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  • 06/14/2010

Yale Fox Maximizes DJ Profits, Nightclub Douchery

Most people are aware of the famous Frank Zappa quote, "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." And while, obviously, we still give it our best shot, we like to keep the sentiment in mind when describing the various intangibles of our favorite tunes. However, upon discovering this article on the New York Times' Freakonomics blog, we'd like to add to Zappa's point "Histographing about DJing is like being a douche." Toronto-based DJ and Queen's University undergrad Yale Fox has tried to break down the finer points of nightclubbing (dancing, drinking, listening to music, and spending money) and DJing into a "scientific" study for his thesis, which he calls "Inside the DJ Booth: How A Disc Jockey’s Strategic Track Selection Can Enhance Experience, Foster Loyalty, and Boost Profits."

Aside from the study being completely necessary and totally not demeaning or counteractive to the true essence of inspired artists and DJs everywhere, Yale Fox is undoubtedly the go-to man for such information, as he has performed alongside the likes of ground-breaking artists Dave Matthews Band, Weezer, and Def Leppard and "genuinely love[s] music more than you can imagine." Really though, if you are a DJ, producer, musician, or any such creative talent, you probably should refrain from completely discrediting your art by turning it into a fucking 'self-starter's guide to pandering to the lowest common denominator and getting paid while doing it,' unless you want a snarky article posted about you on the internet. And just in case you readers don't want to sift through the banal club jargon and ludicrous stats that litter Fox's piece, we put a couple of our favorite graphs below. And no, they are not a joke—at least not intentionally.

29 comments Yale Fox Maximizes DJ Profits, Nightclub Douchery

Toronto Massive (not verified) Wrote

Tue, 06/15/2010 - 05:00

Hello world, Toronto here: Yale Fox is a total douche with horrible taste. He's basically the Billy Mays of DJ's, everything's an opportunity to "Brand" with this guy. Utter Crap.

Yale Fox (not verified) Wrote

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 08:53

Although I wouldn't normally dignify this type of post with a response. The point of the thesis- if you read it and didn't just skim through it- was that when you hire DJs with no creative intellect and play for themselves, the bar sales are low because people are not having a good time and they don't come back.

When a DJ plays for a crowd, they're happier and the bar does better.

Bar sales are an indicator of customer satisfaction.

I invite anyone to an open debate on this forum.

Ashley O (not verified) Wrote

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 09:21

I applaud Yale Fox for taking such an initiative, to say you do it for the art and love and etc is all fine and dandy,but to act like its not about the money is naive. From a club's perspective this is all they are concerned with, I highly doubt if they care if you as a DJ love music, but hey if thats what helps you sleep at night... Keep up the good work Yale, I think when things such as this occur its quite funny to see who get attacked, there is a reason you are where you are...

Michael Cavaggioni (not verified) Wrote

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 10:09

Yale is the Einstein of DJ'ing - all others are haters cuz their jealous...Yale - keep up the great work man...

rekone (not verified) Wrote

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 11:07

Good work Yale, iv heard you play before and you can rock a party. If you can offer an added value to the bar owner and play good tracks your thinking beyond the DJ booth. To all those suckas that say they just play GIG's to keep it real, stop lying to your self, we were all there in high school, realness does not pay the billz. Stay creative!


Anon (not verified) Wrote

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 12:05

Patric, my good man, you are an idiot. Although your misunderstanding of math clearly knows no bound, Yale has been benevolent enough not to explode your head using only his mind. I think that deserves a handwritten thank-you letter, don't you?

Josh (not verified) Wrote

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 12:20


Show your name you pussy hater.

Xander (not verified) Wrote

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 13:14

"when you hire DJs with no creative intellect and play for themselves, the bar sales are low because people are not having a good time and they don't come back."

Hey Yale, you have that backwards. The DJ's who show up and mash up some "hits" (or in your case, just play them one after the other) and the ones who are creatively bankrupt.

But, hey, you're kind of right I suppose, for the low-brow crowds that you appeal to, you want to play a bunch of garbage or else you won't get paid. Thanks for setting the bar for music low dude!

sad (not verified) Wrote

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 13:39

I agree with the authors note.

One of the reasons that we are fed utter crap pop hits on the mainstream airwaves is only with the explicit co-operation of mercenary 'dj's' whose drive is most likely, small town credibility, online awareness and some cash to prove their rich parents wrong.

It's quite a comedic affair to think that 'dj's' like Yale Fox, products of elite private school educations - are in fact pursing the art form because of some deep rooted passion for music.

But then again, who know's? Maybe music these days IS all about cash flows, profit maximization, ROI's and revenue...

I guess we'll only find out when times go bad... and they all end up taking that law degree that they 'postponed' for so long.

Yafa (not verified) Wrote

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 14:02

Wow, Patric, I'm embarassed for you that you put that stupidity out for the world to see.

Yale is by far the best dj i've ever danced to. And he happens to have a lot of intellectual horsepower on top of it.

Yale, when ppl hate, you know you're doing something right!

Status Disko (not verified) Wrote

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 14:42

The author has taken his Yale's quotes completely out of context. The point Yale is making is that if a DJ walks into a booth plays whatever music he wants with no regard for the crowd, he might get lucky once in a while, but sooner or later, the crowd, and the club, will suffer.

The best DJs read the crowds, and play to them, not for themselves. The author has taken a miniscule part of Yale's study and twisted it to make it look like Yale was pondering to the masses. What isn't told he here that firstly, the study was done years ago while the quoted tracks were big, obviously to play them in a club back to back now would kill the dance floor.

Second, this is an example of Yale Fox at work - he was playing in a college town in a college bar. Yes he was playing mainstream tracks, but that's what his crowd wanted to hear, and guess what? He rocked that dance floor every night - and he has the evidence to prove it!

Yale Fox is not a DJ who panders to the lowest common denominator. I've seen Yale introduce new types of music to crowds who would otherwise not been exposed to music beyond the top 40 charts.

When he's not at college bars, he's all over Toronto playing not at the biggest mainstream clubs, but the most cutting edge ones, not to mention his bookings in Vegas. I've seen him spin house, electro, hip hop, rock, indie, and dubstep - and all in the same set. He can mix fast, he can mix slow, he can cut, scratch, beat juggle, and still his skills go further - Yale Fox is also a music producer, with an original catalogue of tracks and remixes as diverse as his sets.

Yale does have a deep rooted passion for music, which is apparent if you actually take the time to read his entire study, or any more of his work. Yale's knowledge of music theory and how to apply it into DJing and production goes beyond any "self starter's guide".

Any DJ would be lucky to have half the knowledge and skills that Yale has - not to mention his home studio - proof that he does enjoy sponsorship by some of the biggest DJ brands in the industry, including Serato, Shure, M-Audio, and Ableton, among others.

Obviously they think he has talent - so who the eff are you Patric Fallon? Where is your credibility coming from?

And to the people leaving comments bashing education as if being educated makes someone more or less of an artist - that's pure ignorance. Whether the school is private or not has even less relevance, especially in this case considering the fact that Queen's University is not private.

Anonymous (not verified) Wrote

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 15:13

love the comment by status disko.
Clearly a 'spontaneous' endorsement by a interestingly very knowledgeable fan. Someone's writing comments in the third person? Guess who?

Xander (not verified) Wrote

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 15:35

Yafa- It doesn't take a lot of "intellectual horsepower" to chart top 40 hits that mainstream college crowds enjoy.

Status Disko-
"the study was done years ago while the quoted tracks were big, obviously to play them in a club back to back now would kill the dance floor"

Journey was big on the dancefloor years ago? Wow.

P.S. Nice promo!

Yale Fox (not verified) Wrote

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 15:48

Anonymous - I actually have the balls to put my name on my posts. Status Disko is another DJ that I know, who is now based out of the UK and actually intelligent enough to be able to read that 20 page paper without having to use a dictionary. He also wrote that post entirely on his on prerogative.


You need to get laid.

I'm endorsed by a ton of brands because I'm forward thinking and doing something other people can't do. I've used my brand connections to hook up some of the top underground DJs with product, endorsement and money to help push that culture. Interestingly enough, it's all the underground people that are hating on this material.

If all these artists are pushing creativity and ingenuity, when will they learn that it's more powerful to stick together instead of hating on their colleagues anonymously from blogs.

And for the record, Journey had a relapse as a dancefloor classic when mashup was big and Discotech put out a remix. That's what I was playing- not the original.

Bartholomew (not verified) Wrote

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 16:07

With a name like Xander, your parents were probably hippies. You sound like one too.

Xander (not verified) Wrote

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 16:27


You are not forward thinking... unless you think playing Journey remixes is an example of being cutting edge.

I could care less which brands floated you some free merchandise so you can continue to play the same music that all of the other Top 40 DJ's play.

Basically, I think DJ's like you are dumbing down the artform and I'm really tired of it.

But hey, to each their own right? Have fun bro.

Xander (not verified) Wrote

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 16:29

With a name like Bartholomew, your parents were probably a bunch of square-ass conservatives drinking too many martinis at the country club.

Anonymous (not verified) Wrote

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 20:24

Xander straight up just do us all a favour and go get laid please and stop ripping on everyone elses name when yours is Xander.. last time I checked the movie XXX came out at least 7 years ago

Alex (not verified) Wrote

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 20:49

I agree that the article doesn't need to be so derogatory but having looked over the shortened version of the thesis I have to agree that it is not really that exciting.
My first issue, before looking at the claims of the study, is the incredibly limited scope. Looking at one bar, in one small town, over 10 nightsis no way to go about a legitimate study. I believe this was Yale's undergraduate thesis and so time constraints were probably a factor but at the very least this means we should take this study with a grain of salt and it should probably not have received the amount of attention it has.
Now my biggest issue is that the thesis is largely confirming what everyone would take as common sense and so is not really contributing anything new, although there is something to be said for confirmatory studies. Essentially the hypothesis is that playing hit songs, in an environment where subjects expect hit songs, results in increased bar sales.
This is not a new idea. If you were to ask anyone what they think would happen if a country bar played electronic music hits, instead of country hits one night, most would say the bar would empty and bar sales would therefore drop. This seems to be essentially what Yale has shown but something everyone knows.

My second problem, and perhaps this is answered in the full thesis, is what happened at this club when Yale played all of one genre, or no hits all night?

Presumably for a legitimate scientific study you need to have positive and negative controls.

In this instance at least one night of playing all non-hits and unknown songs would have to be conducted to verify that it indeed leads to decreased bar sales. I agree it would seem obvious that it would, but for a study it is necessary to do these controls before you can claim anything. I also agree this probably wouldn't be possible in a nightclub as what owner would want you to ruin their night, but if you want to call yourself a scientist you have to figure these things out.

Essentially what I am getting at is that this is not really a scientific study, it is more of a marketing conducted for one specific bar with a relatively specific crowd. This means it should not be heralded as any kind of glimpse into the art of DJing and more what works at Elixir Nightclub in Kingston Ontario. To really look into this type of behavior a study would have to be conducted at a variety of club locations across a wide geographic area over a much longer time point before any relationship could be considered valid.

I want to mention that I don't mean to be rude and I think the study is interesting and perhaps Yale is working on answering some of these questions now as I understand an undergraduate thesis is not expected to be perfection.

Yale Fox (not verified) Wrote

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 05:42

The point of the thesis is to show the effect music can have on bar sales, with real life data- not speculation.

There were no controls in this, just look at the data and take it for what it is- there are definitive patterns. This was mentioned as a limitation of the study.

It was only what works at the Elixir in Kingston, Ontario - this was also mentioned in the study for those that read it. Different clubs will have different needs and requirements- also mentioned in my analysis.

Also keep in mind I wrote this 3 years ago, so this was unexpected attention. It was not my official undergraduate thesis, this was the second of two that I really did do out of passion.

This was a playful and interesting study on a side of nightclubs that DJs rarely see- the actual sales.

My real issue is with the blogger wrote, which was complete and utter disinformation.

All I can do is laugh at uys like Xander who got picked on in high school and seek refuse behind the anonymity the internet can provide.


The point I'm trying to illustrate is the importance of a DJ at every level INCLUDING the economics of a nightclub. If you're a DJ out there- and you haven't been stiffed, lowballed, or played for pennies at least once- then you haven't been doing this for long enough.

Especially if you're playing at an underground nightclub where they typically have LESS money to pay the DJs for a variety of reasons that I can save for another argument.

The mainstream clubs can afford to pay more.

Many clubs are quick to hire the cheaper DJ who just bought Serato last week.

Jackmeat Jones (not verified) Wrote

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 06:49

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that when you book talented artists, a nightclub or bar establishment makes more money. It's as simple as saying that a talented artist will draw a crowd and will make them stay. And who wants to stay at a bar without buying a drink? You don't need a thesis to prove that. This is an example of how academics can be applied towards total bullshit. What's next, a scholar proving that people make worse food choices when they're upset? Please.

Yale Fox (not verified) Wrote

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 09:33

Jackmeat- totally taking the topic on an unrelated tangent. When you book a massive headliner DJ they sell out a club. They probably love music too, are the club owners booking them because of their love for music or because they sold out their venue and they caked up?

There is a difference between holding a DJ residency, being a touring DJ, and being a producer WHO ALSO djs at clubs.

Xander (not verified) Wrote

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 10:07

Yale- Fraggle Rock DJ's? Really? Your logo looks about as ridiculous as you sound.

You think slapping a 4/4 beat with a sloppily played bassline underneath other people's music makes you an artist? What a joke.

I'm shocked if YOU get laid peddling this cheesy garbage to people.

P.S. XLR8R magazine has done far more to promote and showcase the best of electronic music culture than you ever will. You're a complete phony. Please don't come out to the West Coast.

Yale (not verified) Wrote

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 10:29

Xander- it's obvious I hit a sour note with the not getting laid comment. Sorry, it really does suck to be a virgin- but you're probably some 14 year old rat sitting at a computer so just be patient.

It looks like you've ran out of arguments so you're trying to change the subject of this thread entirely. I don't time to argue with small, insignificant haters like yourself.

Have a great day.

Medley (not verified) Wrote

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 11:00

"Rock journalism is people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, in order to provide articles for people who can't read." ~ Frank Zappa

Patric, dude, you're a blogger... go post some free music and pat yourself on the back for giving exposure/stealing from artists.

Cameron (not verified) Wrote

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 11:48

If only Belly at 1:55am was the 90s group. That'd at least be funny.

Macaroon (not verified) Wrote

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 13:27

To end this debate can we just say that Seals workin gurls as remixed by Fraggle rock is the best song ever made?

Status Disko (not verified) Wrote

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 04:05

I'm not Yale. Here's my Facebook profile: http://www.facebook.com/MichaelAWilson

Xander - not sure where you're posting from, but "Journey" remixes are all over dancefloors and blogs even today.

What's wrong with DJ culture today are the constant "I'm more of an artist than you are" and the "you're not a real DJ because you (choose one) use Serato/use CDJS/use Mixed in Key/ etc." arguments.

If someone enjoys the same music as you, and enjoys exposing it to other people, or creates new music that you like , then you should want to be friends with that person, not hate on them, especially if they've found some success with it.

Rob J. (not verified) Wrote

Thu, 07/29/2010 - 06:01

This is funny.
"hey yale! yo, i heard you made it into xlr8r! thats dope, man. so whats the headline?"

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