By Rachel Lynch
As a DJ who has reached a pinnacle in their career after 13 years, my view of ‘what a DJ is’ has shifted 180 degrees from when I started. Looking back, I had no idea about the extra skills and flexibility needed beyond the decks and turntables to make it in this business. Even though technology has eased some of the burdens of being a mobile, DJing in 2018 is a job that requires wearing more hats than ever.
I’ve always thought of myself as a terrible salesperson. In fact, every job I have ever held growing up has avoided two things, sales and math (the kind of math I was told I would need growing up and never did). When I decided to become a DJ, I figured it would be a safe way to avoid both. To my surprise, years later I have realized I couldn’t be more wrong. Selling your services is one of the most essential skills to develop as a DJ. One of the most significant changes I made to my sales approach was to stop selling “equipment and years of experience” and start focusing on selling “me and my value as a DJ.” In the absence of value, everyone shops on price. The key is to show them why having YOU as their DJ will positively impact the total experience they are seeking. Personality, charm, wit, kindness, dependability, and approachability are more important than the number of watts on the back of your powered sub. I wish I had embraced this earlier on (and wasn’t so stubborn on doing what I thought DJs did). Sales are a part of what we do.
The Marketing Manager:
Before social media took the world by storm, DJs relied heavily on promoters, the Yellow Pages (I’m dating myself now), word of mouth, business cards, and other less interactive platforms to get their brand out there. While it can be epically overwhelming for those intimidated by technology, it is now the task of a DJ to be involved with selecting the appropriate social media channels for their customer base. I’m not here to tell you how to market but rather why you need to. Word of mouth will always be the best advertising, but unfortunately, DJs working in the current climate will need to do their own promotions, ads, flyers, videos, and social media management if they want to be recognized as a player in this arena. Luckily, there are a lot of great apps that make creating promotional content a breeze. Some of my favorites are Canva, Clips, iMovie, Spark Post, Spark Video, LiveCollage, Grammarly.
The R&D Department:
Music today is being pushed out at an astonishing rate from multiple sources (YouTube, curated Spotify lists, SoundCloud, and other music-related apps). Acquiring music is instantaneous and audiences are becoming more and more savvy about finding the music they love; it’s no longer about what local radio is pumping out. Add shows like X-Factor and The Voice, and music is now so tangled in pop culture that DJing is not just about music anymore; it’s about what’s going on around us, too. Do your homework (unlike you did in middle school) and dedicate some time each week to do some pop culture searches and news. It will keep you fresh and current. Trust me.
The IT Department:
While technology has made DJing much more portable, it has also required DJs to master the tech arena as well. From DMX programming, web design, correctly setting EQ values, to firmware updates and wireless technology, a DJ is also their own personal tech department. Mastering this means research, rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty. Technology is only going to move forward, and we have to, too.
DJing in 2018 is much more complex than two turntables and a microphone. So for those who are just getting started, be prepared to grow and learn in ways you never thought you would.
We are more than “just a DJ.”
Fun, creative, and ambitions, 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 https://www.facebook.com/DJRachelRLynch/