Becoming an Event DJ
Updated: Jan 18, 2019
I was recently reading a Blog post on Digital DJ Tips, one of the sources I follow which was forming part of my business planning for the next 5 years and it was saying something that I've been doing since becoming Disco Couture but unable to find words for. Since I started I've had the aim of being the cream and floating to the top, differentiating myself from the people who just do this job for easy money and competing with the best of breed DJs in the region.
The people who apply this extra effort are in a position where they don't want to be associated by name with the run of the mill mobile DJ as they all too often have contributed to the some people having a dim view of our profession. Many DJs started to brand themselves as Wedding DJs taking a different approach and focusing on just the one type of client. The wedding market is a great place to be however it didn't take long for the Mobile DJs to see the chance to invade and undercut those who were already working in this field.
This was not all bad as it meant they had to up their game a bit and rethink how they would stay ahead. However there were some people who focussed on the bottom line and not what was important and unique to this field. Its very hard to impress on a client that not all Discos are the same, and what the real benefits are of booking with a professional outfit over someone who is just there to make some quick cash.
I came across the term "Event DJ" and it struck a chord. Yes I do weddings mainly but I work a load of other functions as well. I don't think limiting myself is a good idea as there are things that can be learned and transferred into wedding discos that I might miss out on if I soley did them. So what does it mean to be an Event DJ and what are the benefits to potential clients.
Mobile DJs tend not to invest heavily or wisely in their equipment. They see stuff other DJs are doing and try to replicate it often with a cheap alternative or without the knowledge of why the equipment is being used. The Event DJ has done research into the purchase and know it will improve their show and how they intend to use it. I see so many DJ rigs with haphazard and distasteful lights which are actually achieving nothing but blinding the guests.
It takes time, effort and knowhow to make a tasteful, professional lighting show which you can turn into a selling point. We have purchased top of the range moving heads, swapped the stock gobos to much better ones, and converted the units for use with our wireless DMX units so we can offer an all white hearts and stars first dance program.
The mobile DJ is well known for their annoying use of the microphone. I often get asked if I talk all night over the songs. There are two parts to using the mic as an Event DJ. First is as an Emcee to keep people informed. Its done correctly with low level music and to help people understand what is going on at the party. The second is song enhancement where you interact with the crowd at certain key points rather than just shouting at them or making embarrassing comments.
Using a trained voice, and the mixer you can add panache to your announcements and ensure people are hearing what you are saying correctly. Statistics collected by Digital DJ Tips actually showed that many DJs are still scared to use the mic so how can they do so effectively with confidence and poise. A true event DJ can step out from behind the booth and speak to the crowd openly, they are great hosts if your planning a fundraising event (rather than hiring the cheapest - there talent can actually help you make money), and can perform at a greater range of function.
The mobile DJ often will turn up with enough time to set up and just do what seems to be the norm. The event DJ can take a fresh look at a room or venue and offer improvements or reasons behind changes. Because they have well presented tasteful rigs that stand out and coordinate the room it all looks better than something hidden in the corner.
We are often complemented by other members of the trade on how our disco setup looks and this means a lot to us that we are setting trends, getting noticed and standing out from the crowd. It helps us gain work from networking which is a great boost to our workflow. Some mobile DJs can't even manage their wires correctly or spend the time to tighten up scrims and covers.
The Event DJ is skilled at listening to the client and not just giving them their off the shelf product or service. I take time to speak with clients so I can understand their needs and requirements. I meet with clients so they can build trust in me. I allow clients to have input into the music and help them to make it work. You don't just get the same old playlist the mobile DJ has been pimping for the last 5 year.
The Event DJ is also interested in putting on a full show rather than just 5hr hours of top volume music. Understanding the flow of events and interactions is as important as filling a dance floor. There is a time for everything and popping you best floor fillers before half the guests have arrived is not conducive to a great party. This is even more prevalent in some types of event ie fundraising nights or presentations etc.
In many cases were not doing anything that different to the run of the mill mobile DJ, we're just doing it better and with more intelligence. If you want to be considered among the best you need to "bring it" and it's all about adding extra value for the client especially if you are expecting them to pay higher rates. We are planning for the future and have invested a great deal recently.
Some of our local competition are running the same shows they did in the 80s or 90s. Others will take on huge amounts of bookings and treat them a way to take cut then farm them out to other DJs to fulfil, effectively taking away your choice. Quantity is not quality and even when we network we ensure the clients know about it and are happy that they are not getting a faceless DJ. We only work with companies we know and trust and usually there is a good reason behind the jobs being outsourced which doesn't include lining of pockets.
So becoming a true event DJ to us is more than just a change of name, its a direction and an ideal. Over the next 5 years we want the name Disco Couture to be synonymous with quality, professional entertainment. We're making a brand that people can identify with and trust. We've taken the time to look at what is wrong with our industry and take steps to put it right. There really is nothing like an exceptional party...