I am a DJ, I am what I play,
I got believers,
Believing me. – David Bowie
Jukeboxes are wonderful and magical things. And, despite a brief lull in their popularity, they’ve somehow stayed with us.
TouchTunes, for one, have made the jukebox again a lively centerpiece of nightlife.
These TouchTunes jukeboxes are the best machines for what I’ve discovered as an emerging, lively social activity bringing communities, friends, and even enemies together: The Juke Off.
A Brief History of Juking Off
TouchTunes jukeboxes began popping up in restaurants and bars with unrestricted, vast web-enabled song databases. This made it possible to hear “Thick as a Brick” or “What’s He Building?” while at your favorite watering hole.
This sparked meaningful conversation as other listeners were unable to press “skip” or “>>.”
It also sparked rivalry and led to aggressive – and sometimes expensive – competition.
Unfortunately, establishments soon began restricting song database access. The reason is unclear. Regardless, it was a sad turn of events that lowered the bar for, well, music while in a . . . bar.
The enthusiasm and hunger for good music whilst drinking – and the healthy competition that ensues – remains. Juking off has largely been casual until recently. Ten rules have emerged to make juking off as productive and engaging as possible.
The Ten Rules of Juking Off
The first rule of a juke off is: You tell everyone about juking off.
The second rule of a juke off is: The juker that plays a song twice immediately loses the juke off and should be shamed accordingly.
3: The first play is determined by challenge. The one who proposed juking off plays first.
4: The challengee has likely already accepted the challenge to juke off. However, after the first play, the challengee may still decline the challenge honorably. However, an audience member may assume the challenge.
5: Jukers rotate until the audience deems a juker no longer worthy of rotation. That juker has lost the juke off.
6: Jukers are free to juke off all night. Jukers should be evaluated throughout the night based on these factors:
- Consistency of theme or musical genre.
- Accurate reading of – and response to – the audience and atmosphere.
- Positive audience response is a plus.
7: If the establishment is preparing for close, an acceptable number of remaining turns is decided upon by the jukers, and the challengee plays the last song. The decision of a winner between jukers is put before the audience. Audience response determines the winner.
8: Wagers and awards in the form of house cash, drinks, and/or soakage are to be encouraged.
9: Freebird, Stairway to Heaven, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Hey Jude, and Thick As a Brick and any edited, live, or cover versions thereof are not allowed. Playing one of these songs results in automatic juke off loss.
10: Audience should be notified that a juke off is underway. Extra credits are likely required to maintain the pace of a juke off. However, audience members who cut into a juke off knowingly may be verbally ridiculed, regardless of the strength of their song choice(s). If they have acted unknowingly, they must at the very least be informed of their error.
Finally, remember: We could all get along, if we could all just juke off.