May 8th, 2013
Nobody on the phone offering you the big gigs in the places you want to play, even though you feel you’re good enough? Only you can do something about that… Pic: Circuit Mag
Do you feel like it’s your turn? Like you’ve paid your dues, like you’ve built your skills, and it’s time for someone to pluck you out of obscurity for stardom? For a powerful record label to sign your tune? For a top promoter to listen to your mixtape and give you that star DJ booking?
Do you feel like the only way for you to now get ahead is for someone to finally recognise your talent, open that door for you, invite you in to the inner circle where your skills will finally be recognised? Yes?
March 13th, 2013
After laying down the basics last week, this week we’ll look into all the little details of making your ‘hood festival come together.
Last week in How To Organise A Festival-Style DJ Event, Part 1, I showed you the basics by looking at an event I helped to organise recently. We covered how to put together a committee, set up a simple non-profit organisation, create a budget, organise fundraisers and find a location for free.
This week, I’ll show you how to get city permits, sell alcohol, approach sponsors for money, organise food vendors, create a buzz around the festival, and – really importantly – select your DJ line-up.
February 27th, 2013
There are many messages in this film, about branding, art, the state of celebrity - but there are also cast-iron secrets to achieving success among it all.
Have you seen the documentary film Exit Through The Gift Shop by reclusive street-art legend Banksy? Doesn’t matter if you haven’t, but I watched it again last night, and it struck me strongly that it contains some great pointers for artistic success, that can be applied really easily to DJing.
The film ostensibly documents the rise of “Mr Brainwash” (“MBW”), an LA-based French videographer-cum-artist who obsessively exploits his connection with the UK artist to achieve massive success for himself – much to the bemusement of many, not least Banksy himself.
January 20th, 2013
Mixing on the radio can be a cool way of getting exposure – but unless you can get some spoken promotion over the air too, it’s unlikely to help you in getting real live gigs.
Digital DJ Tips reader Mike writes: “Hi Phil! Recently I got the position of being the party mix DJ for a radio station. This means that I make a one-hour mix every week and they broadcast it on Saturday nights. I got this ‘job’ (let’s call it this way although I don’t receive payment for it) by sending a mix to them; they liked it, and they asked me if I want to continue.
“The question is: If I continue to make mixtapes for the radio station, will it improve my chances of getting a DJ residency at a disco? Will disco managers care at all about this, and will this be a big advantage or an insignificant one? After all, as you often say, it’s much more exciting to play music live to people and see them dancing and having fun than to just make mixtapes.”
January 13th, 2013
So who’d book a teenage DJ? Truth is it’s not about how old you are, but about how much experience you’ve got. Get that, and doors will open.
Digital DJ Tips reader DJ Rinzler writes: “Hi Phil! I’ve been into EDM for about two years now and got my first controller about six months ago. I am very dedicated to DJing even though I’m very new.
“I know you have a lot of info about how to get the first gig but here’s the problem: I’m 18. I don’t think any club or bar is going to want an 18-year-old to DJ for them. So my question is this: how does an 18-year-old get a first gig?”
October 11th, 2012
by DJ Stone Crazy
Taking pictures of your crowd when you’re out DJing, especially when combined with using social media to connect people up, is a powerful way of filling events and building your ‘tribe’.
We all know that to hustle your way as a DJ you need to be multi-skilled. At the same time as choosing and spinning the best tunes, today’s smart DJs may find themselves networking, gathering people’s details for social media, scribbling down song titles and mix ideas, tweeting and so on.
But one often overlooked secret weapon is you camera. Taking pictures while you DJ can directly and indirectly benefit your DJing success in loads of ways. Here’s seven of them:
September 27th, 2012
by Oliver Santa Maria
These ships are full of partying holidaymakers, and there are plenty of venues on board – bars, poolside, clubs – that need DJs. Here’s how to become one…
Last week, I shared with you what it’s like to be a cruise ship DJ – how it differs from other types of DJing, and the particular challenges of playing to a disparate yet fixed audience for each seven-day holiday cycle in a (typically) month-long contract on board.
This week I’m going to share with you some hard-won advice, tips and tricks both for landing a cruise ship job as a DJ, and for making the most of it once you have.
September 21st, 2012
by Oliver Santa Maria
Want to DJ all over the world? Maybe getting a job as a cruise ship DJ would be just the ticket. Today an experienced cruise ship DJ reveals what it’s really like playing onboard a luxury cruise liner.
I’ve DJed on three cruise ships for four separate stints with the job title of “celebrity guest DJ”. Of all the cruise ship jobs, it’s got to be one of the best! For me, it’s been a great experience to travel the world and meet people from so many different places. And like with wedding DJing, it’s an underrated way of really improving your DJ skills.
Cruise ship DJing has taken me to places that I don’t think I would ever have visited on my own. Places like Cozumel and Costa Maya in Mexico; Roattan, Honduras, Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau in the Bahamas; Puerto Rico, Halifax and Nova Scotia in Canada – and that’s just some of my favourites.
September 10th, 2012
by Forced Hand
You work hard enough to make sure people come to your event, so here are tips and tricks for making sure that event goes well.
I currently run sound for a young, successful monthly club in San Francisco, which is growing in popularity mainly because the team behind it works hard on making sure everyone has a good time.
If you’re a DJ wanting to promote your own night, it very much pays to understand where you should put your efforts, in the same way this team do. So today I offer you five tips to help you grow your fledgling event – tips I picked up both by watching others and from when I promoted club nights myself.
August 26th, 2012
Doesn’t matter how great you’ve made your venue look, if you’ve not promoted your event properly, nobody is going to see it. Pic: Archaeobobalist
Digital DJ Tips reader Alex says: “I came to visit Finland this summer over from Japan where I currently live, and came across something very frustrating. I’ve DJed a lot at places such as schools and house parties which have a ‘permanent audience’, but this time I went and tried something that I’ve never tried before. My friend and I decided to organise a gig at a quite well-known place.
“Man, we worked so hard to make it happen, planned it a month ahead, invited nearly 1,000 people, and spent many long hours getting the place into shape. But, unfortunately when the day came, guess how many people showed up? Three, one of them by accident. Any ideas on what went wrong? Suggestions for pulling a crowd?”
August 24th, 2012
by Chris Mihas
"See this? We'd like you to take it and shove it where the sun don't shine. You're fired!"
Ever been fired? If you’ve been working for any time as a DJ, chances are it’s happened to you. It’s certainly happened to me, more than once.
The reason for a DJ’s dismissal can vary – doing a poor job, partying too much, not focusing on work or the boss just wants to switch things up, for instance. But as I’ve found out myself, whatever the grounds are, it’s never pleasant, and can easily damage your dignity.
August 3rd, 2012
Want to know what software successful mobile DJs use to manage their bookings? How to employ DJs as you expand a mobile DJ business? The right kind of company structure to go for? How to write press releases for free publicity? How to differentiate yourself from other DJ businesses? What a DJ contract looks like?
Most of our readers aren’t aiming at establishing local DJ businesses, but for those who are, this 130-page book from DJ Times columnist and veteran mobile DJ Stacy Zemon could be just what you’re looking for.
July 25th, 2012
by Christian B
Nobody owes you a break, however talented you think you are. So unless you've got a smash dance hit on your hands or you own a nightclub, the best way to get booked is to roll your sleeves up and get involved...
My DJ friends and I are very lucky to play out, sometimes several times per week, occasionally having the good fortune to opening up for some noteworthy DJs. But while we may between us have at least some level of respectable artistic talent, that’s not main reason that we get these gigs.
It’s more that nowadays I am lucky enough to be in a group of people who book DJs to play at events in the area where I live, making it easier to get many of the gigs I want playing alongside these guys. But it wasn’t always like that for us, not by any means.
July 21st, 2012
Including a resume and covering letter with your DJ mix can help you to stand out from the crowd when applying for positions. Here's how to do it.
Digital DJ Tips reader Deejay Dingo writes: “I am a DJ living in Trinidad & Tobago. I have learned a lot since reading the articles presented on this site, but I have a question that I’ve not seen answered yet.
“Two of the top radio stations in my country are looking for DJs/announcers, and they have asked DJs to submit demos. But, in my application I would also like to add an air of professionalism by including a cover letter and resume/CV. Do you have any tips for me?
June 11th, 2012
News & Opinion
A culture of "you can get what you want if you spend enough", encouraged in some clubs by expensive bottle service, seems to be contributing to DJs being seen as jukeboxes... and getting booted off the decks if they don't play along.
The battle between DJs attempting to assert themselves as artists, and being expected basically to be jukeboxes (especially for high-spending, low-taste bottle service clientele), seems to be waging full-force stateside, leading to some high-profile DJs being removed from the decks recently.
Last week Mark Farina tweeted from the Marquee Dayclub, Vegas, “supposed to be going on now… but got the boot, apparently too much house for this Vegas crowd”, and Dennis Ferrer was allegedly removed from the decks at Mansion in Miami for “not playing enough commercial music”.
June 3rd, 2012
Handing out flyers means you get to meet people, find out where everyone's really going that night, and get a name for youself as someone who can be relied on to help out, among people who ultimately can help drive your own career forward.
Reader and DJ Justin from Hollywood, CA writes: “Believe it or not the DJ scene is quite small here and consists of talented, highly respected and tenured DJs, so I have often times found it hard to fit in without being that overly pushy new guy that everyone loves to tune out. And I now seem to hit a spot where nothing is happening at all for me.
“I hit the scene hard and got rewarded almost immediately. I began controller DJing back in August, picked up How To Digital DJ Fast and put the claim of being able to get booked in 30 days to the test – and to my surprise it worked! I got booked on November 27th and then again for a New Year’s Day Bash. I was so stoked and had a lot of fun but since then things have seemed to go stagnant for me.
May 30th, 2012
News & Opinion
by Dennis Parrott
The DJ booth in Pagoda Park, Birmingham, UK in the late 80s. Things may have changed since then, but those deciding whether to follow their musical dreams and take up DJing full-time still face similar questions and pressures.
As a digital DJ who’s older than most here, comfortable in my skin and happily practising the craft, I have learned a thing or two about what’s really important when you’re weighing up the part DJing should play in your life.
It’s a question that often features here and on the Digital DJ Tips forum, mainly framed by younger (often teenage) readers, who are grappling with where their careers should take them. It surfaces in questions like: Is DJing a reliable career? What can I do about my parents not supporting my DJing? How can I get a full-time job as a DJ?
May 6th, 2012
News & Opinion
Should DJs ask for tips? And if so, how?
Reader Dusty writes: “Something I’d like to ask is: Should DJs collect donations (ie ‘tips’)? And if so, how do you get people to tip?”
“I’m half of a duo that gets paid to DJ at all-night bars (Nevada, USA has no last call). We also like to receive donations from patrons to pad this income. The bar ownership/management is fine with this practice but the patrons are a bit tight-fisted when it comes to dropping a buck in the big and obvious tip fishbowl that sits in an accessible location.