Digital DJ Tips member FM1 asks: “I have been a DJ for about 32 years and I would like to get some info on how to form a DJ union or maybe some tips on whether it will work. The DJ scene in Malaysia is average and the thing is the local DJs are not together and the younger generation is spoiling the market by charging low fees.
“They seem to be taking jobs in clubs and bars and then paying a replacement a very low fee to stand in for them while they play another gig somewhere else. Club owners know that many DJs will work for a low fee and are taking advantage of this.
“There are also the newbies, fresh out of the so called DJ schools that don’t have a clue about what fees to charge and are often not even trained to DJ properly. What should I do?”
Digital DJ Tips says…
This undercutting of the market happens in all types of business. Our advice is this: professionals need not feat amateurs. Just as the best companies rise to the top regardless, there’s always room at the top for good DJs. If these DJs aren’t skilled or if they’re nipping away at your heels with smaller prices, then fine, leave them to it. Other DJs should not be seen as a threat but as healthy competition. Also, partnering up with DJs at your level and above your level who respect you back is a great way of strengthening your position in all of this.
I have never come across people effectively sub-letting DJ gigs myself, that’s an interesting one. Perhaps it might be better to go and speak to the bar / club owners about this, if you have solid evidence? You could use this to justify your case for a higher fee as well, the fact that they are actually going to get the DJ they booked. Remember, if what you’re doing is not sufficiently different to what they’re doing, the problem is yours, not theirs! So be better, and find ways to demonstrate that so your potential clients understand it.
As far as forming a DJ union goes, how about getting in touch with the guys here and asking them how they went about it and how much success they have had? It’s a difficult thing to advise on because each country has different rules and regulations. You might even be able to form a wider network of DJs by connecting your unions and going international.
So, over to you: Are inexperienced DJs spoiling the scene by undercutting the market? Do you have the same issues where you are based? If so, what are the solutions? Let us know in the comments below…