By DJ Rachel Lynch
NAMM 2020 means the most prominent manufacturers have cooked up new tech tools that have the industry salivating. Social media has been on fire with “delectable” innovations like the DENON 6000/6000M, Prime GO/Prime 2, Pioneer DJMV10, Chauvet GigBar MOVE, RANE Seventy, and the Electro-Voice EVOLVE 30M. In response to the release of this technological buffet, the internet has been seasoned generously with sneak peeks, reviews, blogs, and attractive advertising. DJs are known to have an insatiable appetite for buying new gear, but maybe it’s time for a “DJ diet”?
- Is this purchase focused on the customer?
Most agree the only people who REALLY care about gear and specs are other industry professionals. In truth, clients don’t care about the “ingredients” (brands); all they want is the finished product to “taste good” (overall outcome). Before binging on new gear, focus on upgrading elements that genuinely enhance the guest experience. If your current setup is tidy, professional, and producing happy customers, consider holding off for something more meaningful like pizza or investments that uniquely elevate your “wow factor.”
- Have you REALLY outgrown your current gear?
I often encourage DJs to invest in things that make their job safer, faster, or more profitable. To help determine if an upgrade is necessary versus a “nice to have,” evaluate if you’re meeting the client’s expectations and how easy is it for you to accomplish those expectations? If you find yourself frequently turning down work because you cannot accommodate a request or are struggling to execute a task with the gear you currently use, then it may be time to upgrade or invest in something new. Otherwise, it may be a new toy rather than a vital tool.
- Have you mastered what you currently use?
That shift key on your controller unlocks another layer of features. If you didn’t know that, this paragraph is for you is for you! Mastering DJ hardware and software takes time and practice. With that said, professionals should develop the technical know-how to maximize the full potential of their gear. It is not uncommon for DJs to prematurely upgrade because they didn’t understand what they purchased in the first place or did not take the time to explore all the existing options. Before reaching into your wallet, make sure you intimately understand all available features with your current setup. Get comfortable with the strengths and limitations to determine if this would be an actual upgrade or a lateral move to something similar you’re already using; new doesn’t always mean better or different.
- Upgrading won’t make you a better DJ.
Buying new stuff often feels like the quickest way to improve, and while there may be some truth to having extra features and tools to attain a professional edge, it’s not going to ensure your stardom as a music festival headliner. The truth is that new speakers won’t mask poor music choice or the inability to read a crowd. Experience is the best teacher, not expensive gear. Upgrading may be a temporary motivator to put in additional time behind decks, but buying new tech won’t fix fundamental shortcomings. Learning and progressing as a DJ can be done on almost anything. Want to be a better entertainer? Focus on the basics and expand your creativity through experimentation.
- Have you budgeted for this expense?
Budget means spending with a purpose. Understanding the purpose of a budget gives more freedom and flexibility to purchase what you NEED when you actually NEED it. Make sure your budget doesn’t turn into a fad diet, meaning you have good intentions that fade away with every temptation that crosses your path. Proper finance management is essential for good business, and it is easy to do if you set realist goals and stick to them. If you have unexpected equipment failure and haven’t explicitly set aside funds for anticipated upgrades, consider de-cluttering and offsetting some of the cost by selling older gear that’s collecting dust. Prioritize expenses and goals to eliminate frivolous purchases.
Technology is evolving faster than ever. This progress is a big win for the DJ industry; however, it can be overwhelming and confusing to know when to purchase the next best thing. With the constant pressure to streamline our workflow, maximize convenience, and blur the boundaries between DJing and producing, upgrading often seems like the right thing to do.
It’s easy to get caught up with the tech whirlwind and obsess over insecurities of not having the newest gear available. However, before opening up your wallet, I suggest an honest self-check to help determine if this upgrade is worth spending your hard-earned money or mere indulgence.
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