DDJT Platinum Facebook group member Joe Simpson writes: “During peak hour, the paying client rudely insists you play a few songs that will certainly kill a packed dancefloor. What’s the best approach? I ultimately believe those who pay the piper choose the tunes, but just wondered what others thought about it.”
Digital DJ Tips Says:
This question was asked over in our VIP Platinum Group on Facebook, and got an awful lot of responses. Most fell into one of four categories, which can be summed up as follows. Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments…
1. Lie (Not recommended)
Collect payment up front. Smile and say the songs are “coming soon, really”. Then never play them, claim ignorance, memory loss, and make sure you’re the first one gone from the party. I hope you’re fast… or you can just blame the internet connection. Poor quality signal means no extra music.
Success Rate 2/10: This won’t lead to repeat customers, but it will end with bad reviews.
2. Tell the truth
Just be honest – if the requests are played, your referral business would plummet and your family would go hungry. They’ll probably feel offended that their objectively un-danceable music tastes could kickstart the demise of your livelihood, but there’s a minimal chance they’ll take pity and trust your judgement.
Success Rate 4/10: You’re tugging on heart strings, but often people just don’t care.
3. Point fingers
To achieve zero accountability, make it publicly known the next selections come from the client. Give them a mic shout out or have them introduce the pending tunes. This way, if things go poorly, they’re the ones being chased with torches and pitchforks.
Success Rate 7/10: This is a better option than lying, as the client’s chance for happiness scales higher. Though if the town mob hunts them you still might receive bad reviews.
4. Everyone’s a winner! (Highly, highly recommended)
You can play requests as a mini “break set” allowing people to go to the bar/bathroom/call grandma (if she isn’t there already).
It also depends on the event: for weddings, brides, grooms, and so on have a free pass. In the case of a private event, the organiser also gets the green light. It’s their party and they can request if they want to.
Finally, you should understand things from the client’s perspective and taste. Maybe the song has a special meaning to them or someone in the crowd. Perhaps they want to have a slow dance.
The ultimate goal is to keep your client and crowd happy. Hopefully their rudeness was a one-off misunderstanding. Use the mic to express thanks for such an awesome event, and as requested dedicate the next however many songs to them. A little tact can go a long way.
Success Rate 11/10: You knocked this one out of the park, kid.
Over to you: What did we miss? How do you handle bad song choices from a client mid-gig? Share with us in the comments below.