Op-Ed: The Anonymous DJ Gimmick Needs To End

Sep 15, 2019 | Social Media Marketing | 0 comments


The concept of the anonymous or semi-anonymous producer has been around for a long time. Artists would wear masks or helmets to obscure their physical features and live life in relative obscurity. This became paramount in the age of paparazzi and Hollywood celebrity obsession. It got supercharged with the internet and social media. Whether it is deadmau5 (less so now), Daft Punk or the Bloody Beetroots, DJs have used this method both as a way to build a brand and also to help live a more normal life away from music since the general public may not know what they look like. They never shied away from sharing their real names and identities. However, there is another group of DJs that take this one step further to try and remain totally anonymous. That trend has grown in the receding waters of the EDM explosion as DJs look for ways to stand out.

There is the very real anxiety for some producers that are awkward and don’t want to be subject to much public scrutiny. They just like to make music and hope people like it.

That is a valid concern, however, more likely it is part of some contrived marketing scheme to make the artist seem more interesting than just two mid-20s white dudes of means from Europe who moved to Los Angeles to pursue their music dream. It can be a strategy to obscure dull music by making the artist mysterious.

Being semi-anonymous would give you public cover to everyone outside of the business. Think Marshmello, who we know to be Chris Comstock, but still attempts anonymity as part of the brand hiding behind the bucket on his head. ZHU grew as an anonymous act, but then the story that he was anonymous started to overshadow his music and they dropped the act, slowly and quietly. Now we know he is Stephen Zhu and there are plenty of photos of him online.


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