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    Anthony Lewis

    Hello all,

    I am a hobbyist bedroom dj which I enjoy doing very much. Recently I have started giving thought to doing mobile gigs. I have played out a few times and various bars and family parties but the reason that I have not pursued it further is thatI have a fulltime career in an unrelated field and I also do not have the music. I guess my question is: how can I build a mobile collection without joining a pool? I am hesitant to join a pool because I am not making money from my djing to cover the cost.

    Any thoughts and advice would be very welcome.



    DJ Vintage

    Hard to get this done without time and (some) money. Clearly you are not allowed to use Spotify for playing in public and the integrated service in Serato is not free.

    Scour the forums for some info on building a (mobile) collection. There are some relevant and recent posts on the subject. Buying second-hand sampler collections can be a good step in the right direction.

    Apart from that, learning how to deal with requests that you can’t honor (been doing this for close to 40 years and still get requests for tracks I don’t have!) is always a good thing 😀

    As for having another full-time job, be happy! Being the struggling DJ is overrated imho. Mobile DJs can build up a pretty substantial business. It is, apart from being mainstream hero, probably the best-paying part of DJ-ing. But starting out, the fact that you have no financial risk because your bills are already paid is a big bonus.

    As for playing for free, this is one I have pretty strong opinions about. Personally I think you should never play for free, ever. Even my charity events I get my drinks and food for free. Family party? Get a little something to help cover the cost of gear or gas money. An old boss (unrelated to DJ-ing) of mine once told me “That which is free has no value”. And I tend to agree.

    Also, once you move out of the small bar/family party arena you will come in to take the place of someone else. Sure you will be chosen if you are free, but it won’t make you happy and it will kill your rep and any chance of working together with other DJs in the region.

    I turn down gigs from time to time because the price is not right, even when “threatened” with “but DJ X does it for that money”. In which case I wonder why they still call me.

    So, be brave and value what you are “bringing to the party” and make sure that value materializes in some shape or form. And sooner than you think you will receive payment for gigs and will be able to pay for (the expansion of) your collection (and some gear and …).

    Final thought: while it may seem easier to get gigs when playing for free, the time it takes to get from playing for free to playing for serious money is way longer than needing a bit more time to start getting well-payed gigs from the getgo.

    Ade Sands

    Yea, for older music 2nd hand cd’s/compilations are brilliant, especially for older stuff. This is pretty much how I started. I was selective about modern music, you don’t ‘need everything’ when you start and to be honest, a lot of modern stuff you won’t use. I found my sound and capitalized on it, got gigs, got paid, bought more, and more music, filling out the collection. You will need to invest in order to have music, so what money you get from your first gigs, put all the earnings back in or replace the money you used. Some music pools have excellent compilations for example, Mastermix in UK have entire 70’s, 80’s 90’s compilations that will cover most requests, also professional compilations, and Grandmaster compilations, excellent stuff. Look into this sort of thing, well worth it.
    I’m 21 years in now, and like Vintage said, curveball requests do come in, but modern tech has it covered, I can go to online stores, buy the tune, bluetooth it to the lappy, add to Traktor, then go. So, updating on the fly is also good.

    Anthony Lewis

    Thank you ADE and Vintage, I really appreciate you taking r=the time to both give me some good advice. I am going to take it slow as I do not need to rush this at all. I am definitely going to look at some compilations for the classics. Vintage, I would never work for free or exposure as they say, lol. I have some skills and I know what they are worth.

    Thanks again guys!

    Kenny Zail

    If you have a full time job you should be able to afford something like BPM Supreme for $20/month, which has current but also 80s, 90s too. It’s a process to develop a library, buy 8-10 songs a month from Amazon etc. A couple gigs could pay for a year of music and then you are on your way!

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