A lot of Electronic Dance Music people have read the infamous Deadmau5 post which appeared on his blog a while back. It was titled WE ALL HIT PLAY. And in this little missive Joel Zimmerman (aka Deadmau5) openly let the not so "dirty little secret" out of the cheese bag---namely that big time EDM acts pretty much play back whole pre-produced sets rather than risk really trying to play live or even remix live. To quote Mr. Mouse:
"I think given about 1 hour of instruction, anyone with minimal knowledge of Ableton and music tech in general could do what im doing at a deadmau5 concert."
But this is not DJ-ing. And Deadmau5 himself pretty much makes that point. The problem is that the public confuses DJ-ing with Producing and studio work. They are definitely not the same things. DJ-ing is when you take recordings by other acts and play them back to back matching beats and fading one into another. Being an original music artist on the other hand means being someone who works their ass off in a studio setting and then takes that music out on a big stage in front of 15,000 people and gives it back to them the best way possible.
Deeper into Mr. Mau5's blog post he had this to say:
"Im just so sick of hearing the “NO!!! IM NOT JUST DOING THIS, I HAVE 6 TABLES UP THERE AND I DO THIS THIS AND THIS” like… honestly. who gives a fuck? i dont have any shame in admitting that for “unhooked” sets.. i just roll up with a laptop and a midi controller and “select” tracks n hit a spacebar. ableton syncs the shit up for me… so no beatmatching skill required. “beatmatching” isnt even a fucking skill as far as im concered anyway. so what, you can count to 4. cool. i had that skill down when i was 3, so dont give me that argument please."
A lot of EDM tracks run at anywhere from 120 to 150 beats per minute. Many of the parts that accompany the music are broken down into 16th notes. Try playing a couple hundred rapid-fire 16th notes every minute on multiple instruments over the course of an 8 minute mix. It's not really possible. That's why we use computers. And to me that's perfectly fine. I know if I'm watching an EDM act that I'm hearing a lot of electronics. But I also expect that Deadmau5 or Avicii actually wrote and recorded their own original tracks back in the studio. They create the music I'm hearing and that's the big thing that separates them from DJs. Not that there's anything wrong with being a DJ. My weekends would be a lot less fun if there was nobody in all those club booths spinning and...well whatever it is they're doing in there. I myself have zero desire to go get a bunch of tracks from iTunes and fade them together one after the other. THAT is not why I got into music. But to each his or her own.