Digital DJ Tips member Trystan Caffey writes: “Hey everyone, I love DJing; it’s so enjoyable, however I struggle with producing. I don’t feel like I have the determination to dedicate the amount of time needed to ‘make it’ as someone who writes original songs. But I do enjoy creating mashups and mixes, and I’ve played ‘live’ twice, even though they were only school dances. Also, I don’t live in a major city, so there really aren’t any clubs nearby, which makes things more complicated. Is it possible to DJ and just be a DJ and still make a profit?”
Digital DJ Tips says:
To your primary question, yes, you can. It is harder than “back in the day”, in that you can’t realistically become a touring DJ without making your own music, so you may have to focus on those areas of DJing where not being a producer is less or no hinderance. (See the interesting view of Mr C in the Friday Roundup for more on why this is the case nowadays).
As you don’t live near any clubs you can’t become a resident DJ there (where producing isn’t so important, as you’d be “warming up” for the touring DJ/producers, and occasionally maybe playing the whole night on your own). So this means mobile DJ, doing corporate events, weddings and such, which have the added advantage that those are actually gigs that will pay you relatively well for your work (more than club DJs in many cases). However, they won’t make you famous and you have to work at it commercially to get gigs.
On a secondary note, you mentioned missing dedication. Mike Monday (Google him) has a great program that will help you with stuff like that, should you want to get/stay into production after all. It’s also worth remembering that production doesn’t have to be massively time-consuming – check out our free course to see how you can make a tune pretty easily.
Do you think production is an important skill for DJs to have, or can you be a DJ without it? Are production and DJing increasingly becoming the same skill? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.