This is a revisit of the topic of getting DJ gig.
More, or Better?
It’s really easy to get more DJ gigs. In a decent suburban area, DJs can find themselves playing every night at dumpy hookah bars, lackluster clubs, and sketchy house parties. Hell, DJs can even play weddings every weekend and make some serious coin.
DJs rarely ever are looking for more gigs in the sense that they want to play a large quantity of random gigs. Rather than more gigs, they want to play better gigs.
So if you want quantity over quality, then go out to all of these places and get yourself on the list. It’s not hard. If you want quality gigs, particularly a high volume of quantity gigs, keep reading.
What’s a Better Booking?
When working towards “better bookings”, it is important to define the criteria of what a “better” booking would look like. Here’s some examples.
- Playing prestigious clubs
- Playing large venues
- Headlining a sold-out show
- Opening up for major artists
Activity: Create your own criteria for what your better bookings look like. Write down a list of venues you want to play, artists you want to open for, promotion companies you want to perform with. It is important to objectively define what better looks like so you know what to pursue.
Building a Brand
Promoters book talent on the strength of the artist’s brand. Even touring, headlining acts are bought on draw. If a headliner is more expensive than the amount of tickets he could draw, a smart promoter wouldn’t book him. Every artist is worth who they can bring out to the show.
The same applies for local talent. If you want to be considered one of the top local artists by promoters, you need to have an image and draw. Building a brand for yourself is a huge task, and an entire series of blog posts altogether. However, I’ll go a bit into it.
- Build your Facebook fans. Creating an online presence for yourself creates an impression of your draw. If you have the largest Facebook following of all the DJ’s in your area, you have an edge when convincing promoters that you are the best in the area.
- Be known for skill & talent. Relentlessly practice your sets. Build your repertoire to the point where you literally are the best DJ in your area. Lock yourself in your bedroom and go crazy on the decks for hours each day until it clicks. Showcase your hard-earned talent and make your sets something that fans look forward too because of skill, not because of personality.
- Produce original music. DJ’s alone don’t have the power to go pro. Producing music is a must for 99% of electronic music artists. Once your live performance is down, spend an ungodly amount of time learning how to produce music. Don’t release anything until it’s good.
- Use good visuals. Pay a proper designer (shameless plug: I’m a proper designer, email me) to design quality logos and artwork for you. Having a professional presentation is essential to building a good brand. If your graphics look amateur, you’ll be seen as amateur. Spend some extra cash into making your presence look good.
- Reserve performing for juicy opportunities. Get used to saying no to subpar bookings. Try to level yourself up with every show that you play.
- Meet everybody. Build your local fanbase by meeting every person who goes to shows. Become friendly with the music fans in your scene, and get them to represent you.
Once your brand, skills, and fan base are on point, it is time to build relationships with promoters. Creating connections with promoters will be the shortcut to getting better bookings.
I recommend using this process with promoters at various levels. Start by contacting promoters who run local-only shows. Then, as your brand, fan base, and experience builds, repeat the process to get more prestigious contacts.
Here’s the actions that you should follow.
- Decipher who the promoter/talent buyer is for the venues/promotion companies on your list. I personally like to use a variety of Facebook-doxxing methods, like searching for “people who worked at XYZ Promotions” or by going through the company’s page and paying attention to who shares posts.
- Tastefully stalk them on social media. Like their statuses, share their posts. Be a huge advocate for their shows. Invite your friends to their Facebook events. Buy tickets and attend every show. Make the promoter know that you know who they are, and that you want in the circle.
- Set up a meet up. Message the promoter on Facebook. Say that you’re a local DJ, and that you’d love to meet up and introduce yourself. Offer to do it at one of the promoter’s shows. Be ready with a demo-mix if the promoter asks for it.
- Crush the meet up. Make a great first impression. Firm handshake, business card, the works. Ask if there are any opportunities to play. Be direct. If the promoter has agreed to meet with you, he has already made the decision to consider you for a slot.
- Get the gig. Congrats! You made it.This is a repeating cycle. Continue to build your brand and deliver value to the promoters and events that you associate with. Repeat this process as you trade up until you are top dog.
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