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TheStreet Open House

The DJ Is Coming Back -- Are You Ready to Party?

Stocks in this article: PAAPL

Wrong on all counts.

I recognize the potential in streaming music services. I get it that people are suddenly getting the music they want from those services and digital album sales are dropping. But those services aren't establishing community, they aren't yet creating shared musical experience.

That is ultimately going to stultify the music industry, stymie growth and balkanize musical culture.

I want to turn on a music service and find a community of like-minded souls cheering over the latest Bjork live recording or David Bowie video or some new classical or jazz recording or something completely different that I've never heard before and would never have considered but for the recommendation by a trusted voice, a friend or a reviewer. Online right now, the only place where that happens is through magazines or on my Facebook page, with no streaming service in sight other than YouTube.

Streaming music, fail.

It pains me to say it, but what streaming music needs is the guy shouting into the microphone, This is what you need to hear, you're going to love it; that larger-than-life personality establishing a reputation and building an audience for his own curation and entertaining salesmanship and, in turn, for a particular music. That role is vital: It establishes a platform to quickly build trust in the music and offers a broad avenue for many people to approach and share the same music at more or less the same time.

It provides a focus for the social experience.

I hate DJs, in general. But I find myself listening, especially to the ones who are willing to stick their neck out for style or an artist, who are looking to build an audience for themselves and bring people together around a particular music and not merely fawn over the latest industry hype. Those DJs serve a vital function.

Oh yes, DJs cost money and streaming services, you say, can't afford that overhead. Well think again. As they begin to charge fees for listening, and as competition grows, Pandora, Daisy and Spotify will find they can't afford not to go that expense. They'll need to establish a strong draw and a way to keep visitors on the site. The only way to do that is with consistent, engaging personalities curating the stream.

-- Written by Carlton Wilkinson in New York.

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