Do your DJ skills even matter?

In today’s flooded DJ market, one must ask, just how important are your DJ skills for getting DJ gigs? With the rise of the dance music industry, we have seen marketing more important than ever before, music production taking over as the new norm, as another saturated market, and creative lucrative branding like we have never seen before. So, to get DJ gigs, where should we put our attention the most to get the quickest results?

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Here's the reality

Learning how to DJ is not difficult anymore. This may sound a little bias coming from a person like myself that has done it for 9 years. However, for the majority of newbies eager to learn how to DJ, you can learn how to mix tracks properly within a matter of weeks, if taught properly. Technology has been the saviour of hard work, “however” the difference between someone who can just mix tracks together and someone who can DJ confidently in front of an audience, control the movement of that audience, and keep them on the dance floor. Will take years of experience, trial and error.

It does not mean it will take you years to get some of your first DJ gigs, though, and that’s what I want to talk about.

So you're a DJ

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If you are a relatively new DJ and you want more DJ gigs, the first question you will ask yourself is, am I good enough? The best way to find that out is to be confident in your ability to mix, have good progression and flow for song structure, then putting together a mix that is appropriate for the nightclub and target market you are trying to reach. You need to know this before expecting DJ gigs and plays online. If you are confident that you can do all of the above, plus you have also sent your DJ mixes out to people that are established DJ’s in the music industry, and have been given positive feedback from at least five to ten people.

You are good enough to get DJ gigs at an entry level, perhaps not a prestige nightclub or music festival level yet, which is a different story. Getting the bigger DJ gigs takes the involvement of making your own music, releasing consistently good music, great marketing of that music and branding.

Why do I still struggle to get DJ gigs?

This is a question that can have never ending answers, the things that can stop you getting DJ gigs are:

  • Not knowing and connecting with the right people
  • You don't make your own music (becoming more and more necessary)
  • You might not look like you have an acceptable amount of followers online
  • You may have poor imagery and branding
  • Poor networking skills
  • Poor marketing and promotional skills
  • A poor attitude, negative about other DJ’s, people and unwilling to learn or help out.
  • There may not be any availability for you

The list could go on…

It’s not just about the DJ, it’s about business

Based on all the areas above, it is fair to say we need to consider our skills in each area. I am not saying you need to tick all the boxes, but my point is to make sure you are aware of them. Looking at the big picture to establish yourself as a DJ that wants to get DJ gigs, build a following and make a name for yourself, you have to see yourself as a business. What does a good profitable business do? It spends most of its time marketing its product, versus time spent on building the product. What does a struggling business do? Develop the product versus the marketing the product.  

To be a DJ or music producer, we can spend the majority of our time on the music side, which I recommend highly up to a certain point. We need a great quality DJ mix and/or a couple of good tracks to represent ourselves and our brand, then market it. But, with a flooded DJ marketplace as we know it, we need to spend more time on marketing. And when I say marketing, I include networking, as networking is really a form a marketing.

Aim to get a foot in the door

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When we put it all in perspective, skills must always come first. If you consider yourself to be a confidently skilled DJ looking to get DJ gigs, and you have been given good feedback from other DJ’s, then it really is time to give it a push. Do your absolute best to get a foot in the door, before you delve into the field of music production. Spend your money on quality, professionally taken photos and logos, and make sure your appearance online looks great. Then, spend 75% of your time marketing what you now have.

Look at how may variables you need to get the DJ gigs. It outweighs the skills department when you look at the big picture. The painful reality is you can have great music, great branding and still struggle to get DJ gigs if you don't spend the time putting yourself out there. You might be able to find that certain people in the music industry can help you with your weaknesses, or tell you what you need to work on more. In conclusion, spend most of your time getting a foot in the door, if you have the skills. Skills these days are only 25 percent of the battle, maybe even less than.
We are in a flooded global marketplace with a lot of DJ talent, so it’s time for all of us to think outside the box.

What are you strengths and weaknesses?
Do you think it’s more about marketing or skills?

Feel free to comment below.

Posted on April 21, 2016 and filed under DJ.