Added: Nivia Ducharme - Date: 25.01.2022 20:44 - Views: 14793 - Clicks: 7464
We're always asked by our students 'How do you get DJ gigs? There are two distinct ways of getting DJ gigs, either the gigs come to you or you go and hunt them down yourself. Most DJ's start with the latter but the big aim should be that the gigs eventually come to you. Promoters will only come knocking on your door if you're an established artist and that normally means that you're a well known music producer. If you learn how to produce and release great music you can skip the hard part and enter further up the food chain.
If you're a new unknown DJ you'll need to go out there and get gigs yourself or you'll need to get working on that big hit-single in the studio, either way it's going to involve a lot of dedication. Big DJ's will have a booking agents representing them and sourcing them gigs, but for many new DJ's getting to that stage is a real catch 22 situation.
Those who work full time jobs and have precious little time to dedicate to their DJ'ing and even less time to learn how to produce and network, so how do you break out of the cycle and start getting gigs? Well the good news is that there are many different ways to get DJ work, you just need to have a plan and work hard to meet your goals.
To help you on your way I've compiled a breakdown of some of the many ways in which you can get DJ gigs or exposure and become a full-time artist or producer. I've even included some handy cheats and tricks to help you get one step ahead of the competition, it's a dog eat dog world out there so take any opportunity that comes your way. When I first started DJing I would often go out every single night of the week, often to more than one club night in an evening.
The more you circulate in a scene the more connections you make the more influential you will become not to mention the more fun you will have! Promoters will always book those closest to them, DJs who support the club night by attending on a regular basis will get preference when it comes to DJ gigs so always make sure you visit the club before asking to play. Socialise with the promoter and become friends with those around you to cement working relationships.
Word of warning, don't get sucked into party animal mode too much, it's great to support a night but if they are picking you up off the floor at the end of the night you'll quickly move from being an asset to an annoyance!
I've also had many friends get sucked into the vortex of clubbing that is drugs and drink, make sure you know your limits and play safe, you'll need to be getting up early in the morning and preparing your world domination plans anyway! Sometimes there are no cool club nights in your area or you just don't like what's available or even the promoters running them. Easy solution, start your own night! This is one of the biggest ways of launching your own DJ career and a great way to make extra cash as well. The two main formats are either you charge on the door or you run a free entry party. This is a really low risk option and can afford you a small amount of cash to pay for things like promotion of the night, graphics, photography and DJs etc.
Once you've gained some experience in running nights and built a mailing list you can then work on larger events where you hire venues and charge on the door, this can be a lot more profitable but also has higher financial risks. If you start small and work your way up you can minimise most of the pitfalls. Make sure you always have enough money to run the event even if you don't make any money on the door.
There's nothing worse for your reputation than not paying venues or other DJs at the end of the night. Always act professionally.
Apart from making some money on the door, the main reason I am giving you this idea is because it can really benefit your DJ career. It gives you a solid resident slot which can act as a launchpad for bigger and better things. You can book big DJs and be on the same line-up as them, that means you'll get to know them personally advancing your influence in that scene. Running your own night will help you cultivate your own crowd and pulling power as a DJ.
Once you have a following you are much more valuable for other promoters who will want to book you on the off-chance your crowd will follow. If you would like some advice on setting up your own brand just and ask for Buster. When you are a new DJ you mainly need to be concerned about getting experience playing for a crowd and exposure. The easy way of doing this is to DJ for free. This presents little risk from the promoters point of view and means you're more likely to get your foot in the door for future paid work.
It's normal to DJ for free if you think it would benefit you in the long term but if you can't see any benefits don't do it. Try not to undersell yourself and the industry as a whole. Don't be a push-over, remember it will cost you to DJ. You need to buy music, equipment and even pay for travel and insurance. Sometimes you will be asked to sell tickets in order for a chance to play somewhere. This is a normal practice and the benefits are that even if you are relatively unknown you can DJ at a reputable club which is good for your DJ CV.
Having a great list of places you've played before will help you get gigs elsewhere as it proves you know your stuff. Once you've got the benefits of having played at the venues once there is little incentive for you to continue unless you enjoy the experience. Selling tickets will be easy the first couple of times but much harder in the long run so make sure your first pay-to-play gig is in one of the best venues. We also organise smaller gigs where ticket sales are not necessary but of course those venues won't carry as much prestige. If you run your own club night or have a resident slot somewhere you can sometimes organise a gig swap with another DJ.
This is a great way of extending your geographical reach, in some cases you can even do this with DJs in other countries. It normally works as a straight forward swap, no money involved. You book them to play at your night and in return they book you to play at theirs.
The benefits are numerous, not only for your DJ CV but also to gain more followers around the world, not to mention it's practically a free holiday! This is essentially just networking but you can approach a promoter in a few different ways, the best way is through recommendation or through visiting the event and meeting in person. Sometimes the venues run 'in-house' promotions and you just need to talk to the manager of the venue. I know many of my students who have spent a day going from venue to venue with a mixtape and been turned down by almost every single one, but it only takes one to say yes to make it worth while.
Once you've got gigs you normally get more gigs as a result so I still think this is a viable option. Failing this you can try to e-mail them directly, often the best way to do this is to research the event online and contact them via Facebook or their website.
One way to stand out in a crowded market is to be the best in your field. DMC champions often take this route perfecting their skills to blow the competition away! Once you think you're the best you'll want everyone else to know about it so make sure you step out of the bedroom and promote yourself. A great way to display your skills is on YouTube. Not as easy as it sounds but this is the main route to make it as a full-time artist.
If you make a great track you can virtually skip all of the steps in this blog and just get a good booking agent to do all the hard work. You'll need to dedicate a lot of time but nowadays you can do it on a budget. There is no need to have recording studios of your own you can start out with as little as a laptop and headphones. Make sure you enrol on one of LSA's one to one production courses to kick-start your progress.
Once you have great music out there the gigs will come to you. As a producer you can often to a label and become part of a bigger community of artists who often tour together or perform together under the brand of the label. If you can't a good record label why not start your own? It's not as hard as it seems. Anyone can start a label and distribute tracks online at relatively low cost.
Don't expect to make much money in the actual selling of the music but the notoriety can really help you get exposure and hopefully lots of high paid DJ work. Many DJ's supplement their income with mobile DJing for parties, events, weddings etc. It's not as glamorous as DJing in a club but it can often be much better paid!
If you don't want to pollute your brand a good idea is to set up a second profile as a mobile DJ or DJ for a mobile DJ company under a different name. Another benefit is that you will gain lots of experience playing other styles of music. Word of mouth is often the best way to advertise.
Why not ask your friends to post a status asking if they know of any venue managers or anyone else that might be able to give you your next DJ gig? You could also get friends to help you out by posting your mixtapes to help spread the word.
Any press is good press! Why not try pulling a PR stunt to get attention? You'll need a great idea and then you'll need to plan something very visible and invite the press along or go somewhere where the press are already gathered. You could be the first DJ to mix while sky-diving or maybe gatecrash a big red-carpet event. Journalists love a story to latch onto so be creative and think outside of the box to get noticed. It's a great idea to have a business card printed and carry them with you everywhere you go. You never know when you'll run into a new contact. I recommend starting by getting a small run of template-based cards while you experiment with your branding.
Try Vistaprint for cheap DJ business cards which you can de online. Make sure the graphics don't look out-of-fashion and avoid cliches like images of headphones! It's a great idea to handout CD mixtapes demos or even USB demos to promotersmanagers and potential followers. Some even try to sell them, which is illegal if you don't own the copyright of the music on the mix of course! A physical item will get more attention than a digital one so if you send a mixtape in the post with a nice letter and cool packaging it will be far more memorable for the promoter than just clicking another link.
Yes, amazing as it is, this is a potential money earner! Just look at DJ Grandpa in Camden Town, he busks legally near the tube station exit and easily makes a few hundred pounds daily! The downside is you might need to dress like a fool and play awful music! It's a formula that obviously works! There's a big market out there for DJ's who play top 40 music.
Think about it, the vast majority of venues around the world just play chart-music so that means there would be an equal amount of DJ gigs. It also seems to be the case that rich people have bad taste, in fact the richer a person is the worse their taste in music seems to be so why not get a high-paid DJ gig in a posh West End club or on an oligarchs private boat, the price of which is only your dignity! If you're new to the game your normally have to work your way up from the bottom with the warm-up slot.
It's a right of passage for many DJs and will make you a better DJ in the long run. Why not create a mixtape just for a warm-up slot and reassure the promoter you'd be the best person to start the party.
Warm-up slots are an art form in themselves, much harder that the main slot. Check out this article on the esoteric art of the warm-up for advice. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours is the way most DJs and Promoters operate. Use your selling points, skills, contacts, followers and anything else that can afford you leverage when negotiating a cliquey little deal. Get your foot wedged in that door by shutting everyone else out! It's dog eat dog so why not make a closed circle of just you and your friends? This unfortunately is how a lot of the music industry operates but it does pay to be part of it.
If you can't beat them them and if you can't them create them! ing a clique should be on you to-do-list. Being famous one way or another is a major way to get gigs, remember that most promoters don't really care what music you play, they just care about how many people you'll bring to the event one way or another. YouTube is one of the best ways of gaining followers as it's the biggest website for young people to reference for music. Successful YouTube vloggers can also earn money when advertising is played on their videos. At the very least, you should have a video showcase of your DJing online for promoters who like to Google you before booking you.
DJ Bl3nd is a prime example of how this can work. He simply recorded a video of himself DJing in his bedroom whilst wearing a mask with his strobe light on full and danced like mad! He's now being booked for club nights and major events around the world. Bit of a curve-ball here but virtual reality DJing is a thing! For a while DJ's were playing and even making real money in the virtual realm of Second Life and with other major advances in virtual reality like Oculus Rift we predict that this may once again become a viable option, especially if you happen to live in the arse-end of nowhere.
Why not set up a Bitcoin and broadcast from your sofa now! Internet Radio, Pirate Radio or Pro Radio are all amazing ways to gain listeners and promote yourself. If you're a radio presenter you often get music sent to you months before general release and have the chance to play all the best tunes before any other DJs.
Become a big enough radio personality and you'll be asked to play many gigs. You can find gigs advertised on social media if you follow the right sources, the LSA Facebook for a start! Plus, social media is often the only place to track down a promoter and to spy on what other artists are doing to get their gigs too. Make sure you have all your profiles up and running and make sure you update them on a regular basis with high-end content, the less spammy the better.
Look at what other DJ's do online and formulate your own social media strategy. Try and cross-promote with other organisations, promoters, DJ's and producers to extend your reach.Looking for dj friends
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