Less than two decades into the 21st century, you don’t have to dress up and step out to get the beats you need after a long day. This is thanks to the many livestreams that are available on Facebook’s new Live feature, which many a DJ has tapped to show off their skills on the ones and twos. In Las Vegas, DJs Rob Alahn and Doug Wilcox host a Wednesday-night series called Unfiltered Soul from Downtown Cocktail Room.
Alahn and Wilcox—dance-music DJs from Chicago and Newark, respectively, since the culture was in its early stages—have the experience necessary to maintain focus and energy during their broadcast. In 2006, Wilcox began hosting his own nights at Downtown Cocktail Room and was given license to play whatever he wanted. “[Owner Michael Cornthwaite] just said, ‘I’m going to tell you right now, if you really want to play here, you have my blessing. I trust you, I like your sound; have at it,’” Wilcox says.
“[DJs] have to find their authentic self and they have to be true to it.” – Rob Alahn
After a good handful of nights behind the decks, Wilcox invited Alahn into the mix, eventually passing the torch along to him when Wilcox decided to take on more work outside of DJing. Little did he know that he would be back in the booth a short year later, returning to find Alahn using Stickam, an older-generation video-streaming service, as a means to reach audiences outside of Las Vegas.
On a global scale, DJ streams come in an array of shapes and sizes. Although the method has been around since the mid-2000s via services such as the aforementioned Stickam (launched in 2005), Ustream (2007) and the still relatively young Periscope (2015), Facebook Live has made live broadcasts more accessible, simple and fun. It offers DJs—established as well as up-and-coming—a way to articulate their personal musical perspective. Now that Alahn and Wilcox have switched over to Facebook Live, it’s their attention to detail that allows them to stand out in the crowd and compete with other DJ streams for viewers.
Drop in to the Unfiltered Soul live video feed to experience what Alahn calls “front-row access to the DJ booth, where the truth is being served.” Multiple camera angles are the main attraction, with constantly changing views of the action in the booth. And the DJs make sure to remind viewers of their next gigs, which include a stop in Japan. (The two now find themselves playing overseas once a year, thanks to the broadcast being viewed around the world.)
“[DJs] have to find their authentic self and they have to be true to it,” Alahn says. When it’s no longer enough to be a “bedroom DJ,” they can easily attract new listeners one livestream at a time.