How DJs Get Ahead & Stay There

Things to Look for When Hiring a DJ

Everyone can remember at least one great wedding or birthday party they’ve attended. The food was tasty, there were plenty of beverages available, and the venue was convenient and attractive. However, it’s possible that the most memorable part of the evening was the music! Hiring a DJ for an event can be a daunting task. Here are a few things to look for when choosing your disc jockey.

Start the Search Online

Nowadays, the first place people look when they need to hire anyone for anything is the internet. Many questions you have about a business can be answered by a quick web search.

  • Ask for recommendations from your Facebook crew as these suggestions can leave the biggest impact.
  • Do a quick search on other social media to find a local DJ business. This can be especially helpful if the DJ posts pictures of events that they’ve covered in the past.
  • Seek out reviews on sites like Yelp for both the positive and the negative. Be especially cautious of any DJs that lack professionalism and respond critically to the negative reviews of their business.

Song Lists and Suggestions

Music selection is a personal taste. Maybe you aren’t quite sure what types of songs you would like played at your event. When hiring a DJ, make sure they can provide you with a list of songs that they play regularly and also offer a list of suggestions to guide you. They should also be responsive if you know exactly what you want. If they aren’t direct as to whether or not they can fulfill your needs, you should probably look for someone who is. And finally, make sure to ask whether or not they accept requests from attendees. While some DJs leave it up to the hosts to decide whether or not to accommodate music requests, others strictly do not allow it.

Emcee and Crowd Activities

If you’re looking for someone to announce different parts of a celebration such as the cake cutting at a wedding or the toasts at an anniversary party, you’ll need to make sure that the DJ is willing to act as an emcee. Some DJs are there strictly to provide music for the dance floor. Others are more than happy to direct the crowd’s attention wherever it’s needed and they do so with enthusiasm to make it fun!

Additionally, DJs often have a repertoire of wedding and party activities that correspond to music to get the crowd involved and entertained. If you have specific traditions you’d like included in your event, check with the DJ to ensure they can realize them.

When Hiring a DJ, Always Get References

One of the biggest factors in hiring a DJ is their experience. Endorsements from friends will have the biggest impact, but you should still ask for a list of references and venues they’ve worked previously. It’s also important to note how long they’ve been in business. Are they new at this or have they been working for years?

Technical Issues

When hiring a DJ, it’s important to get all of the technical information necessary. Some venues have requirements for sound levels, equipment, licensing, and insurance. Find out if the DJ you’re considering can meet all of these obligations.

Furthermore, you may want to ask if the DJ has a backup in case of equipment failure or some other type of difficulty. This sort of information should be included in a written contract to be signed by both you and the disc jockey.


Considerations when choosing a name

Before you get ahead of yourself and start buying URLs, it pays to think through a few considerations that will sway your thinking as you begin to create a shortlist of names.

Will your name suit the type of DJ you want to be?

First and foremost, what kind of DJ do you intend to be? This should be the first question before even beginning to consider names.

  • Mobile DJ – Your name should not scare the parents of engaged couples, while still appealing to millennials. Likewise, for corporate bookings it should be acceptable to the “company decision-maker” while still generating excitement on their promotional flyers and Facebook events
  • Club DJ – Your name should appeal to whatever scene you intend to be a part of (music genre, LGBTQ, hip hop, fitness…)
  • Not sure – abide by both sets of guidelines above


Make extensive use of the bass notes of both tracks

One of the easiest ways to start learning about EQing and correct adjustments is to play around with the bass frequency. As you probably know already, the bass frequency outputs part of the rhythm section, which includes the bass and/or drum notes. These provide the constant beat to the songs, and swapping the bass notes from one passage to another is a very effortless way to add some character to your sets.

To start, simply play channel #1 and channel # 2. Reduce channel #2 mids and highs, while having channel #1 playing. Then you are going to reduce channel #1 bass notes, leaving you with the mid’s and highs. After this, introduce channel #2 bass notes. The end result should be using part of the first song’s high notes with the second song’s base.

Doing this is an excellent way to introduce yourself to EQing, and you could always try doing the same with the other frequencies. The trick is switching tracks to know what works with a certain adjustment and what doesn’t.


More Communication Efficiency

MIDI 2.0 will have 256 MIDI Channels and up-to 32 bits of resolution, which means that this communication will become more complex, making timing and control more efficient (and less buggy). Greater resolution also leads to greater expressiveness and tuning options – which is great for micro-tonal musicians and those using non-western scales.

So who are the winners here? Well, of course we all are when something so ingrained gets a massive upgrade after almost over 40 years. It will simplify connecting hardware even further, and for those making non-conventional and new styles of music, it allows way more control. So, if you have extremely expressive controllers (like what ROLI are making), this will be great news.


Should the venue have licenses from all 3 PROs?

Ideally, yes, they should have licenses from BMI, SESAC, and ASCAP.

Say you want to include Shakira’s new song in your mix. Now, that song could have 20 different artists working on it- from composers to lyricists to backup singers, etc. They all could be represented by a single PRO, or, as is more common, they’ll be spread across all 3 PROs.

In this case, if you play the new Shakira song, all three PRO’s can claim royalties from the venue. With all the different songs you’ll end up playing in your mix, you can only imagine how messy the web of copyright holders would look for just one 30 minute playlist.

This is why you ought to ensure that your club has all 3 licenses.

Over time, as you do more and more gigs, you’ll come to realize which spots are compliant and which aren’t. You can then decide, basis your own risk appetite, where you’d like to play