When most people think about a DJ or “Disc Jockey” they think of someone they’ve listened to on the radio. Indeed, anytime that I’ve told someone that I am a DJ or that my nick name is DOC, invariably I get the same question, “Oh I listen to you every day” (Sorry wrong Doc), “What radio station do you work for?” In this lifetime, none. However, back in ‘the day’ I did exercise my pipes on great stations all across the north, central and west part of this state. Having put in my requisite 20 years, I decided to try something different. Which has led me into the next 20 years and counting.
A disc jockey is generally a person who plays recorded music for an audience. There are several types of DJs, the best known are those you hear on your radio. The Radio DJ. Though it is not unusual for these DJs to do parties on the side, most stations these DJs work for frown on outside gigs. In addition, just because that favorite DJ on the radio has a great voice, it does not necessarily mean he’ll be great at your party. It’s a little known fact but 9 out of 10 stations have national programmers that pick the music you hear on the radio. Very few 21st century stations have the staff to program their music anymore. That’s left up to huge conglomerates that digitally pick and play most every song you hear. For example, when was the last time you enjoyed calling up your favorite DJ to play your favorite song? Those days are dwindling, I will sadly note. I actually tried to hire 3 of the regular DJs we all hear on the radio here in town as ‘back-up’ DJs ‘just in case’ I ever need one. All said no. Not because they would make some good bucks with me, but because their current contract with the two national syndicated companies that own most all of the AM and FM stations in this land stipulated no outside employment including personal appearances for private gain OR they had no idea how to independently create a playlist that would get people dancing for most of the night.
Beware the club DJ.
Then there are Club DJs who select and play music in bars, nightclubs, parties and raves. Some use turntables, others computers and still some others hang on to the old cd. However it’s played, these DJs usually have a better command of the types of music that people like to dance to. But beware the club DJ. This type of DJ is great at spinning or programming that groovy set of beat mixed music that sounds like 30 minutes of the same song, but have you really listened? What are they saying? Not much. Dance Clubs generally frown on the DJ talking, it’s all about the music mix, not the DJ him/herself. There are tons of great club DJs out there but sadly this can be a geeky profession. Not everyone has a great set of pipes. That’s radio talk for “Great Voice.” I guess I’m one of the lucky few. Now if only I looked more like Tom Cruise, I’d be set!
Who does this leave?
If not a club DJ, then who?
When searching for that right DJ for your party, you’ll want to make sure the person you are talking to can call him or herself a Emcee DJ. Emcee DJs travel with portable sound systems and play recorded music at a variety of events and have the innate ability and sometimes professional training of speaking in front of large audiences. These are master of ceremonies [MC] DJs who direct the attention of attendees and maintain a room-wide focus on what is included in the event’s agenda.
In other words, this type of DJ should be able to see your guests arrive, quickly ascertain what type of audience is present, play a few introductory songs and within the first 15 to 20 minutes ‘read’ the audience and what they will want to dance to the rest of the night. Add to that one that has great communication skills who can segue between introducing various segments of the nights activities and still play music that keeps people dancing, then you have what many strive to be: a Professional DJ. Like us! Kind of like patting your head, rubbing your belly and reciting the alphabet backwards in 3/4 time! I can do it, I promise!!
According to a 2016 study, there are approximately 1¼ million professional disc jockeys in the world. Less than 5% can call themselves MC DJs. While we are part of that 5%, we really like to think that we are #1. After using our services we think that you will come to this realization too!
Smile, it looks great on you!!
Be sure to ask questions.
Whoever you hire, ask questions. Such as: How long have you been a DJ (they should say at least 10 years). Have you ever done a wedding (or your type of party)(without hesitation they should say yes). Ask have they done your type of party recently (yes) and for whom? They should answer positively but may not remember the specifics of the last party if they are as active as we are, but should still be able to provide you with details as to the nature of the party, where it was, what time it started and how many people were present. Ask them to provide you with at least 20 references. This is an important number. You want a DJ who stays busy. DJ season in Texas is year round, though the more popular months are February through October. Then there are other parties to be done like birthdays, reunions, holidays, even karaoke clubs. Beware the DJ who only did a few parties this year, best to move on and find someone else. Plus twenty references is hard to fake. Most any DJ can come up with three: his mother, his brother and his girlfriend who will happily tell you he is the best. But 20, well some of those would have to be legit.
For example, we provide all of our parties names and numbers for the current year, generally for the last six months. Catch us at the beginning of the year and we’ll offer you the preceding year’s parties.
Listen to the voice.
Listen carefully to the voice at the other end of the phone. Is this the voice you want for all of your announcements? Does he (or she) speak easily and conversationally with you on the phone or do they stammer through the easy sentences? Ask any additional information you want, best to find out the most you can. Now if you are like 99% of the people who call us, usually the first question you’ve asked is HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE? The amateur DJ will tell you immediately. The professional DJ won’t. He’ll ask you questions first. What day is the event? Where will it be? What time will it start? How many guests are you inviting? And many more questions. (I’d tell you all the questions but I don’t want to reveal my whole secret to success, there may be other DJs reading this too). After you’ve answered your questions, then he will probably give you a quote.
How much will it cost?
What will that quote be? Well I’ve made it easy for most of you. My prices are listed on this website. I have seven packages that offer great music to great lighting. But I’m not a $300.00 DJ. Not even a $600.00 DJ. If that’s what you are looking for, thanks for reading up to this point. Sure, you might find someone like that if you are just calling around for the cheapest price. But allow me to give you the inside skinny.
This is a business. We support the community and we pay our taxes. Professional DJs quote their prices based on cost of equipment, time spent preparing for your event, music costs including subscriptions and music purchased for your event, transportation and meals, windshield travel time to your event and setting up and breaking down. Some break this out and you have to add it all up. Others offer packaged pricing, like we do. Typically we are bringing to your party equipment and music that costs in excess of $6,000.00 dollars. Even if the DJ determines his base cost as a rental at 10% of total value, that’s still $600.00. If you are adding other extras like up lighting, special effects, additional DJs, video projection etc, that price is going to be more. But that pays for ROI, Return On Investment. It other words, that’s the “real cost” of equipment use. Next comes wages. You’ve helped pay me for the equipment “rental”, now you want to pay me for my services. If I have to quantify that, I’m worth about $50.00 per hour from the time I leave my doorstep until I arrive at your doorstep. That’s why my prices start at $800.00. Add more stuff and it’s going to cost you more. Simple math.
Beware the DJ who says he’ll bring a truck load of equipment to your party and charge you only $300 bucks. If he doesn’t know that he’s worth more to you, then in reality he’s worth less to you. If he has no business sense, what makes you believe he can make your guests get on the dance floor and enjoy their time with you until you leave? Oh, and when getting a low price DJ, always ask about any discounts or has any specials or incentives going on right now.
Finally, ask for everything in writing, tell him to send you the 20 references and an overview of what you’ve discussed. This gives you the opportunity to think about this DJ, especially if you are considering others for the job.
Think of it this way. Would you hire a complete stranger to work for you in your home without first checking their references? Or buy that used car without checking Car Fax? Or hire a complete stranger as a baby sitter?
I do hope you’ll say OF COURSE NOT! Even with us, unless you know of my company from the internet, the newspaper reviews, from our television commercials or from previous events we’ve produced, you are trusting a complete stranger to MC and DJ for your guests, to insure that they have the best time possible and hopefully talk about the positive experience for weeks after.
Do your homework first and be comfortable with your decision. Finding out the night of the event that the cheap DJ you hired because he was the first to call back and offerred you the lowest price ruined your party and your self-esteem is the wrong time to think you should have invested in someone else.”