There’s no single way, no set process to getting a good DJ gig. However, there are a number of steps you can take to grow your business, whether you are landing your very first gig or looking for more gigs to fill up your schedule.
In this article, we’ll talk about a number of ways you can get started getting DJ gigs. We’ll talk about what you need to do to get yourself out there so you can work towards having the career you want in the field you love.
Best Practices to Get a DJ Gig
- Be a great DJ
If you want to get gigs, you need to be good at what you do. You need to know the ins and outs of creating a great mix, choosing tracks, putting them in an order that takes your listeners on an extraordinary journey, and providing seamless transitions that keep the energy moving. But, of course, you need to be unique, too! Don’t just do what everyone else does but find your style. Being a great DJ takes a lot of practice, so don’t be afraid to put in the time to get really good.
- Build your brand
Once you get a feel for your own style, you can begin building your brand. Your brand is really your DJ personality – it's who you are when you are at a gig entertaining your audience. It’s the style of music you like, the venues you’re willing to work at. It’s your transitions, your beats, and everything you do that adds personality to your DJing. Your brand also includes what you look like, how you dress, and how you interact with clients. Your brand should always be professional and courteous, no matter what kind of music or venue you are working in. Figure out how much you’ll charge and include that in your plan.
- Create a website and social media pages
Once you know who you are, you can start marketing yourself. Create a great website and social media accounts and update them regularly to keep people engaged. This is important because it helps potential clients get to know you and what kind of work you do. You’ll want to include some testimonials, venues you have played, and anything else that will help people want to ask you to be their DJ. While you’re at it, get some business cards to hand out, too.
- Record a DJ mix and share it
Another way to get yourself out there is to record a brilliant DJ mix that accurately reflects what you’ll do at a gig. This should be about an hour. Don’t overdo the effects or beats if you can’t do that in a live gig. Just make sure it's an accurate representation of your style, skills, and personality. Gear the mix towards whatever audience and venue you want to play for. Once you’ve made the recording, you need to share it! You can put it on thumb drives or CDs or upload it to a site such as mixcloud.com.
Don’t forget to add links to your mix on your website and social media accounts.
If possible, apprentice with an established DJ. Maybe you can get a job as a DJ assistant so you can learn the trade and make connections, volunteer to advertise for venues or even be willing to assist in exchange for learning the ropes. Over time, not only will you improve your skills, but you may be asked to fill in when the DJ is overbooked or can’t make it.
- Network and followup
Get to know as many DJs and venues as you can. Go to clubs where you want to work and introduce yourself. Hand out your business cards and thumb drives. Ask your friends and family, as well as venues and promoters, to hire you. But don’t stop there! Make sure you follow up because even if they don’t need someone today, they might need someone in the future.
- Consider non-traditional venues
It may be challenging to break into the club or radio scene, but don’t be afraid to try some non-traditional venues to get your name out there. For example, you may volunteer to DJ for a charity fundraiser; you’ll get experience and exposure even if you don’t get paid. Visit local coffee shops, open mic nights, colleges, and even gyms to offer your services. You may have to take some cheap or free gigs to help you get started.
- Have the right equipment
Make sure you have the right DJ equipment and that it is in good working order. You don’t want to mess up a gig because your equipment failed! You can start with minimal equipment if you need to. Check out our top recommendations for dj mixers, dj speakers, and dj controllers.
- Be prepared for last-minute gigs
Have a great mix ready to go with tunes and effects so that if you should get asked to entertain at the last minute, you’re ready. Be practiced and have your setlists primed and polished so you can say yes to a great gig. Make sure you have a plan to transport your equipment to the gig.
- Throw your own parties
If nothing else works, throw your own parties. A few house parties may be just what you need to get yourself out there.
- Keep hustling!
Don’t stop with just one gig. You need to keep putting yourself out there so you can keep getting gigs. Once you make a name for yourself, hopefully, the gigs will start finding you! Until then, keep hustling to get clients and bookings to grow your career.
Final thoughts on How to Get a DJ Gig
There are a lot of ways to get a great DJ gig, even if you’re brand new. You need to take a little bit of a risk and get yourself out there, even if it is scary. Here are a few things to remember when you’re just getting started:
- Be a great DJ with a unique style
- Record an awesome mix that represents the gigs you’ll play and how you’ll play them
- Share yourself on your own webpage and social media pages
- Get out there and network with DJs, venues, and promoters
- DJ any chance you can get, whether its for free charity events, non-traditional venues, house parties, or as a substitute
- Follow up with past and potential clients
- Don’t give up! Keep on hustling until you have the career you want.