A campaign (that is deadly serious by the way, despite the rather bizarre video on its home page) called Pay The DJ has recently been launched, in order to try and get a $200 minimum gig fee for all DJs.
It claims that 60% of DJs worldwide don’t get paid for their DJing, and believes that if DJs learn to say “no” to “pay to play” or free gigs, and if attendees stop trying to get themselves on guest lists so there’s a bit more money to go around, and if promoters start to pay themselves last (and only if there’s money left over), the problem can be solved.
Apart from wishing for those rather unlikely outcomes (DJs will always play for free, people will always try and get on guest lists, and there will unfortunately always be shady promoters), the campaign is also encouraging the usual social media sharing to “spread the word”.
So is this just idealistic nonsense? After all, nobody is asking anyone to become a DJ, and nobody is forcing DJs to play for free. There are just as many out-of-work actors, I’m sure, for instance; is DJing just one of those professions that’s by its nature always going to have a few successes and a pile of wannabes? (Also is there a conflict of interest that a DJ agency is actually behind this campaign?)
Or, are these guys onto something? With a bit of awareness and spreading of the word, is this a problem that can be solved? Is there an imbalance here that can be sorted out?
What do you think? Are you happy to play for free? Or would you like to have a kind of “DJ’s union” on your back, keeping your pay and working conditions better than they currently are? Should DJing become a closed show to keep imposters out and prices up, or are market forces just doing their job here?
So, let us know your thoughts on this campaign, and on the state of play with DJs getting paid, in the comments below.