One thing that keeps popping up in the Digital DJ Tips Forum and Facebook groups (and all over the internet, for that fact) is the question: Which is more important, having and getting the most your network or honing your technical skills? Every DJ looking to graduate from the bedroom will be faced with the stark reality of the difficulty of getting gigs in the wild.
Digital DJ Tips says…
It depends on what aspirations you have for your DJ career. If you lock yourself away and spend every minute you can practising, you could become a very technical DJ. If you are content with that, great, but if you want to play in public, how is anyone going to know about you unless you get outside and talk to people? When I say talk, I mean actually talk, not just posting things online. This is an important point.
With DJing, you have to network your socks off. That doesn’t just mean promoting yourself left, right and centre either. Frequenting the bars and club in your area, and supporting the local scene are of paramount importance. Make friends as well, not just connections that you want to use to push yourself further. All the time you are doing this, keep practising and don’t lose heart if you aren’t getting any gigs yet.
Networking gets you in the door, skill keeps you in the building. You have to be committed to being good at both, they are not mutually exclusive. You will hear lots of DJs complain about newcomers to the scene who just seem to get gigs straight off the bat. That’s cool, they know people but if they aren’t good enough, they will soon fall by the wayside – they are found out. It’s your responsibility to put the work in getting to know people and be ready skill-wise when your chance comes.
Another thing that can sometimes be difficult for DJs to grasp is that a large number of bar and club owners don’t care about the DJ or the music being played, as long as the tills are overflowing with cash. The entertainment industry tends to be more focused on dollar bills than skill. DJing is no different as promoters and establishment owners look for short term gains.
A good DJ will build his or her following organically, and to do that you need a finely blended mix of technical skill and solid network of like-minded friends and fans to back it up.
What do you think is more important? How much time do you spend networking? How much time do you spend honing your craft? Do you have any stories to share about the scene in your area? Let us know in the comments below…