In this article we will be answering the question ‘What is a resident DJ?’, and give you some information about how to become one.
According to Wikipedia, a Disc Jockey, more commonly know by the abbreviation ‘DJ’, is someone who plays recorded music to an audience.
As we have discussed in another article, there are many types of DJ, including Radio DJs, Club DJs and Mobile DJs. While any DJ could be considered a Resident DJ, it is more common for a Club DJ to be one.
What Is A Resident DJ?
A Resident DJ performs at a venue either on a regular basis or permanently. It could be as regular as a few times a week to as little as once or twice a year. Normally, a resident DJ would hold some kind of agreement or contract with the venue which would detail the terms of their residency. This would cover both the DJ and the venue management to ensure the event/s are attended as agreed. For example, a venue would contract a resident DJ to play at their club every Friday and Saturday night throughout the year, assuming they are open each week.
Why Become A Resident DJ?
One good reason to become a resident DJ is to develop your skills and advance to the next level in your career. Having a regular slot at a club or bar is a great opportunity to practise your DJing and mixing skills.
It will also encourage you to practise in-between gigs and plan for the next one, fine-tuning your playlist.
If you are the DJ that plays every weekend at a well-known venue, you will get great exposure. The audience will get to know you and the type of music you play, the venue management may start promoting you as well as their club and you may get scouted by other, bigger and better venues. It’s also a lot easier to promote yourself, on social media and other outlets, if you are a regular as you will be able to show your followers where you play week after week.
The most obvious reason to become a resident somewhere is for the regular income. Trying to get bookings as a Mobile or Wedding DJ can be hard work, and you will have to constantly promote and market your services. As a resident, however, you could cover your bills with that one contract.
How Do DJs Get A Residency?
It’s great being a resident DJ, and we have just covered many benefits – but how do you go about getting the contract in the first place?
It is not as easy as just dropping off a mixtape to club managers and promoters and having your phone ringing the next day – you have to be more creative. First, you need to find a way to get your foot in the door;
- Promote a party
- Get another job in the venue
- Offer to be the warm-up DJ for the current resident
- Get a recommendation from a DJ friend
- Offer to play an event for free (Charity events are good for this)
These are just some ideas. You could also utilise things you can do at home to build up a following, which can all help towards getting that gig, such as;
- Getting an online profile – one thing you must do is set up social network profiles for your DJ alias
- Post regularly – Upload images, videos and mixtapes of you at your best, regularly. Get your followers to share your content
- Record mixtapes – You should be practising already – always record your sets and upload the best ones to well-known platforms like Soundcloud and Mixcloud
- Perform live sets – Set up your equipment at home and stream a live set which you can promote
You may find that a club manager/promoter asks you to ‘audition’ or play one event as a test. Don’t panic! Be yourself. Just make sure you are well prepared for it. Plan your set, have a backup plan, practice the whole set at least a couple of times. Record and listen to it to make sure you’re happy with how it sounds.
More importantly, find out what they are looking for. Is there a particular type of music you should play? Many venues would expect you to play just 1-2 minutes of each track before mixing in the next.
How Much Does A Resident DJ Make?
Based on an average-sized nightclub in a typical city in the Us or the UK, a DJ should earn around $250-$300 per night, for a 4-hour set. This can vary depending on a different play-time, larger/smaller venue and profile of the DJ.
A warm-up DJ could earn slightly less than the main resident, as might the Dj that plays the last hour into the early morning.
Another factor that could determine how much a resident DJ earns is whether they play a fixed genre – for example, a House or R&B DJ – or an open-format DJ, who can play music from a range of genres.
I would be looking for anything between $50-$100 per hour.
What Is A Resident DJ? – Final Thoughts
Hopefully, by now you have some knowledge on the question ‘What is a resident DJ’. It certainly has many pros, and a few cons, if any. But that is mainly down to your individual situation.
If you are starting out on your DJ career I would recommend planning ahead and deciding what type of DJ you want to be before you limit yourself to one specific area.
There is quite a bit of effort involved in getting established, particularly as a resident, but that is true of anything worth having.