How to remain standing in the DJ business

As a DJ you have core values, and reasons for doing what you do, and where you end up will result from what comes from your values. In this blog, I will be writing about what happens to DJs with the wrong core values, compared to a DJ with the right core values. And how you can recognise if your values are helping you in your current situation and on the road to success.

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Why has the DJ become so popular

With the rise of EDM (Electronic Dance Music) and technology, it has made it more accessible and easier to learn how to DJ more than ever before. There has never been so many people wanting to learn how to DJ, and I believe everybody deserves to succeed at DJing whether they have just started, or been in it for years. However, the music industry now has become a popularity contest; it has little to do with your skills now, from a DJ standpoint. It has become mostly about your image, brand and music production; it has become big business.

Some or even most people could argue that the music industry has become a little bit of a joke. It has allowed DJs with little experience to overshadow others that have worked at it for years struggling to get DJ gigs, while a new DJ that has literally just started a month or two ago, just walks right in if they are more marketable/popular, then used as a product of the industry to fit a niche. As stated in my ebook The DJs Guide To Your First Gig, “The music industry is not exactly fair”.

I have come to realise after over nine years of being a Melbourne DJ and learning what goes on in the music industry in Melbourne is, the people purely in it for the music and have the right reasons and have core values, last. Now you may think, well, everyone is in it for the music or has reasons, which is true; everyone does to a degree, but how deep is your love for the music compared to others, and what other motives are there and driving forces for succeeding? However, before I get to that, what are you reasons and motives?

The possible DJ motives?

Are you a DJ because:

  • You want to be popular?
  • You need to seek approval and attention?
  • You want to get laid more?
  • You want to make a lot of money?
  • You want to make a point and prove others wrong?

These questions may sound a little out there and go a little bit deep for some, but I am getting to the core to find out if you are in it for all the wrong reasons. You see, if you have answered yes to any of these questions, you will find that your DJ career or hobby will be a short and unfulfilling one. Mostly, when you are trying to make a name for yourself in the music industry, those rewards above are a dime and a dozen. You're seeking short-term gratification, which never lasts.


If you are in it because:

  • You want to grow as a DJ/artist
  • You want to become an influential artist
  • You want to contribute to the music industry with your own memorable music
  • You want to be innovative and create a music lifestyle that serves beyond you
  • You have a strong passion for music, and it is all you want to do
  • You want to make a difference by connecting people in the music industry

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you are in it for the right reasons. The only downfall here, my friends, is you have chosen a road that will be a massive challenge, but the rewards will be huge, more satisfying, longer lasting and the journey will be more enjoyable to those that keep pursuing and reward themselves along the way.

A DJ in it for the long term, with those motives, lasts. You see, people that come into the music industry and get an easier ride don't last compared to the others that work for it. There is less appreciation for the rewards and respect to others in the music industry. This is why your core values and reasons are so important. The modern DJ has turned into a business, and if you don't have strong core values like every successful business does, you will find it hard to maintain your presence.

Strong DJ business core values

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 A successful business has:

  • A purpose or desire
  • A vision
  • A passion
  • A strategy or plan to succeed
  • Strong motivating reasons why (mentioned earlier)

And on top of that, he or she understands that success in the music industry is hard work.

The music industry politics

In the music industry there is big business, and there will always be politics. Those with a strong foundation to work from (core values and reasons ) find it easier to stay on track when things get difficult. There will always be people that will try to take advantage of you and use you, but if you are in it for the long hall with the right values compared to the others DJs that don’t, you will last in the music industry.

As it has been said “The strongest trees grow in the strongest winds”

Armin Van Buuren says it best in this video from 10 minutes 17 seconds, as he is asked what is the secret to success. You have to really love music and have a strong passion for it to succeed. In the end when you focus on your dream and keep at it, there will be no reason for politics and business to stand your way.

Feel free to have you say below