After four years of running a successful mobile DJ business in my small town, I’ve been thinking about the future of my DJing career and decided to take an indefinite hiatus. I actually played my last gig of 2016 on Saturday, and it went very well, so at least I had one good gig to send me off. So why have I decided to quit? Here are my reasons:
- Business is on the decline. I used to have two to three bookings per month plus a weekly pub gig. This year I’ve averaged less than one mobile gig per month, plus the pub business has been slow so some weeks I go home early and don’t get paid as much. Now I’m much closer to not breaking even with my expenses for the year – it kind of takes the reward out of it. The problem isn’t just with me. There are fewer parties in town now. The economy is down a bit, but my small town also seems to have developed a gambling addiction that is sucking the life out of all businesses.
- The divergence of my musical taste from that of my audience. When I first started out, a large part of what I played was music that I liked, of course I played a lot that I didn’t like, but there was a lot of crossover. What’s better than playing music you love and getting paid for it? Nowadays, I’m finding the new music I’m listening to isn’t resonating with the crowds. It’s disheartening when I’ve been preparing a new set and half of it falls flat.
- Hostile crowds. Now I know we all go through this. And to be honest, I’ve dealt with plenty of jerks from the get-go. Maybe it has to do with what I stated in #2, but the abuse has gotten worse. I’ve always been very receptive when it comes to song requests. But when requests become demands, I get annoyed. When demands are made in an abusive manner I get upset. I used to be very good at ignoring these people, but I must have hit my breaking point. I don’t think enough is said about the real abuse that is laid on DJs on a regular basis.
- I’m not finding it fun any more. I guess this comes from a combination of the above three points (or maybe I’m just getting old), but when I look back at all the gigs I’ve done over the last year and a bit, I’ve probably had more unpleasant ones than ones I’ve enjoyed. I’ve always been nervous before any gig (it’s probably natural for any DJ), but my anxiety before gigs is now worse than ever.
Really, I’m writing this just to share what I’m going through to see if any other DJs have hit their breaking point and needed to walk away from the business for a bit. I think the way forward for me is to become a “bedroom DJ” (something I haven’t really done for a few years now) and take select gigs on my terms.
Have you ever quit paid DJing, or felt tempted to? How long did you quit for? What made you do it? Did you return? Please share your thoughts and advice in the comments.