How do I join a DJ agency?
One of the most asked questions from beginner DJs is 'how do I join a DJ agency and get gigs?' There are a few things to consider when answering this question. Firstly, you need to know about the different types of DJ agency and which ones to avoid!
What is a DJ Agency?
If you’re a DJ looking for gigs you might want to consider joining a DJ agency. A DJ agency is there to help source paid DJ gigs and organise your schedule. There are many different types of DJ agencies out there but they are not open to all DJs. In order to join a reputable agency you will need to already have work experience or have a high profile.
DJ agencies will make a profit on each of your bookings, known as a commission. Normally, DJ agencies will want to work with big-name DJs and not newbies. They will want to manage acts who are already popular.
Different Types of DJ Agency
There are a few different types of DJ agencies out there. Make sure you research the agency before committing to a business relationship with them and learn how to avoid the scams.
Scam Agencies - Avoid At All Costs!
There are many fake DJ agencies on the internet who want to scam beginner DJs who are looking for gigs. The way they operate is to have a website that promises you access to paid DJ work. They will then ask you to pay a subscription fee in order to join their website and see the job postings or receive a mail-out with DJ job postings. Avoid these agencies at all costs! They normally don’t have any jobs available or may post fake jobs to look real. They will tell you that you were not picked and another DJ was picked instead of you, knowing that you wouldn’t be able to check. These are common scams when you google ‘DJ Agency.’
You should never pay to join a DJ agent.
There are also individuals who will pose as managers and will ask you to sign a contract to work with them. They are often very deluded individuals who have little or no experience in the DJ business. They might actually believe they can find you work but are rarely able to. Make sure you don’t sign any contracts giving a manager exclusivity over you or your brand for DJ bookings. There is no need to sign an exclusivity arrangement unless you’re working with one of the world's top agencies.
If you’re a new DJ and you’re not famous it’s highly unlikely a reputable DJ agency will want to work with you. They will be looking for more established acts who already have a big name and many bookings. They will then want to further that exposure and make a profit from all the gigs combined. It’s a business after all! If what they are offering you is too good to be true it probably is. If they do not have an established client roster of already famous DJs they are probably not going to be a successful agency.
Remember, never sign a contract without legal advice.
The Real DJ Agencies
There are, of course, professional agencies working in the industry and servicing the needs of the top DJs.
Corporate & Event DJ Agencies
Many DJ agencies exist to provide DJs for parties, weddings, corporate gigs and events. You don’t need to be a famous DJ to join one of these agencies but you will need to show a level of skill and professionalism. They will expect you to have your own transportation, DJ equipment, insurance and in some cases extras like lighting, decor and props. You will also be expected to play the style of music the client wants, not your own. You’ll need to have a huge music library and the ability to mix all genres of music and read a crowd. A good example of an agency like this is Storm DJs.
The Big DJ Agencies
Many of the big agencies have been bought by even bigger agencies in recent years. A lot of consolidation has happened in the industry. Paradigma is one of the biggest with rosters spanning Music, Film and TV. They are so big and their acts so famous they no longer even list them on their website! Primary Talent is another of the big ones, who still display a roster of artists. If you want to apply to these agencies you’ll need to match these artists in terms of your achievements.
How do I join a DJ agency?
If you’re aiming for one of the top agencies who supply DJs for the biggest events like music festivals don’t call them, they’ll call you! When you are big enough agents will take note and start approaching you. This normally happens when you receive a lot of media attention or start making a large volume of sales or streams on your own music. If you’re applying for smaller agencies who deal with local or corporate events you can simply contact them through their website. It’s a good idea to have an EPK (electronic press kit) to send them.
What if I’m rejected?
Let’s face it, if you’re a beginner DJ still new to the scene or a DJ with no profile you most likely won’t be signed to an agency. Don’t worry, most DJs actually organise their own DJ gigs. You don’t need a DJ agent. Just network and build your own contacts.
If you would like to advance your DJ or production career make sure you contact us. Browse our DJ and Production courses in Manchester, Birmingham, Oxford and London. We organise DJ gigs for all our graduates so you don't need to join a DJ agency!