Gone are the days when the DJ just had to worry about selecting their favourite tunes and just showing up to play gigs. Over the course of the last ten years, there have been dramatic changes in the field of the dance music industry. With a flooded market of DJs, dance music dominating commercially, and the social media explosion, it’s fair to say DJs are not just DJs anymore.
In this blog I will explain the role of today’s DJ and what has now become required for all of us to stand out, get the gigs we want, and gain more success in our hobby or career.
What DJs used to do to get a gig:
As recently as ten years ago in the industry, or in the early 2000s, a DJ who could provide a good-enough mix, go to a club, do CD handouts, a little bit of networking and self-promotion on the night in and outside the club, was good enough to get people’s attention to hear their music and had greater chances of getting a gig. Sure, they still had to get to know the right people, but the work ethic of the past DJ was more minimal, unlike today’s DJ.
Today’s DJ has to be:
A great DJ - Sometimes being a good DJ is not enough to get a foot in the door; supplying just a mix now is the bare minimum.
A great networker - Whether it’s social media or in person; I believe both. The DJ now has to become great at public relations and be more omnipresent to connect with more people in order to build a following of fans and industry connections. Without them we would all struggle. A DJ is now expected to bring more numbers with him or her than ever before.
An online marketer - Constantly thinking of more ways to add value in the music industry, to give the DJ more of an advantage over his or her competitors, and build raving fans in the process, meaning they need to know how to market themselves in order to get heard and stand out.
Produce tracks - Give yourself more of an advantage of getting gigs by developing your own unique sound, thus raising your chances getting booked and chosen over other DJs who don't have their own sound or productions yet.
A Branding/Merchandiser - A DJ now has to become their own brand; online image is a big thing now. Having the right-looking photos, logos, and an attractive brand will grab the attention of people to gain more interest in you.
Their own promotions manager - Constantly promoting their own material and also event flyers is a “must” if a DJ is representing a particular club night or event. Both are so vitally crucial to getting the right exposure and representation for both you and your club. It is not just a one-sided affair, and promoting should never stop.
Have a way of building better industry relationships - Your ability to gain more success in your DJing counts on this; building not just relationships, but the right ones is another key to getting places.
Is today’s DJ becoming more of an entrepreneur?
Based on what a DJ has to know to get the right exposure, attention, and music heard more so over others, yes. DJing has become more of a business than ever before, and more work has to be done to reach success in our field.
So it’s time to think in a more business-minded way.
Comment below as I would love to know your thoughts on this topic.