Is Streaming Music Killing the Wedding DJ? - Rolling Stone
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Is Streaming Music Killing the Wedding DJ? - Rolling Stone

By Matt Campbell
Music lovers have access to almost every song through music streaming services such as Spotify, YouTube and Apple Music. Every wedding couple can now choose to create their own wedding day playlist and be their own DJs.
I have DJ’d hundreds of weddings and events and have built a wedding song suggestion website, My Wedding Songs, helping more than 4 million visitors a year. Before streaming your own wedding playlist, here are a few of my pros and cons of streaming playlists.
With physical music and audio products, such as records, cassettes and CDs, music fans have the ability to own their favorite music. They can play their favorite musicians from their music players. However, fans are limited to what they can listen to from their own collection amassed from individual purchases.
The philosophy of owning music changed with song-sharing sites such as Napster. All of a sudden, everyone was only limited to the music available by what was uploaded to the song-sharing websites. Fans were no longer limited to purchasing complete albums.

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I would even bear to say the philosophy of purchasing individual songs started with the advent of cassette singles. The belief that you didn’t have to buy a complete album for one song you loved began. The issue was that the single took up the same space as a full cassette album. Then came iTunes, where the mass public could purchase most songs available individually.
Once streaming music services started, music fans could discover music in their favorite genres for a monthly subscription fee, or in some cases through a free subscription. However, the music was curated based on the listener’s tastes. What changed with Spotify was that listeners could pick and choose what songs to play in addition to discovering new songs and artists based on their listening preferences.

The same can be said for YouTube, where users can create their own playlists. Plus, fans are discovering music on TikTok from brief song clips.
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In order for a wedding DJ to legally play a song at a wedding, they must own the rights to play the song. This means the DJ must have purchased the song from a legal source such as Amazon, iTunes or a legal DJ music pool like Promo Only.
As a result, the DJ cannot legally play the song from YouTube, Spotify, TikTok or any other music-streaming platform without owning the song. If playing the song from the platform, the DJ risks poor sound quality too.
This puts wedding DJs in a precarious position when wedding couples want songs played at their weddings that are unavailable to purchase. Even though a digital DJ can carry their music collection on their computers, they need to be concerned about the legality and quality of their music offering.
Many wedding venues are opting to install sound systems into their wedding ceremony and reception locations. This gives the venues the opportunity to create an additional source of income from selling in-house DJ services rather than outsourcing to a DJ company.
Venues are offering the opportunity for wedding couples to connect their phones to the venue’s sound system to play songs for their weddings. This cuts out the wedding DJ altogether.

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There are a few pros of playing a couple’s streamed playlist at a wedding:
• The couples save on the cost of hiring a DJ.
• Almost every song is available.
• Couples can change Spotify settings to blend songs.
• Couples can select the exact music that will be played.
But there are also a few cons of playing a couple’s streamed playlist:
• You risk poor internet connection and buffering issues.
• Streaming could result in low sound quality if not from an original source.
• You need to stop the music and cue songs for desired moments.
• There is no emcee to make announcements.
• You can’t easily pull off song coordination to match all guests’ music tastes and experiences to songs that will get guests dancing.
Premium wedding DJs know the popular wedding songs in your area to play that will get guests dancing. They also have the knowledge of what songs would work well with your preferred style of music and theme.
According to an article by, when it comes to wedding ceremonies, Millennial guests care about the bride’s entrance but don’t care much about the processional and recessional. This means the song most important during a wedding ceremony is the song played as the bride(s) walks down the aisle.
But what about the reception? Millennial guests could care less about the bouquet toss, garter toss and grand exit. You can skip songs for these moments if you choose to do so. Millennial guests do care mostly about the food. But the topmost important moments of a wedding reception include music, dances, entertainment and grand entrance.
If couples are going to choose to stream their music for their reception, special care must be given when selecting the songs to play to accent the above moments because this is what guests will remember. In addition, optimal song length should be planned beforehand, such as truncated songs for parents’ dances to prevent awkwardness.
Whether or not couples reduce their wedding day budget by not hiring an elite wedding DJ and choosing to stream their own music, their guests will remember how the food tasted and if they had a good time.

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