The “Mobile DJ” Is Dead: All Hail The “Event DJ”?

Phil Morse | Read time: 4 mins
Event DJ Mobile DJ Blueprint Pro
Last updated 3 April, 2018


I was talking to a Digital DJ Tips Mobile DJ Blueprint course student in the USA recently who’d just got back from a big mobile DJ convention (Mobile Beat, in Las Vegas), and we got chatting about the stigma that sometimes comes attached to the phrase “mobile DJ”.

One thing he gleaned from the conference is that the “best of breed” mobile DJs are starting to feel a world apart from the public perception of what a “mobile” DJ is and does. And they’re starting to dislike that “mobile” label altogether. Why? Well…

  • Whereas a “mobile” DJ may have a pile of old, tatty, messy equipment, there’s a new breed of DJ who uses modern, tasteful and attractive gear, that “fits” the event space stylishly and tastefully
  • Whereas a “mobile” DJ might play track after track at high volume regardless of who is or isn’t dancing, churning out all the predictable “favourite” tracks from a playlist that has scarcely changed since any of us can remember, there’s a new breed of DJ who is considerate of volume and situation, and who can “build” a night just as skilfully as any club DJ
  • Whereas a “mobile” DJ might embarrass or annoy when on the microphone, there’s a new breed of DJ who is skilful in his or her use of the mic (often with some formal training), and who can not only move things on using the mic on the dancefloor, but also MC other parts of an event with style and panache, too
  • Whereas a “mobile” DJ might play every track fade-to-fade, there’s a new breed of DJ who has technical skills too, able to properly mix and structure a DJ set with skills equal to or better than those of any club DJ
  • Whereas a “mobile” DJ might just set up in the corner, there’s a new breed of DJ who can tastefully dress and light a whole venue so that DJ and decor work together brilliantly (and in the case of playing a wedding, everything coordinates with the wedding colours, too)
  • Whereas a “mobile” DJ might quote a set price for playing music for a number of hours and turn up and do the same thing wherever he or she is booked, there’s a new breed of mobile DJ who is skilled at listening to the client, really understanding what’s important to them, and then delivering an experience that’s fully tailored to the client’s needs – and charging a well-deserved premium for doing so
  • Whereas a “mobile” DJ may run a website stuck in the 1990s that you can forget about viewing on mobile, full of tired old “testimonials” that haven’t changed in years and with a broken booking form (lucky there’s a telephone number too, right?), there’s a new breed of DJ who has a clean, simple, attractive website, and who can ace it on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter too, getting as many bookings through social as through traditional routes

Now let’s get one thing straight. This new breed of mobile DJ is playing exactly the same type of events as the old breed. They’re often vying for exactly the same clients to play to, as well. But production values have changed. Expectations have changed.

The issue is that some DJs have changed too, and some haven’t. And that’s why those who have are starting to dislike the word “mobile”.

In a world where the Millennial generation is now getting to marrying age and they’re booking DJs to play at their weddings, the desire to create a truly memorable (not to mention Instagram-friendly) “experience” means that these clients don’t want the old type. They want the new type. and that is causing a branding problem for those that “get it”.

Enter the “event DJ”…

Event DJ. Got a nice ring to it, hasn’t it? It’s separate from “club DJ”. But it’s also separate from “mobile DJ”. An event DJ can play parties, weddings, corporate events – just like a mobile DJ. But the wording “event DJ” currently comes with no stigma. It simply implies a DJ who is skilled at playing events. Reset button pressed. Fresh start.

It’s a phrase that appears to be catching on fast.

Personally, I think “mobile DJ” has a long way to go yet. Our Mobile DJ Blueprint course definitely produces DJs who are of the new breed, skilled in all the things I talk about in that list above – and despite the title, our students are clear when they sign up that that’s what they’re going to learn.

And also to be 100% clear, it’s not necessarily a generational thing – many older DJs are bang up to date with everything in the list above. And there are some shockingly unprofessional younger mobile jocks, too.

But maybe there is a sea-change coming, and maybe “event” DJ is going to become a term that gathers momentum in the near future. If you’re a DJ of this type, It’s certainly worth considering that wording when describing what it is you do (or if you’re just starting out, when naming your business).

The mobile DJ isn’t dead quite yet. But the new mobile DJ has to be skilled in lots of things that a generation ago weren’t required of him or her. And it could just be that within a few years, such DJs will indeed be describing themselves as “event”, not “mobile” DJs…


An industry insider writes…

We got an interesting email soon after publishing this piece from a well-known figure in this industry, who added a different perspective on why some DJs may be deciding to rebrand themselves this way:

“Mobile DJs are also rebranding themselves as event DJs and event companies so that they can go direct to manufacturers, bypass the retailers, and get discounts on gear.

“I’ve spoken to a few retailers who have seen this trend. As manufacturers are looking more to direct sales, they’re only too happy to sign up as many as they can. Of course, the DJ says they’re expanding and will be ordering a lot of gear, but the reality is quite different.

“This will backfire when it’s clear that the manufacturers now have hundreds of going nowhere accounts that want to return things because they don’t like them, and offer support… you know, all the things that retailers do.”

While here at Digital DJ Tips we are sure this isn’t the only reason DJs are choosing to use this term, and indeed we are equally sure the idea of doing this won’t even have occurred to many, the desire to be seen as a bigger company that can handle bigger events is definitely a nuance that using the word “event” can help DJs to achieve.

What do you think? Is there a new type of mobile DJ who is pulling away from traditional DJs in terms of skills and presentation? Is there a stigma attached to the term “mobile DJ”? Which do you prefer – mobile or event? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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