Free Advice On How To Find DJ Gigs
Free Advice on How to Find DJ Gigs
Once you have learnt the skills on our DJ courses we will organise DJ gigs for you so that you can gain experience in real clubs. Sooner or later though, you’ll want to fly the nest and establish yourself as an independent artist by sourcing your own DJ gigs. Here’s some free advice on how new DJs should go about finding DJ work.
Firstly, before anything else you should know how to DJ properly. For the best start sign up for our one-to-one Pro DJ Course. There are three levels, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced and it teaches you all the fundamental theory and skills, creative options and how to be a confident performer. If you need to skill up ask us for some custom DJ lessons.
One of the hardest things for a DJ is how to find their first gigs. Luckily, if you’re one of our students we will do the hard work for you. All our DJ course graduates will gain their LSA certification and be invited to join our private alumni community group to get access to all the DJ gigs we organise. In the group you will find daily postings for DJ gigs across the UK and abroad. Some of the most famous DJ gigs we organise are at Ministry of Sound, Egg LDN and on our Ibiza Tour in clubs like Amnesia! There are also tons of smaller gigs to build you confidence from radio shows, pubs, smaller bars and clubs and even in shops, gyms and restaurants.
Membership to the alumni group is for life and many DJs will gig with us time and time again.
How to Find DJ Gigs
Now you’ve got the skills you’ll want to source your own DJ gigs. There are many things to consider when stepping out alone and trying to contact promoters so here’s some free advice to help you get started finding DJ work.
It really is who you know. If you don’t go out and network and ask promoters to play it will simply never happen for you. Unless of course you’re one of the rare lucky ones who produces a hit record that happens to go viral. Even then, you would benefit from a little networking.
When ‘networking’ for DJ gigs you should start with a gig calendar. All DJs should have a calendar with their gigs and appointments. Somewhere they can enter important information and stay organised at a glance. I recommend using Google Calendar.
Now you have your calendar go to a local source of DJ gigs and events. If you’re in the UK Facebook and Resident Advisor will play host to most event listings but you might also want to try other social media platforms, listing websites and magazine. How enter all the important events that are similar to your style of music or your crowd. Now you have entered the information into your calendar you need to research and find out who is running the event. Who is the promoter? Often you might find it is a venue’s own event or they have an outside promoter. Try and see who is behind the scenes making the decisions. If you’re not sure reach out to them, drop them a message. You don’t need to ask for a DJ gig straight away, the best option is to just make friendly contact and first visit the event.
In your calendar you should also enter music conferences, seminars and anything else industry-related that might allow you one-on-one time with some of the music industry gatekeepers. These are the people behind the scenes often making the important decisions.
You should circulate in as many events and social circles as possible in a polite and friendly way. Make connections and then put them in your contacts book. Keep notes about what they do, it might come in handy for the future. You can also keep in regular contact with them so your name is fresh on their mind.
Have a business card, USB, EPK or something to show your credentials in a professional way. Once you’ve made meaningful contact with someone you can share your goals as an artist. Make sure they realise you are thinking big and they’ll want to come along for the ride.
If you think it’s the right moment and the right person ask them directly if you can DJ at their event but be ready to answer the question ‘Why?’ You must be able to answer this most vital question, why would it benefit the promoter to book you? There are plenty of DJs so you need to be able to make sure the promoter sees you as a valuable asset or partner.
2. Make Yourself Valuable
To make yourself valuable think about what you can bring to the table in a business relationship. Don’t be naive, the music business is not all about music, music is only half the story! To get ahead you need to be master of both. In business negotiations and business pitches you need to know what makes you valuable, what advantage you have over your adversaries and why partnering you would benefit another organisation. Here are some of the things you must consider when building up a repertoire of things that make you valuable as a booking.
Reputation & Integrity
Your reputation is everything. Your DJ career relies on reputation so you must present an image and record of utmost professionalism at all times. Make sure that you deliver what you say you will and go above and beyond to impress new contacts.
Your music, production and DJ skills must be on point. It’s a competitive industry so your skill level should be in the top percentile if you want to make it professionally with confidence. Practice and keep up to date with new technology. Don’t take shortcuts as they will often lead to dead-ends.
Profile & Celebrity
The events business is all about selling tickets. Promoters book DJs to provide the music but pay them more if they have some kind of celebrity where as their presence alone will sell tickets. In order to gain notoriety and celebrity you must promote yourself and the best way to do this is through performances and releasing music. Social media is a big part of it but there is no point promoting unless you have an actual product. If you’re a DJ you should seriously consider learning how to produce music.
There are tons of DJs out there so the audience naturally will turn to someone who displays some kind of uniqueness, often this is in terms of music and looks or the combination of both of them. No, you don’t need to be a supermodel, but you do need to control your image. Find something quirky or memorable, something unique to you. You can apply this philosophy into your sets as well, perhaps have a quirky radio drop, DJ name, visuals or introduction. You’re on a stage, how are you going to make an impact? Make it memorable and word will spread.
Promoters are lazy! They want you, the DJ, to do the work for them! If you can harness the power of social media or networking you can act as a mouthpiece for the promoter. They want to book acts what allow their message or brand to reach a larger audience. Consider running a radio show, mail-out, blog, group or page. You might also want a black book of contact like a text list that you can advertise to promoters. Having a large marketing network gives you leverage when negotiating fees for your DJ gigs.
Ticket Selling Power
If you can get people off the couch and into clubs you’re a sure booking for any promoter. It really all boils down to selling tickets to events. If you can get your followers to buy tickets to a gig for one reason or another you’ll get bookings time and time again. If you’re new and your artist profile has not had time to develop consider just curating a group of people, like a mini community of party buddies who will come and support you at your gigs. Perhaps ask the promoters you work with for some free guest list for influential people or the ability to reserve tables for them.
3. Go Big or Go Home
With anything in life if you stick you head up above the crowd you get noticed. The only way to do this is go big or go home, take everything to the next level. Become the latest hottest thing and drive your career to new heights.
Think about the biggest artists you know, read up on them, find inspiration but never copy. Copying a trend that has already happened is a dead end. Make sure you make a new trend and steer the ship to new horizons.
If you're looking for a sure start in the music industry and want help getting your first high profile DJ gigs join our community. Enrol on our courses, graduate and get access to the DJ gigs we organise. Click here to join us.