Tag Archives: VJing

Digging for Diamonds

By Tony Fernandez

Through my travels on the web and through the various DJ pages, I keep seeing a recurring thought: The state of music, specifically current music, is at an all-time low. If that isn’t enough, that state of mind puts DJs into the frame of mind of: what are the good songs that should be played? The stuff out now is crap… blah, blah, blah….

I gotta tell ya, I really have no sympathy for the DJ who can’t figure out where to get “good” music. Let me explain my position before you flame me…

A long time ago in a galaxy not far away, there were these things called record stores. These record stores would have music on physical formats that people would purchase. DJs, at least the proactive DJs, wouldn’t go to a “regular” retail stores where troglodytes would buy their music. Nope. DJs would go WAY off the beaten path to find outlets that catered to them.

In these establishments is where bonds were formed, deals were made, fortunes found.

Now I’m not really going to wax on about record stores. That’s not the point. The point I’m trying to elucidate is: if you are lacking “good” music, go find it. It’s out there. Nothing worthwhile is just going to drop in your lap.

With the dawn of the digital age, record stores met their demise. As such, music is currently traded around, downloaded, and acquired in the digital scheme. That scenario, I think, has made a lot of DJs lackadaisical, complacent, passive and downright lazy to a fundamental aspect of being a DJ…

You have to dig to find that diamond in the rough. You have to put a bit of effort in your musical acquisitions. There is absolutely no reason to be obsequious in this aspect of your job. Make the time. It’s part of your job.

Just because you keep up with charts, subscribe to record pools and/or remix services doesn’t absolve you of keeping up. You really can’t just sit back and expect format radio to break the next “hot” song.

If you haven’t figured this out… format radio isn’t in the business of breaking music. Format radio is in the business of selling advertising time, to make money. They use music to do that.

You can’t just wait for your inbox to give you a notification that your downloads from the pools/remix services are ready and you’re good to go.   It’s not the job of record pools to pad your hard drive. Pools are at the mercy of the record labels and their release schedules.

There are literally hundreds if not thousands of tracks that radio, the charts, the pools, the remix services are NEVER going to pick up on, play, or release. It’s incumbent on you to seek those out. To at least listen and see if something new and different is worth playing it or your crowd.

I also realize that people are creatures of habit. They like familiarity. They like things they know. They like things they’ve heard. I get that. I’m in no way saying that DJs need to play unreleased, white label, bootleg versions of songs to be cool or relevant. The vast majority of DJs play to the general public. As such, we need to keep our music programming recognizable. I do get that.

Since music now is in a digital medium, we ALL have access to the SAME tracks. (Pretty much…) We all are drinking form the same fountain, as it were. Because that’s the case, we need to set ourselves apart. Finding new music and/or remixes to current / popular music is an aspect that DJs need to take advantage of. There is good music and good remixes out there. Just don’t expect it to fall into your hard drive.

Keep ‘em spinnin’ and dig around a bit. You’ll never know what you might find.

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

Where Everybody Knew Your Name

By Tony Fernandez:

In the seemingly never-ending social media debate of Digital vs Vinyl, you hear the same points brought up time after time…

Vinyl is better

Digital is better

Record crates suck (this is actually true…)

Vinyl sounds warmer

Digital sounds cleaner

Vinyl made selection a skill

Digital made selection ubiquitous

Blah, blah, blah….

But the query that inspired me to put these words down was this: To what extent do you miss the social interaction with music /record store employees (who were usually fellow music lovers and/or DJs) that was inherent in buying vinyl records vs the isolated process of digital downloads?

I have to admit when I think about it I do miss that aspect of the vinyl world.

Going to record stores for me was an adventure. I was lucky enough to do a little bit of traveling and I would always check out the local record shops when I would be in a new town. It never failed that I would find some diamond in the rough that was overlooked by everyone else.

It was like a secret society. Once people knew you were a DJ and became a “regular”, things opened up. People treated you nicer and would grant you access to areas of the store the general public didn’t have. They would show you the under the counter stuff or the back room stuff.   Getting access to promo releases and white label prints on a retail level was not an easy feat. I’m glad to say I was able to cultivate a nice circle of stores where I could find some really choice pieces of wax.

And honestly, the people the worked there, the managers and the owners, they were really about the music. And that’s the part that was cool. It was like walking into the Cheer’s Bar, the people there would know who you were, be happy to see you and just catch up. I’m pretty sure to some I was just another customer, and that was OK. But by and large, everyone I met at the record store was very cool and always willing to help you in the task of finding the unique piece.

It was all about the journey. Making road trips to certain record stores because you were either going to play there that night or you just wanted to make a road trip and eat at that local restaurant. One thing for certain, the trip was not going to be in vain. You’d either come back with awesome tunes, a great meal or both.

I love playing “records”. But I still use SSL. I don’t miss lugging 40 lb crates loaded with vinyl. I don’t really miss the act of digging in the crates. I still do that in the digital space now. Not the same, but the results are the same. I do miss making those road trips and being a vinyl Indiana Jones. Nothing really beat having that piece of wax in your hand, placing it on the platter, dropping the track and having your friends ask, where did you find that?

My answer was always the same… don’t worry about it, it doesn’t matter, I got the last one.

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

“I Turned Down My First Client”

By Brian Buonassissi:

 

Here’s a statement I never thought I would make: After some 22 years of business I turned down my first client. Last year, I was listening to one of the PHDJ podcast episodes hosted by Mike Walter and Joe Bunn (if you’re not subscribed to it, you need to be) and the question came up if either of them had ever turned down a client? Like me, up to that point, neither of them had. However, the question gave me serious pause to think about clients that were “questionable.”

I can think of a handful of clients our company has taken on where, when we went to contract, I had a feeling they were going to be trouble clients. In the end, they all ended up to be exactly that – every single one of them. In some cases, we had to give a partial or full refund. Listening to the podcast, I began to ask myself, “Why did we take these clients on?”

The reasons varied. Part of me didn’t want to feel defeated. I wanted us to take on the challenge of making these clients have the party of their life. Another part of me may have wanted to make sure our DJs were working and there was fear that another booking may not come. And then there was another part of me that wanted to bring in the revenue.

As my DJ profile and demand has grown over the years, I’ve had the luxury of being able to pick and choose which clients are “the right fit” for me. If a client wasn’t a good fit, I’d send it down the chain to one of our other guys. That type of client didn’t really affect me as our other DJs had to deal with it and I masked it by saying, “It was good training” for them.

It hit in me in the face that I was being rather selfish. That started a process over the last few months of 2017 in identifying just who our ideal client was. I’ll share some of that with you.

Our ideal client:
*is between the age of 22-35
*is kind and generous
*is creative – loves uniqueness
*is cutting edge – enjoys social media and mobile apps, open to incorporating the latest and greatest
*Loves a variety of different music or at least has an appreciation for many different genres
*has an awareness that a DJ can make/break their event
*easily recognizes and appreciates value over low quality
*is willing to collaborate with us (there’s a mutual trust between us)
*has a crowd that loves to dance any chance they get
*communicates well and appreciates timely responses and reciprocates

That’s our Top 10 list. Once I identified our ideal client, it really put me (and our sales staff) in the driver’s seat and we found ourselves interviewing our clients just as much as they were interviewing us before taking on a job. There is still nervousness that I may lose out on revenue but the negatives of taking on a client that isn’t a fit completely outweigh any positives.

Back to the client I turned down…in a nutshell, they didn’t pass muster on 5 of the 10 on our list. It was enough of a warning sign for me that I knew this wasn’t the right client for us. I sent the client a contract anyway. However, when they came back with changes they wanted to see to the contract, it was like a little nudge from the heavens telling me to abort.

I spent some time thinking through how to communicate that I was going to rescind the contract offer; the last thing I wanted to do was for the planner to stop sending referrals (some of our best parties came from her). I talked to the planner first (over the phone) and she totally understood and even said she wished she had done the same. I tried calling the client twice but got v/m both times, so I drafted a nice email and sent it off. I never heard back. Again, more confirmation that I made the right call.

Have you ever had a trouble client? What have you done? It’s not a matter of if you’ll ever have one but when. If you take one thing away from post today, I would encourage you to identify your ideal client with no more than 10 bullet points. The process challenges you to real drill down. I think it will do wonders for your business. It has for mine.

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 offices in Southern California, Destin, FL and New York City. You can connect with him at brian@djbrianbofficial.com

Pioneer has designed a new standalone DJ sampler: the DJS-1000

Pioneer has designed a new standalone DJ sampler that enables you to create unique sounds and phrases using an intuitive DJ-friendly interface: the DJS-1000.

Many of today’s professional DJs use electronic instruments and production gear in

live sets to help make their performances creative and unique. With an easy-to-use interface, 16 multicolored step input keys, 16 multicolored Performance Pads, a host of inputs and outputs, plus various other performance features, the DJS-1000 is the ideal musical instrument to take into the booth and propel your sets to the next level.

Add the DJS-1000 to your DJ set-up and you can intuitively create unique sounds and phrases in advance of your set, or on the fly, then sequence and loop them as you wish. Improvise a new groove by syncing and mixing with tracks playing on other equipment such as CDJs using the Beat Sync1, tempo slider and nudge features. At a glance, the 7-inch full-color touch screen gives you all the information you need to perform, thanks to easily recognizable sequence patterns and instrument icons assigned to the Performance Pads.

Other features installed on the DJS-1000 include Live Sampling, which enables you to easily sample input sounds and immediately use them as independent tracks or as FX to add to your mix.

The DJS-1000 will be available from late October 2017 at an MAP of $1,199.

DJS-1000_prm_top_low_0926

Watch the introduction video or find out more about the DJS-1000.

KEY FEATURES OF THE DJS-1000

  1. Intuitive user interface

Step sequencer

Easily create a new groove by tapping the 16 large, multicolored step input keys. You can keep an eye on sequence information on each track thanks to the keys’ changing colors.

Multicolored Performance Pads

Use the 16 large rubber pads to trigger the tracks you’ve assigned samples and loops to. Each one is equipped with multicolored illumination and highly accurate velocity detection, so you can increase or decrease volume with the amount of pressure you apply.

Touch strip

By simply touching the strip, you can quickly change the pitch when using the pitch bend feature, or play a drum roll by using the note repeat feature. Customize parameters for even more creative options.

  1. 7-inch full-color touch screen

Tap the LCD display to instantly access the screen of your choice:

  • Home screen: View information on the sample assigned to each track thanks to the instrument icons and colors which are linked to the pads.
  • Sequence screen: View the sequence pattern currently playing.
  • Mixer screen: Adjust the volume balance of each track.
  1. Accurate syncing with various external devices and systems

In addition to clock synchronization with MIDI devices, the DJS-1000 includes the Beat Sync function which can synchronize a performance by beat/bar with a track playing on a CDJ-2000NXS2 or XDJ-1000MK2 set-up using PRO DJ LINK. Use the tempo slider and the nudge buttons to quickly adjust tempo and beat position manually, just like you would on a turntable.

  1. Powerful performance features

Live Sampling

Easily sample input sounds and immediately use them as individual tracks. The sampled sounds are automatically synchronized with the current sequence to play in a loop, so they can be dropped straight into a live remix. You can sample any input source, including audio from a turntable, via your mixer.

FX

Add various FX to tracks with ease, changing the tone on the fly. You can apply FX such as echo, reverb and filter to individual tracks, a group of tracks, or all tracks.

  1. Perfect fit in the DJ booth

DJS-1000_set_A-2_low_0926

The DJS-1000 is designed to fit perfectly alongside the CDJ-2000NXS2 and DJM-900NXS2, creating effortless unity in the DJ booth.Other features

  • Support for USB devices – manage your projects and samples easily
  • Over 2,500 on-board Loopmasters samples – start performing with the DJS-1000 straight out the box
  • Support for DJS-TSP Project Creator2 easily create projects and SCENE3 files on a PC/Mac
  • Support for project files created on the TORAIZ SP-16

*1 Beat Sync works with compatible DJ systems when playing tracks that have been analyzed by rekordboxTM

*2 To be released on the Pioneer DJ website in mid-October

*3 Information on how the 16 samples are assigned to a track on the DJS-1000

DJS-1000 Specifications

DJS-1000_prm_rear_low_0926

Playable media USB Storage device(flash memory/HDD, etc.)
Playable file WAV、 AIFF (16 bit / 24 bit、 44.1 kHz)
USB storage support file systems FAT、FAT32、HFS+
Input ports INPUT x 1 (L/MONO and R、 1/4 inch TS jack)
Output ports OUTPUT1 x 1 (RCA)
THRU / OUTPUT2 x 1 (1/4 inch TS jack)、
PHONES x 2 (1/4 inch stereo jack、 3.5 mm stereo mini jack)
Other ports USB (Type A) x 1 、 USB (Type B) x 1
MIDI IN (5P DIN), MIDI OUT / THRU (5P DIN)
LINK x 1 (LAN 100Base-TX)
Power requirements AC 110-220V (50 Hz/60 Hz)
Electricity consumption 20 W
Max external dimension
(W x D x H)
320.0 mm x 421.6 mm x 110.1 mm
Weight 5.4 kg

 

 

Playlists. The Demise of DJing?

By Tony Fernandez

Google “playlists” and you’ll likely get the following results: Best 25 Playlist Ideas on Pinterest, Playlists from Spotify, Playlists from Soundcloud, Playlists from Tidal, The Ultimate Wedding playlist… none of which bode too well for the DJ industry, at least as we know it.

And there is no stopping the trend.

In a relatively short span of time, playlists have grown from innocuous lists of songs individuals put together to run, work out, enjoy in the car, etc. to defacto musical blueprints for weddings, parties, and life experiences.

 I don’t want to come of like some old geezer that doesn’t embrace technology. I’m a geek with a very well populated hard drive and the skill to know how to use it. So I get that playlists serve a purpose: it’s how most people organize, cultivate and share their music.

But playlists are also dumbing down the most important aspect of DJing — music. And it’s happening on two fronts.

First, given the ubiquity of playlists, regular people (i.e. people with the potential to sign your paycheck) are under the delusion that if they can pick tunes for their life events, why hire you to do it. Of course, as professionals, we know it’s not so easy to string along a set of songs together and whip up a party.

Making a list of songs is easy. Making a list of songs work for a group of people in a harmonious, fluid, timely, and celebratory manner is hard.

Secondly, as the digital age of music has immersed our society in streaming the music we consume, DJs (to me) have lost the drive and desire to explore music and seem to rely on playlists to do their thinking. It’s akin to having a tiger in captivity and a tiger in the wild. If a captive tiger is being fed, that tiger isn’t going to be as sharp as the wild tiger that seeks out and hunts its food.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve all asked for help with music. There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking advice, assistance, and insight from your peers. It just seems to me that there are far too many DJs taking the easy road and expecting playlists to properly execute a well-played set. I know that playlists are not going away. I’m not daft enough to even suggest DJs shouldn’t use playlists. They are a great resource when used to supplement your arsenal. But come on kids, don’t be lazy, don’t be complacent. Learn your music, learn your craft.

The benefits and rewards you’ll reap will serve you for your entire career.

P.S. I’ve recently discovered something even scarier about playlists. Companies like Spotify will soon be using the playlists being generated and shared by their subscribers to target market to those very same subscribers.   But don’t worry about that, Google, Apple, and Skynet have bigger and better plans… J

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

5 MORE Tips To Guarantee A Great Event

By Brian Buonassissi:

I may have misspoken at the end of my last post. I had said that the first five tips were the foundation and made it sound like these aren’t as important. After thinking more about my own process, they all carry equal weight and I pay just as much attention to #10 as I do to #1. With that in mind, here’s the rest of my playbook for a great event.

Tip #6: CAN’T STOP, WON’T STOP…Never put your event on auto‐pilot or take a time‐out. From the time it starts until the time it ends, make every moment, every song, every announcement count. I often hear how some DJs will play the same cocktail hour for the season or they’ll put on a mix for dinner while they go eat — or worse play the same dance sets at every event. The longest wedding I’ve ever had was 8 hours but generally they are between 4‐6 hours. That’s a relatively small amount of time to be “on.” You owe it your clients to stay completely engaged the entire time. You ask your clients and their guests to be engaged for the full event. Shouldn’t you be leading by example?

Tip #7: JUST EAT IT? The pushback I get for not eating at the event is that you get hungry (especially if you follow one of my first tips of arriving super early). For me, the cocktail and dinner music I play is critical and if I do it right, it makes the dancing portions easy. Every event is different and even if I know the couple extremely well, I am constantly tweaking in real time what I’m playing based on the dynamic of the room. The guest count, weather, time delays, energy/mood of the crowd all play a part in what selections I chose. I can’t afford to take one song off to eat. The other pushback I get is that the client paid for your meal and it would be rude NOT to eat. Here’s what I do – I eat a protein filled lunch and then an energy bar 10‐15 minutes before the event begins. Not only do I stay full but it keeps me away from eating non‐ healthy foods. If the main course looks amazing, I’ll ask the catering staff to make me a “to go” plate. I’ve never had a caterer not offer to do that for me. Bonus: I get an amazing meal the next day.

Tip #8: I’LL BE THERE FOR YOU…I’m referring to your vendor partners. Make sure you support them as much as possible. Never let anything happen (you control the mic, right?) without making sure they know what’s happening and that you’re about to do something. Also, if you can help them out with something (even outside of your job scope), do it. Help a planner/venue staff move chairs, corral the family/wedding party for the photographer if they ask, be flexible with their requests, etc. DJs have a terrible reputation of being hard to work with, on a power trip and not willing to do anything that is not in their job description. I’m constantly fighting against this stigma and the vendors I work with comment that they love working with me because I consider us all on the same team. Not only will they refer you when asked for recommendations by potential clients, but they generally offer to give you professional images/video to use for self‐promotion, give you an early load‐in time, etc.

Tip #9: YOU’RE THE BEST AROUND…This is the separator between the good and great DJs and has nothing to do with your skills. I call it “surprise and delight.” It’s customer/client service. A week before the wedding, I call both sets of parents to see if there’s anything I can do to make the day extra special for their son/daughter. The morning of I send my clients a quick text (separately) just letting them know I’m thinking of them and excited for their day. At the reception, I bring them mints during dinner because I know they’re going to be talking to a lot of people. I try and snag a quick pic of their first dance and e‐mail them a thank you with it attached immediately after the event. I may create a snapchat GEO filter at no cost to them. Sometimes, those things mean more to clients than what I do DJ‐wise because it’s unexpected and something I don’t telegraph until I do them.

Tip #10: GIVE ME EVERYTHING TONIGHT…This also doesn’t have to do with your skill‐set necessarily. It’s about effort. I treat each event like it’s my last and I leave it all out on the floor. I don’t want there to be any regrets on my part. I am going to use every tool in my arsenal (as the events call for them) to put on the best event I possibly can. A successful event to me is where I’m so worn out that I need the next day to recover. Never short‐change your clients or the guests attending the event. That’s the reputation you should strive to have.

Hope these tips give you some things to think about. Have great events. You can do it!

Based out of NYC, DJ Brian B is a successful internationally traveling DJ/MC specializing in luxury private events. He runs a multicity mobile DJ/event business with offices in Southern California, Destin, FL and New York City. You can check him out at djbrianbofficial.com or bboyproductions.com

Introducing… Serato Sample!!!

serato-sample-logo-black

New from Serato – Serato Sample – a high-quality production plugin that makes sampling fast, simple and fun. Key features include the ability to quickly find, chop, key-shift and time-stretch samples, all with studio-grade sound using the power of Pitch ‘n Time.

At its core, Serato Sample is a beatmaking tool designed to get your ideas out quick. “During our R&D phase we found a real demand for something that allows producers to find and play around with samples without hassle,” says Nick Maclaren, Head of Strategy at Serato. “The result is a fully-featured tool that produces great sound and offers an intuitive, uninterrupted workflow.”

 

The plugin has already garnered praise from DJ Dahi, long-time Kendrick Lamar collaborator and Damn producer. This legendary beatmaker likened its ‘find samples’ modes to old-school sampling methods like popping a needle along a record. “We wanted to set producers up for those happy accidents – often the most enjoyable part of making music,” says Maclaren. “There’s a lot of features in Sample that help you discover entirely new parts of a track you may never have found otherwise.

DJ Dahi with Serato Sample

 

Sample is integrated with Serato’s original production plugin, Pitch ‘n Time. Adding this technology allows producers to manipulate samples freely (like adjusting the BPM from 1, all the way up to 999), without losing audio quality. “Pitch ‘n Time is almost 20 years old and is still the industry standard for pitch-shifting and time-stretching”, says Maclaren. “To have this tech in a $99 plugin is amazing value.”

Serato Sample is now available for download, including a free 30 day trial. Anyone who downloads will gain access to a bank of free Loopmasters sample packs, and in-depth tutorials.

Start a free 30 day trial

Serato Sample

 

Key features of Sample 1.0

Unrivalled time-stretching powered by Pitch ‘n Time

Time-stretch samples to extreme values using the power of Serato Pitch ‘n Time. It’s also easy to sync samples to your project.

Flawless Key Detection and Key Shifting

Find the key and then shift it with the power of Pitch ‘n Time.

Find the best samples

With one click Serato Sample’s algorithm finds 16 of the best samples to work with.

Change samples beyond recognition

You can manipulate each pad individually. Mess around with key, bpm and more with pad parameters.

Keyboard mode

Play one sample across the full piano scale like a synth.

Mono/Poly playback

Trigger your Cue Points with monophonic playback like Serato DJ. Or you can use polyphonic playback to play chords and drum patterns.

Familiar and fast Cue Point workflow

Use Serato DJ’s popular Cue Point workflow to quickly set and trigger pads.

Works in leading music production software

Including Ableton Live, FL Studio, Logic Pro and Maschine. Sample will also work in other DAWs that support AU/VST plugins.

Try Sample for free or buy now for $99

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 the release of Serato Scratch Live, and later Serato DJ and Serato DJ Intro.

Now, Serato has returned to the diverse world of production with the release of Serato Sample. A high-quality sampling plugin for producers.

Sample website: serato.com/sample

Free Trial download: serato.com/sample/free-trial

Tutorial Videos: serato.com/sample/tutorials

Sample Support: serato.com/sample/support

Sample Facebook: facebook.com/seratosample

Sample Instagram: instagram.com/seratosample or @seratosample

 

 

5 Tips To Guarantee A Great Event

By Brian Buonassissi

I know this seems like quite the guarantee, but for years I have lived by these 5 tips and I can’t remember the last bad event I had. If you don’t do these five things you put yourself behind the eight ball. Since I do a ton of weddings, I’m going to tailor this post towards that, but it could really work for any private event.

Tip #1: I WANNA KNOW, I WANNA KNOW… Doing your homework before the event is critical. I could spend hours on this one tip. What I mean here is that you need to know everything you possibly can about the event (which means asking a ton of the right questions) — where your clients and their guests are from, make‐up of their crowd (college friends? first time both sides of the family are meeting?), what your clients like/dislike about weddings they’ve seen/been to, a site inspection of the venue, the hot buttons of the vendors you’re working with, equipment you’re using, and the music/mixes you’re going to play are all just a few of the many questions I ask. For the last one, I don’t necessarily mean come in with a prepared set-list, but never play a mix of a song (or any song in general) that you’ve never heard or played before. That used to burn me in my early DJing days more than I care to admit.

 

Tip #2: BACK THAT THANG UP… I can’t emphasize enough how important multiple backups are: I have all my formality tracks on 3 different backups (iPad, Phone, and thumb drive); I carry a duplicate external hard drive with all my music; I travel with 2 computers. I am over the top on this on so many levels. You don’t get a do‐over for private events (especially weddings). Having as many fail‐safes as possible is just smart business. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ you will need to use one.

 

As I like to say, the event is often won or lost before you arrive.

 

Tip #3: BUT I’M ALWAYS ON TIME… This is about giving yourself a wide margin for error. By getting to the venue on time, I mean get there early – WAYYYY early (for me, I arrive a minimum of 4‐5 hours before the event). From not having to rush on set‐ up, to being able to test and check all gear, to rehearsing your important moments, playing through every formality track in its entirely, to putting your event planner/Maître D’ (and potentially the clients) at ease, this is just a best practice.

 

Tip #4: WORK, WORK, WORK, WORK WORK… In a perfect world, I would just mix my favorite tracks and the dance floor would be packed all night. Since we’re talking weddings, the dance floor would start during cocktail hour and it would be hard for them to stay seated for the meal because the music is that good. That happens at a lot of my events but not ALL of them. I have had a few tough ones. Sometimes it means I must go to a genre that I don’t particularly like or I may even have to go into cheese mode (assuming the client wants it). I never let my personal preference take precedence over what’s best for the event. I’ll keep grinding and do whatever it takes until I find the right formula for my crowd.

 

Tip #5: P P P POKER FACE, P P P POKER FACE… Playing off the tip above, let’s say your event is going terrible. Maybe your crowd is just a non‐dancing crowd or you just can’t seem to please anyone with the song selection. You’ve put in a ton of work but it’s just not happening. What’s the remedy? Smile and look confident – like you know exactly what you’re doing and that you meant for it to be like this. Never let the crowd know you’re struggling. Show that poker face. Make them believe you’re having a great time (even if it’s killing you inside) and often, it’ll get them out there. If nothing else, I’ve found it makes me feel better about the event at hand.

 

I’m going to post a Part 2 to this because there are many more things that I believe can ensure a great event. The ones above are the foundation. Follow them and you’re on your way to success.

 

Based out of NYC, DJ Brian B is a successful internationally traveling DJ/MC specializing in luxury private events. He runs a multicity mobile DJ/event business with offices in Southern California, Destin, FL and New York City. You can check him out at djbrianbofficial.com or bboyproductions.com

Is Facebook Live the end of the DJ Mix Tape? Part 1

By Tony Fernandez

Mix tapes and DJs go together like peanut butter and jelly. The mix tape is a DJ’s calling card. A DJ’s sonic resume. Personally, I come from a point in time when you actually used tape to do a mix tape. But we’ve all made mix CDs… for our girlfriends, boyfriends, travel tunes, business cards, promotional showcases — the uses are endless.

Fast forward to our current state of affairs: SoundCloud, Mixcloud, Facebook, Facebook Live are all great vehicles that allow DJs to share their talent with the world. However, there is conflict in the air. The waters are churning. There is strife between the DJ world and the digital world. The same vehicle(s) that have allowed DJs to share their vision and skills with the world are now clamping down on the sharing and showcasing of those skills.

I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but I did have the following facts checked by a lawyer (who is also a DJ, producer, and copyright holder), so as to simply and correctly explain why mix tapes and the streaming of those mixes are being removed.

Let’s dig in….

DJs need to realize that the music they mix, play, use, and purchase is not “your” music. It’s natural to draw the conclusion that because you have purchased a song you’re allowed to play it publicly in a DJ set. Well, according to U.S. copyright law, this is incorrect.

There are several types of rights copyright owners must obtain under the law to distribute musical works, all of which are exclusive, including:

  • Public Performance (transmitting or performing the work in public)
  • Reproduction (copying/duplicating)
  • Digital Performance (internet streaming)

With that information in hand, we can move forward and explain why DJs aren’t allowed to post, stream, or share their mixes.

When a DJ spins at a nightclub, it’s incumbent on the venue to make sure they have a license for public performance. This license is acquired from the PROs (performance rights organizations). When the venue has a public performance license, it means that DJs can play recorded music registered with the PRO.

Radio stations pretty much work the same way. The difference is the radio stations license is for broadcast. Their license authorizes the radio station to play music on public airwaves.

Streaming services do not have a clear relationship with PROs. When a DJ creates a live stream and starts broadcasting music on the internet, that DJ becomes, in effect, a radio station. As such, he or she needs to have the appropriate licenses.

No licenses, no stream.

This is, unfortunately, where we find ourselves today – at the crossroads of artistic expression and the rights of copyright holders.

It’s apparent that copyright laws are falling behind: DJ sets are not a protected form of free speech. Our sets don’t generally fall under “fair use”.

As such, copyright takedowns happen.

What can you do about it?

Stay tuned for Part 2…

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

5 Must-Have Apps That Have Made Me More Money

By Brian Buonassissi:

As a small business owner, I’m all about finding the best way to maximize my time and my revenue. Thanks to ever-evolving technology, I’ve come across a few things that have allowed me to both gain some “time back,” without having to hire someone, and make more money along the way.

In no particular order:

TINY CALENDAR

This is an app that syncs with Google Calendar. Google’s calendar app is not user-friendly so I prefer this app instead. I have all of our employees on it and we share our calendars with one another so when we need to schedule meetings, etc., we can manage it all very easily without having to e‐mail, call or text repeatedly. It also keeps me personally organized. With everything being stored online, I never have to worry about losing a paper calendar, journal, etc. I use the free version and it suits my needs perfectly. They have a pro version that you can get if you need it.

WUNDERLIST

This free app is amazing! It’s a to-do list. You can have as many to-do’s as you want and since I have 30 or so employees, I can easily assign tasks, etc. You can also use this online from a computer rather than your phone, if need be. I have multiple lists going and it is a perfect complement to Tiny Calendar.

SLACK

I wanted to find a communication tool that allowed my team and I to communicate easily without having to do so through e‐mail on everything. Enter Slack. I use the free version and it was a game changer for my business. The standalone app is fantastic but also has a desktop app for those who stare at a computer screen all day. If you are a multi‐op, this is a MUST for you and my #1 recommendation.

HOOTSUITE

Wanna be a social media ninja without having to stay online all day? This will manage all of your social media content and will allow you to pre‐schedule posts on all the major social networks. I usually schedule all of mine for a week prior. If something needs to be added last minute, I can jump in and post via the social network of choice. I use the free plan with this as well. To date, this has saved me from having to find a social media person and makes it appear as if I post regularly.

LIVECHAT

This is one the paid service I use. This is a stand‐alone app and works with just about every website type out there. It’s a sales tool and you can capture leads immediately. If you aren’t using this, you need to start. You can turn it on/off at any time. I’ve booked too many shows to count with this service.

These are my Top 5. What about you? Are you using something not on this list?

 

Based out of NYC, DJ Brian B is a successful internationally traveling private event DJ/MC. He runs a multicity mobile DJ/event business with offices in Orange County, Calif, Destin, FL and New York City. You can check him out at djbrianbofficial.com or bboyproductions.com