What is a DJ rider?
What is a DJ rider?
You’ve probably heard about DJ riders, but what are they? A DJ Rider is simply a request made by a DJ for something related to their DJ performance. A DJ's rider request is for the attention of anyone booking the DJ, such as a promoter or booker.
There are different types of DJ rider and you should know about them. DJ riders are also changing all the time so you should read this blog to learn about the latest trends in DJ riders. Here’s what you need to know about DJ riders.
A DJ rider can encapsulate a variety of important requests made by the artist. People often refer to it simply as a ‘rider’ but there can be different types of information contained within it. Here we break down the main constituents of a DJ rider.
DJ Tech Rider
The tech rider will contain a list of the DJ equipment needed by the artist. Depending on the complexity of the performance it will also include DJ booth layouts, stage plans or even lighting instructions. These are the most common parts of a headline DJ’s tech rider.
The DJ decks (CDJs, Turntables and Mixers) an artist needs for their performance. This is often of critical importance for headline DJs and they will potentially refuse to perform if this rider is not met. Some DJs might be using alternative DJ set-ups like laptops or DVS systems and may also request additional bits of tech to make their performance go smoothly.
Additional DJ Equipment
Many DJs will be happy with the industry-standard DJ set up which consists of the Pioneer CDJ2000Nexus2 CDJs or the 3000s along with the Pioneer 900Nexus2 mixer or the DJMV10. It’s also common for some DJs to request the Allen & Heath range of mixers and vinyl turntables like the Pioneer PLX 1000s or Technic 1210s.
A tech rider will also include information about the DJ booth or stage.
Many DJs will request that the DJ booth meets certain requirements they need and many headline acts will submit stage plans or ask for the existing stage plan to be communicated with them for their approval. Acts would often ask for a detailed plan including measurements of the DJ booth or stage area including the position of the DJ equipment and height of the decks. This plan should also include information on the location of and the number of available power outlets. Many plans will also state where the booth monitors will be and what sound system is in use.
Lighting & Visuals
The Tech Rider might also include information about how the artist wants their specific artwork to be shown on digital screens including their logo or any specific requests for lighting.
Touring DJs Rider
Touring acts will often have more complex needs and thus more extensive riders. Touring acts will often have requests relating to their hotel stay, flights and airport transfers. If you’re booking a headline act or touring artist expect them to ask for a detailed itinerary.
Headline acts will often have a large fan base and will make requests about how the promoter will protect their security during the performance. Security riders might request dedicated security personnel, private green rooms, insurance against loss, damage or theft and general professionalism toward making the artist feel as safe as possible.
An artist's hospitality rider is often the one that grabs all the headlines! You may have heard of outlandish requests made by artists that the promoter must fulfil. Famous examples include Kanye West demanding slushy machines in his green room. Beyonce is another example, requesting hand-carved ice balls and red toilet paper on her 2013 tour.
Most DJs would be happy to have a few free drinks tokens, some bottles of beer or a bottle with mixers. If you’re a big-time DJ you might be able to get away with more extraordinary requests on your rider, like Champagne, Grey Goose Vodka or hand-to-come-by liquor.
It’s not just drinks included in the hospitality rider. You’d also expect to see information about how the artist might want their personal green room and also requests for free guest-list or AAA (Access All Areas) wristbands for staff and guests.
Diversity Rider (New Trend)
Recently, there has been a trend for artists to help in the effort to equalise lineups. It’s widely reported that many lineups are dominated by male artists. Some forward-thinking artists may now stipulate that they will only accept bookings from promoters and venues that are positively taking action to rebalance this inequality in lineups. This might also be supporting other marginalised groups of people.
Environmental Riders (New Trend)
Another trend in riders is when an artist might request that the bookers, promoters and venues they work with follow certain practices to mitigate the detrimental effects of climate change or environmental harm. This may include that bookers must pay to carbon offset their flights or something as simple as only working with venues that don’t use disposable plastic.
Do I need a DJ Rider?
So now you know all about DJ riders the question is do you need one? In many cases, you just need to submit the basics. It’s mainly headlined acts that have the power to expect certain requests to be fulfilled by the promoter. If you’re new to DJing and you submit an outlandish request, perhaps for a stack of champagne bottles, you’ll certainly make yourself look like a joke! You have to work your way up and earn the privilege.
However, the most practical parts of the rider for many DJs will be the DJ equipment and the tech rider. It’s integral to your performance so make sure you check with the venue or booker about what equipment they have and make any requests for changes you may require. Bear in mind that DJs are expected to be competent enough to perform on the industry-standard set-up, and not necessarily the latest models. Expect to find older CDJs in many venues and make sure you know your way around all the different types of DJ equipment you’ll come across.
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