Undoubtedly, DJs have risen to the status of celebrated pop stars in the music industry today. However, there remains a lingering question: are they true musical artists, or simply entertainers? Is a DJ controller truly considered a musical instrument, or is it merely a basic playback device? To delve deeper into this thought-provoking topic, the upcoming Sample Music Festival will feature, for the very first time, a DJ championship specifically for the electronic music sector. Alongside this, the event will also offer informative lectures and insightful discussion panels on the subject.

black audio mixer

Sample Music Festival

Expanding its reputation year by year, the Sample Music Festival has solidified its position as an influential force in the global DJing and turntablism scene since its establishment in 2015. This prestigious event serves as a premier platform for showcasing the latest advancements in midi controller technology and promoting the thriving art of DJing. Through its unique blend of informative symposiums and entertaining programs, including workshops, showcases, and a music exhibition, the SMF has garnered recognition from prominent industry partners. Held annually in the vibrant city of Berlin, the festival has become a key gathering for artists and researchers from around the world, fostering an academic approach to the topic. In addition, since 2019, the organizers have also taken on the task of managing the DJing and music production section at Europe’s largest trade fair for entertainment technology in Frankfurt, solidifying their expertise and influence in the industry.


person playing dj mixer
Photo by Bence Szemerey on Pexels.com


Since its establishment in 1986, the Disco Mix Club (DMC) has been a leading force in organizing the official DJ World Championship across more than 30 countries worldwide. Among the notable participants of this prestigious competition in the mid-1980s was the renowned DJ legend, Westbam. While the initial focus of the competition was primarily on turntablism, in recent years, the platform has evolved to also include electronic music, making it a truly comprehensive showcase of the most talented DJs. And where better to embrace and celebrate this dynamic and ever-evolving genre than the vibrant and music-loving city of Berlin?



Get ready to groove at the Sample Music Festival as it kicks off with the thrilling DJ Competition on Wednesday, July 10th at the House of Music. The night will commence with a captivating panel discussion, delving into the intriguing topic of whether DJing can be considered a true form of musical art, on par with playing the piano. Following this, two enlightening lectures will explore a theoretical perspective on music. And finally, the participants will unleash their 20-minute DJ sets to demonstrate their talents, which will be evaluated through a special criteria procedure. Join us for an unforgettable evening of music mastery and lively debates.

grayscale photography of person using dj controller
Photo by Isabella Mendes on Pexels.com

Time Program

  • 05:30 PM Open Doors
  • 06:00 PM Panel on the topic: „Is DJing the work of a musician? What is the difference between an entertainer and a DJ? With invited guests from the club sector, industry and educational institutions.
  • 07:00 PM Lecture: Music Theory for DJing & Controllerism with Alex Sonnenfeld and Manoli Moriaty
  • 08:00 PM Presentation of the jury and the course of the competition
  • 08:30 PM 1st showcase participant
  • 08:50 PM Short interview about the performance.
  • 09:00 PM 2th showcase participant
  • 09:20 PM Short interview about the performance.
  • 09:30 PM 3th showcase participant
  • 09:50 PM Short interview about the performance.
  • 10:00 PM 4th showcase participant
  • 10:20 PM Short interview about the performance.
  • 10:30 PM 5th showcase participant
  • 10:50 PM Short interview about the performance.
  • 11:00 PM 6th showcase participant
  • 11:20 PM Short interview about the performance.
  • 11:30 PM Networking & Voting of the judges
  • 00:00 AM Preisverleihung
  • 00:30 AM Ende

Criteria | Jury | Prizes

The jury is made up of professional DJs as well as representatives from the Berlin club scene and educational institutions. The performance is judged on the basis of criteria that focus primarily on the musical performance and less on the entertainment factor. The winner receives great prizes and an engagement in a club or festival.


All interested participants can register via djone@samplemusicfestival.com. After a selection process, the 6 participants will be officially announced about 3 weeks before the event. There is also the possibility to nominate DJs.

The DMC Electronic Music Competition


All participants use the same DJ setup, consisting of four CDJ-3000s and a DJM-A9 mixer from Pioneer. Everyone has the opportunity to work with as many decks as they want. It is allowed to use the sync button, but this should only be used to gain more playing freedom or to let off steam creatively with other technical tools such as effects, pitch and sample shots. During the performance, the DJ software used will be displayed on a screen so that both the audience and the jury can see which technical components are being used. The use of additional hardware components outside of the DJ set provided is not permitted


The broad spectrum of electronic music is reflected in its incredible diversity, which is why the criteria for a DJ competition in this music genre differ from those of a turntablist. We have therefore endeavored to create a basis for evaluation that takes all these aspects into account. All variations of electronic music encompassing the trendy house and techno genres with a steady tempo range of 110-180 beats per minute will be considered for this competition. In addition, ambient tracks with a slightly slower tempo of 110bpm are also encouraged, along with any type of acapella, loop, or one shot sample that can enhance a DJ set. Our ultimate goal is to showcase a diverse range of styles in the future, but for now, our primary focus is on refining our concept and acquiring invaluable expertise. In addition, technical skills such as scratching or trick mixing, which play a key role in turntablism competitions, are hardly decisive in a club. Rather, the focus of a DJ in the electronic field is to get people dancing, read the mood of the crowd and offer an appealing stage performance.

The icing on the cake is your performance on stage. But don´t feel intimitated as we are not aiming for a topless dance Barbie or a new Salvatore Ganacci. You just need to be in your flow and captivate your audience. The aim of the 20min performance should be to play as a headliner in a club and use these 20min of an elevator pitch to showcase your skills and your personal trademark. After the DJ set, we will hold a brief post-performance discussion in which the judges will actively engage with each participant to gain a better understanding of their set. Through thought-provoking questions, they aim to prevent any misinterpretations and gain more insight into the musical concept and track selection. These discussions serve to paint a comprehensive picture of both the performance’s underlying idea and the artist themselves.