We get a lot of emails from beginner DJs asking for tips. That’s why we have a whole section dedicated for How To DJ but sometimes you just want to quickly get advice before going into it in more detail. Some of these tips may not sound all that helpful, especially if they are not related to scratching vinyl but that doesn’t mean they are not important or worth doing. So if you want to more from beginner DJ to professional then read these tips to get started.
As a beginner DJ you’re probably tired of just playing to yourself or a few friends. You want the whole world to see you DJ and you want to earn money doing it. There is a few ways to earn gigs, either by friends wanting you to DJ at parties, other DJs or promoters. Only the last one will really help you make real money and get yourself known. But promoters don’t care about your skill or who you are, all they care about is money and they get that money by getting people into a club.
1. Start getting emails and promoting.
Its not what you know but who you know so start collecting email addresses. We don’t mean your friends but people who actually matter. Meet up with other DJs, promoters and music people. Go to shows like BPM or dj equipment shows and swap business cards. Once you’ve got their card add their email address to a mailing list as they sure won’t do it themselves. Make sure you get promoters and other DJs on that list and email them to tell them what parties are happening. It doesn’t matter if you are not DJing at the parties as long as they are big. If people associate you with big parties then they’ll start coming to you.
2. Get a good website.
Many DJs fail at getting websites. They either do it themselves with no clue on how or what they are doing and end up with a 3 year olds doodle on a computer screen or they get a friend to do it for free and end up with the same results. Spend some money, don’t be cheap and get a good looking website. Being a DJ is all about image as well as playing good music, if your site looks professional, so will you. So research some people that make websites and see if they make what you like. Ask if they have made DJ websites before and if they have ideas for yours. Finally don’t be cheap, websites cost money to make so look to spend between $100-$500 at least but don’t go over board as its easy to spend thousands and still end up with crap.
Upload pics of you djing to the site, add videos, show off what you can do. Make it so people can forward pics and videos around, make sure your name is attached so people can see that you created these awesome parties. Updating your site every few weeks with new pics and videos will help create a buzz with what you are doing.
3. Remember them email addresses? Start working with them.
Now you’ve started making a name for yourself its time to get people involved. Email local promoters and DJs and start working with them. As we mentioned its not what you know but who and these people will help you to become a better DJ and get what you really want. You help them by letting them DJ at your events and they’ll help you by asking you to work with them in the future. Make sure you pick DJs you get on well with not only as friends but musically too. Don’t ask them for DJ slots, let them ask you as you get to know them. If you’re nice to them hopefully they’ll be nice back but don’t be fake. Be friends, be someone they want to be around with and talk to. With promoters you need to prove you’ll follow through with what you are asking. Give them proof that you are as good as your word and won’t let them down. Once you are in with promoters you are on the way to becoming a bigger DJ.
4. Keep finding new music.
There’s no point being good at playing club classics from 10 years ago. DJs live or die on the music they play and by keeping up to date they can become known for the DJs that offer the best tunes before anyone else. Buy new tracks and records every month, if you can be the guy that makes a tune massive people will remember you for that.
5. Make demo CDs
Making demo CDs is a great way to get your name out there. First of it’ll help you as you can record your mixes and play them back and hear mistakes you are making. Secondly you can send your awesome mixes to promoters who will hopefully like what they hear. Make sure you get these CDs into the hands of everyone possible, other DJs, promoters, radio stations. Anyone. But make sure you follow two important rules. 1. Put your name and contact details on the CD. A blank CD is of no use to anyone and a slip of paper with the CD is easily lost. 2. Make sure other DJs like your CD before handing it out to everyone. Get advice and tips to make sure the CD you send out is a good one. A badly mixed CD will not help your career.
6. Remember them DJ friends?
Make sure you play with other DJs, especially ones that are better than you. Not only will you learn tips off them just by watching but hopefully you can help each other get better and make you feel more comfortable DJing with other people. Get as much practise as you can. Ask other DJs to teach and coach you and watch and learn what they do. But don’t forget to help them out, whilst a DJ may be better than you they may suck at something you are good at like recording mixes. Remember friends help each other out and experienced DJs may help you get to the right places.
7. Get yourself on youtube.
This is more difficult than it may sound. You can’t just DJ and put it on youtube as you will fall fowl of many music copyright laws and just end up with your videos removed or worse your account banned. But by getting on youtube you can show off your skills and passions and with careful use of music (getting permission, using friends recordings or making your tracks) you can gain a big following online and get a bigger name for yourself.
8. Become a mobile DJ.
Who is the most important person at an event? Its not the DJ, its not the host, its the people who supply the sound system. So if you can supply the sound system as well as DJ that saves the promoter a lot of time. Its your system (ball) and to let people play with it you’ll have to be there. This is a great way to get in with other DJs. You’ll have to be the first DJ on as its your system and you set it up and you’ll need to be on hand to make sure it all goes smoothly. If you price yourself cheaply the promoter will pick you over someone else. First of all you’ll be bringing the gear and sorting it out as well as being a DJ. So the promoter not only saves money but time.
You’ll need a good system, a couple of cheap decks and some cheap speakers won’t cut it, this will cost you a few thousand dollars to do right. If you can’t buy a sound system find a friend that will let you borrow one. Offer him money for you to hire his equipment and use it.
9. Find out whats happening out there.
Its easy to do your own thing and think you are doing great but without going to other clubs or seeing other DJs you’ll be left behind. See DJs you wouldn’t normally see and get a feel for how the scene is evolving. See what venues work best with what tunes and listen to whats being played. Do the crowd like it? Is it new or a classic? Try to stand out from other DJs, learn what the over played tracks are and avoid them unless they are huge crowd pleasers. Chat with people and find out what other DJs are missing that you can include in your set. Don’t get left behind, be the DJ that sets trends.
10. Be confident, be nice, be friendly.
The most important tip you’ll ever learn. No one cares who you are, no one will give you the respect you think you deserve. You could be Jim from down the road or the next Tiesto but that doesn’t mean you can act bigger than you are. If you are nice to people and confident then people will be nice back. No one wants to talk to or play with someone who acts like an idiot. Who thinks they deserve everything and thinks they are better than they really are. Respect other people but don’t demand respect back. People want to chill and hang out with normal people. If something happens at a gig then just let it go. If you start screaming and shouting you may get your way for that gig but come the next gig you won’t be invited back. Whilst if you just let it go, people will remember you don’t cause problems and will hopefully try and make it up for you next time.
You wouldn’t want to work with jerks and neither do they. They want to work with people who get the job done and who they can get along with.
Hopefully these tips will help you on your way to success. As you have read its not all about DJing, its a lot about who you are and how you can work with others.