bucks franchise’s social justice boycott, “so it was already special.” The Los Angeles Lakers were significantly ahead of the Portland Trailblazers, and with 90 seconds left in the game, NBA Hall of Famer and TNT color commentator Webber took particular note of her work and the work of DJs in the bubble in general. Capping off her unsuspecting call out by playing Sade‘s jazzy ballad “Smooth Operator” as LeBron James celebrated closing out the series, it provided her a tremendous media boost.

However, though she spun numerous times in the bubble, Shawna’s still searching for her self-defined “DJ high” in the midst of a trying year. “I don’t think I got my personal desire to spin in clubs again out of my system. There’s no feeling of ‘call and response’ when you’re DJing a basketball game,” she notes. “Seeing Carmelo Anthony rapping along to Cameo‘s ‘Word Up’ — or anything else that happened in the bubble — filled my heart up with pride differently than a typical festival, bar, or club set. It wasn’t my show. I was in the bubble to add value to the NBA players and the league’s day.”

Related Post: DJ Heat Discusses DJ Life in the WNBA’s COVID-19 ‘Wubble’

DJ Heat Discusses DJ Life in the WNBA’s COVID-19 ‘Wubble’


DJ Heat on the court at the WNBA’s “wubble” before a WNBA Finals game. (Source: DJ Heat)

Usually, August finds NBA and WNBA teams either in the midst of training camp or in the midst of the playoffs, respectively. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, both leagues suspended regular play, and instead created condensed seasons for players interested in playing inside of tightly-monitored “bubble” communities in Orlando, Florida. Looking to replicate the exact feel of live basketball, fans were involved via Zoom-style courtside integration. As well, just like in their home arenas, DJs — like the WNBA’s Washington Mystics’ (and NBA’s Washington Wizards) official DJ, DJ Heat — were called upon to provide thumping soundtracks to add to the action. The experience that showcased how well sports leagues have adapted to these trying times.

“This company called 3PT Productions contacted me to play in the ‘wubble,’ (shorthand for “WNBA bubble”)” says DJ Heat. Heat’s a DC native who’s has been a club, radio, and live event DJ for nearly two decades but has worked with the Mystics as their game DJ for the past four. “I worked with them during NBA All-Star Weekend last year in Chicago. When they were asked to do the WNBA game production for the 2020 season, they needed three DJs, and they asked me to be one of them. I was down. I wasn’t busy really doing anything else, so it was a great opportunity.”

The notion of “home games” in a controlled environment presented a fascinating notion for Heat. “Typically, I’m just the Mystics’ DJ. But, in the wubble, I was every team’s ‘home court’ DJ at least once.” Playing music correlated with key audio elements from each team’s home arena, and their city’s musical heritage ultimately provided a “home court advantage” of sorts for DJs to include in their in-game mixes.

“For instance, when I DJ for the Mystics usually, there’s a lot of [legendary, percussive, and DC-born sound] go-go and [DC suburbs-based rapper ] Rico Nasty. Comparatively, for the Los Angeles Sparks, I got to play all of the west coast hip-hop and g-funk I loved as a child.”

Heat notes particularly that because she was sitting courtside and thus immediately next to gameplay and visible to fans at home, it impacted the number of interactions she had and added to the laid-back, yet competitive game environment. “As many requests were made by players and referees on the court as were made by fans on social media,” she recalls.

“I was DJing for the New York Liberty,” Heat starts. “The referee for the game was from Yonkers. After I played Notorious B.I.G.‘s remix to Mary J. Blige‘s ‘Real Love,’ he immediately told me that Mary was from Yonkers, too. He then requested some [fellow Yonkers-based artists] DMX and The Lox. When they dropped, I could see him give me a smile and thumbs up from the court during TV time outs.”

She continues,

“Everyone, even the ESPN reporters, would walk over and ask to hear songs. Even more, I’d try to tailor small moments like — during the WNBA Finals — playing the instrumental to [South Carolina based rapper] Lil Ru’s [2009 regional hit] ‘Nasty Song’ for Las Vegas Aces star Aja Wilson, who’s also a South Carolina resident. My social media lit up as people at home watching the game heard the instrumental and couldn’t believe I’d play it. But, playing in-game sets including a lot of unexpected music like that is also what made the wubble so unique.”

As it appears that the coronavirus could stretch into another basketball season, Heat cites the togetherness forget by the unique circumstances as a reason why she’d likely do it again.

“The players, referees, team staffs, production crew, and yes, DJs too, we all developed a bond because of the experience. Even though there was no crowd, we’re all professionals who feed off of the energy of one or one-thousand people. So, no matter what, we got into our zones for game-playing or providing entertainment.”

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Facebook Clarifies Terms of Service for Live Streaming; What Are the DJ Community’s Next Steps?


(Credit: Heshan Perera/Unsplash)

Rumors of Facebook‘s upcoming Terms of Service update noting the right to delete users and pages that “create music listening experiences” from the platform have turned out to be untrue.

According to a conversation between DJcity and a Facebook representative, the following is noted:

“People are likely mistaking the updates we’re making to our Facebook Terms of Service. Our music guidelines have been in place since we launched music on our platforms in 2018. They were written to balance our commitment to supporting musical expression on our platforms with also ensuring we uphold our agreements with rights holders, which remains unchanged.”

As the global quarantine enters its sixth month, DJs are navigating the decisions made by broadcasting platforms as they learn how to adapt to live streaming. Ultimately, it appears that by the end of 2020, there will be more answers than questions regarding how DJs can sustainably showcase their talents and earn a living wage in an online environment.

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitch are becoming far more artist-friendly and much less DJ-equipped. Conversely, platforms like Mixcloud and YouTube are moving towards sustainability as online broadcast platforms.

Recently, Instagram-borne Verzuz announced partnerships with Apple Music and Diageo, Ciroc Vodka’s parent brand. Also, Twitch announced a two-day live stream partnership with Rolling Loud, a global, multi-city hip-hop festival, on September 12 and 13. Partnering with DJs requires negotiating rights fees and payment structures with BMI and ASCAP, while partnering with brands and festivals is an entirely different concept.

Facebook adds, “Shorter clips of music featuring a visual component are recommended [for use as Facebook live content]. As well, the greater the number of full-length recorded tracks in a video, the more likely it may be limited by the platform.”

Brands and events require platforms to aid in marketing products and ultimately turning profits from paid attendees. There is also a direct return on investment (ROI) for an outlet in working with a third-party. Hosting rights fees and platforms using an event’s popularity to increase their visibility amid numerous apps and sites battling for user bandwidth are vital drivers. Unless a DJ is a household name, the ROI likely isn’t there to make the opportunity worthwhile.

Other “traditional” streaming powers have emerged during the pandemic, too. Mixcloud was an early adapter in allowing DJs to stream mixes by negotiating with rights-holders and copyright organizations. Through their recent Mixcloud Live feature, rights-enabled DJ sets are possible with a Mixcloud Pro subscription.

Youtube averages two billion users per month and averages four times the daily traffic that Twitch does. Thus, Youtube has earned the revenue to be able to develop a content ID system that allows for rights-owners to stake their claim and share ad revenue on the uploaded/streamed mix.

Regardless of Facebook’s options, numerous streaming ideas and options deserve a closer look. First off, on the back of increased engagement from numerous users including the DJ community, Twitch stands to potentially increase its user base by 166% in the next year. For as much as live DJ sets are technically prohibited in their terms of service, there is the possibility, if mixing quickly (under 90 seconds) between tracks, to emerge unscathed due to the platform’s popularity and monetization opportunities, alone.

Instagram’s Badges program deserves consideration, too. Announced in June, the concept allows for Instagram Live viewers to send monetary tips to creators during live streams. Also, Instagram airs ads that play at the start of each user’s active engagement. The revenue from Instagram’s ads are paid at 55% to the creator and 45% to Instagram.

Soon after America’s national quarantine began, D-Nice played an Instagram Live DJ set for 150,000+ simultaneous viewers. About half a year later, Brandy and Monica‘s Verzuz battle was viewed by 700 percent more people. In the case of Brandy and Monica’s event, the combined net worth of the brands and sponsorships involved total $1.4 trillion. The support of live streaming from such major corporate players speaks to the power and potential it has.

Somewhere in between these massive successes, there exists a world of working DJs trying to figure out how to live stream sets for either fun or as a source of income. Thankfully, it appears that an industry is forming around live music streaming. Ideally, that industry’s success quickly trickles to the place where rights holders and platforms can discuss equitable ways to allow for DJs to spin music without fear of punishment.

Related Post: Instagram To Pay Content Creators Via ‘Badges’ Program and Ad Revenue

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