Hillia Mashood

As I deep my intellect into this ocean of a subject, millions of questions cross my mind. Does Ghana have professional Disc Jockeys? Have our musicians made the best use of Disc Jockeys? Have our Disc Jockeys been able to earn money from their profession? While we wait to get answers to all these questions, let’s take a look at the role of Disc Jockeys in the music industry.

Commonly known as DJs or deejays, Disc Jockeys are people who play music for the enjoyment of the listening public. Their role is to play music geared towards a specific audience; taking care of the listeners’ music tastes and preferences, while keeping in mind the nature of occasion or ceremony. 

DJs are extremely important in the music industry, given that they directly play music to the consumers and interact with consumers on a more regular basis than the musicians. These Disc Jockeys also clearly understand the music taste of the fans, given their direct and regular interaction. They are very vital in introducing new music to the music consumers. 

Given that kind of backdrop, musicians world over, have created solid relationships with these Disc Jockeys. They always have their ear to the streets, so they are the first to know which new artists have a buzz, what songs are liked by the consumers and what songs have no audience reaction.  DJs can provide reliable feedback to musicians.

In as far as professionalism is concerned; our industry has largely not embraced professionalism in this field, with radio stations being the biggest violators. A radio presenter that plays music must be a professional D.J or have a professional D.J on the show. Yet in Ghana, that has not been the case.

There are several other areas, where professionalism has not yet been fully embraced

In Hip hop for example, DJs must be able to select and play music using multiple turntables to back up one or more MCs/rappers, perform turntable scratching to create percussive sounds, and can also often be music producers who use turntablism and sampling to create backing instrumentals for new tracks.

In reggae, the DJ (deejay) is also meant to be a vocalist who “toasts”, or chats over pre-recorded rhythm tracks while the individual choosing and playing them is referred to as a selector. 

A professional DJ must generally have Knowledge of different music genres, knows how to mix and combine different types of music, should be updated on current hits and trends in music, must be punctual, works well with others, and has to be flexible; but above all, should respond to the preferences of the audience.

Whereas almost every Ghanaian musician has received the services of a DJ, deliberately or by accident, most of our DJs do not earn the financial worth of their efforts. Save for a few exceptions that have earned big from the trade, the majority continue to thrive on handouts.

Back to music, every serious musician must have a “resident” DJ. These must be the official people charged with hyping the audience before a musician performs, as well as playing for the musician whenever he performs. This will help create a blend between the DJ and the musician, thereby creating an amazing performance.

In conclusion therefore, every stakeholder in the industry must embrace the importance of Disc Jockeys in the industry. Disc Jockeys must also strive to get professional training and act professionally in the trade.

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