In the last article of our 7 Ways To Get A Gig series, we talked about how to get shows and promote yourself while you’re on a night out. This time, we’ll cover how to go about getting them when you’re sat around the house.
So you’ve just got in from hard day’s work, grabbed a drink and are ready to put your feet up. However, a DJ who wants to get more gigs, the action doesn’t stop there (does it ever stop?). These seven tips aim to cover the things that you can do from your sofa to score the extra gigs that you crave…
7 WAYS TO GET A GIG
1. Make the most of your phone’s messenger services
There are so many messaging services available these days: WhatsApp, Telegram and Facebook Messenger but to name a few. Are you using them to their potential as regards networking for gigs? Personally, at least once a month, I will go through my WhatsApp contacts and send a message to everyone I know in the DJ circuit in my area. It’s a nice way to keep in touch and it’s an even better way to stay visible. Since doing this, I have been given at least one slot to play somewhere, usually as the warm up or close for one of their respective events, so I can attest to this working.
Get on it: Have a look through your recent messages. Have you been promoting yourself enough to the right people? If there isn’t anyone there that you think would be interested, how about messaging them and asking if they know any DJs / promoters or any cool, new potential places for gigs? When you’ve done that, go through all your contacts and pick out those guys that you swapped numbers with at a gig one time; we all have these numbers hiding in the depths of our contact list.
As these apps have developed, they allow us to make groups. This is another way that you could link together people from different friendship groups who are also interested in DJing, opening up another avenue for you all to play at each other’s events, or to team up and start your own new event.
2. Uncover potential gigs hiding on social media
There is a plethora of social media platforms ready for you to use in your quest for getting more gigs. Do you do enough to warrant being given a slot somewhere? Have a snoop around the groups you are a member of, message some of the people there and ask them if there are any gigs going. Add new friends and join new groups that you wouldn’t ordinarily pay much attention to. If you’re stuck for ideas, party planning services can be a good place to start; thinking outside the box here will pay dividends.
Get on it: Sign up for different platforms and get searching for relevant events and people of interest in your area. Don’t be afraid to send out messages to different companies, promoters and bars asking for a slot, to be added to their wedding DJ roster, or to join an event as a warm up DJ.
What’s the worst that can happen here, they don’t reply, or say no? No harm done there, and if that is the case then keep trying; eventually someone will recognise the effort you are putting in and give you a shot.
3. Look through your contacts and make some calls
This might be seen as an “old school” way of getting yourself a gig, but as they say: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Of all the methods listed in this guide, this is by far and away the most personal. Think about it, if someone rings you up out of the blue who you haven’t heard from in ages or don’t know at all and introduces themselves asking for help getting or setting up a gig, that is going to stick in your mind, isn’t it?
Get on it: Open your contacts list on your phone and get calling anyone you can think of, especially other DJs, promoters and friends in the scene. See what’s going on with them, see how you can help each other and make plans to meet up and go out somewhere for a night of networking and self-promotion. They themselves might be in the same rut as you and be grateful for your productivity.
If you are really stuck for people to ring, why not give your Auntie Helen and Uncle John a ring? They might know someone who needs a DJ for a 30th wedding anniversary. The point is, you just don’t know until you ask!
4. Stop lurking and get posting on forums
Online forums have been around since the internet’s early years (BBSes, anyone?), and it’s a rich resource for gigs and shows. The problem is most of us just go through forum chatter instead of participating – get out of that “lurker” habit and start posting and replying to threads!
Get on it: Start by listing DJ forums and message boards that are active and relevant to your area. Sign up to the top five most active ones (you’ll find that there are many dead forums online), and begin participating in them. Search for ads looking for DJs – you can even check out a site like Craigslist for area-specific leads to potential gigs. Check upcoming events in your region, get the contact details of promoters, introduce yourself and, if they agree, send your mixtape and press kit to them.
A rule of thumb to follow here is that you’ve got to add value to the board before you take value from it – that means introducing yourself first, helping out in threads by answering questions and offering advice where you can, and generally “giving” to the community. Once you’ve engaged with them and been active with them, that’s when you can start to ask for leads to gigs.
5. Sign up for a DJ booking app
There are apps that exist specifically to connect DJs with clients looking to book one for their next event. Services like AGNT and Gigwax allow you to search for gigs and bookings within their ecosystems. Creating profiles with these services also allows you to be searchable to agents and promoters who use them to book talent.
Another reason to get on platforms like these is it adds to your search rank cachet, meaning your presence on these DJ-related sites contributes to the probability of you showing higher up in search results when someone googles your name. Better that you show up as a DJ than as, say, a serial killer!
Get on it: Start by creating your profile on these services and checking out any bookings that are available to you. Don’t worry if you none are available yet – think of it as “seeding” your DJ profile, which is a crucial part of getting your name out there in the interwebs. You may not reap any benefits now, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get anything out of it later on.
6. Stream yourself: You never know who’s watching…
Hit two birds with one stone by treating each practice session as a live broadcast to your followers. You may not have thousands of adoring house heads watching your every move, but since livestreaming DJ sets is pretty much in its infancy, that means not a lot of DJs are doing it yet. That’s an opportunity for you to set yourself apart and get some attention for your deck skills.
It’s a double-edged sword though – since it’s pretty much the “wild west” at the moment, livestreaming is also a fast-changing technology: Facebook Live, for instance, has begun to more actively clamp down on DJ sets that are broadcast over it after just months of being one of the most used streaming platforms. In that span of time, new livestream options like Instagram Live have emerged, allowing DJs yet another outlet for broadcast. A good rule to keep in mind is that your livestreams don’t last forever (for better or worse!).
Get on it: Try livestreaming your next practise session on a dedicated site like Chew.TV. There are channels dedicated to music on the gaming site Twitch, so that’s another one to check out. If you want a quick win (with no guarantees whether or not your broadcast will be taken down), try streaming on Facebook Live.
There’s also the added bonus of recording the audio of your livestream set to your hard drive, which you can repurpose as a mixtape that you can upload to Mixcloud, include in your USB thumb sticks for when you head out to parties, or hand out to people as mixtape.
7. Unlock every DJ’s secret weapon: The Super Calendar
You’re practically surrounded by potential DJ gigs, you just don’t see them: All of your mates have birthdays coming up – those are potential DJ gigs. You may know relatives of relatives of friends who have special occasions like wedding anniversaries, baptisms and quinceaneras – all of these are gigs waiting to happen. Even your ex-girlfriend / ex-wife who swore she’d never see you again is a potential booking – she might even cosy up to you when you offer to DJ for her and her friends “exclusively” when her birthday comes up (hint: charge extra ;).
Basically, every celebration is an opportunity to play music, and that’s an opportunity a gig-hungry DJ will be smart to take.
Get on it: Use a calendar app like Google Calendar or Fantastical and start filling in birthdays of your closest friends and relatives, then set a reminder to review all of these. If you’ve got a friend’s birthday coming up in a month, phone her and ask if you could DJ for her, whether she’s throwing a huge bash or an intimate party at home.
As the old adage goes: “you get out what you put in”. If you really want to get more gigs, then you have to optimise your down time and get your name out there. These days, almost everyone has a smartphone and it’s more than likely that you will have your phone to hand when chilling on the sofa.
Whilst using your phone or the internet isn’t as personal as a face-to-face meeting with someone, it’s still a great and easy way to send personalised messages and requests out to your contacts. The easiest part of this, is that you can do it anywhere, even from the comfort of your own sofa.
Check out the other parts in this series:
- 7 Ways To Get DJ Gigs When On A Night Out
- 7 Ways To Get DJ Gigs By Owning A PA System
- 7 Unusual Types Of Venues To Approach For Gigs
- 7 Ways To Get Gigs While You Sleep
- 7 Ways To Get Gigs While You’re On Holiday
- 7 Ways Partnering With Others Can Get You Gigs
Is there anything that we have missed in this list? How do you go about promoting yourself when you’re sat around the house? Let us know in the comments below…