The 8 Essential Books every DJ Should Read!

There are no recent books out there about digital DJing- or only a handful-, however there’s a couple of great books out there which can teach you a lot of important things, as well as give you an overview of how the DJ profession developed over the years.

Here’s a list of the best 8 best books that every DJ should read!

Last Night a DJ Saved my Life: The History of the Disc Jockey

Last Night a DJ Saved My Life was the first comprehensive history of the disc jockey, a figure who has become a powerful force shaping the music industry.

Since its original publication, the book has become a cult classic that offers a lot of value.

The book itself talks a lot about the genres that emerged over the years, like disco, reggae, house, techno, etc. and how the DJ profession developed over the years with the emerging technology and the new music.

Now, with five new chapters and over a hundred pages of additional material, this updated and revised edition of Last Night a DJ Saved My Life reasserts itself as the definitive account of DJ culture, from the first record played over airwaves to house, hip hop, techno, and beyond.

From the early development of recorded and transmitted sound, DJs have been shaping the way we listen to music and the record industry.

Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton have tracked down the inside story on some of music’s most memorable moments.

Visiting legendary clubs like the Peppermint Lounge, Cheetah, the Loft, Sound Factory, and Ministry of Sound, and with interviews with legendary DJs, Last Night a DJ Saved My Life is a lively and entertaining account of musical history and some of the most legendary parties of the century.

If you truly wish to know more about the craft and the history behind it, then this book is an absolute must.

Get it at Amazon.

How to DJ Right: The Art and Science of Playing Records

DJs have gone from being underpaid live jukeboxes to becoming premier entertainers, producers, businessmen, and musicians capable of commanding admiration from thousands and earning serious money.

Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton’s Last Night a DJ Saved My Life was the definitive history of the DJ.

Now they gather their mastery of the artistic and technical aspects of being a DJ into a clear, accessible, and entertaining guide.

How to DJ is the perfect guide where they teach stuff like; Establishing a distinctive sound, record-spinning, scratching, hot-mixing, beat-juggling, and more.

Diagrams throughout illustrate phrases, beat timing, and song structure with no reliance on music theory, and resource lists recommend everything from which songs are best (and most fun) to learn with, to good sources for building a library of disks, CDs, and MP3s.

For those who want to turn pro, the authors give sage advice on the vagaries of the club and music business.

Now, this book is a bit dated, but the theory and advices are still pretty relevant today.

Get it at Amazon.

The Record Players: DJ Revolutionaries

Written by the same two authors of “How to DJ Right” and “Last Night a DJ Saved my Life”, this book doesn’t focus so much on the technical and historical side of Djing and rather focuses more on the DJs who build the DJ history so that they can tell their stories.

Both the Authors travelled the world to meet with the eccentrics, the playboys, and the obsessives of the DJing industry who shaped pop music.  

With discographies, favorite songs, and amazing photos of all the DJs as young firebrands, The Record Players offers an unparalleled music education: from records to synthesizers, from disco to techno, and from small groups of influential music lovers to arenas packed with thousands of dancing fans.

Get it at Amazon.

Dance Music Manual by Rick Snoman

Now, this isn’t an easy read, let me tell you that.

It’s a huge- and extensive book that is mostly geared towards the DJ/Producer, that goes into depth on loads of different subjects like drum programming, waveforms, and more.

Decades ago, DJs didn’t have access to the technology available today; with laptops and recording gear- as well as software- being so powerful and affordable, most DJs are now trying to create their own music rather than just mixing songs.

This is why this book is also geared towards the producer side of things, since you can now create extremely cool songs right there in your bedroom without blowing the bank account.

It’s one of the- or THE essential book on this list if you truly are aspiring to become a great music producer as well as DJ because of how much useful and current information it provides.

However, like I mentioned earlier, it’s a much more technical book, which might not be for you.

Still, I think it’s an absolute must in most cases, so check it out!

Get it at Amazon.

Rock the Dancefloor: The proven five-step formula for total DJing success

If you want to know how it feels to be the DJ, to share the music you love with other people, to receive the adulation of packed dancefloors night after night, this book will show you exactly what to do to get there.

Whether you’re brand-new to this, a DJ who wants to finally break out of the bedroom, or you just want to improve your game, the five-step formula in Rock the Dancefloor! will help you to become a truly great DJ.

This book helps you to; Understand modern DJ gear, in order to avoid expensive mistakes, since most of the times you don’t need to spend as much as you’ve been led to believe, as well as assemble the best music collection, so you can fill any dancefloor.

You will also learn how to quickly master all the techniques, so your DJ mixes sound amazing, which is especially important to get right because you don’t want to spend years practicing the wrong way.

Additionally, you will learn how to perform like a pro at any type of gig: parties, bars, night clubs, you name it, and to promote yourself effectively, for more and better paid bookings.

This book is absolutely essential for anyone who truly want to make Djing their full-time profession…

Get it at Amazon.

Note: You can get this one for FREE as an Audiobook version with the Audible Free Trial.

Electrochoc by Laurent Garner

Maybe not as popular as some of the other books about djing out there, but you should really give it a shot since it provides some serious value to any aspiring DJs.

World-famous French DJ Laurent Garnier is also an award-winning recording artist, producer, label owner and author of ELECTROCHOC, a best seller in France, Spain, Russia, Germany and Japan and now available in the English language.

The book tells a great story of how the dance music culture developed in Europe over the years in the late 80’s and beyond, as well as all the challenges DJs face, everything that’s great- and maybe not so great- about the profession, and more.

If you truly want to learn more about the history of the craft, what it means to be a DJ, etc. then consider giving ELECTROCHOC a read.

Get it at Amazon.

DJing for Dummies

Like all other “for Dummies” books, they teach you in simple steps with everything laid out for you, which I know that some people might not like.

If you’re the kind of person that enjoys this style of teaching, then I can definitely recommend this book.

DJing For Dummies offers newcomers all the technical know-how needed as well as advice on how to create your own DJing style and how to make DJing work for you.

With tips on equipment essentials, such as turntables, slipmats and needles, headphones, and amplifiers, as well as buying records, CDs, and MP3s, this practical guide takes you through the basics of mixing, song structure, building a foolproof set, creating a great demo, and what to do when you finally face a live audience.

All the basic information you need about DJing is right there.

Sure, there may be stuff you don’t need, but if you’re a beginner- which is who this book is meant for-, then you will actually get a lot of value out of it.

Get it at Amazon.

Groove Music: The Art and Culture of the Hip-Hop DJ

Today hip-hop is a global phenomenon, and the sight and sound of DJs mixing and scratching is familiar in every corner of the world.

But hip-hop was born in the streets of New York in the 1970s when a handful of teenagers started experimenting with spinning vinyl records on turntables in new ways. 

The great thing about this book is that it revolves around hip-hop and not electronic music, which is what most other Djing books are about, giving you a different perspective of the story.

In Groove Music, Katz delves into the world of the DJ, tracing the art of the turntable from its humble beginnings in the Bronx in the 1970s to its meteoric rise to global phenomenon today. 

Get it at Amazon.

Need to learn how to DJ?

I’ve put together a list of the best online courses that teach you how to DJ the right way. There’s even a couple free ones as well, so check the post out.

The ones I’d recommend the most are from DJ Courses Online since they offer great quality courses at an affordable price, especially since it’s subscription-based, which means that you can pay for a single month and do all the courses you want.

If you even want to get more bang for your buck, getting the yearly subscription will save you a total 50%.

Conclusion

Learning more about the history of your craft is something that I would advise for everyone.

But these books aren’t only good for teaching you the history behind DJing; they also add value in loads of other ways.

I would suggest you read a couple of them and see how you like it.

I hope this information was useful.

Have a wonderful day!

Facundo

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