National DJ Day is an annual holiday observed on Friday, January 20th. It’s an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the contributions of disc jockeys to music, culture, and entertainment.
Learn more about the history of DJing, find out how you can get involved in the festivities, and celebrate these amazing artists and the music they create!
The Roots of DJing
The modern DJ's role as a performer who creates a seamless and extended mix of music for a dance party or club atmosphere evolved from radio personalities who introduced and played individual selections of recorded music on broadcast radio stations.
The First DJ in History
The very first disc jockey appeared years before the term even existed! In 1909, at the age of 16, Ray Newby of Stockton, California, became the world's first DJ, having begun playing records on a small spark transmitter, supervised by radio pioneer Charles “Doc” Herrold.
“We used popular records at that time, mainly Caruso records, because they were very good and loud; we needed a boost... we started on an experimental basis and then, because this is novel, we stayed on schedule continually without leaving the air at any time from that time on except for a very short time during World War I, when the government required us to remove the antenna...”
— Ray Newby, “I've Got a Secret” (1965)
The Invention of the Term “DJ”
In 1935, American radio commentator Walter Winchell coined the term “disc jockey” (a combination of “disc”, referring to the disc-shaped phonograph record, and “jockey”, an operator of a machine) to describe radio announcer Martin Block, the first radio announcer to achieve widespread fame for playing popular recorded music over the air.
The First DJ Party
In 1943, radio DJ Jimmy Savile made history by hosting the very first DJ dance party of its kind, spinning jazz records in the Loyal Order of Ancient Shepherds' upstairs function room in the English town of Otley.
It was not until 1947 when the first commercial disco took place, deriving its name from the French term for a nightclub that plays recorded music instead of having a live group on the stage.
Régine, a French singer and nighclub inpressario, launched the first disco in the Whiskey à Go-Go club in Paris, France, and began playing on two turntables there in 1953. After that, discos started to appear across in Europe and the United States.
The Origin of DJ Day
The history of National DJ Day are unfortunately unknown. There is no mention of the year when this Day has been first celebrated or who founded it. However, it is believed to honor the death of Alan Freed (December 15, 1921 – January 20, 1965) who was an influential disc jockey in the 1950s.
But the fact that not much is known about how DJ Day started, doesn’t mean we shoudn’t honor it. DJs bring amazing music, mood and atmosphere to records, nighclubs, radio stations and other venues, and their craft and contribution to music and entertainment needs deserves recognition.
Celebrating this day also encourages others to become DJs. We can't forget that many DJs started out as music lovers and hobbyists who dreamed of spinning records for a living. By showing support for DJs, you can help inspire others to follow their dreams and pursue a career in music.
How to Celebrate DJ Day
These are many fun ways to celebrate this holiday and show your appreciation for DJs. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
🟡Attend a live DJ event. This is a great way to get into the spirit and celebrate National DJ Day in person. Check out the local events and find one that suits you. It’s Friday, so there are bound to be plenty of options!
🟡Host a get-together and invite fellow DJs. This is a great way to network and meet new people who share your love for music. You can also host a virtual DJ competition and invite friends to submit their entries online.
🟡Make a music playlist and share it online. This is a fun way to show your appreciation for DJs and an easy way to get involved in the celebration. You can make a playlist on Spotify, YouTube, or other platform, or create your own blog post listing your favorite DJ tracks.
🟡Create a DJ mix or play live. If you’re a professional or aspiring DJ yourself, today is the day to work your magic, mix some music at an event or from the comfort of your home. LALAL.AI is here to help you – extract vocals, isolate backing tracks or even individual instruments (drums, bass, guitars, piano, synth, and the like) from different songs to mix and mash them into a killer DJ set!