5 Ways to Make Extra Money As A DJ

Extra cash

Whether you’re at college, determined to make it as a DJ at any cost, or just wanting to maximise the income from your hobby, looking at ways of making some extra cash from your DJing is definitely worthwhile.

So you’ve managed to get yourself a couple of regular bar gigs, or maybe even a set in a local club. You’re finally getting a little bit of cash back to support your DJing hobby. (Still stuck in your bedroom, dreaming of all of this? Find out how How To Digital DJ Fast can make this happen for you!).

Chances are though, that you’re not making a huge amount of money from your DJing – and that’s both fine, and completely normal. But there are ways you can add to whatever you’re being paid to DJ.

So apart from show fees (and selling mix CDs – but you don’t do that, do you, as that would be illegal?), here are a few ideas that I’ve either used or seen working for other people:

  1. Sell merchandising. You’ve got a DJ logo, haven’t you? Why not get some T-shirts printed up, and get the venue to display them behind the bar? Wear one yourself when DJing, and sell them (maybe on a profit split with the venue – they can possibly co-brand them). Even if you end up doing this at cost, it’s getting your name out there…
  2. Teach DJing. So you may think you’re just a beginner, but believe me, if you’re playing anywhere in public, regularly, there are an awful lot of people who want to be in your position. Why not get a business card printed up and when people chat to you at your gigs and say they’d love to do what you do, offer them lessons?
  3. Get a sponsor. Got a local DJ store, club wear shop, listings website? Maybe they can sponsor you, either by providing you with something you need (gear, tunes, clothing) or with cold, hard cash. In return they could get their name on the flyers for your events, or on that T-shirt we discussed above, or even on your website (see number 5 below)
  4. Hire yourself out for parties. Many bar DJs don’t want to be mobile or wedding DJs (and if you do, The Complete 21st Century Wedding DJ will tell you everything you need to know). But that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t want to play the same kind of music you play in your bar gig at someone’s party – right? If you’re playing a cool set in a bar, often someone will ask if you’d like to do this. Give out a card and get a number and follow up…
  5. Put adverts on your website. You could do this for your sponsors, your venue, or other local businesses. Make sure all your Facebook, Twitter and email activity promoting your gigs leads back to your webpage, and make sure you can tell potential sponsors how many people see the page each month. If all else fails, just sign up for Google AdWords and slap their banners or text ads on your page. You’ll probably not make much, but if you’re serious about making any kind of living as a DJ, every little helps – especially at the start…

Have you found a way to make a little extra cash on top of your DJ fees? Have you ever done or seen done any of the suggestions I make above? Please feel free to join in the conversation in the comments.

Comments

  1. Frank Knox says:

    Thanks Phil! I think this to be very helpful I’m orginising parties as of late and I just got a sponsor to upgrade the gear! Im not a digital dj but work with Cdjs and Im getting a set of 2000s!

  2. Pro Audio & DJ Tutor says:

    I’d love to teach DJing and Production but i can’t seem to get anyone who wants to pay to learn.

  3. Monthly mix CDs have always brought me a decent supplementary income at the venues I’m resident in.

  4. 6. Make DJing software. :-)

  5. Robert Wulfman says:

    6. Produce

  6. a couple years ago I was invited to join my university’s inaugural DJ society (I was a part-time student at another uni so was still allowed to join) partly due to the lad running being a virtual novice, and I ended up as kind of a guest lecturer!

    Anyway, this lad got his mixing up to scratch and started gigging in the local bars etc, and as he was a full-time student and was head of the DJ society he used this to persuade the bars he was the man to hire – “yeah I’m head of the DJ society and can get x hundred students to your bar every tuesday night” etc….

    That was a couple years ago, and the chap now gigs most nights, and even blagged a pair of CDJs and mixer free – the society received funding for these but he now uses them personally!

    So I guess the point I’m making is that either offering to teach DJing or even starting up a DJ society (or DJ “club” if you’re not a student) can help you earn more money and get more work…

    Also, another lad who was in the same DJ society was doing a media-related course. When an old building in town was being turned into a new club he offered to do them “in-progress” videos for a blog and facebook page that kept people up to date on this new club, he now does DJ work for this chain of clubs in several cities, has first dibs on any video work if a club night wants recording, and has also started up his own student night in a couple of these places.

    Guess it’s all about getting your feet in the door and your name known (relates to networking section of “5 skills every DJ should have” i guess?) – http://www.digitaldjtips.com/2012/02/5-modern-skills-every-new-dj-should-have/

  7. Beatport mixes

    • Good idea. I wonder if anyone is actually making any money doing this?

    • I believe you make 10% of what they charge to sell mixes. I signed up for the BETA version a while back. I got irritated because most of the Beatport songs I had purchased, weren’t eligible for mixes.

      To make money from them, they all have to be eligible. I just checked and 93% of my downloads are eligible. That’s a vast improvement since the last time I tried.

      I might actually give it a shot again. Remember, you can upload ANY mix now… so if you have a following, it could be used a lot like Soundcloud.

      Cheers!

      • Brandon!! Excelent!! Please I live in Southamerica and I want to produce and sell mixed CD’s ,but the laws in my country are poor , so a question ? How can I produce or became the legal rights to made the production in other country and import then and sell on my country? If I made a mix CD should I have to pay for all the right of the total of tracks ihad mixed??? Are there another way to make my dream a reality. I had some mixes on disco music of the 80′ and 90′s.

  8. As others said, and obviously going hand-in-hand with being a “tutor” if you are into all sorts of customising, midi mapping etc etc you can combine this with advertising to get some (small however) extra cash. Offer your own custom Traktor midi maps, your own crasy Ableton Live effect chains and instead of directly asking money for it (which is a bit too much) just urge your followers to support your offers by clicking on your website ads or just set up a “donate” Paypal button.

  9. I have one to add. I work selling Dj equipment and lighting/sound at Guitar Center. Look for a Music or Dj store.

  10. My day job pays more than these options, though I could see where it’d be viable for some.

  11. I agree with 4. You make more money doing those than doing bar gigs. Plus this leads to more customers.

  12. There’s many ways to make money and most of us probably have day jobs so best thing is get into related business. Try sound and light hire. Wedding lighting is a good one. If you’re going to a wedding anyway, advertise mood lighting. Pick up 10-15 wall wash par cans for 70-80 bucks each on a bulk buy. Hire them out for 250e a night pay for themselves quick enough. Link them that night to your Dix controller and now ya have a great light show as well. Put DJ rigs together to hire out but detach yourself from the gear emotionally as it will come back damaged. Lot of guys doing bedroom stuff and are able to click “synch” on their favorite track but no idea how a gain level affects a speaker. This will get you good at speaker repair as you’ll have to learn to fix them yourself. Now you’re a DJ, sound and light hire AND a repair guy. It’s all money in the pot.

  13. djtrouble says:

    I could never be a wedding dj. I’m at a point in my career tat I can play what I want & make my own music but I’ll bend a bit to play what the masses like. Making beats doesn’t pay but sometimes it does all these rappers think they should get beats for free but that’s not likely. I discovered my way in making extra cash as a dj is thru gear. I find the best gear for a cheap price & then flip it. I never sell anything that would not be working or below standard cuz that’s not how I roll. I basically get stuff from poser djs who realize they aren’t cut out for this life & end up selling me their gear I sell stuff at a reasonable price & lower than any online company would offer. Gotta spend $ to make $ & I spend everything I have in furthering my career. I don’t understand djs that don’t put 100% into themselves or their career. No one will promote you like YOU

  14. djtrouble says:

    Unlike most djs I don’t have a day job & haven’t for 4 years its just a distraction to take away focus from the main goal. I don’t want to be a huge success I just want to remain an independent artist & make a long career just doing my thing & live how I want. Which I do but also comes sacrifice. Most djs would’ve given up my now but after a decade of being a dj my career is just now getting started & gets better results as time goes by. I had alot of trial & error & if I knew then what I know now I’d be alot further in my career but I’m happy w/ how it is now but I’ll never settle. I don’t want to be the best I just want to be a better dj than I was yesterday.

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