Your Questions: Can DJing Ever Be A Reliable Career?

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Last updated 26 November, 2017

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Native instruments just launched their "Dual Brains. Wanted." careers drive to get new talent into its Berlin and LA offices. Many people who work for DJ companies are also DJs themselves.
Native instruments just launched their “Dual Brains. Wanted.” careers drive to get new talent into its Berlin and LA offices. Many people who work for DJ companies are also DJs themselves.

Digital DJ Tips reader Rasmus writes: “I am in a sort of dire situation here. I am a very passionate DJ, not quite of age yet. Thing is, my parents are not too hyped about my passion; they think that DJing is in fact not a real career, and that I should most definitely have a ‘real job’ along with having DJing as a ‘hobby’ to do in my free time. I would like to have your advice/view on if DJing is (or can be) a reliable career, meaning that the income is somewhat consistent and the gigs ‘keep coming’. I know ‘DJing’ is somewhat of a broad field, but could you go into details of mostly mobile DJing and club DJing?”

Digital DJ Tips says:

In short, no. DJing is not what I’d automatically call a reliable career – unless, that is, you are an entrepreneur who is prepared to turn it into a small business. That means reading business books, learning about cashflow, marketing, revenue planning and so on. It’s what I did (and still do) so I know it works, but an awful lot of it isn’t DJing. You sometimes wonder where you’re going to get the time for your music, you’re so busy doing other stuff!

However, you could take a business course at college (to keep your parents happy and because it’s a smart thing to do), and always in the back of your mind know that when you graduate/finish, you’ll apply what you learn to making your own way in the music industry (which is what DJing is a part of, after all). It will be an awful amount of hard work, but it can also be immensely fulfilling.

Regarding your specifics, mobile DJing is a great way to make a steady income, far more so for most than club DJing. In my case, having DJed mobile for a few years, I started a club night with a friend, which got me properly into the industry, because I learned how it all works, got to know other DJs and agents, and learned how to run a small business as I went along.

Finally, many people in this industry have related day jobs. Think of any of the big pro audio companies who make the hardware and software we all use; I can guarantee you that 80% of their employees are also DJs. You could think about investigating the skills these companies are looking for, and taking a course in college with a view to getting a job with such a company while nurturing your DJing at the same time.

Do you want to work in DJing but have a steady career too? Have you managed to do this? What do you do as well as DJing? I’d love you to share your thoughts with Rasmus in the comments.

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