Drip, Drip, Drip…

By Eric Wenning

I hoping I have your attention now, considering that my title sounds like the chorus of a Trap Song!

Do you have a proper Email Drip Delay Sequence setup for your follow ups? Did you just scratch your head, asking “What is an Email Drip Delay Sequence?”

I thought you’d never ask!

An Email Drip Delay Sequence is an automated series of emails sent out over a series of specific days to help gradually build rapport with your leads. For example, after speaking with a lead, you would enter their info into an email sequence that will automatically follow up with them on the days you select, for example on days 3, 5, 7, etc.

You get the idea.

This is crucial nowadays with Millennials loving to email and text, and allows you to build trust by providing a steady drip of information to guide them towards choosing your company — without doing any work, other than your initial setup of the sequence!

As I teach my students all the time: You have to be creative with your copy to gain their attention. Even more importantly is the subject line! Most DJs have no clue how to use something as simple as a compelling subject line to get a better open rate.

Here are a few examples to help you: 

  • Adding Custom Symbols, First Names and Hashtags
  • Adding Emojis to your Subject Line
  • Adding ‘Blank Space’ before your Subject Line provides an indent
  • [Adding Brackets]
  • Ask a Question?

Just think how many junk emails you get in one day. More than you can count right? You need to make your emails stand out from everything else. Get creative; give crazy weird stats to pique curiosity; engage with them to build report.

“Did you know 67% of Brides forget Deodorant on their Wedding Day?” See, now I have you curious wondering if that many Brides actually are “un-Sure.”

If you want to increase your closing ratio, set up an email drip delay and execute better subject lines to get your prospects to open your emails and engage with you more.

P.S. 89% of people that read a 400-word article only retain 150 words!

In addition to his highly successful multi-op business in Pittsburgh, PA, Eric has degrees in Graphic Design and Marketing and also owns a full ad agency that specializes in Social Media Advertising for many different types of companies. For more info or to contact Eric visit www.wenningmethod.com

Never Let Them See You Sweat

By Mike Walter

There was a very popular ad campaign for Dry Idea when I was a kid.  If you’re my age or older you probably remember it.  It featured a number of people from various professions talking about the “nevers” in their career and they always ended with: “never let ‘em see you sweat.”  One, for example, was a stand-up comic who said the nevers in comedy were, “never follow a better comedian, never give a heckler the last word and, no matter how bad a joke bombs, never let ‘em see you sweat.” I grew up with that as a mantra and it’s stuck with me to this day.

I thought about that message twice in the same day recently.  Alex Trebek, he of Jeopardy fame, made a video to get the word out that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.  Trebek, who any public speaker has to admire for his polish, professionalism, and incredible pronunciation skills, produced a video that is equal parts uplifting and humorous.  He declares that he believes he will beat cancer, finishing with the idea that he has to, because he still has three years left on his contract.  It reminded me of the old Henny Youngman line about his doctor giving him six months to live but when he couldn’t pay his medical bill he gave him six more months (ba dum bum).  Trebek, no doubt, is reeling inside from the news.  At 78, he should have many years in front of him, but who knows now.  Pancreatic cancer is a tough one.  But instead of looking scared or forlorn, the video shows him focused and determined. He is the quintessential professional, as he’s been his entire career, and no matter what deodorant he uses (do they even make Dry Idea anymore?) he has channeled that decades-old ad campaign.

The same day Trebek made his announcement, R Kelly was interviewed on CBS by Gayle King.    The interview didn’t reveal anything new (Kelly vehemently denies the allegations that are so thoroughly laid out in the documentary Surviving R Kelly) but the interview made news for King’s grace under pressure.  Indeed, there is one image (that became an instant meme) of Kelly standing up and screaming while King sits in her chair calmly, not even looking at him.  If you look up “grace under pressure,” you should see that picture.

How does one maintain such poise? How does someone faced with the worse possible diagnosis make a video that is so uplifting?

Surely, experience is a factor. It’s doubtful that Trebek or King could have been so controlled in their first few years of broadcasting. Preparation has something to do with it as well.  We don’t know how long Trebek prepared for his video.  He might have taken days to get all the sobbing out before he hit record. And, no doubt, King knew that Kelly may explode when confronted with the disgusting allegations from the documentary, so she was ready for it.

However they did it, as a fellow public speaker, I admired both moments.  Things happen at my events that pale in comparison to what Trebek and King were dealing with, yet I often get flustered.  I often react one way and then moments later think of a better way to handle things.  How can I channel both of these professionals the next time I’m faced with something like a wedding cake toppling over or two bridesmaids getting into a fight on the dance floor?  I want to be as polished and smooth and I believe that awareness is a big factor.  Knowing how high the bar is set helps one jump higher.

I was in my teens when I first heard the catch phrase: “Never let ‘em see you sweat.”  It comes up often in any performance job because things happen spontaneously.  We can only hope to handle them as well as Alex Trebek and Gayle King did on that same day in early March of 2019.  We should set our sights at being as unflappable as they both appeared, hopefully we can get close to it.  That’s my goal anyway.

Do DJs Own Their Mixes?

By Tony Fernandez

It’s a Tuesday, you and a group of DJ colleagues are over the house in the man cave or she-shed doing what DJs do: talking shop, talking music and getting on the set,  goofing off and working out mixes. Let’s say you do some dazzling, death defying mix that makes every DJ in the room go “OOOOH”!!!  Dope selection. Dope segue.  Executed to perfection. It was a good night.

Fast forward to two weeks later, your gig is done, it’s early, you stop off to go check out one of your buddies who’s spinning not too far away and… you hear the SAME mix you did.

The way I see it, there are two ways you can react to this…

1) Wow! That’s cool!  Mix sounds great on a large system and people are digging the vibe on the dance floor.  Glad to see it works in action!

Or…

2) That lousy mother trucker stole my idea! What a Cotton-Headed Ninny Muggins!!!

I can barely put into words how low, vile, despicable, lazy and downright uncouth it is to take other people’s work and pass it off as your own.  It’s stealing, no question.  Just because there is nothing tangible being taken, doesn’t mean it isn’t stealing. The disgust factor in DJ world is exponentially higher because not only are you taking something that you didn’t create; you’re passing it off as if you created it.  What a philistine.

Now while I wholeheartedly agree that it is verboten to take another DJ’s “work” and pass it off as your own, do DJs “own” or have the right to claim dominion over a mix/segue? To be succinct: No. DJs do not have ownership over a blend they create. No matter how original. It is of my opinion that the concept of “I own that mix” / “that’s my mix” borders on lunacy.

To put a finer point on it, I am referring to mixes, as in mixing from one song into another.  Routines that DJs and turntablists create for shows and competitions are completely different.  I do believe those routines are intrinsically attached to the DJ performing them. Jazzy Jeff, AM, A-Track, Q-bert, etc. — these DJs have an associated  sound and style.  They have taken certain records and incorporated them in such a manor that those mixes have been linked to them.  I get that. I’m on board with that.  BUT DJs saying “That’s my mix”… not so much.

Do you really think you’re the ONLY DJ on the face of the planet to figure out Song A goes with Song B REALLY well?  While someone has to be the first to figure it out, do you think that someone is you? Let’s say it is you, you’re the first. Now what?  You can’t copyright it, nor can you trademark it.  So what exactly is “yours?”  It’s a mix.

I’m not trying to kill any creative vibe.  Nor am I trying to give a pass to those DJs who’s idea of being creative is looking up some DJ’s set from SoundCloud and copying it verbatim. To those DJs who can’t come up with original concepts, I’ve got three words for you: practice, practice, practice. To those DJs who are pushing the envelope and coming up with innovative ways to present music to the masses, please continue doing what you do. You’re an inspiration.

To those DJs who fall under the category of ‘even a blind squirrel finds a nut’ take a step back, calm down and look at the big picture. Be fluid.  Be open-minded.  That dope mix you tripped across is going to be viable for maybe 4-6 weeks.  If you’re doing your job right, you are CONSTANTLY looking for dope tracks that work every week.  So don’t get hung up on one mix or ‘this is my idea.’  What works this week for this event is not guaranteed to work for the next one.

Come down off the pedestal. Besides, if other DJs are “taking” ideas from you, you’re doing something right!

Keep ‘em spinning.

Based out of Richmond, VA, DJ Tony Fernandez has been a DJ, Remixer, Producer, Musical Soothsayer and Audio Gear Oracle since 1980. Find him on Facebook. Email djtonytf@gmail.com

Introducing Serato Studio: Serato’s new beatmaking software.

Serato has launched the first beta version of its new beatmaking software, ​Serato Studio​, which will help more DJs become producers.

The product combines powerful production features with a DJ-style workflow. This includes cue points, mixer channels, FX, time-stretching and key-detection with Pitch ‘n Time, waveform displays, loads of content, and access to your Serato DJ library.

“By building on what DJs already know, we’ve reduced that steep learning curve commonly associated with music production,” says Nick Maclaren, Chief Strategy Officer at Serato. “Which means less time hitting technical roadblocks and more time actually making music.”

Studio caters to more experienced producers with advanced features like automation, stem exporting, and third-party plugin support (VST and Audio Units), with an overall emphasis on intuitive and simple design.

“Over the years we’ve spoken to countless DJs and beginners who want to start making music but either don’t have the time, the hardware, or feel overwhelmed with attempting to learn production software,” says Maclaren.

“As a result we’ve made Studio as intuitive as possible, so you can open it up and start making beats right away,” he adds.

Studio also includes a range of time-saving features including instant key and pitch-shifting, “Play in Key” mode, which allows users to play any instrument in key without knowing any music theory, and a “Make Beats” feature, which creates drum patterns with one click to get you inspired.

“During the testing phase we noticed DJs would try to make a track and spend a lot of their time on less creative aspects, like putting a drum kit together or finding the key of their sample,” says Maclaren. “So we’ve focused on being able to get ideas out fast.”

Studio works with a range of setups, including standalone using just your laptop. As well as a range of supported Serato DJ hardware and MIDI controllers.

“If you already have a DJ controller or mixer that’s supported in Studio, you can use it to make beats without investing in extra equipment,” says Maclaren.

Serato Studio is a subscription-only service, with subscribers receiving ongoing sample content and software updates. Contributors include world-renowned sound designers and artists, including Decap, MSX II Sound Design, Goldbaby, and more.

Serato Studio Public Beta is now open until it reaches member capacity, after which Serato will schedule semi-regular openings to add more members before the official release.

Join the Serato Studio beta and learn more ​here​.

Serato Studio – Key Features:

  • –  DJ Style Library​ – Access your entire Serato DJ library with crates, cue points, BPM and key information.
  • –  High Quality FX​ – Tweak your beats using over 30 built-in FX presets that will feel instantly familiar to DJs.
  • –  Works with DJ hardware ​- Studio works with a range of DJ controllers and mixers, as well as MIDI controllers, or just your laptop.
  • –  Make Beats​ – Get inspired with over 300 pre-made drum patterns across a range of different genres.
    Master Key and BPM​ – Let the project key automatically update as you start making your beat. Adjust the BPM to extremes with world-class Pitch ‘n Time stretching
  • –  Play in Key​ – Play any instrument or plugin in key, without knowing music theory.
  • –  Quality Content Built In​ – Studio comes with a huge amount of built-in drum kits, instruments, audio loops and samples, with frequent content updates for subscribers.
  • –  Simple Sequencer​ – Get creative with your drum patterns using the simple and easy-to-use 808-style step sequencer
  • –  DJ-style mixing​ – Mix your sounds using a familiar DJ channel mixing strip, with dedicated gain, EQs, filters and more.
  • –  Serato Colored Waveforms​ – See your audio and MIDI sequences in Serato’s famous colored waveforms.

    About Serato

    Serato makes audio software for music lovers worldwide. In 1999 Serato launched with Pitch ‘n Time, still the world’s foremost studio plugin for time-stretching and pitch-shifting technology. On the strength of Pitch ‘n Time, Serato moved into the DJ industry, changing the game with Serato Scratch Live, and later Serato DJ Pro and Serato DJ Lite. Serato recently returned to the diverse world of music production with their high-quality sampling plugin, Serato Sample. Now Serato is combining those two worlds with Serato Studio, intuitive beatmaking software for DJs and producers.

    For all press enquiries please contact press@serato.com

Work Out Your Weak Spot!

By Mike Walter

As I write this, NAMM has just wrapped up out in Anaheim.  I didn’t attend it this year but I know it just happened because social media tells me so.  My timelines have been flooded with pictures and videos of the latest exciting gear being produced for our industry.  And along with those posts come the DJs who encourage their peers to stop focusing on gear and spend their money on talent.  Take a workshop or attend a class, they write.  Invest in yourself.

It all reminds me of a Facebook post I saw recently.  Somebody asked which was more important, talent or equipment? And while most people responded that talent was more important, I chimed in by saying: BOTH!  Because it’s not like you have to choose between the two. It’s not a zero-sum game.  In fact, the best DJs I know focus on both aspects of their career.  They do everything they can to improve their talents.  But they also would never leave the house (or the warehouse) without the very best gear.  And plenty of back-ups as well.

I had the same thought years ago when the “Got Music?” T-shirts started popping up at DJ Shows and then just as quickly there was backlash from some who thought they over-emphasized the importance of music at the cost of talent. I remember thinking, “wait, what?” I care tremendously about my music library (which is why I’ve been a proud Promo Only subscriber for well over twenty years now) and every great DJ I know does as well.  We realize that songs are our tools and we need them to pack our dance floors.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t work on my MCing skills every chance I get.  The two are equally important and focusing on one doesn’t mean you ignore the other.

So now that I’ve gotten that off my chest allow me to offer some advice. In your most honest of moments, think about your overall skills as a DJ and MC.  What are you best at and what are you weakest at?  This is for you and you alone so be 100% honest with yourself. I did this a few years ago and I had to admit that of all the traits that are most important to success in our industry, music mixing was my weakest.  I was good.  But I wasn’t great.  My programming was better than my mixing.  My MCing was better than my mixing.  My equipment knowledge was better than my mixing.  So I focused on improving that skill to get it closer to the others. And I’d advise you to do the same. It doesn’t mean you have to forego the other skills.  I still practice my MCing and listen back to my own introductions and prompts and look for ways to improve them.  I still spend a few hours every week listening and cataloging new music.  But I spent more time on mixing than I ever had. And I think in the last few years that skill has gotten closer to the others for me.

You can do the same.  You can take an MC workshop if that’s your weakest skill.  You can practice, practice, practice your mixing till you get better.  Or you can study your songs and improve your programming.  If you really want to be the best at what you do, stop focusing solely on your strong points.  Start improving the part(s) of your show that need it the most.

Mike Walter is the proud owner of Elite Entertainment, a Multi-System DJ Company in New Jersey that was recently selected by TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com as a top Entertainment company in the country.

Want vs. Need

By Mitch Taylor

I was tuned in to the TV recently and I’m constantly amazed at the barrage of ads and messages sent to us regarding products and services.  Target marketing has been around for years and of course my kids (and present company included, of course) are prone to seeing a brand, ad or message and immediately saying “I WANT that!” or I NEED that!”

Have you thought about how WANT vs NEED relates to your own business?  We’ve all seen the postings on social media that state DJs are not a “need” but a “want.”  I’m not here to debate that issue in this space (although I have my thoughts) other than to say that the key in selling and marketing is HOW to make your business go from “Well I want to hire a DJ” to “I NEED to hire ____” with the blank of course being filled by YOU.

In your conversation on the phone one of the best ways to go from WANT to NEED is asking the question “What is the biggest struggle you are having planning your event?”  Be candid with them so they, in turn, can be candid with you.

This goes back to building the relationship.

Ask yourself this and answer honestly: When was the last time a bride or client changed their date to book YOU? If this is happening to you on more than a couple times a year then CONGRATULATIONS! You’re doing all the right things to continue setting yourself apart and I’m sure your calendar is full or close to full.  If this situation hasn’t happened to you in a while or has NEVER happened then it’s time to re-evaluate your service offerings and what you are attempting to sell to your clients.

 

Mitch Taylor has worked in the Mobile Disc Jockey industry for over two decades, first cutting his teeth as an on-board club DJ for Carnival Cruise Lines. In addition to owning and operating Taylored Weddings in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, he is a sought-after speaker and Gitomer Certified Advisor whose sales training, books, coaching and workshops are in high demand all over the country. 

 

 

How To Survive R Kelly & Other Troubled Artists

By DJ Brian Buonassissi

I feel like this is the elephant in the room at the moment for the DJ community so why not talk about it. If you’ve been living in a cave the past few weeks, Lifetime released a documentary series called “Surviving R Kelly” about the rumors and, in some cases, allegations of sexual, physical and mental abuse against Mr. Kelly. This type of documentary programming is part of the channel’s commitment to provide a platform for woman to bring awareness to harassment and abuse that largely (especially in the case of R Kelly) goes ignored in the mainstream media. The response to the documentary has been pretty big. Not only is the media picking it up but it’s starting to have some larger repercussions — Kelly and Sony (his label) have parted ways, artists that he’s collaborated with are removing songs they jointly work on from their catalog, his manager turned himself into the authorities and probably the most damning thing is his daughter has called him a “monster”.

Admittedly, I haven’t and probably won’t watch the documentary. I have many more things that I want to pour my time into this year than watching something like this. I’ve known of the allegations levied against Kelly for years so more witnesses coming forward or damning evidence isn’t going to move the needle of me thinking any less of him.

In a private DJ Facebook group I’m in, one of the DJs asked what our responses are going to be to this and how we’re handling it? Honestly, I hadn’t given it much thought until he made that post. There are plenty of other artists who have done things that morally are seen as disgusting – Michael Jackson’s child abuse case, Chris Brown’s domestic issues and though not entirely in the same vein, Kanye West’s eccentric behavior – and while they’ve caused waves in the news, I haven’t ever had a client or guest ask me not to play their music due to those issues. In some of the other DJ groups I’m in, I’ve seen posts from DJs who’ve been booed for playing any R Kelly at their events the last couple of weeks and other DJs who’ve removed all the content of R Kelly from their computer so it got me thinking what my take is and what I’m going to do about it.

The reality is that we all have skeletons in our closet – maybe not of the magnitude of R Kelly’s but if clients really knew some of our baggage, would they even hire us? It just so happens that, as a celebrity, R Kelly’s baggage is way more public. How many other artists are doing things that we don’t even know about, yet we play their music and clients/guests sing and dance to their tracks? I just saw a documentary on Whitney Houston that made her out to be a drug addict and a bad mother. The moment we start drawing a moral line of what is acceptable and not, it becomes a slippery slope. I’m not giving R Kelly a pass. If the allegations are proven true, he deserves punishment that fits the crime, but keep in mind that documentaries are, by design, one side of the argument.

Here’s how I’m handling it right now (and I’m not saying my way is the best way or only way). Hopefully, it’ll give you pause to consider your response. For one, R Kelly’s tracks aren’t going to make/break my programming. I use 1-3 songs on a semi-regular basis but I can easily replace them with others. I don’t feel like I have to have any “one song” to make a party lit. Now, if it’s on a client’s “must play” request list, then I’m going to play it.  If it’s requested by a guest at an event, I’ll ask them, “Are you sure?” and measure their response. If it’s met with hesitancy, I’ll suggest we table it and ask if they have a different song I can play instead. I recently had a guest who did request it and when I posed that question, her response was, “You played Michael Jackson, didn’t you?” She’s right. I did and it worked. The difference here though is that this is a hot button topic right now. I don’t want to test the waters unless I’m absolutely convinced I need to play it (which is rare). I ended up playing it and it worked great. That said, I’ll probably stay off his tunes in my regular programming until the temperature cools a bit on this one.

My guess is that it’ll be old news in a few months. In some respects, it’s sad to be writing that but it is reality. We live in a very short news cycle environment and the next scandal to break will replace this one.

What’s your response to this issue? How are you handling it? Drop me a note and let me know.

Based out of NYC, DJ Brian Buonassissi is a successful internationally traveling DJ/MC specializing in luxury destination private events.  He runs a multi-city mobile DJ/event business with satellite offices in Southern California, Scottsdale, AZ,  Destin, FL, Tallassee, FL and New York City.  You can connect with him at brian@djbrianbofficial.com.

DJ resolutions you should keep

By DJ Rachel Lynch

If you’re looking for the secret to drop 25 lbs while still hitting up the late night menu at Wendy’s or fix the current state of hip-hop this blog won’t be much help. However, DJs are always looking to do the job better, faster, and easier. With 2019 in full swing, here are some tips to do just that.  Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Meaning, find the best tool for the job and perfect the process. Here are some things you can do RIGHT NOW to start 2019 off on the right foot.

Consider Hydraulic/Lift Assist Stands– Sticker shock tends to deter some DJs from investing in these however they were my BEST purchase of 2018. If you’re on the fence, consider this. Lifting an object that weighs 10 lbs puts approximately 100 lbs of pressure on your lower back. With the average human torso weighing 105 lbs that 10 lb object adds up to 1,150 lbs (now think of your speakers and do the math). Having a speaker stand that can share some of the workloads is a smart move. You and your back are worth the investment.

Elevate Working Surfaces– Working from a comfortable height will elevate your performance and prevent unnecessary injury. Flight cases and equipment have become slimmer over the years causing the modern Dj’s working height to be reduced. Consider sourcing a table with adjustable legs or buying one that gets your gear to navel height.  Using the lid of your flight or controller case is also helpful to raise those platters and jog- wheels. If you’re tall, try bed risers. The goal? Work from a surface where your wrists are neutral with your gear. I challenge you to evaluate your posture when you DJ, you’ll be surprised at how bad we are to our bodies when we mix. If your back and neck hurt after an event this may be why.

Productive Pack Up– After a gig, the first thing on a DJ’s mind is getting out of there as quickly as possible. Over the years I have learned that despite the urgency to hurry up and leave, taking a few extra minutes to pack up properly has saved boatloads of time. One of the biggest mistakes I made was letting a “good samaritan” help me pack up. The next event took almost 30 minutes longer to set up because the cables were mismatched, tangled, and I couldn’t locate what I needed easily. Your clean up should be as neat and as systematic as the setup. It will save you time and money in the long run instead of having to repurchase things that are misplaced or accidentally left behind. Another time saver tip is to leave whatever you can pre-wired. This can be a significant time saver and stress reliever the next time you set up.

Shop Smart– Just because something is new doesn’t mean it is good. If you’re in the market for new gear, try renting it first. Take time at home to get comfortable with it. Run through the setup and breakdown. Test it with your other equipment. Is it comfortable? Consider the Weight? Portability? Practicality? Does it do what it claims? Do you have to have it? Are the newest features worth paying top dollar for? It may be better to consider last year’s model or buying something second hand. Chances are you’ll get a steep discount and still get the upgrade you’re looking for.

Forget the To-Do List– I said it. Stop making to-do lists. Wanting to start a website for your business? Do you need to back up your hard drive? Or deal with the check engine light on your DJ van? Throw Out your to-do list and get it on a calendar. What’s the difference? The paradox of choice. With a to-do-list there too much freedom. We often do the most pleasant tasks first versus the more complex ones. Or we push off tasks that seem less important until they become significant. The loose wheel on your Dj cart that you meant to fix since last month is much easier deal with at home on a Sunday versus fixing it when it when it breaks at 1:00 a.m. while using it. Having actions items a calendar (with a set date) will help you solidify your commitments and visually help you see if you can take any more on. It will also help you focus on tasks that have the most impact and reorganize those of less priority.

Keep Going– It is essential to set some realistic goals and strategies to ensure you are at the top of your game. If you aren’t, I guarantee you the competition is. So my last tip to making the most of 2019 is to not coast on your previous success but rather use the momentum to ride a bigger wave. If you had your highest number of events booked or were the most profitable, you had ever been, great! But that doesn’t guarantee you anything. Success isn’t accidental or lazy. It’s a direct result of preparing, planning, and aligning your time with your goals. Get back to work and keep challenging yourself.

Fun, creative, and ambitious, DJ Rachel is making her mark as one of the top mobile DJs in the tri-state area. Her diversity as a DJ allows her to play at events that include MetLife Stadium (for the New York Jets) and serve as opening act for George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic and Gloria Gaynor. For more info visit: facebook.com/DJRachelRLynch

Stop, think and realize…

By Tony Fernandez

 Before we begin, let me give a little background…

I remember when record pools actually serviced RECORDS.  They sent out boxes of vinyl.  You’d get a box a month, sometimes two.  About 20-30 pieces in the box.  You’d get cool stuff, hot stuff, new stuff, white label stuff, and junk.  Part of the deal was to listen to all of the product and give feed back to the pool director.  This information would be passed along to the record labels so they could get grass roots/direct response from the streets and clubs.

Let me take a beat here and point out this isn’t about glorifying wax. Far from it. This is more about how record pools fulfill what a DJ requires nowadays.

Every week, if not every day, there are posts all over the DJ boards and DJ groups that ask…

What’s the best pool?

I have a Jewish wedding coming up; I need a pool that has Jewish music.

I have a Quinceañera, I need a pool for Spanish music.

can’t find a pool that has the tracks I need, which pool does?

I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment things changed… when pools went from being a vehicle to service promotional releases to working DJs providing ANYTHING any DJ may want.  And not only anything, but unlimited access to entire databases, back catalogs, site libraries, and remixes; all for $9.99 a month.

I’m not going to get on my soapbox (today) about how absurd and unrealistic that expectation is. But stop and THINK where else in the consumer market can you get unlimited access to obtain content (be it physical or digital) for $10-$20 bucks a month… and it’s OK?

Where do you think that pittance of a fee goes? How do you think these “pools” offer unlimited downloads for content that has bootlegs, unsanctioned remixes and older music that isn’t being worked by the A&R / promotional divisions of record labels?

DJs need to stop, think and realize that their $9.99 a month doesn’t entitle them to download the host server.  And the “pools” that offer this service are doing NO ONE a favor.  I’ll spell it out… Pools that offer the sun, moon and stars for less than an over the top lunch at Applebee’s are not operating completely above board.

But I digress…

What I am going to pontificate on is the expectations of DJs and how those expectations need to be grounded in reality not in desire, want, or need.

Let me make a quick stipulation here.  I get that as DJs we need music.  It’s at the core of what we do.  It’s our life blood. Without music, we wouldn’t be DJs. I also get that as DJs, we will go through ALL KINDS of hoops, obstacles, mazes, and land mines to obtain tracks and (re)mixes to songs we deem important. We gotta have the dope stuff by any means necessary. I get it.

However…. It’s not the role of the record pool to stockpile your cupboard. It’s not the role of record pools to provide every DJ with EVERY possible piece of music, old, new, hot, different, ethnic or obscure.  There aren’t Indian music record pools.  There aren’t Psycho House Dubstep record pools. There aren’t 80’s music record pools. Guess what DJ’s?  If you wanted 80’s music serviced to you, you needed to be born in the 60’s.  If you need 80’s music today for a corporate event, buy it.

DJs need to realize that music content is a product.  These products are items that require money in exchange for use.  Money that goes to the artists that own the copyright.  (And notice I said ‘use’ and not ownership.  We don’t own the music we buy.  The people that own the copyright do.  We’ll go over that some other time…)

Bottom line… music is our inventory.  We have to keep a fresh supply.  If you’re savvy, you don’t count on one source or have a limited set of suppliers to keep that inventory intact.  There is no single record pool that is one-stop shop.  There is no record pool that is all things to all DJs.  As such, you just might have BUY a track or three here and there.  It’s not the fault, or the responsibility of the record pool if it doesn’t have a track you “need”.   You can blame the record labels for not servicing the pools.

I gotta go do my homework and collect my new tracks.  Keep ‘em spinning.

Based out of Richmond, VA, DJ Tony Fernandez has been a DJ, Remixer, Producer, Musical Soothsayer and Audio Gear Oracle since 1980. Find him on Facebook. Email djtonytf@gmail.com

It’s never too early to start reading your crowd

By DJ Rachel Lynch

Dinner music is an excellent opportunity to gauge what type of crowd you have and help set the tone for the night. Think of dinner and cocktail music like paint primer. The better job you do to prep the wall, the better the finished outcome will be.

DJs who have a great dinner or cocktail crate may do a decent job with a “set it and forget it” playlist as they have built the list with years of experience.  Since they feel that they already put in the work ahead of time they may decide to use dinner/cocktail downtime to time to eat, relax a bit before the party, use the phone, smoke, etc.  Sadly, this mindless and relaxed approach is a missed opportunity for DJs to connect with the guests in a subtle but powerful way.

Adding to this passive approach is the assumption that nobody is actively listening to the DJ because they are engaged in conversation or enjoying food and drink. I disagree completely. Dinner time is when a DJ should work the hardest to understand who is in front of them and what music directions they can approach later on. Dinner/cocktail time is a smart way to take risks and try different stuff to see how it feels. Dinner/cocktail music can be a fun part of the evening if a Dj is really focused on the task.

Things I ask myself during dinner/cocktail music:

How engaged are they? Who are my dancers? Who is there for the free food only? Who is taking advantage of the open bar? Who’s sitting with who? Who are my “party people”? What are the age groups here? Are there any cultural considerations?  Who’s signing lyrics while sipping their wine? Are there foot taps from anyone? Is anyone bobbing their head? Are people smiling? Etc.

Nonverbal cues during dinner will absolutely help a DJ smash the night. Don’t miss the chance to own your audience!

About:
Fun, creative, and ambitious, DJ Rachel is making her mark as one of the top mobile DJs in the tri-state area. Her diversity as a DJ allows her to play at events that include MetLife Stadium (for the New York Jets) and serve as opening act for George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic and Gloria Gaynor. For more info visit: facebook.com/DJRachelRLynch