DJing: What is Back-to-Back (B2B)?

Introduction to the world of DJing

When it comes to DJing, a multitude of specific terms and jargons can quickly make things confusing. Among these terms is “Back-to-Back” or “B2B”, often used in DJ sets. But what exactly does that mean?

The Back-to-Back (B2B) concept

Back-to-Back (B2B) in DJing refers to the collaboration between two or more DJs on the same performance. In a B2B set, you’ll see two DJs alternate, each playing one or more tracks before handing over to the other. This practice offers a unique experience, both for DJs and audiences, as it allows a fusion of styles and a changing dynamic throughout the set.

The magic of B2B: sharing experience and skills

Beyond the alternation of tracks, a B2B represents much more. It’s a sharing of ideas, experience and technical skills between participating DJs. This brings a certain musical diversity that can be greatly appreciated by the audience.

The role of DJs in a Back-to-Back set

Each DJ taking part in a B2B set plays a key role in the performance. One of them starts the set, creating the initial atmosphere, before handing over to his partner. The latter then brings his own interpretation, adding his style and energy to the performance. And so on.

The origins of B2B

The B2B concept originated in the underground world of house and techno clubs in the 80s and 90s. The idea was to allow two or more DJs to share the stage and mix together. It was an innovative way of broadening the evening’s musical spectrum and giving the audience a richer musical experience.

This name has its origins in the practices of yesteryear, when DJs had their vinyl bins placed behind them at events. As one DJ searched for a new record in these bins, they found themselves back to back with the other DJ – a position known as “back to back”, hence the name B2B.

The unwritten rules of B2B

There are no strict rules for B2B DJing, but there are a few generally accepted guidelines. One of them is that each DJ plays one or two tracks in turn. It’s also important to respect the other DJ’s style and find a balance that allows the overall performance to shine.

B2B equipment

A B2B requires at least two sound sources (two turntables, CDJs or DJ controllers), a mixer and a PA system. Each DJ uses his own sound source to mix his tracks, and both sources are connected to the mixer, which provides the transition between tracks.

The benefits and challenges of B2B

Like any artistic practice, B2B presents both advantages and challenges. On the one hand, it offers the opportunity to explore new musical territories and create unique experiences. On the other hand, it requires great skill, good communication and mutual understanding.

The benefits of B2B: Variety and creativity

One of the main advantages of a B2B set is musical variety. With two (or more) DJs, audiences can enjoy a wide range of musical styles and genres. What’s more, collaboration between DJs can lead to unique and unpredictable moments that make the set even more memorable.

B2B challenges: Harmony and synchronization

However, the success of a B2B set depends on the DJs’ ability to work in harmony and synchronize their performance. DJs have to adapt quickly to their partner’s selection, which can sometimes be complex, especially if their musical styles are very different.

How to set up a successful Back-to-Back (B2B) set

Preparation: the key to a successful B2B

While part of the magic of B2B is its spontaneity, a certain amount of preparation is required. DJs need to familiarize themselves with their partner’s style and music, and discuss together the direction they want their set to take.

Adaptation: the key to a harmonious B2B

For a B2B set, adaptability is essential. Every DJ needs to be able to listen and adapt to what the accompanying DJ is playing. It’s a real exercise in active listening, requiring both concentration and flexibility.

Conclusion: B2B, a DJing fusion that transcends the audience

Back-to-Back, or B2B, is an exciting and creative DJing practice that fuses styles, shares skills and offers a rich and varied musical experience to the public. Despite the challenges it can present, a successful B2B is a true demonstration of technical skills, creativity and DJ collaboration.


What is B2B in DJing?

B2B, or back-to-back, DJing is a practice in which two or more DJs share the decks for a collaborative mixing session.

Why do DJs do B2B?

B2B allows DJs to feed off each other’s energy and creativity. This artistic collaboration offers the chance to test new ideas, push boundaries and create a truly unique musical experience.

How does B2B DJing work?

Each DJ plays one or two tracks in turn. It’s also important to respect the other DJ’s style and find a balance that allows the overall performance to shine.

What equipment do you need for B2B?

A B2B requires at least two sound sources (two turntables, CDJs or DJ controllers), a mixer and a PA system.

What are the advantages and challenges of B2B?

The advantages of B2B are that it enables DJs to create unique and original musical experiences. B2B challenges include the need for great synchronization and clear communication between DJs.

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