Decent DJs

It is commonly believed that “there are more DJs than there are people”, “everyone is a DJ these days”, and that DJing is a very highly competitive market.

But the truth is that in order to stand out among the other artists and earn a trustworthy reputation among colleagues and promoters, it is enough just to do your job properly. Not “excellent,” not “brilliant,” but at least decently.

A decent, reliable DJ:

  1. Responds to emails or messages.
  2. Asks questions about the details of the event.
  3. Understands the role to which he/she is being booked.
  4. Listens to the music of other artists in the lineup if he/she is not already familiar with them.
  5. Does not hesitate to consult with the organizer about the set, if there are doubts.
  6. Adequately reacts to requests of the organizer to correct the energy level of the set when discussing it prior to the event, if such is required by the conception.
  7. Coordinates his/her technical rider in advance.
  8. Coordinates the guestlists in advance, if plans to bring someone.
  9. Does not suddenly disappear a few days before the event.
  10. Arrives at the venue on time time, that is minimum one hour before his set.
  11. Comes sober.
  12. Gets up at the stage sober.
  13. Does not interfere with another artist during a changeover.
  14. Knows gear commutation basics.
  15. Knows how to mix.
  16. Correctly distributes and monitors the signal level.
  17. Takes care of the club equipment.
  18. Plays tracks with a high bitrate.
  19. Has a backup plan in case something goes wrong (for example, LINK does not work).
  20. Adjusts his set if he realizes that his current vector is not working on the dance floor.
  21. Helps the next DJ on the changeover.

It may seem that all of this applies only to the greatest masters, but in fact, it is exactly the basic requirements of professional aptitude for a decent, reliable DJ.

Just so you understand: the DJ industry is still in a state where you have to explain why playing tracks at 128 kbps is not OK, or why a DJ isn’t booked anymore if last time he was like “oh sorry I can’t make it tonight” in one hour before his set.

So if you want to be a DJ, but you’re afraid of the competition — don’t be. Just do your job properly.

 282   2019   Advice   DJing   Music Industry

Since 2015, I’ve run an advice section giving my experience and answering readers’ questions on music production, DJing, performing, marketing, management, and other aspects of the music industry. The purpose of the series is to spread knowledge and cultivate professionalism in the music industry. The advice series works simply: you send me your questions, and I answer them with a blog post when I have something relevant to say. Send me your questions via the form.

© Daniel Sokolovskiy, 2023
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