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DJ P0N-3 (also known as Vinyl Scratch) is a nickname given to a background unicorn character from the animated TV series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Despite her very brief appearance as a nameless disk jockey in one of the episodes, the character’s cool demeanors caught the attention of My Little Pony fans and led to a series of audio / video remixes on YouTube, usually set to electronica and house music.
This blue-haired unicorn originally appeared in the first season’s episode “Suited for Success,” as a DJ at the fashion show hosted by one of main characters Rarity. Although the character was seen on-screen for less than 5 seconds, her unique design and cool attitude left a distinct impression on the fans for greater period of time.
The poll resulted in a tie between DJ P0n-3 and Scratch; the character was given the nickname “Scratch” and the stagename “DJ P0N-3” (generally written only in capital letters). Later on, her name was extended to Vinyl Scratch by Equestria Daily and 4chan’s fanbase. This was due in part to the naming convention typically given to characters of the show and was inspired by the DJ mixing art known as “Scratching.” As with other beloved background characters who were given fan nicknames, her popularity inspired fan illustrations and anthropomorphic drawings made in tribute to her.
On May 27, 2011, Hasbro Studios released an extended version of Equestria Girls (not to be confused with the 2013 movie released by the same name), which was a ponified version of Katy Perry’s song California Girls. Hasbro opted not to release the video online directly and instead released it to the care of the fan site Equestria Daily in recognition of the site’s dedication to the community, show, and ponies in general. The video itself explicitly recognizes the name bronies have given DJ P0N-3, calling her “DJ Pon-three” to emphasize the spelling and featured the often dubbed-over scene that priorly popular for use in memes.
The character then later appeared in cameo scenes in the season 2 finale and the feature length films Equestria Girls and Equestria Girls 2. Before the official release of Equestria Girls 2, Hasbro Studios released shorts related to the film in order to create pre-release interest. On March 27, 2014, a short titled “Music To My Ears” was published to the Hasbro Studio Shorts YouTube account which featured the humanized version of Vinyl Scratch in the Equestria Girls universe. This video garnished almost 2 Million views within a month and was quickly followed by another film related short titled “Guitar Centered” in which she made another short appearance as the cashier of a guitar center. Both videos can be seen below.
On February 11th, 2012, Hasbro revealed on its My Little Pony Facebook a variety of new products including a Vinyl Scratch pony toy called here “DJ Pon-3”. She also became the first background pony to be officially included in the toy line.
At the 2012 Wondercon, Lauren Faust, the original producer of the show, drew a Vinyl Sratch sketch to a fan who requested her, even if she had never drawn her before. This strengthened the identity of the character’s name according to the bronies..
In November of 2011, Scratch was recognized as OC Weekly’s #1 cartoon DJ, beating out characters such as Homer Simpson and Futurama’s Scratchmo. The publication provides coverage to Orange County and Long Beach and reaches about 224,000 readers, most of whom are not bronies.
As with most followings, Scratch’s notability inspired numerous productions of original art as well as mashups and image macros.
Due to the strong association of the character with music and the creative talent within the community, many musical creations began popping up across the web that were in dedication to or written about he character and mostly classified as dubstep or EDM.
On May 24, 2012, a YouTube account was created under the name of “VinylScratchDJPony” by a then 20 year old Czech producer who then uploaded numerous videos with either songs dedicated to or impersonating the character. As of April 2014 his account had garnished just under 5 million views and his official facebook page had 17.5 thousand likes.
DJ P0N-3 Videos
Following the successful launch of Scratch on Equestria Daily, some YouTube users began sampling Scratch’s head-bobbin’ footage in loop with electro-dance music. While the earlier instances of A/V remix generally consisted of the looped video footage and a dance track, many derivatives that came later adopted heavier modifications in lighting, playback speed, background footage and music genre.
A popular fact about Scratch is that she wears glasses, which is also recognized as one of her character traits. These glasses serve the function of giving Scratch an excentric look as a disk jockey. They are also commonly used as an exploitable.
Scratch without Glasses
By the fact that Scratch originally only appeared in one short scene in the series, with glasses, it was originally unknown how Scratch looks without glasses. This lead to discussion amongst fans of Scratch’s natural look.
In the season 2 finale, “A Canterlot Wedding”, Vinyl Scratch made a second appearance, similar to her first time being only a few seconds long. During the scene she takes of her glasses and shows her eyes for a short moment (shown at 0:08 in the video to the left). In the scene, her eye color was shown as a combination of magenta and purple. Although the scenery does make the eyes look slightly darker. Later, in the Equestria Girls movie, it was reviled that her eyes were in fact purple/violet, thus strengthening the debate over eye color (shown in the video to the right).
Even with the confirmation of her canon eye color, this is still a common topic of discussion amongst fans. Before the episode aired, most of the fandom had accepted her eyes as being red. Therefore, most fanart showing her without glasses, shows her with red eyes.
Since her popularity begun, Scratch is commonly associated with real life electro artists Daft Punk and Deadmau5, both being very popular and excentric-looking with helmets and costumes. This lead to fanart in which DJ P0N-3 does duets with them. The musicians also gained ponified versions of themselves, called Daft Pony and Deadhor5 (one of the fan-names suggested for Vinyl Scratch by the Equestria Daily poll).
Scratch is also frequently associated with another background pony from the show, a grey Earth Pony fan-named Octavia. Octavia is known amongst the fans for playing the cello and having a liking towards classical music. This lead to the two characters often getting into arguments with each other in fanworks, mainly because of their different taste in music. Although they are also often depicted as close friends.
It’s of interest to note that the Google search results for “Vinyl Scratch” do exist per-character creation due to the popularity of the music storage medium and the Turntable art known as “scratching” for which she was named, but search results for her character do notable rise almost 500% beyond background level searches after her naming in Spring 2011.