7 Things You Need to Know Before You Start to DJ Professionally
Many people get into DJing and think it will be easy, but it’s much harder than putting some songs on shuffle. You have to think about your equipment, getting a manager, finding the right connections, and listening to your audience. Below are seven things you need to know before you start to DJ professionally.
You Will Need Another Job
Until you get set up as a professional DJ, don’t expect to have the money to support yourself. To get well known, you will probably have to play in smaller clubs, or even offer to play a set for free. This is a great way to build an audience and show clubs what you’ve got. Many bigger venues will want you to have experience playing in all sorts of venues before they even give you a look in, meaning you will need another job to support yourself in the meantime.
Having another job will also give you the chance to save up some money to get the best equipment, but we’ll get back to that later. If you like the hospitality industry, consider getting a job that will help you build industry connections, such as a bartender in a local nightclub.
You Need to Learn How to DJ Professionally
Learning how to DJ takes more than just practicing in your bedroom. If you don’t know your way around a deck yet, you first need to learn how to become a professional DJ. There is a lot to learn, but Pirate can take you through all the basics and make sure that you learn learn how to DJ in no time. Pirate also offer you the chance to record in your own studio when you feel like you’re ready to make your own mixes. This can really boost your professional career, especially when you get to drop your tunes on Spotify and YouTube.
Start Saving Up for the Best Equipment
When learning to DJ, the best equipment doesn’t really matter. When it comes to DJing professionally, you will need to fork out a decent amount to get the best equipment. There is no point making your mixes sound amazing if you don’t have the right equipment, as when it drops in the club, it just won’t have the desired effect.
Unless where you’re DJing already has its own setup, you will need two turntables, a mixer, a DAW, speakers, synths, and more. This is why having another job is so important, as investing in the right equipment can make your career.
Plan Your Set, But Be Prepared for Changes
DJs who don’t listen to their crowd won’t get very far. While you may want to play everything that you’ve laid out in a list, you need to be prepared for how your crowd reacts. Freestyling your set is the best way to play to your crowd’s needs. This doesn’t mean you can’t plan your set to a certain extent but have other things ready to go if you aren’t getting the crowd as hyped as you’d like.
You also need to engage the audience, so talk to your crowd through a mic and get them pumped up. If you get asked to play some songs and they’ll fit in with your style and set, give the audience what they want.
Consider Getting a Manager
If you want the best gigs and want to boost your professional DJ career, it is worth considering a manager once you have found your feet. Although they will take a percentage of your earnings, they will also have a lot of contacts that can get you into some good clubs or events. This can be the difference between your career taking off, or not getting anywhere at all.
When looking for managers, be careful, as there are some out there who will try and take a lot more than what they should if you’re just starting out. Most managers will take around 10 to 20 percent of your earnings, so don’t sell yourself short. A manager can also handle things like branding and marketing, which is great if you don’t have the knowledge and skill set to do this yourself.
You Have to Find Connections
In the world of music, connections are everything. This means you need to go out to the clubs you DJ in, or the clubs you aspire to DJ in. Listen to the music there and see what that DJ is doing that you are not. Speak to people and support the DJs that you enjoy, as this is the best way to make friends and get connections. Not only this, but they may also be able to help you with your sets and give you invaluable advice that can boost your career.
You Will Need to Travel – A Lot
If you want to be a professional DJ, you must be ready to live on the road from time to time. This means leaving behind family and friends to play gigs all over the country, or even the world. Bear this in mind when you are saving money, as you will need a travel fund. Promoters can take care of you in terms of where to stay and food, but travel expenses are usually on you.
Travelling can also get very exhausting, so you must be ready to give it your best at a live show, even with jet lag. This doesn’t mean DJing isn’t a lot of fun, and if you want to travel, you will have an amazing time. Like any job, there are good and bad sides that you need to consider.
If you want to be a professional DJ, there is a lot more to consider than just skill. You need to be prepared to learn, work another job, find connections, get the best equipment, travel, and get a manager. Being a professional DJ can be tough work, but if you love your job, you’ll have a great time doing it.