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Monday, June 18, 2001

Ever heard of Virtual DJ or Internet jockey?
Sumesh Raizada

THOSE who watch entertainment programs regularly on television must have noticed young boys or girls anchoring different music shows. In Channel V or MTV, which airs music shows on the TV throughout the day, almost every hour the anchor changes and a fresh face comes up. Sometimes these programs are telecast live, in which the anchor has to interact with the live audience. These professionals are referred to as Video Jockey, who is responsible for anchoring the music show and to maintain the interest of viewers in that particular program. In radio broadcast, these professionals with pleasant and lively voice are called as radio jockeys.

With the Internet getting popular, people are no longer dependent upon the television or radio for viewing or listening to their favourite music or songs. Now within seconds an ardent lover of Jazz or pop can get access to music from around the world. The professionals who mange the music shows on the Internet are referred to as Internet or Virtual DJ.


There are Web sites that are exclusively for music, like musicurry.com or music site of indiatimes.com, sify.com, etc. Besides, there are hundreds of Web sites around the world, where Internet DJ conducts music shows, which are quite often performed live also. Thanks to software like MP3 or Real Player and to a number of hardware equipment, which have made all this possible. The career of Internet DJ is flourishing in countries like the USA, Canada, Australia, etc., There are number of Internet DJs in these countries who are making their livelihood by anchoring and organising live music shows on the Internet.

The Internet DJ’s are approached through e-mail or on their Web site by the clients who are mostly of younger age group and specific request are made for a particular song or a set of songs and music. The request for the music may be for a particular event or a party or for simple gathering of friends and relatives. The Internet DJ thus virtually become a compere or host of a music program, where while sitting in front of a desktop hundreds of miles away, they not only play a particular music on request but can also control the sound and light systems. This is done with the help of advanced and expensive software as well as hardware that are installed by Virtual DJs in their premises.

Virtual DJ as a career is mostly for persons in a younger age group and for those having creative bend of mind. It is usually a freelance work and these professionals operate directly through their Web site. However, there are certain sites, which act as a link between clients and the DJs. These Web sites provides link to DJs according to their expertise in a particular music or event. Also availability of DJs at a particular day or time is coordinated and ensured by these sites, to avoid inconvenience to the clients. Disc jockey.com is one such site that has online radio broadcasting services and entertain live requests from the clients. Another site, cdjentertainment.com, provides DJ-related services. Some exclusively music sites do hire professionals on commission or salary basis, who prepare music program for their Web site. They also compere and present music on different artists or music categories on the net.

Those going in for a career as Web DJ need not be highly qualified in computers but should have sufficient proficiency in music, both classical as well as western. They need to keep audience in their mind and play music accordingly as per the taste and preference of the clients. Knowledge of beats and different forms of music is essential for an aspirant virtual DJ. They are also required to handle various hardware equipment or work on different specialized software.

Presently there are no certification or courses for virtual DJs. However those who are trained as a radio or video jockey do have an advantage as they are able to understand the latest music trends and apply suitably in their task However, there are number of Web sites that provide information on the required software for becoming virtual DJ. Some of these sites include Yahoo! links, disc jockey supply, advanced lighting and sound, etc. and are mostly located in the USA or Europe.

Web jockey broadcasting software are able to turn the computers into an audio mixer, scheduler and playback system, which are critical components of radio broadcasting operations. Those interested in purchasing can place orders online and get the desired equipment or software. An aspiring virtual DJ have to get himself registered at some of the DJ Web sites which acts as a search engines for DJ services also. One such site is mp3.com. In countries like the USA, these professionals are required to get a licence for performing the job. Earnings are handsome for these professionals who charge from their clients through credit cards. Charges are usually on hourly or even on minute basis.

Besides Virtual DJ, there is another related freelance career option on the Web and that is of Internet Jockey. These professionals invite surfers for a chat or discussion in a chat room. They act as a co-ordinator and conducts live discussions on variety of topics ranging from politics, films, sports, etc.

In India, the concept of Virtual DJ and Internet Jockey has yet to pick up among the Web surfers and those utilising their services are less. As a result, this career is limited to few metropolitan cities. But considering their demand in the USA or European countries, a person trained in western music and having fluency in English speaking can definitely succeed as a Virtual DJ or Internet Jockey.