People often ask me how I “make my music”. I always respond by saying that I do not produce my own music and that I only “mix” music. While the difference between a DJ and a producer may be obvious to some, it can be confusing to someone who is new to electronic dance music and with the amount of technology DJs have at their disposal the line is slightly blurred. The key difference is that a producer creates music in a studio and a DJ takes already-created music and mixes them together. Let’s examine the differences further:

DJ

A DJ plays and mixes music together. A DJ may use effects, looping, and other techniques to change the sound or structure of a track. However, they are not creating the music as they play in a club or festival.

Producer

A producer creates music in a studio using a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Such programs include Logic, Pro Tools, Cubase, and Live. They produce their own original works and also remix other producer’s tracks when they are provided with remix stems. Once a track is completed a producer sends it to a label to be sold commercially.

DJ/Producer

Many DJs are producers and many producers are DJs. This creates much of the confusion. A DJ/Producer is simply an artist who produces music in a studio and also DJs.

Live Act/PA

Live Acts are producers who create their own music and perform it live. Unlike a DJ, who mixes completed tracks, a live act will create the mix out of parts of their own songs. While a live act may sound similar to a dj mix, they will often only include the producer’s own music and remixes.

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  • Hi, Peter…
    a fantastic post.but i think the main difference is that a producer creates the basic theme and basic shape of music and a DJ reshapes it according to environment, situation and modes.
    Thanks Peter for sharing it.

    Regards,
    tech

  • keith

    right on im tired of people saying oh ive got some great singers for you to work with when I tell them I’m a DJ, im like, alright….. what am I gonna do with that!? I dont produce I MIX, thats a DJ

    • GH T-Bone

      Hi Im Nathaniel
      And My aim is to be a professional dj

  • Sergio

    I dont get why Djs Now like tiesto, skrillex, david guetta, etc they get awards as best dj, wouldn’t it be, best dj/producer?? plz reply

    • thedjpodcast

      As far as I know there are no awards specifically for DJs that are also producers. You have awards like the Grammys that are for musician and you have DJ awards like the DJMag top 100. Even though many artists may win at both, so far there hasn’t been an organization that tries to bridges the gap.

  • rafhelp

    Producers can now also create there own mixes using a free software called Beazt Maker Evolution – Limited Time Only – Get your free copy today at http://www.beatzmaker.co.cc

  • jvkeizer

    Good post! Thx!

  • flamingramen

    Why cant people understand the difference between DJing and music producing?

    • Itramur

      YEA CUZ I SAY I DO ELECTRO MSK AND THEY SAY “OH, U DJ?”
      I’M LIKE: “NO BRO”

  • nelson

    I produce using fl studio and it annoys me when people want me to DJ at parities like I know how to labtop DJ but I don’t have decks or anything cool like that

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  • mindpower

    A producer spends days, weeks or months creating something. A DJ hits the play button on the track which has already been auto queued and beat matched, pretends to be doing something on the mixer (usually touching but not actually changing the EQs) and takes the credit for the producer’s track.