‘I felt like a normal human being’: Professional DJs’ experiences of the Covid-19 lockdowns

Lee K R Marshall*, Martha Whitfield

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


This paper discusses the experiences of successful EDM DJs during the Covid-19 pandemic. The social restrictions prompted by Covid-19 disproportionately impacted creative industries that rely upon live performance as a main source of revenue, including the (electronic) music industry, resulting in widely-reported financial hardship experienced by musicians as a result of the pandemic. Based on interviews with professionally well-established EDM DJs, this paper offers more fine-grained insight into their experiences of the pandemic. Our data shows that while the DJs certainly experienced anxiety and hardships along the lines reported elsewhere, many also highlighted that the lockdowns had a less recognised, more positive, characteristic: in forcing a break from work, the lockdowns created space to reflect upon the harmful effects of creative working practices and envisage more fulfilling work-life balances. Such reimagining of creative working lives are conceptualised within broader discourses around attitudes to work that emerged in light of Covid-19.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPopular Music and Society
Early online date2 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • creative labour
  • Creative Industries
  • Music Industry
  • covid-19
  • DJs
  • EDM


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