Are DJs in The Philippines Trendsetter or Followers in 2023?

The role of DJs in the Philippines in shaping the music scene is a topic of interest and discussion. This write up explores whether DJs primarily act as trendsetter, introducing new sounds and genres, or if they are more reactive, following popular trends to please the audience. It also highlights the need for diversity in the nightclub industry, which has been criticized for its repetitive sound in 2023.

One veteran DJ-Producer, Marxx, shares his opinion on the matter. He believes that most venues play mostly Top 40s because that’s what the new crowd prefers. Since the pandemic, people have been more inclined towards commercial tracks. However, when Marxx plays a song with EDM elements, there is no reaction from the audience as there used to be before.

This observation reveals a problem in the nightclub industry. The pursuit of commercial success often takes precedence over artistic exploration and variety. The dominance of popular tracks caters to the preferences of the new crowd but results in a lack of excitement and diversity.

The question arises: should DJs be trendsetters or followers? In reality, DJs need to strike a balance between innovation and meeting audience demands. They must be responsive to the desires of their listeners while also introducing new sounds and pushing boundaries.

The power dynamics between DJs, musicians, and listeners play a significant role in shaping the country’s music landscape. DJs have the ability to introduce audiences to new genres, underground tracks, and emerging artists. They can serve as tastemakers, curating sets that challenge conventional norms and broaden musical horizons. By taking risks and showcasing innovative sounds, DJs have the potential to shape the direction of the music industry.

On the other hand, DJs also need to be responsive to the desires of their audience. The nightclub industry is ultimately a service-oriented industry, and DJs must cater to the preferences of the crowd to ensure an enjoyable experience. This involves understanding the current trends, playing popular tracks, and creating a familiar atmosphere that resonates with the audience. In doing so, DJs become followers of popular demand, adapting their sets to match the tastes and expectations of their listeners.

The emergence of Gen Z and the influence of platforms like TikTok have had a significant impact on the music scene. With their digital savviness and penchant for viral trends, Gen Z has become a powerful force in shaping popular culture. The popularity of Top 40 tracks and TikTok dance challenges reflects the influence of this demographic. DJs, recognizing the changing landscape, have adapted their playlists to meet the demand for these trends, further solidifying the monotonous sound that permeates the nightclub industry.

However, this conformity raises concerns about artistic freedom and diversity. It limits the potential for DJs to act as true influencers, introducing audiences to new sounds and underground talent. A lack of diversity not only stifles creative expression but also hinders the growth of local artists and alternative genres.

To create a more diverse and forward-thinking movement in the nightclub industry, DJs can challenge the status quo. They can explore new sounds, collaborate with local musicians, and support underground talent. Industry stakeholders and club owners also have a role to play by promoting experimentation and providing platforms for alternative genres.

The role of DJs in shaping the Philippine music scene is multifaceted. While they can serve as influencers, introducing new sounds and genres, they must also navigate the demands of their audience. As of 2023, the nightclub industry in the Philippines has faced criticism for its monotonous sound, primarily driven by the preferences of a new crowd influenced by popular trends and platforms like TikTok. However, to create a more diverse and forward-thinking movement, DJs need to strike a balance between catering to audience demands and pushing boundaries to explore new musical territories. By embracing innovation, supporting underground talent, and challenging the prevailing norms, DJs can play a vital role in shaping a vibrant and inclusive music industry in the Philippines.


DJ | Music Producer | Multi- Instrumentalist | Midnight Rebels CFO


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