• Chris

    Djing fore 33 years, just hit 41…. Still banging out 3 nights a week at clubs, weddings, events and so much more…. No sign of stopping…

  • Karina

    Been on the grind for two years now and I’m in what I call my ‘DJ rut’. Might be too early for me to have one but I think I need to get off my lazy ass and get shit going!

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  • Sai Hardway

    how to become superstar d j

  • vimo

    Wow what a great article. Djing for 18 years now and being a career for the last 15 years. I have to say im having the best time now it just gets better as the years go by. 1 thing this article made me realise i need to get into producing. I just never got into it. Emery and laid back luke are such legends great to hear things frm there view

  • Jstylesounds

    Great article. I’ve been DeeJaying since 1981. I started out playing NYC Club and garage but have had to change my style over the years in order to stay viable and make money. As deejays we have to constantly stay up on our game. To be able to play music from the 60’s all the way up to the present can be a game changer for some gigs. It’s all about diversity in the mobile deejay business. The club scene is different in that you pretty much have a crowd that comes to hear a certain type of music, which is good as well because you can still break new records in this type of venue.

    It used to be that the what we played in the clubs determined what was played on the air, but all in all I still love it and will keep DJing until I can’t no more!!!

  • Grow Up

    OK – don’t get me wrong, this was a great article. However, the comments section is really starting to piss me off. Now, as a youngster – and I’m posting this under a psuedonym since I don’t want to offend anyone – I messed with the tables. Then, I got into radio, and worked my ass off and was given a radio show in New York – the number one media market. I busted my ass, and taught myself how to DJ prior to that. Strictly vinyl and CDJs – none of this laptop business all these tweens are into now – beatmatching by ear and making transitions on the fly. That being said, I ran a weekly radio show, and had some very prominent guests on – I mean Ultra Records and Nervous Records prominent – and kept plugging away. Loving to party, I picked up gigs, had my radio show on lock-down, and did some consulting work. After 6 years of ripping the airwaves, it was time to move on, and I didn’t put out my first track until the radio show was winding down. A ton of remixes – sure – but nothing that was my own. Then, since i had the benefit of playing FM radio – had a great following. My podcast is still consistently in the top 10 weekly, but I figured it was time to start monetizing this thing. However, DJ’ing doesn’t pay the bills like everyone makes it out to. I had student loans, car payments, and the cost of living to contend with. So i ventured into the corporate world, and made a living. Now I still DJ and Produce, but the gist of my post is this – Have a backup plan. All these kids, or even dudes in their 20’s (grow up) are all gung ho about DJing. I don’t know if you realize this, but producing is WORK. It’s hours and hours on 1 track that may or may not reap rewards. DJing, same deal. But in order to get booked as a DJ for a good rate, you need to produce. It’s a catch 22. What I’m saying is have your fun, make your music, but don’t expect to be famous. Work your ass off, but have a contingency plan. I know alot of people who “just wanted to DJ” and now they deliver pizza, they don’t have any gigs because they fucked every promoter over or got fucked over, and they don’t know how to turn their computer on much less make beats. Unless you get lucky – you’re just another clown with a laptop trying to be the next hack with an EDM release.

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  • wingmakers vs mind controllers

    (grabbing out of matrix)
    oh my fucking shit, what is this

    =Duck universe=

  • YV_Miami

    Good article.

  • I think an overlooked element is how many people subsume all their personal relationships to developing some sort of brand and the self-commodification that you didn’t see as often back in the day. I’m thinking of people with whom you can’t have a conversation without being invited to some event, or people who feel like their friendships, romantic relationships, and entire personality has to fit some sort of image (whether the always-down-for-a-good-time party-rocker or the whole “mysteriouscrazycool” viber) that they are cultivating. I honestly feel embarrassed and a little sad for those who get sucked into this mode of living.

  • TheQuakerOatsGuy

    Great article, but is there any chance you could do it for the hip-hop DJ, or does that not really exist anymore? I’m not being sarcastic, here. I feel like the DJ who ONLY does hip-hop will have a tenth of the chance out there vs the DJ who does hip-hop and EDM. You have big DJ’s or producers from hip-hop starting to get into EDM or house recently so if DJ’s who were doing only hip-hop made it big, I’d be really interested in hearing about their hustle. Thanks for the work.

  • JSBritz

    “…Every artist I know at the top of their game has a large team or support network and management structure behind them.” – emery
    no wonder that these “big” djs get burndowns. this statement is a passport to slavery…
    it is total opposite from what I expect of a dj career. to me, djing is freedom. it’s the kind of job that allows you to combine studio time with a touring schedule or a couple residencies.

    from those who dream to play at every big festival possible, they will have to become touring machines…. and not everyone can do that.

  • x

    it’s time to sell the dj equipment and get a career i can retire with lol

    • Why retire? Big Daddy has been doing it a LONG time and he’s 62…

      • Voice of Reason

        And he probably doesn’t have major medical.

  • Mert Ba?can

    Im 16 year old dj I always delayed producing cos sitting on computers making me sick but now Im feelin like I do not have any obsession to play as a dj anymore cos I feed myself enough but i cant stop my musical hunger so Im gonna focus on makin music.
    Im not looking for big crowds fame or money Im just missin my days that I dreamt a lot and hardly found cds and vinlys n moments when I reached them cos I was feeling so good.
    Im gonna start remaking my old tunes.

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  • Steve

    there were rumors that sandro silva had a ghost producer in the track Epic. and the track did really well in the edm charts.
    it looks like some people do anything to extend their careers….
    and there’s an old video where laidback luke says he finishes in 3 hours! lol. but has least he has some skills behind the decks.
    …it takes more than just talent or skills to build and manage successful or long careers. imo more about ambition and drive….

    • Stephen Nawlins

      All big names have ghost Producers or working in a Team.
      How can you Play between 100-150 Gigs / year worldwide (Today in NYC, tommorrow in Vegas and the next day in Paris) and produce an Album in Studio???
      Bands for example produce an Album over months in Studio and then tour with the Album and then make a tour pause to work on the next Album.
      It’s simply impossible to Produce and Tour at same time without having a Team covering your back.
      Mostly names Like Avicci or Guetta are only working on some Samples or part of the Songs while on tour on their Notebooks, they then send this part to the producing “Ghost” Team…the Team makes different Versions of the song and at the end of producing the DJ is joining in Studio to select the released Version and maybe even for Mastering.
      It’s the only way to tour & produe in the same timelapse.

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  • I’m beginning to see that in this industry it seems to be better to focus on building something of your own. Producing remixes, doing podcasts, blogging, supporting the local scene, etc…as opposed to running around flinging demos. It just seems that way…to build any kind of a following to the point that promoters will call you for opening sets or what not…and you grow bigger from there.

    I personally realized long ago that I didn’t want to make a full-time effort into DJing. I’m much happier now as a hobbyist where I don’t have to worry about pleasing anyone. I find I enjoy DJing so much more. No pressure to “make it happen” or make something of it all.

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  • Pacman

    20 Years here too. I’m at the point where I would rather just produce shit and let all the other djs play it.

    • Knights of the round table

      well, there is where its all wrong, djs MIX and ADD stuff, they dont produce, producers do that!

      The whole scene is fucked up, and its gonna end bad if this continues.

      Ive quit the clubscene after 25 strong and wearing years, theres no real money, the hours are way long, the punters get fewer for every year the passes, the music thats beeing played sounds the same, and thats boring.

      I dont know about you guys, but a decent club dj gets around 50-100$ from say 9 PM to 5 AM

      If i do private gig, i get 500$ – 1000$, from say 9PM to 1 AM ,sure i do have to lug around and set up gear, but the satisfaction is 100%

      You come to a place where you are wanted, you have your hands free to do whatever you want as long as you do it right, you get food and drink and appreciation for the effort, not to exclude the money which are really great.

      • the MasonJarr

        I’ve been DJing for 35 years now. I started in the beginning, and seen so much change in the music and the styles, but I still love it and will continue playing for as long as I can still keep up with the trends. I love my old school, but do it all to stay in the game. At 62, doing hip hop, soft rock, country, zydeco (Louisiana), blues as well as old school. Performing weekends at the club at $150 a night from 9pm until 2am. Private gigs from $500 to $900 for 4 hours with light show included. I still can’t think of anyting else I want to do. There’s No School Like The Old School!

  • Snowbro

    In the documentary TSOB (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaBDLS6sYPs) the history of Belgian dance music is disscussed. Back in the “very” old days, instead of bands, Decap mechanical organs (http://decap.be/) were used to get the crowd dancing. The music was on a paper strip with holes. Each track was a cardboard stack of about 10″ high. The people who changed those Cardboards were the first dj’s (or Cj’s ?) so dj’ing has been around much longer than the disco 70’ies. Check out the TSOB movie, it’s great !

  • Adam

    Very inspiring stuff! Just started out a year ago and am glad to get this perspective on all of it.

  • calgarc

    Amazing artcle

  • Avidosh

    an eye opener,gotta think about this tonight when I sleep and figure out what I am doing in life.

  • Mauri Moore

    32 years as dj and i’m still alive – I’m playing every night from may to october and weekends the rest of the year . I take 2/3 hours a day for buy/select new sounds 😉 (Beatport , Zipdj , Mymp3pool , Clubkillers and more )

    • Knights of the round table

      Guess there not many djs where you live then, cause here there are 13, no 15 on a dozen, everyones a dj, and many compete underbiddning eachother.

      • I’m been DJ’ing more or less for the last 28+ years. Never really took any time off just moved from 1200’s, bypassed CD players and went directly to files before most people did.

        Recently returned to doing mobile gigs and will be back in the club really soon to play what USED to make going to club FUN.

  • chris

    more than 20 years. started in our club at the chill-out terrace. – than, going to hell. –
    for me, music is an mystical experience, and with some muses around for being happy and search for an nice time, without an big mistake in brain, is going to be perfect.

    (btw, after 4’o clock in the morning, most of the peoples are in a chilly mood, and the flow will floods the dancefloor)

  • Sam Marsh

    Wow, very cool article!