If you are a beginner DJ, you will no doubt be wondering how to get DJ gigs. If you find yourself in that situation, don’t despair, because no great world-famous DJ started being known; everybody has to start somewhere. The main target is to find work and start earning money.
However, the way to get DJ gigs is quite different from a few years ago, when you first had to record all your mixes on cassette tape and go door-to-door to the most influential clubs and try to get them to give you a chance. This may sound old-fashioned to you, but the truth is that even though we live in a modern, computerised society, if you don’t try and get your music into the ears of the right people, you’ll never get to become a renowned DJ.
To make your job search a little easier, here’s a list of some of the best ways to start getting DJ gigs and getting your music sessions heard by thousands of people. Stand by – Take note!
1. Visiting Clubs and Networking
May seem obvious, but the truth is that at first one of the best ways to get involved in the club scene is to be a part of it. Become a regular customer, get to know the staff, particularly the promoters.
If you could get a job at your favourite club it could be a great way to get started, whether behind the bar, in the cloakroom or on the door, you are more likely to get to know the employees and management.
However you plan to do it, don’t bug the promoters. Let them know you are a DJ, offer them a business card and see how they respond. Make sure you have a link to your best mixes on your card so they can listen and see what they think.
Remember the main reason you’re there though; you want to be known for positive reasons, not because they have had to pick you up off the floor!
Read: What is a Resident DJ?
2. Use Social Media
We live in the digital age, in which if a person wants to become known and prosper professionally, they have to have at least an open profile on one of the main social networks: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For the promotion of your services as DJ, the tools for professionals offered by Instagram and Facebook are your best option, because for very little money your publications will reach a very wide audience.
YouTube can also be a great platform to get seen. You can post DJ set videos and host live events.
Don’t forget about DJ and Music-specific accounts too: Soundcloud and Mixcloud are great places to upload regular mixes and follow other DJs. You can also host live mix events, which you can promote on your main social media accounts in advance.
However, not everything is about promoting, but we will also have to interact with the followers and other DJs; the more followers you have and the more active you are, the more chances of being seen by some promoter you have.
Read: How To Stream Your DJ Sets On Mixcloud Live
3. Create Your Own Website
It is crucial that as a professional artist you have a fixed place where any fan or promoter can find a sample of your work and basic information about you, both professionally and personally.
While it’s true that most fans and interactions are currently done using social media, the presence of an official DJ website will bring much more seriousness to your resume, besides having certain benefits that a social network couldn’t give you. For example, on a website you can post samples of your best mixes as a DJ through music platforms such as Soundcloud and Mixcloud, and you can also create a photo gallery where you can be seen DJing in a club or social event.
Above all, the most important thing is that the information on the web is useful and truthful, since it will depend on it whether a person wants to follow you or whether a promoter decides to contract your services.
Make sure it is professional-looking and minimal. You want the visitor to get an idea of you, the next big DJ, in the first few seconds.
4. Create a Mix and Send it to Promoters
If you’re from those who like to go looking for luck, instead of waiting for luck to come to them, the best thing you can do is to send your best mixes directly to the club promoters that interest you.
Choose your mixtapes well and choose the potential promoters who might be interested in your proposal, and then it will be a matter of luck; just learn to be patient.
Read: Beginner DJ Tips: How To Mix
5. DJ for Free
Hear me out – This could be the best way to get well-paid, regular spot. There are a few ways to do this, but I will list a few examples;
- Charity Event – Some charity events are promoted and attended by important people. Offer to provide the music, PA, hosting or full gig for a heavily reduced rate or even free. Just make sure you use it to your advantage; ask to be featured on the promotional flyers, have your business cards on each table and be mentioned by the MC throughout the event.
- Club Night – If you can contact a promoter or manager of a local club and offer to arrange a club night where you will DJ for a reduced rate or free you could be heavily promoted. That promotion will be shared across the area, on all their socials and hopefully to other clubs and promoters. Try to get the gig recorded so you can share that afterwards too.
- Busk – Crazy as it may sound, you could play in a busy city area – get heard and even get paid! As always, make sure you have business cards to hand out and some kind of promotional board or banner. You could include a QR code on it so people can quickly scan it to find your media rather than trying to copy your links. Just remember to stay legal!
You can get as creative as you like to get your foot in the door, but you’re more likely to get a chance if you offer your services cheaply or free. Just don’t do it more than once at any venue, know your worth. It will cost you your time and you will probably have to provide your own equipment.
6. Exchange Sessions With Other DJs
This tip is only useful if you have already started getting DJ gigs at a club, as it is the only way for other DJ looking for new opportunities to get to know you and get interested in your work.
Once you’ve started making yourself known, a good strategy for growing up in the DJ world is to partner with another novice DJ who is in the same situation as you; offer to do a night swap. For example, once a month you will play their club and they do yours. Now you’re getting noticed at two venues. In time you could be playing at a different club each week of the month.
It may not be the gig of your life, but a good collaboration can open more doors for you than if you decide to do it all alone; because if the artists do not support each other, who will?
7. Find an Agent
If you are an artist with aspirations you will need an agent who knows how to sell you and who will look for a job; which will involve an investment, so if you have not yet managed to do a single session this option will have to wait. Today there are many DJ agents who will be able to find you good job opportunities, although it will always depend on your style and your fame; the more benefits the agent can get, the better jobs you can get.
On the other hand, you should bear in mind that the type of agent we decide to hire will depend on our fame, our musical style and our aspirations; although in show business, all this can change for better or for worse in a matter of days.
Since in the end, whether you have an agent or not, it will always end up depending on you and your ability to socialize in this huge sector of music.
8. Join a Group or Agency
Join a Group – If you have friends who are DJs, MCs, Promoters, etc., why not partner up? You could offer yourselves as a whole package, or just promote your group. Get a good website with you all on there and clients can choose based on their requirements. In time, you could DJ at a club and take it in turns.
Join an Agency – This is different to getting an agent. One of the ways I got most of my gigs in the beginning was to work for another DJ. Any well-known or established DJ will be offered events they cannot attend; they can only be in one place at a time! If you can be part of a group of DJs or be on the list of an agency that regularly supplies other DJs you could get regular work at a number of venues and, hopefully get recognised by someone.
9. Start as a Mobile DJ
Even if this isn’t your long-term plan, starting your career as a Mobile DJ gives you a chance to earn some money and network. Make sure you get to know the staff at each event; the management team, event organisers and the other suppliers to get more work. Again, use a website and social media to showcase yourself, your skills and your equipment.
Read: How To Become A Club DJ
10. Enter Competitions
Sign up for DJ competitions. You will need to be fairly confident and make sure you’re prepared, but it is another great place to show off yourself and your DJ skills, even if you don’t win.
Sometimes you will attend a live event, video yourself DJing at home and submit it, or you may have to remix a track and send it in.
If the competition is promoted, free promotion for you! Make sure you share the competition on all your social media accounts.
Ask your friends, family and followers to attend and/or vote for you.
Conclusion – How To Get DJ Gigs
As you can see, the options to get DJ gigs are multiple and very different, because depending on your interests and your style of music, it will be better for you to do some things than others. In the end everything will always depend on your effort, your talent and luck; because even if we try, in the end it is always luck that decides everything.
I hope all these tips can help you and in the not too distant future, you can become a great DJ. Don’t give up!
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