Over the past few years EDM and hip-hop have come together like a college kid and a red Solo cup. Besides giving Lil Jon a new life, the meteoric rise of the EDM scene, especially over the past five years, means a younger generation thinks it's only natural for Chance the Rapper and Skrillex to be making music together.
But that EDM gold-rush has also produced a generation of "DJs" who barely do more than press play on an iTunes playlist, if they even bother to touch anything at all, and in a new interview, Diplo didn't hold back
"The DJ world is the corniest f--ing group of people. We're not celebrities, we're not famous for any good reason. We're just ... really lame. Besides people like Dillon Francis, who makes fun of the whole thing, or Calvin Harris, it's a sinking ship. It's a really lame culture. I'm sad that I'm part of it, but I play the game." - Billboard
It's an age old story. With music sales falling harder than a drunk Post Malone, the real money is now in live shows, and people are turning out in record numbers to party to dance music. Big money always attracts pretenders, and with top DJs making $500K a night in Vegas and EDM festivals bringing in billions, it's no wonder that anyone with a laptop and a celebrity name is jumping onstage.
Diplo's far from the first person to bemoan the word "DJ" getting watered down, but he's the most prominent that I've seen, and he's obviously got a vested interest in making sure his primary source of income doesn't get watered down. He's playing the game, and he's playing it excellently. As he went on to say about the benefits of making his own music verses getting placements on even big albums like Lemonade:
"When we put out a song with Beyoncé, cool, we'll get a fee, we'll get some [publishing] splits, but Beyoncé is going to make a billion dollars touring it. If I make a song and it's my song, like 'Lean On,' we're going to make money off the synchs, the Spotify and we get to headline festivals on it. That's the model I want to explore."
I'm far from a traditionalist, especially in music it's evolve or die and I'm all about evolution, but in this case I'm all the way with Diplo. The celebrity DJ era can't end soon enough. It's already a sinking ship, I'll gladly pour a few more buckets of water in.