Over To You: How Much Do Full-Time DJs Earn?

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Last updated 27 March, 2018

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Would going ‘full time’ as a three-gig-a-week DJ pay the bills, asks our reader today?

Digital DJ Tips member Silviu writes: “How much can a DJ earn? I am living in the UK at the moment and I want to know if I were to try and be a ‘normal’ DJ with around two or three gigs a week (say, Thursday, Friday, Saturday) how much would I actually earn and would I be able to make a living out of it?”

Digital DJ Tips says:

I used to say “hey, quit your job, go for it, it’ll all work out in the end!” but I don’t think that’s wise advice unless you’re very young and precociously talented, with no commitments (or self doubt). Nowadays I’d strongly advice you start off with DJing as your “serious hobby”, as something part-time alongside a career or job that you hopefully like (and if that job is in a related field, all the better, but not essential).

There’s too much competition out there and DJing is too difficult to look to it first and foremost to give you a full-time income. Sure, you can do it, but your attitude then would have to be one of a business start-up: Where are my customers, what am I offering that’s different from the competition, how can I keep costs below income and make a profit, etc. There are many “jobbing” DJs (ie playing weekends in provincial towns and cities) who are highly experienced and struggling: The truthful answer is that if you’re very lucky, you may even manage to get a weekend gig or two, but they’re not going to earn you living.

The logical conclusion for most is: Do it part time! You earn a bit of cash, have a lot of fun, and you’re not relying on your passion to feed you. Then as you get better, you can decide if it’s time to “go for it” or keep it just as a thoroughly enjoyable hobby.

Have you had to face this kind of decision? Did you go all-out for it, or keep DJing as a paying hobby? Please share your experiences below.

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