What is a plug and play DJ?
What is a Plug & Play DJ?
You might have heard this term 'plug and play DJ' when looking at adverts for DJs in your local area. If a venue or promoter is seeking a plug and play DJ what they mean is that they want to book a DJ who will bring their own DJ equipment. Plug and play DJs will normally take a DJ controller and laptop to a gig and simply plug either into the venues mixer or straight into their amplifier or speaker system.
It's common for open format DJs to also be plug and play DJs.
Why don't some venues have DJ equipment?
DJ equipment is expensive, so many smaller venues prefer to book DJs who bring their own equipment with them. This is mainly going to be smaller pubs, bars and local clubs. The kind of venues where you can hold a resident slot, perhaps being the Saturday night DJ and playing all night long.
If it's a permanent venue, like a pub, bar or club and not a temporary venue like a village hall or wedding function room the venue should have a sound system installed. However, as the DJ you need to check when accepting a booking that they have a suitable sound system for you to connect your DJ equipment. If they don't, you'll need to either hire a sound system to them or ask them to hire one for you.
If a venue does not have their own DJ equipment or sound system and you are providing it then you should charge more. You need to cover additional costs like transport, setting up and taking down time, insurance, depreciation and repair. Make sure you not only charge more for this but you make a profit margin on top.
What Insurance Does & Plug & Play DJ Need?
As a plug and play DJ taking your own equipment to a venue you should have public liability insurance. This type of insurance will cover you in case your equipment malfunctions and causes damage to the venue or a person. For example, if the electrics in your unit fail and cause a fire. It will also cover you for other liabilities like if someone trips on your equipment. Even though you have this insurance you should still perform a site risk assessment for every gig. This is a table of anticipated possible risks and how you're going to mitigate them. Risks to consider:
Common Plug & Play DJ Setups
The most common plug and play DJ set up is a laptop and DJ controller like the Pioneer DDJ400. More unusual set ups might include mixers, CDJs and turntables. Sometimes, a DJ will just use a laptop on its own though this is not the most creative or professional way to DJ.
When you are taking equipment to a venue ask them how much space there is on the DJ table/stand and how many plug sockets there are. Make sure you have enough room and power!
Serato, Traktor, Rekordbox, Virtual DJ & More
There are many DJ programs a digital open format DJ might use to perform. Make sure you become familiar with the options. Click here for more information on DJ software programs. Click here to learn how to use these programs on our DJ courses.