It goes without saying that no one in their right mind wants to return to the days of the pandemic. It was a brutal time, one fraught with sorrow and confusion. Yet that doesn’t mean that one can’t wistfully recall moments that took place during that frightful time, and reminisce about friendships that were made, or fortified, and the experiences we had that otherwise never would have taken place. As DJs, many of us certainly recall the rise of the streaming DJ on Twitch. Let’s take a moment to remember how that began, which I’ll do by recounting my own experiences on Twitch.
I joined Twitch in June, 2019, specifically to stream live DJ performances to friends and fans who couldn’t attend in person. At the time, almost a year before the pandemic, a DJ on Twitch was an anomaly. I am sure there must have been some, but I was unable to find any others no matter how hard I searched. I hoped to find other DJs with whom I could compare notes or troubleshoot, but at the time the platform seemed to be made up entirely of gamers.
Fast-forward to March, 2020 when, as we all remember, the world shut down for the better part of a year, and in some places for closer to two years. On February 15th, a Sunday, the announcement was made that nations around the world were issuing shelter-in-place ordinances, and we were supposed to stay indoors for the next two weeks. The world seemed to be falling apart. People were getting sick, and dying, and people soon to be known as My immediate thoughts were to wonder what I could do to help. Some people, who became known as Essential Workers, had definitive tasks and jobs to do, but what could a DJ do to make things better? The thought popped into my head that people were going to need distraction while sheltering at home, and while I couldn’t do anything on the medical or scientific front, maybe I could help on the “taking people’s mind of their troubles” front, so I posted on Facebook that I’d be hosting a virtual “Online Dance Party” on Twitch on Friday, March 20th.
I expected a handful of friends to see the post and hang out with me while I streamed some music, but instead over 500 strangers from around the world showed up to dance, chat, and socialize. And the streaming DJ was born. At least, sort of. Like I said, I’m sure there were other DJs doing the same thing, even if I hadn’t heard of them or couldn’t find them. Maybe you were one? In any event, soon there were more Twitch DJs than one could count, and folks stuck at home had options every day at any time if they wanted to watch a DJ spin a set.
While people were staying home, streaming DJs thrived. Eventually I started getting booked by my corporate clients to provide private streams for their employees. The world had moved online. But has it stayed there? Or are the days of the streaming DJ numbered? What are your thoughts on this topic? Comment on any of our social media channels and let me know what your own experiences, if any, were on Twitch, and what you see as the current state of the streaming DJ, either on Twitch or any other streaming platform.