Bedroom DJ Woes: Why You’re Not Getting Booked (And What To Do About It)

It’s an all-too-familiar story: a DJ of any experience level with plenty of mixing skills, fancy DJ gear, and the latest killer tracks, but no gigs in sight. As DJing continues to grow in popularity around the world, gigs can be difficult to pick up. Today, Nick Minieri examines some of the most important pitfalls to avoid when trying to play out and offers concrete advice how to make sure you’re doing your best to get into DJ booths on a regular basis.


The dreaded empty gig calendar.

Every once in awhile I get emails from frustrated DJs who have tried it all: they bought equipment, spent thousands of dollars on music, practised for countless hours, and want to play out – but they’re just not getting gigs. I know exactly how this feels. I wish I could say getting booked is easy, but the harsh reality is that it simply isn’t. The market is flooded with DJs, all of who are as driven and dedicated to establishing themselves as you are.

It’s no secret we’re witnessing tectonic shifts both in dance music, as well the role of the DJ, in 2012. Before the Internet, DJs were coveted because they were the “gatekeeper” of the music. It was much more difficult and expensive to build a decent library in the 1980s and 90s. Their importance even became grossly overestimated by the rise of the “superstar DJ” persona at the turn of the century. The playing field has since been levelled, with fewer barriers to entry or “gatekeepers”. Everyone can become an “expert” on dance music nowadays…and as the famous saying goes:

When everyone is an expert, nobody is.

Similar to most other endeavours, who you know will get you much further than what you know. This was true 25 years ago, and it’s true today. I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times already, but the nightlife industry is all about connections. Skills get you nowhere if you don’t know people. Period.

This is not the type of article where I’m going to spew a bullshit 10-step list you can follow to put you on the road to fame, five-figure paydays, and the red carpet treatment. Dance music (EDM) might be in vogue again (especially here in USA), but the fact still remains that DJing is an activity that calls many, and chooses few. Fewer than 5% of DJs who start out will be able to make a living just from playing music that isn’t Top-40. Yet I’m willing to bet ALL of those “chosen few” aren’t making the mistakes I discuss below, especially during their formative years.

Think carefully to yourself if you are getting caught up in any of these traps as well; they could be the difference between routine bookings and complete obscurity. You’re not getting booked because:


Isn’t it pretty sad to think there are more DJs than ever, yet every time you go out they’re playing from the Beatport Top 100? It’s funny how when DJs had limited access to music 20 years ago, one would have a completely different set of tracks in his or her flight case than the next. Most everyone had the “anthems”, of course, but generally speaking, every set you would hear at a party would be unique.

Diamonds in the rough on SoundCloud

Now we have more access to music than most could have dreamed of in 1990. Yet it has encouraged many DJs to become lazy and just search the charts on sites like Beatport. Just because finding music is convenient nowadays doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the time to still do some digging. Next time you’re on Beatport, why not click through the “New Releases” section (within the genre you play), instead of the Top 100?

Try doing some sifting through demos that suit your style next time you’re on Soundcloud. There is going to be plenty of junk, but when you stumble across that gem that almost no one has heard, the effort pays off. While you always have to cater to the crowd, you should still take risks and balance it with music they’ve never heard before.

Read more tips on finding great new music in this article from February 2012

Ask yourself one question: Who are you as a DJ? This can be answered by identifying yourself through your music selection. There is software out there that can mix and key match for you, but no machine will be able to SELECT your music the way you can. It’s still the one way you can separate yourself from the rest of the pack. You aren’t giving promoters any reason to book you if all you do is rally behind the anthems everyone else hammers. There are countless other DJs who can do the exact same thing….let alone a jukebox which doesn’t require a rider and a paycheck. Do you want to be a clone or do you want to stand out? Define yourself.


@ztrip on Twitter

A couple years ago, DJ Z-Trip put it rather succinctly in one of his tweets:

“If you don’t practice, you don’t want it.”

Practicing means a number of things. It means taking the time, every day, to search for unique music, and building an encyclopedia-like knowledge of it. It means organizing your digital collection by key & BPM tagging, adding cue points & metadata, and more. It means knowing every song in your library inside and out. Figuring out which tracks go best together, where the build-ups and break-downs are, when to mix in and out, and on which occasions it is most appropriate to play each one. What good are 25,000 tracks on a hard drive if you only know a couple dozen?

Get ready to spend a lot of time on the decks if you want to play with the A-listers in your hometown.

DJs who don’t practice struggle to build a cohesive set that organically evolves in response to what the dancefloor is doing. For every Danny Howells, there are thousands of DJs who haphazardly chuck songs on that don’t fit together, or even worse, pre-plan entire sets without taking any cues from the crowd. There’s nothing wrong with plotting out chunks of two or three songs at a time that work great together, but you can’t interact with the crowd properly if your full set is pre-planned. This wouldn’t be a problem if you knew all your tracks inside and out in the first place. Malcolm Gladwell’s infamous 10,000-hour rule makes no exceptions for DJs.

More importantly, practicing is the only way you will truly define yourself. It’s quite uncommon to become successful just from DJ’ing, but the ones who do have generally added a different or unusual twist to the craft. Sasha and Richie Hawtin were two of the first DJs to utilize Ableton as a performance tool, back when very few people knew the software even existed. Jeff Mills and Andy C became renowned as DJs who could fluidly mix more than just two songs playing simultaneously using three or even four decks. Madeon and AraabMUZIK are currently pushing things forward using MIDI controllers and Akai MPCs to smash existing songs apart and play them back in completely different ways, all live.

In all these cases, thousands of DJs have tried imitating their styles, many rather successfully. But this is tantamount to the thousands of guitarists who can play like Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix obviously made a name for himself by being one of the first to push the newly invented electric guitar to the max with his rapid-fire licks and groundbreaking use of distortion and overdrive. But by playing just like him 45 years later, you aren’t creating anything new, you’re merely repeating something that already happened. And just because you are really good at mixing doesn’t mean you are going to be the next James Zabiela, either. Think of how you can approach the craft of mixing songs in new and different ways, and this will surely help you take more creative ownership in what you are trying to do. This vision only becomes a reality after years of practice.

Watch the Invisibl Skratch Piklz give tips on how they practice.


Just because there isn’t a headliner doesn’t mean it isn’t going to be a fun party

This one should be obvious: if you’re not already well known as a DJ locally, don’t even consider asking a promoter to play at their event unless you’ve checked it out a couple times. Successful local events target specific music styles. They attract people who know exactly what to expect when they stop by after a long stressful day at the office. You really won’t know whether the genre you currently play will fit the theme of the night until you check it out a few times. You wouldn’t apply to become a creative director at an ad agency if you had a background in finance, would you? Nor would you want to ask the promoter of a deep house night at an upscale lounge if you could get on at an upcoming show if you play flashy saw-wave electro.

It’s understandable that getting out to every party seven nights a week isn’t going to happen. You’re an adult and you have responsibilities….trust me, I get it. Promoters will notice and appreciate your support, even if it’s only once a month. Especially if it’s on a night when a headliner isn’t booked. If you have a chance to introduce yourself to a promoter, don’t open the conversation by telling them you want to play their night; just talk with them about music, the scene, or other stuff (like TV shows, sports, whatever). Don’t be shy; in fact, if you are, you’re probably in the wrong business altogether. Remember, DJ gigs are about who you know, not what you know.

At the end of the conversation, hand the promoter a business card with all your contact information. Don’t bother giving them a physical CD at their events, they’re busy and it will get lost in the shuffle. Then follow up online (see below!).


Getting turned down for the gig is not the end of your DJ career, we promise.

If you don’t already have a name for yourself, get ready to hear the word “NO”. A LOT. You may think you can rock a party, but most promoters have a very long list of well-qualified DJs, many of whom have spent years building working relationships with them, to tap into for playing their events. At the large-scale ones, every single one of them will bend over backwards just to play a half-hour soundcheck timeslot at 8pm. For free.

Similar to searching for a job, opportunities aren’t just going to find you. You’ve got to go out there and pay your dues first. Talk with promoters on Facebook who throw events that are based around the kind of music you play. Let them know you exist, what you play, comment on some of the events they’ve thrown, and describe to them why you think you are a good fit to play their show. Think of what YOU can do for THEM. Essentially this is a cover letter. Copy-paste generalized messages aren’t going to cut it. Limit your introduction to a single paragraph (promoters are busy, remember) and close with a link to your website and Soundcloud account. You have both of those, right?

Following this, consider every response you get a pleasant surprise, because they’ll be few and far between. You have to be persistent, which means you have to be persistent in handling rejection. Promoters get countless emails from DJs wanting to play for them. If you aren’t playing out frequently, you are going to be more of a liability than an asset as you haven’t proven yourself. There is no way in hell they’re going to let you go behind the decks to command a packed dancefloor with their reputation on the line unless they’re convinced you know what you’re doing. Plain and simple.

But remember: if you don’t ask the promoter if you can play, the answer will ALWAYS be “NO”. Promoters don’t have time to research every single DJ in your city, so you need to make yourself visible to them. And if you’re afraid to sell yourself, I’m willing to bet you lack the confidence in your ability as a DJ to justify the self-promotion you need to be doing. Back to the studio to keep practising until you’re 100% confident you’re ready for the prime time.


The Mixes and Productions section of the DJTT forums can be a good starting point for feedback

You need to be soliciting feedback on your mixes from people you don’t already know. Sorry, but your friends and family are biased. Anything you do is going to be “amazing” to them. Spread your mixes beyond your inner circle. Start by posting links to them (with a track list) on communities frequented by ruthless seasoned listeners who have no clue who you are. Send them to veteran DJs in your town who have been spinning for longer than you’ve been alive, and see if they can give you some constructive feedback. I know that music is subjective and you’ll occasionally have to deal with harsh comments and trolls, but spreading your mixes outside your comfort zone is the best way to get honest feedback. Assume ZERO responses means your mix got lost in the shuffle because it failed to impress, had a predictable tracklist, or a non-descriptive thread title (if posted on a forum). Time to move on and get back to work.

A lot of artists fail because they allow the positive feedback from their friends and family to go straight to their head, causing them to become arrogant, or even worse, complacent. There’s not a single DJ under the sun who hasn’t had friends tell them how amazing they are behind the decks. At the end of the day, none of us are curing cancer with a MacBook and Serato box, so it’s in your best interest to just be humble.

Another mixtape tip: the only thing “studio” mixes prove nowadays is what your current taste in music is. They do not show how well you can read the crowd, mix without the luxury of being able to edit afterwards, and deal with technical difficulties at events (which happen FAR more often than you think). Mixes still help get your name out there, but don’t think that a promoter will be convinced in your ability to DJ just because they’re good. Showing them you can play a great set live carries far more value.


Just because you have followers doesn’t mean they’re engaged and paying attention.

Social media is the biggest change in dynamics to take place on the Internet since the birth of the World Wide Web itself. What’s awesome about places like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Soundcloud is they have enabled major artists to engage more closely with fans. They’re no longer high up in an ivory tower. Fans are curious and want to know what sort of debauchery their favorite producers and DJs are up to.

As for you…I hate to say it, but you’re probably not living quite as interesting a life as, say, Diplo. People aren’t going to flock right over to your Instagram feed or Facebook wall to read every mundane detail of your life. A drawback to social media is we’ve all become narcissists to a degree, myself no exception. We’re obsessed with trivial things like how many followers we have and how many people “like” our status updates. Everyone wants to build a following. But doing such can take years, and you need to be adding value in a way that justifies your audience having your content in their daily Internet lives.

Want to know a surefire way to NOT get followers? Treat them as followers, instead of fans. Posting only generalized information about your DJing, the events you’re involved with, and the obligatory what-I’m-eating-for-lunch status, are surefire ways to get ignored. You look like an advertisement. Add to the signal instead of the noise. Post other artists’ work you admire, post open-ended statuses that spark conversations with other like-minded people, thank the people who came out to your last gig, and carve out a unique persona for yourself. It’s okay to use Facebook and Twitter to let people know about your shows and mixes, but don’t be that guy who has nothing else to add to the conversation. Stop worrying about the “likes” and the follow count. What’s the point of having 10,000 followers if only a few are engaging with you? Worry about the 500 fans you have right now, not the 10,000 followers you wish you had.

The Facebook event thread-jacker. Please don’t be that guy.

Oh yeah, DEFINITELY don’t be “that guy” who stops at nothing to post your mixes everywhere: on the Facebook walls of people you don’t know, on Facebook event pages you’re not involved with in any way, as a status update several times a day, and on other people’s tracks on Soundcloud. Ever notice how these are the people who NEVER get booked to play anywhere, ever? They almost make those pop-up adds for Viagra seem tame in comparison.

Remember that everyone sucked not only as a DJ, but also at building a following, when they started out. There’s nothing to be ashamed of by not having a large fanbase during your formative years. Find your rhythm when it comes to promoting yourself online without being invasive or desperate. At the end of the day, the mixes and the music do the talking, followed by your fans if you’re a class act about it.

Read more tips how to build a DJ web presence in this June 2012 article


Ever noticed how the non-headlining lineups of most parties are comprised of DJs who are also promoters? This is no coincidence. Whether or not promoters will admit it to you, booking swaps are the norm. In case you’re new to the scene, a swap is when a promoter (who also happens to be a DJ) invites a DJ (who also happens to be a promoter) to play his/her event. The first promoter/DJ hopes the second one will return the favor. Generally, they will. It’s unfortunate when the requirement to getting gigs is the ability to create them for other people (rather than on the skill of DJing itself), but similar to other saturated markets, it’s the reality. And it sucks.

Starting a night of your own doesn’t have to be a major commitment, however. The thing I recommend doing is to approach a bar or smaller venue that is struggling. Let them know who you are, the kind of event you wish to create, what your goals are, who the target market is, and how you will help get those heads through the door. You may consider starting it up as a monthly first, and joining forces with one or two other like-minded people to make it happen. Don’t bother with headliners early on, just focus on spreading the word of the night around town and figuring out how to make the experience unique. DON’T book promoters in the hopes of them returning the favor. Instead, book yourselves and the people you believe in.

Now if you’re trying to start this night to make money, do yourself a favor and go find a job in finance or healthcare. Chasing paper is going to be the LEAST of your worries. Here’s the real payment: real-world experience DJing in a club, in front of other people, outside your house. Like I said earlier, this is where you will truly cut your teeth in this craft. It’s where you will prove to your colleagues you’re really good at this. It’s where you will convince promoters who happen to check your night out to give you a shot. Finally, it’s where the doors will start to open.

Of course, there is a second way you can score loads of gigs if you don’t want to take the promoter route: become a producer. This is NOT a path you will want to tread lightly on, as the number of people making original music has exploded over the past decade. Producing requires music theory, which will take YEARS of time to master. It’s way more complex than just “knowing the software”. It will require the strictest of discipline to wait until your ideas are fully baked before sharing them with others. Want to get booked in a different city or country without production credentials? Sorry, it’s probably not happening.

The only people who succeed as producers are the ones who are bringing unique and distinct sounds to the table. You know all those generic-sounding tracks you quickly flip through while surfing Beatport? Don’t contribute to that waste pile. Have a vision for how you want to take your work in a different direction than everyone else. Again, this is similar to all the failed guitar players who wanted to sound like Jimi Hendrix. Your original productions will also need to be polished and have that “wow” factor that instantly makes other producers go “why the hell didn’t I think of that?” Remember that the best producers spawn countless imitators, all of whom get instantly lost in the shuffle.

8. You think of DJing as a hobby

Nowadays, judging a DJs mixing skills is like judging a hockey player’s ability to ice skate. Everyone who plays hockey can ice skate, much like everyone who DJs can mix. But if you can’t play the game you will end up on the bench, regardless of how well you can skate. That would make you an enthusiast, not a player.

How does a hockey player avoid being an enthusiast? Focus. Determination. The will to give up most of your free time for it. The players at the top of the totem pole don’t view hockey as a hobby, to them it’s a lifestyle. It’s ALL they know. It’s what they hope to make a career out of (well at least until they get injured). They’re in it to win. You need that level of drive in order to be a “player” in DJing, too. Enthusiasts play in their bedroom. Players play in clubs. Other DJs should have to run to keep up with you.

Other competitive fields in the art and entertainment industry, such as photography, are no different. I don’t know a single photographer working full-time as one who does not eat, sleep, breathe, and shit photography, 24-7. Not one. Photography auteurs Ansel Adams and Richard Avedon never took vacation days. Photography was part of their DNA, much like DJing needs to be part of yours if you hope to get paid money doing it.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “I’ve got a full-time job” or “I’ve got a family to support”. Well, this is where you need to do some serious soul-searching. You can do the DJ/Produce/Promote thing, you can work full-time, or you can have quality time to spend with your family. But you can’t have all three. It’s tough enough even managing two. Look at any of producer/DJs from your hometown who have “made it”. Try to count how many of them work 9-to-5’s on top of the whole EDM thing, including those years when they weren’t quite there yet. Go ahead, I’ll wait. There’s NOT many. Every single one I personally knew threw parties, played parties, clocked 60-80 hours a week in the studio, and still had time to support other local events during the early years.

If you decide to leave your day job to focus on DJing, promoting, and producing full time, you’re putting your entire livelihood on the line. But ask anyone who has started their own business what their early years were like, and you’ll realize your situation is not unlike theirs. Make sure you’ve got at least 6-9 months worth of savings tucked away because times will be tough early on. But you’ll learn and grow from these struggles, plus you’ll be more driven to succeed than the people with the safety nets of a full-time desk job beneath them. People may call you crazy, but you have to go out there and prove them wrong. Like the hockey player, you’re here to win. I hope your friends and family will support your decision.

I want to end this with the fact that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with playing it safe by taking a different career path you still enjoy. You can still be an enthusiast DJ. You just need to manage your expectations different as there won’t be nearly as many booking opportunities available to you. Interestingly enough, several of my co-workers play hockey in an adult league every Friday during the winter. They don’t play in front of crowds, but they still love the game, and it sure as hell beats going home and watching the idiot box for a few extra hours. DJing may be expensive and time-consuming, but as with most hobbies, is an awesome way to enhance your life and meet people from it. If those simple pleasures are in line with the goals you hope to achieve with it, more power to you!


  • If you don’t already have them, you need to sign up for Soundcloud and Mixcloud accounts. Today. These are amongst the best resources at your disposal for getting your mixes out there. If you need some pointers on how to promote yourself on Soundcloud, read this article. But remember: don’t just worry about the followers. Build a FANBASE.
  • Gear is irrelevant. Your skills as a DJ come down to your ability to work with what you have, which songs you play, and how to read a crowd. Not whether or not you are using CDs, vinyl, Ableton, Traktor, MIDI controllers, ZIP disks, or whatever. New gear is being released these days at mind-numbing speeds, and it’s easy to fall into the marketing trap of absolutely “having to have” that new controller or software update. Just stick to what you’re most comfortable with. If you have to purchase something, have a clearly justified reason for doing so. You’re probably spending enough money on music as it is.
  • Support others even if they couldn’t give two shits about you. If you think people are preventing you from succeeding, kill them with kindness.
  • Don’t forget to support the talent of other like-minded producers who live in your backyard. As long as their music fits your style, you should be including their tracks in your sets. This is another great way to get support from some of the key influencers in your local scene.
  • Share your mixing with the world by playing online radio shows. While they won’t prove your skill set to promoters the same way a live set will, radio shows are great ways to practice in the comfort of your home while other people are listening.
  • Be patient. VERY patient. Overnight success as a DJ is almost unheard of these days.

Editor’s Note: This article is the full version of a piece that Nick originally published over on his blog, Beantown Boogie Down, covering the Boston-area dance music scene  – check out more of his great writing here

beantown boogie downbeginner djsbuilding fanbasedj bookingsdj eventsdj successfansfollowersgetting dj gigshobbymediocre djsmixtapesnetworkingrejection
Comments (124)
Add Comment

    Since 1985 ….when I started as profesional dj. …I’ve been mixing only & strictly with standard vinyls (no timecode)..anda nowadays… the same way….in the future..the same..only vinyl. .a genuine old-skool dj….I respect other dj’s who have chosen mixing with digital (CDJ’s or mixing software or controller/Midi console) but only if previously they have good skills at the vinyl turntables…no like these dj’s who always use the stupid & hated SYNC but ton and leave doing al the mixing work to a machine White they are jumping and clapping surrounded by groupies. ..touching their asses……
    Nowadays…in this almost digital world….many club owners and some festival promoters value vinyl dj’s…
    I’ve been mixing al around the world not at big stadiums…or giant places…instead of….little clubs or not worldwide famous discotheques ….because I don’t consider myself as a superstar dj…and I wish not being it …. I have had no artistic godfathers or other kind of “contacts”….Nobody has helped me never…..I’m a self-made-man dj

  • Julien Paturel

    Choosed the “enthusiast” way for 3 reason:
    -I do hard studies.
    -i see how much it’s hard for people doing the jump (some peoples around me have or are making it….but it’s not magic, they work work work, and the end of the months are hard)
    – i don’t want compromise my music.

    finally starting to having few gigs here or there (i produce):
    -mostly because i met some good dudes,
    -partying with no alchohol or drugs,
    -unlimited passion for speaking about music making,
    -craft my own DJ setup (less innovative now but i use it for years and it’s reliable) based on nothing fancy (traktor X1 and a TR8) so it’s always a little bit different.
    Finally the main pleasure now is really to talk about music producing with peoples i met during party and then go geek and stuff at my home, and then play my tunes live it’s really what i enjoy. i see i can’t do the run with “pro” dj on digging it’s why i tried the most i can to have my own tracks/booty :).

  • Scott Jenner

    Awesome! I am just getting started in DJ and music production scene and this is what newbies like us need more of.

  • Marius Iulian Marcu

    I fucked it up big time, and finally this article told me what I did not know, seriously…
    I started mixing back in 1999 when I was 15, and for more than a decade, Djing was all that I did.. Now I’m 32, and yet I’m obscure AF and having no gigs whatsoever 🙁
    The reason? …. I built no connections, have no friends, don’t know what to talk about with anyone.
    Despite the fact that I was a resident for years in different venues… But I just did it like – come to work, play, go home.
    I had to get real time jobs 5 years ago, when I moved to another city. Had just a handful of gigs around here (about 2 per year), and I still don’t know how to get to play around here, and I watch as others rise overnight and I can’t explain myself how… well, now I know – They’re sociable and friendly, and know a lot of people. I don’t 🙁
    I work now from 9 to 6 a job that I hate and that slowly kills me, and also eats of all my time, but I still dream about Djing, and hope that “one day…”

    One more thing: Back in the good old days djs were djs and producers were producers. To this day I really think: 1.There is so much good music that needs to be spread, the industry doesn’t need more & more producers everyday 2.There are so few producers that are also good as djs, and vice-versa.

    Myself, I just want to mix, I love mixing, and I would mix on anything, even if they have just a couple of ancient Pioneer CDJ100 or turntables only. I used to produce too, yeah, but music that was completely different than what I used to mix. I was playing Deep & Soulful House, and I used to produce Trip-Hop/Downtempo/Ambient – because that’s what I felt. I couldn’t see myself producing Dance Music, I had to express my feelings through music – and that was Downtempo. Also another mistake that I made. Now, I don’t even have time to produce anymore, didn’t do it for the past 5 years since I started working full-time jobs.
    That’s my story short…

  • Die Clique

    True that! It’s all about knowing people and find music that nobody else plays. Find your own style instead of copy

  • Emanuele

    Great article. Lost me as soon as you said it doesn’t matter what gear you have. Sorry but it does. It defines how much you care, and what type of dj you are and/ or will be. I do not associate with fuckboy dj’s, therefore I do not buy a traktor controller. I associate with the turntablist culture, therefore I own 2 pioneer plx1000. There’s a huge difference in price and dedication. And it matters. Sound quality is a big issue too, so if you want to get booked at a club to which you need your own gear to play, I can assure you that a traktor s4 or a ddj-sx do not keep up with my 900nxs2 in terms of sound quality and resistance.

  • Tim Horka

    very nice article – very inspiring. Especially for young, upcoming DJs there are some good tips – in addition to those I personally really recommend Wether you are a new or already well-known DJ, this site is a must for every DJ. It’s a bookingplatform that automates many proccesses and makes everything sooo much easier. Further, you can export your gigs to your facebook tab or your website and sync them with your private calender such as iCal.

  • Tim Reich

    very nice article – very inspiring. Especially for young, upcoming DJs there are some good tips – in addition to those I personally really recommend Wether you are a new or already well-known DJ, this site is a must for every DJ. It’s a bookingplatform that automates many proccesses and makes everything sooo much easier. Further, you can export your gigs to your facebook tab or your website and sync them with your private calender such as iCal.

  • Tim Reich

    very nice article – very inspiring. Especially for young, upcoming DJs there are some good tips – in addition to those I personally really recommend Wether you are a new or already well-known DJ, this site is a must for every DJ. It’s a bookingplatform that automates many proccesses and makes everything sooo much easier. Further, you can export your gigs to your facebook tab or your website and sync them with your private calender such as iCal.

  • Hamish Davie

    there are some good points in here and some bad points. The basics is you need money to survive. that is the simple reality. If you quit a day job that will bring you income to focus on producing, sooner or later you’ll run out and have to get a job again. How else are you regularly meant to buy equipment,samples, songs, go to gigs, events, fly to gigs in different states etc! Full time or part time, I think its super important to have a job, and then every second you’re not doing that, work on your music…THEN when it all starts to come together for your music you can quit your job. I may be biased cause I have a job and I work on my music and I love it that way, one day music will become my full time thing but for now, having a job keeps the $$ coming in, allowing me to have money to fly to different gigs, go to events, that sort of thing.

  • Jon Doe

    Wow, great article, very true. I’ve been djing for about 20 years and producing for about 15 years. I have had little success in way of being booked for major events. I have my own record label and have released about 17 e.p.’s so far. I’ve played pretty much whenever the phone rings. My biggest problem….genre vs. region. I’m from Atlanta,GA and believe me there is no desire for anything dark be it minimal techno, hard techno, tribal techno. If you don’t play dubstep or maybe watered down trance and house you might as well forget about a gig. So then the situation becomes… where in the world do people want to hear what I have to offer? I recently moved to South America and I know for sure there are various cities that are all about techno, but as this article stated.. it’s WHO you know that books you. When I hear of someone djing for a year or two and being booked regularly it blows my mind. Hell, I was djing before some of these guys and girls were born!! LOL I am now searching for a booking agency to pick me up, because the self-made thing isn’t working. Let me tell you it’s a sacrifice. I’ve spent tens of thousands on gear over the years, had my studio robbed, had my house robbed twice, and had to start over from absolute scratch several times. By that I mean nothing but a back up flash drive with some tracks ( if the crooks didn’t get it haha). Being a producer/dj and making a true living at it is harder than I could have EVER imagined. It’s messed up, on one hand everyone says they are looking for a new sound or something different, but then they only book what they know will be recognizeable to the audience. I’ve promoted, thrown several of my own parties, booked other fellow dj’s that I felt had a similar sound to myself, I’ve tried it all with the same result. There one day gone the next. I’m turning 39 this year and I started when I was about 16 or 17 years old. As I said I will try to get with a booking agency. I will never give up, even if they have to push me on stage with a wheelchair at 80!!

  • eliteiamfly

    I viewed your site Money Maker Marketing. Great platform and an even greater idea!

  • Elita samuel

    Good info! I’m the Director of Marketing for Money Maker Marketing. We’re an interactive micro site agency dedicated to performers and entertainers. While this was enlightening I find that we are still missing one key component and its called Interactive and Integration Marketing. What you need is a platform that showcases your talent while simultaneously presenting a booking integration form where you can be booked instantly. We have what you been looking for at an ridiculously affordable price. The website is listed on the pic.

  • Be/a/Actor

    The number 1 reason that you are not getting booked in my experience is that you don’t have friends in the scene or people that care something about what you do. I tried dozens of things. But nobody just gives a f*ck if you are not there friend. And even if they are you’re friend, they don’t care much. I even won a DJ Contest it brought me nothing but a experience of opening for a empty room. I have accepted that i never will be a real DJ (whit pain in my heart). I live in the Netherlands where all the focus lays on Amsterdam local guys are rarely booked if you are not from the right city or have connections whit people there you will never get a spot in the scene. Its not about the music (it should be). Or your skills only about knowing the right people.
    Whit producing it is the same even if i make a good track it will not get published or even listen to. If i throw my own party nobody will come. If you ask somewhere to play they just tell you to f*ck of. and leave it to there gang. And if you might get so lucky to play somewhere it will only be ones. No matter how well you did they will never call you back, if you are not in there club they will never think about you again. The only way to make it here is to create you’re own gang and exclude other people to get you’re own spot. The only skill you need is social skills.
    You can better focus on acting classes then on DJ skills. Do as if everybody is you’re friend (that you can use), like all those other fakers. Always be positive always have a smile on you’re face and you will get there (even if you are crying from inside). I am playing since 2011 now. I spin mostly Tech house, Deep house & Techno. I live in the Netherlands in the city Eindhoven.

    • Nacor Carmona Blanco

      This. Unfortunately, you speak the sad truth. In other countries is even worse. In order to be a DJ, you also have to take drugs to make contacts and get gigs (#cough# Spain #cough#). And if you manage to get a spot, instead of creating a community with new people with the same passion, you better fight for it excluding any other new DJ to stole it from you. Being a professional is detrimental.

  • lance

    well #8 i disagree with. You shouldnt say that we’re thinking of it as a hobby. Playing video games is a hobby, but so is practicing a sport. when you’re practicing youre focusing but not fully focusing. its a hobby that you can still take seriously. in this part of the article the word hobby was blown out of proportion

  • Rudy Shooters

    I have been a dj since 1984 and since 1990 at my own bar/kind of botique nightclub for college kids and hipsters.types while bartending as well and i must say this article is right on the money.I often wonder why more DJ types dont own their own places as the music is such a huge part of a bar that brings in good numbers.of people My place is known as a 90’s bar.We play blink 182 pop punk type stuff mixed w other iconic era rock music.I developed my present format haphazardly back in 2011 and back then i could only find a couple places doing 90’s nites on the internet.Anyway keep up the smart writing and get your own placeplaces as the music is the real muscle of any operation and it makes your work so vital.

  • Max Tranquilo

    nice read!

  • Patrick Wolf

    When I got hooked on EDM in the early ’90’s a DJ was just that: A guy with a collection of disks, jockeying other people’s original productions that the crowd wanted to hear.

  • StillRavingAtFourty

    there’s an in between way for those that aren’t interested in becoming a super star, but also don’t want to be some human juke box at weddings playing music you hate.

    promote your own nights to a niche crowd or any crowd really not catered to by your local clubs, but. Hire a community centre, talk to some struggling run down pubs and clubs, just run the event monthly at first, maybe team up with some like minded djs to share the admin work.

    This is how it was done back in the late 80s, early 90s up here in northern england, when all the big clubs were playing chart cheese for drunken idiots. Made enough money to pay the bills doing something I enjoyed, didn’t make me a millionaire, but aren’t most of us in the game for the love of playing good music to a crowd. Doesn’t mater if that crowds 100 or 2000 or 10000, still gets the old endorphins going when they get into what you’re doing.

    and you know it might just lead to bigger things, look at the guys running Mint, they started in the cellar of some pub on a housing estate
    and if it doesn’t you’ve still had fun and earned some money

    With me it was / is house (everywhere near me plays either pop or baseline), but I’ve seen other guys doing this with northern soul, dub/ska, retro disco nights, indie nights, d & b, hip hop whatever. Its just playing stuff people want to hear that they can’t hear locally, It’s nice to have that in a nice clean modern club, but people would rather hear music they love in some dingy dive of a venue over music they hate and you’re guaranteed a crowd that’s there for the music.

  • K-DUST

    7.5 You booked a DJ/Promoter, they made a big promise to bring [insert @ of people here ] and showed up on their own, mumbling some lame excuse. Don’t book them again, they’ve made no effort.

    Tip: before you book anyone, check their recent events on fb, RA, etc. See if anyone went. Ask around about them, and always make sure they are not booking themselves the week before the gig you’re asking them to play.

  • Seville Lilly

    i like most of this advice but the New Releases sections of Beatport are a vast wasteland of “those generic-sounding tracks you quickly flip through while surfing Beatport” as described elsewhere in the article. better to dip into the dozens of DJ charts posted at Beatport every day, personally and lovingly curated (for the most part) by DJs famous and anonymous alike. they’re my favorite way to discover new music online. you could also add every artist and/or label you take a fancy to into your My Beatport, which is a bit more discretionary than the New Releases cesspool. not to mention visiting Juno, Traxsource, Bleep and other sites carrying some great music that BP doesn’t distribute.

  • Nick

    Great discussion and comments. I play trance and progressive and have been for 10 years. Its harder when you play non-commercial music. Its not like I can start playing cheese if im in a bar and a group of chicks walk in. I don’t think theres anything wrong in enjoying your career and DJing as a hobby, right? I mean – this article is geared toward somebody wanting to make it full-time. Id say in this day and age, u need to be musically trained, or releasing music from your late teens like Arty or Mat Zo did.

    The thing I find – you cant expect to come home after a 9 hour day and what? Start producing quality music?!?! Lets not forget – probably 50% (or more) of DJs use Ghost Writers / Sound engineers – that do it for a living. Theres a strong chance that the track you just heard was written by somebody else.

  • Grant Bass

    I have been working to fix all 10 of these ‘errors”

    It’s working.


    Best advice I have read or receive from anyone so far.

  • Spook

    “Hendrix obviously made a name for himself by being one of the first to
    push the newly invented electric guitar to the max with his rapid-fire
    licks and groundbreaking use of distortion and overdrive.”

    Hate to nit-pick, but electric guitars were nothing new by the time Hendrix picked one up. Companies like Gibson, National Steel and Rickenbacker were mass producing guitars in the 1930s. Distortion/overdrive was used earlier, but starts showing up as a preference in blues and rock by the1950s. Also, he made a name for himself as a hired-gun guitarist working for the likes of Little Richard, likely how he hit his 10,000 hours. Hendrix was awesome and indeed, was an innovator, but he most definitely took-off from the shoulders of giants.

  • Jeff Krigstein

    Thanks for the fantastic article!

    Looks like its bedroom djing for me. I see no point in leaving a full time job to struggle in a saturated market where skill and enthusiasm count for naught.

    My full-time career is in 3D animation and I only decided this this year that DJing is something ive put off learning for too long (noob!) but I’m having so much fun with it I can only imagine how soul-sucking & unfulfilling it is when your musical career inevitably becomes all about everything BUT the music… the number of people you can pull in to some club that you’ve begged for a chance to play a half hour set at (for free) matters more than the countless hours you spent developing your [track/mash up/megamix]. It’s like judging a painter by how many people they can pull into the gallery rather than the quality of the art on the canvas.

    This article makes it sound like the music you play is the only part that no one gives two shits about, and that is a very bitter pill to swallow, no matter how true it is.

    If it’s so very unlikely to have both, I’d always rather enjoy it then get paid for it.

    Who knows, maybe I can make it creating visuals for DJs instead.

    Best of luck to all the DJs out there who instead thought “challenge accepted!”.

  • Suleman

    Amazing article and some very useful tips. As an up coming dj in south africa I can definitely see this helping me and my group.

  • Parantix


  • http;//

    Leave a message…

    Fachkraft • 3 months ago



    Flag as inappropriate

    For me (i live in Switzerland) it was not too hard getting some bookings. You have to be a freak and love the music 100%!!!!! I always dreamt of making my own music and nowdays im addicted its like a drug. I cant stop and Im never satisfied with the quality of my tracks. If you’re no technical and musical freak, forget it!! I started one year ago, nowdays im getting well payed and I choose the events where I want to play. Im resident in two clubs and i had absolutely no connection to owners and promoters of them.

    My tipps they 100% work

    1. Produce music or make your sets extremely rare, special
    2. Go to partys alone, no drugs no alcohol, you have to learn from other masterclass producers and dj’s (you’ll need some professional ear-protection, its your most important gear!!!!!!!)
    3. Connect with a local label, and its all done!

    I payed 300 Swiss francs for mine, before I bought these, I was thinking to stop playing at clubs. You have to know that is fucking loud, I love loud music but trust me, if you play a 7h afterhour set at 105 db you ears will sing!

  • Ephortless

    very very very well written and put together much props on dropping this article as it took me back to the beginnings of this blog super dope never stop!!!!!!!!!

  • Guy

    I haven’t read all the comments… but something that I haven’t seen much mentioned is stage presence. Most of the compliments I get about my sets are not actually related to the music, but rather to how I connected with the crowd or how much fun I seemed to be having up there on the stage. When I work up a sweat and really jam to my own music, I get people coming up to me saying “Awesome set, who are you!?!?”. My advice to people starting out is to enjoy yourself up there! Whether you’re playing to 5000 people or just 5, own it and love it!! Blast it and give it everything you have… If you just stand still and look at your decks with your headphones on the whole time, you’re not going to get much response from the crowd, no matter how good your tunes and mixing. Everyone is looking at you so give them something to look at!!

  • Matt Fagan

    Gear is not “irrelevant.” Ableton allows for almost infinite possibilities of creative things you can teach yourself how to do with MIDI controllers. An irrelevant piece of equipment is something that just lights up and looks cool; MIDI controllers can be creatively-mapped to create customized instruments and workstations for live performing. May your reason to purchase a MIDI controller be that it is a technology taught in production classes at colleges and that MIDI mapping allows to create your own original style of DJing that can not be replicated with CDs or vinyl. It is not an irrelevant skill to be able to add Ginormous Hall Reverb to any track at any point throughout your set, or to be able to create your own drum kits or operate say, the filter cutoff for your synthesizer software. In fact it seems more relavant than ever to be able to create music on the fly or bring in customized effects amidst mixing other artists’ work. MIDI controllers may also be used to operate lighting and visuals, and can be used to toggle between vocal effects on your microphone. MIDI controllers can be programmed to produce the most epic buildups that you can automate in Ableton. Good article, however please do not underestimate the capabilities/future of MIDI controllers, as creativity is what artists and DJs use to distinguish themselves from “the rest.”

  • Shino Urena

    Thank you for Sharing….. Great stuff!

  • Frankie Claessens

    I started playing 1999 here in Belgium, mainly techno. Till 2007 it was pretty good, I got a lot of gigs, threw parties of my own and played at some major techno festivals and events. But the last few years it has gotten to the point that I don’t play out anymore. There are a couple of reasons for that. The main reason is that techno isn’t the same anymore, back then there was a hip and cool techno party of festival about every week, usually even more. It was a lot easier back then, the music was hot and people loved it. I just made some demo mixes and sent those out, 9 times out of ten I got a positive reacton to it and got bookings because of that. These days, techno has died a little, I don’t see any major releases that surprise me anymore, you can als pretty much count big parties and festivals that are left on one hand and sending out demo mixes is not as interesting anymore. Where a good DJ’s demo mix immediately got noticed in the good old days, a good demo mix these days is usually lost between the many ableton mixes out there.

    These phenomena caused a shift in my musical spectrum ofcourse, I don’t really play techno anymore, alhtough I still love it. It’s more electro-minded music these days, not as hard and fast, a bit more melodic. But with that shift came a major blow to my DJ-persona and I haven’t gotten to the same level. Another big reason is that I don’t care as much anymore, I just spin records for fun, at home, no pressure, etc. I can experiment with whatever I want. I’ve also gotten a little bit older, so I’m not expecting a big breakthrough anymore 😉

    The last reason: You have to produce music yourself. That’s the biggest reason why a lot of people aren’t getting bookings, nobody cares for a simple DJ anymore, they only see you as an overrated jukebox. If you produce music, they see you as an artist, that has more value to them in the end. The rare cases of DJ/producers who can do both things equally good, those are the ones that earn the big bucks and get the best bookings. They have built their selves up from the ground as an artist through their releases and they can showcase their skills and tracks during their sets, it’s the perfect combination for people that organize hip parties.

    So yeah, tip number seven is the most important one. If you produce your own music, there’s a big chance that you’ll get big bookings, if that music is of a good level ofcourse 🙂

  • Anonymous promotor

    My tip of the century: Go underground. Start with playing at private after parties. Earn respect from the front runners of the party scene. Never ask more than once to play at somebody’s party. And, most importantly, hang around with the people you like, in a genuine matter.

  • John Buckley Lovierpool

    “We should stop going around babbling about how we’re the greatest democracy on earth, when we’re not even a democracy. We are a sort of militarised republic. The founding fathers hated two things, one was monarchy and the other was democracy, they gave us a constitution that saw to it we will have neither. I don’t know how

  • fucked_off

    I love how music production is regarded as simply a stepping stone to the fame of DJing… Like its something really easy and thoughtless… It’s quite insulting to EDM as a whole if you think it’s something you simply pick up along the way while posing behind plastic knobs and sliders and hitting the sync button… seriously this makes me want to sell my decks…

    • Guy that came waited &Conqured

      A few ways, go off the shoulders of giants with or without any true success prior or accomplishments in that field, in this example production and/or Dj’ing would be a pre-requisite you’d hope before that teenager at 19 releases that track that somebody with many more years experience likely created given the production and skill behind the piece. Unless if you are dutch then you are likely amongst the true talented elite in EDM (DJ AND PRODUCERS) alike.

      Another way, missed that lucky break at 18 which some in the industry luckily have that being a seasoned producer to train and teach as a mentor while embarking on your life-long journey through music and sound. That is besides the point, you could counter missing that lucky break at 18 or in your teens when you really wanted it, only to find out its 7-8 years later and everyone has left the party and you are stuck with the just pre 30’s decision that spontaneously slaps you on the face, Marriage, and family planning. You can’t put it off and delay any longer like you have been all these years and even still you have your 18 year old self that has been struggling hard learning production for years to get this going in the production realm by spending as much time as possible learning blindly into unknown production territory while it taking up more time than you could ever of imagined, it requires your life and with that your adult hood and those stolen teenage years – the hell that got you where you are headed. I started producing and leaving/treating dj’ing as that easy read during my audio production breaks for many years since day 01 back in 2008 its now 2017.

      Plus if you produce you will know how to DJ. My personal line not stolen and original, i have been doing this my whole adult life, if you engineered the car, let alone if you built the car, you could confidently and surely drive the car, or auto-sync and let structures be your only obstacle in your way to that dream that you receive when its not professional to fuck every audience member that lie in your wake at your grown age that couldn’t be compensated with that giant shoulder boosting..

      I now master my own tracks, understand why the pros where louder than me for years, and I am approaching labels 8-10 years after pursuing this DJ/Producer dream that struck me at my first live dance festival Q-Dance 2007 when I was at that easily mislead age of 18.

      That aside, take it from the guy dreaming and working alongside that dreaming, extremely hard, since 18 now standing at 28 with the opportunities to follow this long chased dream to a happy outcome. It wasn’t easy and I really would take it all back if it wasn’t for my hard work which only started showing years after starting my production career, then studying audio engineering allowing me to master my own tracks, diploma only. Your ears need time a lot of it when you are starting out, let alone running in your speakers which also rings true too.

      I can’t say I have made it yet, my works surely say I have, and feel one with the underground but have outgrown that place and respect that place.

      I believe making it is approachable now for me more than ever so if you are just starting out, read these words, Producer then DJ. It has taken me 10 years from the day i didn’t know anything about production, to, 2 years of trial and error experemtningwith DAW’s and the only time i used a phaser haha at which time I studied and continued to pursue production in all my free time alongside a full time successful working mans life.

      The vinyls are gone, the game changed years ago in the dj producer realm, that aside it is professional to auto-sync now and that allows us to spend more time in the studio on what we need to proceed, take it from me just wait and see . . . good luck to you reading this reply I haven’t lied, truly and can say that as I leave this last sentence that rhymes.

  • J-Fearless

    I have a good tip that has worked for me for the past 10 years. Go work a night or two a week at venues you would like to get booked at (I bartend myself). Then you will already have established a relationship with some of the people doing the booking. I currently hold down a residency at the same place I bartend twice a week – and this has been the same for my last four bar jobs too. It’s great because on the strength of these gigs I also get offered other gigs elesewhere (and weddings etc. not so fun – but they pay well for sure). It’s a bonus that you will easier be able to gauge the tastes of the crowd as you’ve already spent time working there. Just my two cents – hope it helps.

  • Eric Day

    I would say #7 is crucial to get anything beyond a local lounge type thing. All top “DJ’s” are ultimately highly skilled producers who have an outlet to showcase their music live, and get paid to do so. Just look a the DJ Mag list… Not to many DMC champs in the top 10, whole lotta producers.

    Regular DJ vs. DJ/Producer is like being an awesome Led Zeppelin cover band, versus actually being Led Zeppelin. Guess who gets the better gigs?

    • StillRavingAt40

      I think even more so the other way round.

      It’s hard to make a living just making music. Music sales are in terminal decline.

      Those guys messing around in their bedrooms making tracks nowadays need to get out and tour to make money.

      Look at modern Rock bands, most if their Income is from playing live not album sales. It’s the same with dance music

  • Cameronkbrown

    great article, probably the best informative piece to date. very honest and realistic

  • Robert Wulfman

    I’m going to set this article as my homepage

  • Ilayda

    I feel like a treasure hunter when I scour the internet for those hidden gems. I will say the words “available on vinyl only” KILL ME, but that just means I’m onto something.

  • DC77

    Great article! Being a producer is the key to the dj booth. Plus you need luck. If I produced Levels would I be playing at EDC and Ultra? Probably not! It would of been up on my soundcloud, but would hardly been noticed. I read an article about Avicii and he mentioned his tracks got noticed on a blog from a manager within the dance music industry. Now that’s lucky!

  • Maxy

    Act like you belong. Inner self confidence is the key to success. If you are worried that you wont get a gig you probably wont get it. If being famous is your motivation then I think your on the wrong page. It’s a one in a million chance for any DJ to make the big time. Be humble and do it for the experience and buzz and look at it as a challenge to focus on doing your best, other people will decide if your amazing or not. Remember that being a DJ is fun so don’t stress too much about it. Be relaxed and friendly when approaching promoters or venue managers and don’t ask them a lot of questions. With so many genres of music and venues specializing in different styles of music no one DJ fits all venues. Study the venue and the crowd that goes there and plan what music will work best, if you have the right music and you “fit” the venue you should feel confident. Smile while you DJ, people like happy relaxed DJ’s. Get paid for what you do, please don’t do free gigs, it only devalues your status and makes you appear like a try hard, the guy picking up glasses gets paid, so should you. The bottom line is that if you honestly believe that you can do a good job of DJing at a certain venue, with a particular type of crowd then approach the promoter during the daytime (not at the venue drunk and talking shit) and ask for a tryout.

  • Flipster

    I’m pushing for a career right now but I’m not doing any promotion stuff.

    If you want to be an artist you need to be a MUSICIAN. That’s what people forget! That’s why beatport is flooded with crap, that’s why DJs can’t get their crowd moving. NOT EVERYONE CAN BE A MUCISIAN!!!! You really need to have the inside drive to best other people’s music, to go further, to be creative. However, in DJ world copying eachother is common practice! Nicky Romero explains how he made “Toulouse” and BAM everyone is using the modern talking sample in EVERYTHING. You call yourself an artist when you do that??

    You should ONLY enter this business if you can add something. Take a step backwards, look at what you have done until know, if nothing really stands out it is not your thing and it’s best to quit.

    I’m sorry but thats the harsh reality. As for me: if I don’t have significant succes with producing in 1,5 year I quit. Promotion like organising parties and stuff like that: that’s the way for a hobby DJ but not for an ARTIST.

    I hate this industry, I’m only doing it because I believe my music can make a change. If it doesnt, no reason to stay.

    • RA

      This is True!

  • djromanj

    I really needed this post right now. Thanks Dj Tech Tools for the tips. I need to go out there and grind NON-STOP.

  • DJ Hike

    Big props to DJ Tech Tools for this article. I also wanted to give a big thank you to Chris aka DJ Possess for the real deal reply without any of the sugar coating or bs.

    What can I add to this? Let me just start by saying I’m no A list DJ. I’m not Armin or Guetta or any big high level resident DJ at some superclub. But, I had my few fair shares of club gigs and I am one of the hardest working DJs I personally know. True many DJs know about all the ups and down but I am sure some people will read this and will be crazy enough to take each word for word. The truth of matter is you’d be STUPID if you quit you full time job and put all your eggs in one basket. I mean if you are going to do this you might as well max out all your credit cards, take out all the money you have, take out all the loans you can get, and then go to a casino and bet on red or black on a roulette table. Your odds of winning at that scary 50/50 is 100% higher then you ever becoming the next Tiesto, Armin, or whomever you wish to become. If you have been DJing for 5+ years or more you already know this but for the new guy who just went and spent that $5 grand on the new CDJ2000 or that amazing keyboard that’s going got break him into the EDM scene please do yourself a favor and save your receipt. The reality is there are countless DJs out there who are waiting in line to make it and there are the same amount if not more amazingly talented producers who are just waiting for someone to listen to their top notch production.

    I’m not here to break anyone’s dream or be the guy that says you can’t do it. Yes it can be done but there is no blueprint for it and there is no does and don’t . Prove it? Take my DJ career for example. 15 years in the business and have pretty much tried everything. I have had gigs, I have went to gigs, I have made friends with promoters, I have Soundcloud, Mixcloud, Twitter, Facebook or whatever social media you can find out there with thousands of followers. I even have my own DJ group with over 160+ DJs whom with all I have tried throwing my own parties with. I wont even mention the fact that I buy 100-200 tracks a month and wake up every Saturday at 7 am to promote for my internet radio shows because then you will think I’m crazy. Oh ya I am also married and have a full time 8-5 job too on top of all that.

    It’s just some things worked for me and some didn’t. But, it doesn’t mean what worked for me will work for you or the next DJ. There are no does and don’t and sorry to say majority of this game of getting booked is just being in the right place a the right time and knowing people. You can bust your ass day and night do everything this article says but at the end of the night when you go to bed just know some Joe Shmo out there who started DJing just few months ago is playing at a big club near you as you are getting ready to go to bed dreaming about DJing. Does that mean he worked harder them me or you? Does it mean he put in the time that we didn’t ? Hell no it doesn’t. But, he probably made 1 more contact that you and I didn’t and he just sorry to say got lucky.

    As much as I don’t want to go back to this broken record of DJing is not what it’s use to be I have to mention it. Back in the vinyl days DJs were few and in between why? A) Because not everyone could mix on vinyl and B)Because spending thousands on equipment not to mention $12-20 on a single record was just way to expensive for many to make this a hobby or career. DJs had a reputation back in the day because it was actually a skill and a talent. We didn’t have sync buttons, bpm counters, or laptops. It was all ear and technique. DJing now is like riding a bike. Everyone pretty much has one or had one and it’s to easy to do. Sure you can still weed out the good from the bad but the rate is so high it makes it pretty darn impossible to get any recognition in this game.

    I’m also sorry to be the only one to post that most DJs are not nice guys. Yes, there are nice ones that are humble and friendly. But, for every humble DJ you find me I will find 10 that will do anything they can to outdo you and sneak past you. This is the reality! It’s a war zone out there. All this crap DJ in a box equipment being sold in stores, all this be a successful DJ over night magazines, and it only takes a laptop to be a DJ pretty much ruined the scene and the art of DJing.

    The only formula that I have for anyone what wants to be a DJ is just keep trying ! That’s it. There are no steps and there are no blueprints. Just keep trying and practicing and making contacts. Most importantly please for the love of God be ORIGINAL ! Everyone wants to play Elctro because it’s hot and everyone wants to play that Armin tune because it was the tune of the week. But, again do you know how many of you are really out there? You are in a fish bowl with billion other fish and there are a lot of sharks in the tank just waiting to see you fall so they can eat you alive.

    • Richard Smith

      You buy 100-200 tracks a month?! How can u possibly get to know them well enough to dj well with them?

      • Jay Dizzle

        You dont. Well I don’t. I use hot cues to mark intros, drops, outros etc.

        Impossible to know them all. My library consists of 41000 songs at the mo. With out metadata & cuepoints marking I would be screwed 🙂

    • Eric Scott

      Yo…I’m a beginner DJ myself… To be honest…all I’m looking to donis get into a different line of entertainment work other than being a professional bar musician myself. I have been in many many bar bands as a guitar player and drummer for 30 years. After fighting to keep Bands together and the multiple personality and drug disorders that destroy bands….have pro.pyed me to get in to the art of DJ work and rely on myself rather than 4 other guys who don’t perform or show up…or just cause problems. I beleive I just want to enjoy music as a DJ and trust in myself getting some gigs here and there at weddings etc….I’m not into it to “make it”… Whatever making it means for a DJ…it doesn’t pertain to me I just want some work on a fun new avenue.

    • Hamish Davie

      I agree with the “eggs in one basket thing”. You need a job that will bring you $$ whilst you pursue your dreams, its that simple. But then once you start getting more gigs and things you can look into changing that!
      Keep trying, be unique, thats what I liked in your article. The rest is up to each individual, their determination and who knows what could happen. Thats what I think!

  • Echo Safari

    I used to play weeklies and bigger club events in SF during the late nineties/early 00’s and my gigs got further between and weren’t the same crowds as tastes have shifted. After taking time off to re-evaluate, have a son, and switch from vinyl to digital, I’m finding it impossible to play out. I actually missed it so much i put all my gear in a shopping cart and wheeled it with 2 JBL 15’s to a local park that had a power outlet and just set up and played for whoever was hanging out. It was better than nothing and who knows what could happen if I made it a regular thing? Cops walked by and didn’t say a word! So give it a try if you have friends that can help and when you get a gig remember to try and hook someone else up too. Giving a friend a gig can feel better than getting one yourself.

  • DJ Motiv

    If you’re going to introduce yourself to other DJs make sure you stick to what you know, admit what you don’t know and just be honest. Every playing DJ knows what it’s like having someone come up and say “I’m a DJ myself”. And I don’t mind letting someone else watch me play to get a few tips etc or even offer me some. But just weeks ago I had someone come up to me and introduce himself as a DJ, point to my Tech 1200 and say “you got 800s”. Seriously? Just be honest with yourself, most DJs I know are genuinely nice, humble guys who have a love of music and turntablism. No need to fake anything. We all started somewhere and we all know what its like being new.

  • DJ Possess

    I’ve read this article twice now and I gotta take issue with a few points and some of the comments posted. Starting with one of the very last comments that sums up my own experience:

    “So what happens when I’ve done every single one of these things and still not getting gigs? Am I just waiting for something to happen?”

    Very good question and a valid point. The tone of this article appears to place a lot of blame for failure at the feet of DJ’s who are really trying to make things work. And yet somehow we’re still at fault for not doing A. enough or B. it right. I wish I could say I have the ultimate answers but I can’t. What I can offer is my own experience in what I’ve done thus far.

    1. You haven’t defined yourself as a DJ:

    Yes I have. My last name is Johnson and there is no way I’m going out in the world as DJ Johnson. My lovely gf came up with my DJ name and I think it’s great. I have a couple of Egyptian tattoos so I thought it fitting to create an Egyptian theme around the name with the Eye of Horus and worked on my website design, business cards and logo around that. I am heavily into Salsa music and have hundreds of salsa friends however I deliberately decided not to pursue the Latin scene in Chicago because I already knew all the Latin DJ’s, there’s too many already, the club and dance studio scene is small and mostly not very profitable. Generally speaking there’s one good place to salsa dance 7 nights a week. I was a salsa promoter for 5 years and although it was fun I rarely made money. I decided to go w/ House/Deep House/Top 40/Hip-Hop music. I quickly got 96 Likes on my DJ fan page but all of these people are salsa friends so in a sense they don’t count. I recently purchased targeted ads on Facebook and with a budget of $1 per day I have seen my fans increase to 158 people knowing that these most recent fans are genuinely interested in what I do without knowing me personally. The proof will come on Nov 17th and Nov 24th when I have my next gigs.

    2. It’s a little misleading to say that “Practice makes perfect” followed by “It’s not what you know but who you know.” I’m in a record pool and download 300-500 songs or more each week and I have a meticulous method for screening songs and bringing them into Traktor. I love 90s Hip Hop and I can tolerate Usher, B.O.B. and some Maroon 5. But honestly who can say they know every single song in their library inside/out unless they don’t add new songs. You have tools to DJ music, so there is no fault in using technology to help keep tracks organized. I use BeaTunes to ‘help’ create playlists but it’s still up to me to decide what songs to play. I’m approaching 2 years as a DJ and only now do I feel comfortable incorporating samples into a mix after getting good at blending. So, yes I practice, I record mixes and I post them online.

    4. You’re afraid of the word “No”.

    No, I’m not. But I don’t focus solely on contacting promoters. In fact, I worked with one promoter who hired me for 3 gigs but paid me for 2. This particular company got an account with a club, booked DJ’s but did no publicity for it at all. Once I found out the relationship ended, I called and got myself booked there and fully promote myself; color printed posters, flyers, online. I’m good with Photoshop so I design my own flyers or use templates online. Print a few at Kinko’s on 11×17 paper. A commercial printer will do ‘shared’ flyers so my design is on one side and their info is on the other. I got 1000 for $30. I make Facebook events for every gig but I do not “Invite” people because A. the method to do this on FB sucks and B. people are already getting too many solicitations. I repost the event in my own timeline. When new fan Likes my page I send a personal message thanking them with a link to the event. But this isn’t about any of that, it’s about “No.” It takes a lot of effort to continually go to clubs, bars, restaurants, hookah lounges, etc. looking to play out. Assume every place you want to play already has someone. Start small, very small. Work for a percentage of the bar, but never work for free. I have a laser printed CD of mixes with my business card and an 8×11 color printed bio sheet and that’s what I take to bars. After awhile of hearing the same thing “Do you have a following?” I decided to pursue the gigs a little less and work on getting my name out there. (See Facebook ads). I check Craigslist Gigs section every day; however a word of caution. 98% of the time you will not get a response from someone who’s posted an ad on CL. Don’t ask me why. Don’t ignore this outlet but also keep your expectations low, in the basement, under a rock, behind the lawn mower. Really.

    5. You’re not seeking feedback from strangers.

    The short answer to this is, I don’t care. To clarify, I have songs on SoundCloud, MixCloud, YouTube, Vimeo and FB. I use this as a resume and a resource for people to hear my mixes. But if you don’t live in Chicago and can’t come to see me play, I really don’t care. I’m not being a dick. 100 comments from people outside my area are not going to translate to a gig at Metro or Excalibur. Secondly, my belief is that these sites are kinda inbred territory. I have more mutual friends on Spotify than SoundCloud. People I ‘friend’ on SoundCloud are other DJ’s, not hot girls looking to dance and get tanked at my next show.

    6. You’re trying to get followers instead of fans.

    To me, this makes about as much sense as the eternal Mac vs. PC argument. I’ve already discussed my paid ads on Facebook but I will mention that because Zuckerberg is evil, the run of the mill, everyday posts are not being seen because of the algorithm that’s keeps people from seeing your posts unless they subscribe. You have to find ways to work around this, be seen yet not be annoying. When I DJ, I take pics at my gigs then post them on my DJ Fan page making sure to tag people. This simple technique brings tons of people to my page and always results in a few more “Likes”. As I said before, everyone that I already know (of my 500+ real FB friends) are aware that I’m a DJ. It’s no news to them. To reach beyond those people online I have found the paid ads to be effective – and believe me I doubted it from the start. I never ever click on a side bar ad in FB, nor do the ads show up on mobile devices. But I can’t argue with results of a modest 158 real people. When I get 39,000 (as you pictured)….yeah whatever dude. I’ll be happy to get 20-30 people at my next gig.

    7. You aren’t producing music.

    People need to stop throwing that word around like a Wal-Mart greeter handing out shopping carts. Where do I begin? First off, I’m a musician and played in bands for 20 years before turning to DJing. I know how to write songs, music and lyrics. I own Ableton, Reason, Traktor and since buying a used Mac that came with software I even have Logic and ProTools. Can I go home this weekend and write a song? Yes. Can I get it on the radio in heavy rotation, get a lawyer, an agent, a contract, a celebrity gig, an after party, and the cover of DJ Mag Top 100? WTF do you think? Look at it like this:

    You suck as a DJ because:

    You don’t produce. You play digital. You still use vinyl. You have a PC. You have a Mac. You live at home. You’re in a record pool. You’re not in a record pool. You don’t have any friends. You’re friends suck. You use Mixed In Key.

    And then what happens? You’re Bruno Mars working at home for years on the craft of producing. You get a lucky break and suddenly you’re songs are all over the radio and everyone wants you to write for them. And then, every DJ with an attitude will despise every note you write and post blog comments about how much you suck. Listen, you can’t just tell someone they aren’t successful because they don’t produce. Stop it. Because sure as anything you will hate the next Timbaland just as much as you hate the current one.

    You want to help people. Find a legitimate, successful DJ/Producer (with a Capital P) and ask them to tell us all:
    “This is how you do it.”

    DJ Possess of Chicago

  • Cosmic Sea

    Excellent article and very important to veterans as well as DJs just starting out.

  • zach

    I love these articles,So inspiring for a beginner dj and really puts things in perspective,thanks DJTT!

  • girlblue

    Given the choice to hire the cocky, boastful dj who everyone knows OR the humble, unknown who’s music speaks for itself……..hands down, the latter. Be personable & positive, support your scene, don’t talk shit & never be too cool to show your appreciation for opportunities & other dj’s. Be on time & leave your ego at the door. Love what you do & the rest will follow…….

  • iUMi dj

    great article.. gotta share this, thanks

  • Brian Foster

    …because I won’t play damn dubstep is one big reason around here. I was always known as a producer more than anything in the area where I live. I put our mostly mellow drum and bass. I got some decent charting on college radio, but never tried to push for any fame out of this.

    When I was only a producer, I was disrespected because I wasn’t a DJ. I was disrespected because I wasn’t making hard drum and bass.

    When I started DJ’ing, people didn’t want to hear what I wanted to play (deep house) They only wanted to hear drum and bass.

    When I started DJ’ing electro house, people didn’t like it around here yet.

    So sometimes, you just can’t win. I find the best thing to do is to try to make a name outside of your home city. A lot of times there is too much local resistance from closemindedness, jealousy, rudeness, or just too little pie to go around.

    • Speezy Speez

      it’s pretty arrogant to blame the fact that people don’t like what you spin on close-mindedness and jealousy.

      if you want to play deep house that’s awesome, but if there isn’t an audience for it where you’re playing because they want to hear dubstep and you play deep-house then you just straight up should not be in that booth.

      • Brian Foster

        I am saying nobody wants to hear anything except the flavor of the month. They act like nothing else is good. That IS being close minded instead of having an eclectic appreciation for all musics.

  • pepehouse

    This article is great because it’s based on experience and reality and not in false expectations as the average dj article that talks a lot about “being a true dj and very professional” but don’t says that you’ll have to lick lots of asses to play and then you’ll be playing top 40 or precisely the kind of “electronic music” you hate most, “take it or leave it” I like things being clear, good job Nick.

  • derek

    Getting gigs shouldn’t be your goal. Love the music you play and love playing it! And some day people will notice you 🙂

    • tr4gik

      i think you need a little bit of both, what good is it to love music, and love playing it if you can’t share it with others (and i mean performing for others). I think getting out there to get some gigs is work that needs to be done too, both will increase your chances.

      • derek

        Nowadays most dj’s, at least where i live, people start asking for gigs without even having the least of experience. Compare it to someone who plays an instrument. You need a couple of years of practice before you can preform.
        I really don’t see why people should rush to getting gigs. Or maybe it’s just me.

        All i can say is that focusing on music and not on getting gigs, got me gigs eventually. Gigs i value more because of i got asked for them, and not because I had to ask for them. Got me a residency and my own monthly night at the club i love most in my hometown, Was asked to be part of a great organisation who sell out there partys within minutes and got a gig at ADE this year. I have never asked for a single gig in my life.

  • sammsousa

    good good stuff!!!!

  • DJ Ange

    Absolutely fantastic read and pretty much sums up what I tell people whenever I’m asked how to ‘make it’ as a DJ. I get lots of frustrated emails from people asking how I made it …

    I don’t actually agree with the term ‘enthusiast DJ’ as I disagree with defining success in EDM by the ability to earn the equivalent of full time money from it. I have that 9-5 job that got mentioned above …

    Without that safety net I would be crapping my pants right about now. The over-saturation of every second person calling themselves a DJ has definitely made things a lot harder to crack the scene. Like mentioned above, about 5% of the worldwide scene will crack the market as a full time DJ/Producer. Those odds are far too low to not have a backup plan …. and this is coming from someone who took 5yrs out from full time work having saved a massive amount of money to do just as what was mentioned …

    The ride definitely was worth it I’ll give you that as it led to me holding multiple residencies in Ibiza and the UK and in my home town of Sydney, Australia, traveled the world following music and DJing, producing and also ran my own events.

    Having done all this, I am back home in Sydney and LOVING it. Having been back in full time work for more than 2 years, this year I was voted into Australia’s Top 50 DJs at #41, I am producing signing to major labels, I am DJing alongside the biggest DJs on the planet such as Paul Oakenfold, Marcel Woods, Aly & Fila, John O’Callaghan, Gareth Emery (just to name a few – and if you haven’t yet figured it out I’m a Trance/Progressive DJ) and at major festivals in Australia such as Future Music Festival.

    Even to this day, I STILL go to every Trance/Progressive event I can make it to, I support the promoters, I spend time (where possible) with the promoters, I get on social media and help support the events, even the ones I’m not booked for. I make sure I’m seen at events and talk to everyone … not just the promoters …. talk to the clubbers … because at the end of the day they are the music lovers, they are the ones who are shuffling on the dancefloor. A promoter is one thing but what comes first the chicken or the egg? Without promoters we have no events but without the music fans there would be no demand for the events.

    BUT I really do have to say that money gives you choices, without it, you can’t get further so I hold firm to go against what was mentioned above on giving advice to give up the day job and attempt to go at it full time. The majority of the guys that have ‘made it’ actually took more than a decade to do so, including the ones that many people think were overnight successes ….. AND ….. many of the big names have got degrees and alternate careers behind them (e.g. Armin van Buuren (WORLD’S #1 DJ) has a degree in Law, so does Judge Jules) as a backstop so I definitely say make sure you have a plan B because telling people to give it a crack and you’ll be called crazy but do it and see where you can go ….. can bite you in the arse majorly.

    I have a side career in Learning and Development and when i’m in my 50’s and beyond I will be grateful that I can still earn a solid living as I don’t expect to ever earn an ongoing full time equivalent salary from the EDM scene. Those people I know in the scene that got into everything from when they were still in high school with absolutely no education behind them beyond secondary school and while now are well known DJs but are fast becoming ‘has beens’ will definitely struggle later in life. Sure you can say you only live once and you are only young once … but don’t forget about what life will be like when the parties are over …..

    I LOVE what I do and absolutely wished for more gigs, it is like a drug, there is nothing like playing to a massive room full of people and being the reason why every single person in that room is having the time of their lives but even with that 9-5 job I am actually doing better now and have a better standing in the scene than I did when I took the time out from full time work. I turned down 2 UK residencies and multiple Ibiza residencies to come back to my hometown of Sydney, Australia to focus on local life (it doesn’t hurt that I live in the most amazing city in the world … yes I’m bias but wouldn’t you be if you lived here :P), get stuck into producing and have found my niche in the social media world with my ‘Trance & Progressive’ brand (which began as a humble fan page on facebook back in 2009 and is now the single largest community on FB for this sound nearing 300k fans NOT followers – of which I live, eat, breathe building the community) …. now I try to give to my local scene as much as possible. Nothing really beats seeing your mates lose it in a crowd of 3000+ people … you know, the friends who knew you before you became a well known DJ … they’ve seen your struggles, seen your passion, seen your highs and lows … they get it! Get it right in your local scene first before you try to join Pinky & the Brain to take over the world.

    DJ ANGE xx

  • eddie

    Amazing post, thanks!

  • Haha Jones

    I really don’t want to be “that guy”, I hate spammers, they ARE like those viagra damn popups, always posting comments on your sets without even clicking the play button. But pleaaaaaase, is there a total stranger willing to give me some feedback? I promise I’ll return the favor and not be biased,

  • Sébastien Belle

    (Same problem than photography, finally. 🙂

    Than you for this Bill. The most USEFULL With your Mapping AND S4 5 crucial setting in TP2. 🙂

    i am a dJ (weel, since now, because of shy, i say amateur but it change) , and ice hockey player in the same time. iIt’s crazy to read that. thank you for the Comparing. Because of my sport : unknown in Paris the city i Left, more or less in Berlin the city i Left, the city who i leave, Known as god in Montréal, the city where i Go in one month.

    I am am at the middle Way to finish my digital organisation (What a FUCKING JOB to organise 20 years of Digital selection day by day) , i spend more much time in itunes to find my way to create something unique for a set with all i love.

    And i have my first paid gig next week. After few gig here in berlin and Paris.

    Dj in my head since i love techno, dj for real since… the same time? The différence is know i have a controler. i don’t where i am going. But i follow your advice DJ TECHTOOLS, since i have discover your Website. Since i use a VCI, saled for a S4. i am 38 years old, and i am rookie on the paper. But also a ice hockey player since i am 6.

    I have a lot to give. ANd no revenge to take. 38 years of music earing and selection. And i don’t care. My rule is passion. i am now behind the Desk, i a play for the guy i Was I every dam Club.

    And you gave the force to believe that it gonna happens. My first paid gig the 23 of november. i am freaking out. I am fucking affadi. But why the people who like what i am doing now, even they are 10 on the dance floor, will not like that if they are 100? 600? You’re dam right. Thanks a lot. Life is short, and Music is BELLE. 🙂

    So can i promote myself here? Why not after all. I don’t want follower. i want listener, if they want of me of course. The right man on the right place. A credo.

    Again. Thank you. To all of you. i thought a moment to send This mail, to Y DD TECH TOOLS. But now you gave me the occasion to do that.

    • bbbbbbbbbbb

      What language is this?

  • Aleksandar

    This is one of the best “how to get out of the bedroom” text i read so far. I found myself in 90% of the text, a lot of things i have been considering from here and now this confirm them. Also and most important i learned something from this article. 5 star rating from me!

  • DjSheikh

    i’ve tried posting my mixes on the ‘mixes and production’ section of the forum alot of times but i never get any feedback from anyone :/

  • Nick

    Hey guys- original poster here. Massive shout-out to Dan from DJTT for getting in touch with me within hours of posting this over on my blog last week.

    I’d have to say for the most part, #7 is becoming so crucial that it really should be #1. If you’re not producing, then you have to throw events to get on the bill. This isn’t anything new; when I first moved to Boston 8 years ago it was also like that, as it was in Upstate NY where I used to live before that. But it ISN’T impossible. I know a small handful of DJ’s who don’t produce or throw parties, but are RELENTLESS in their promotion and generally are very outgoing personality-wise. It took them many years to get those local bookings, but they were persistent.

    I’ve watched in my local scene as Soul Clap, Terravita, Wheez-IE, Kastle, Steve Porter, Udachi, Kon, John Barera, and Ewun/Kill the Noise went from “local” acts to A-listers. Every single one of them pretty much ate, sleept, and breathed this stuff. None of them ever worked day jobs, they just did what they had to do to make things happen for them. All these guys scraped by and lived on next to nothing and persevered for years.

    Also, one thing I didn’t mention: this post is mainly for people who play underground dance music. For top 40 DJ’s, wedding DJ’s, or people who run production companies, it’s more straight up marketing and knowing the gear that results in success.

    Thanks again guys for reading this…I know it’s a long one 🙂

    • Ray Ramirez

      Build a large fan base however you can and find a struggling club and collect the the door Thats the only way you will get paid.Free bie DJs Killing the scene and I am tired of walking into a club and the dance floor s dead with dj playing what he likes Its about them not you.You have to be armed for what ever crowd you get.If your dance floor dead your dead and the Clubs next i have been a dj since 1973 and in order to get paid my dance floors had to be packed (You played what u had to) are you were gone, unless I did it for free you get my drift.Having crowd aware skills I have acquired thru the years mixing, remixing, mike skills,music music,music knowlege keeps me paid.I also produce a variety of EDM for same reasons and when I work the right crowd perform also with Synths and original music. Evolving is important but your crowd is more important.Mashing up tracks no one has ever heard can be taught to anyone who can count to 8.Be creative’ I worked to get paid a crowd that was country music orientated but was getting hip hop request What did I do ? I mashed up( using Tracktor) 80 bpm country with 80 bpm hip hop hiphopers danced in the center of the floor while Two Steppers danced around them Im going to call this Hick Hop.The dj scene is watered down In the long run what is better for the scene ?If you work a freebie collect every name and Email ,Social media contacts or get your best friend to do it while u DJ

  • Mike Linder

    Showing up and making your face recognizable is key. Ive sat outside countless managers doors, and hung out at events making myself known to the promoter and other dj’s, handing out demos geared specifically to their night. Sometimes it takes a while, but persistence is key. Dont pester them every time, but show up, shake their hand, and let them see you spending money at the bar. If you bring friends introduce them, let them know you bring new faces to their event.

    Does this sound like hard work? then its not meant for you.

  • DJ NightLife

    Rock & roll chooses you, you don’t choose rock & roll.

  • p.p

    you don’t get a booking, cause nobody knows you and you know nobody! easy as that! lol

  • Berry Good

    This artice will hold true until djs start to being known for their djing and not heir produtcion. I have no doubt someone will break the norm soon

  • moe

    becoming a full time dj is hard and dangerous.

    lets say you jumped right into it and are good enough to earn money and make a decent living but you dont become a “famous superstar” after 10 – 15 years of ups and downs in this job you realize that its not gonna happen you wont be the new david guetta. you will be around 30-40 and no normal boss will employ you because you dont have experience in any other job.

    so what you are doin? become a promoter? ok but for a lot of people who tried its the best way to get ruined financially…

    doin a day job? well belive me if you dj´d 10-20 years you would go rather to hell than get up 6 am and working in a factory or any other job where you you get paid half of what you made as a dj for double time effort…and thats what you get if you went to become a full time dj and not became famous..

    sounds hard but i am that guy. someone could say you should have prepared yourself better for the life after deejaying but belive me the years fly away doin something you love with all the fun,money,alcohol and girls involved to it.

    18 forever! brian adams sung in one of his hits and thats pretty much what youre life looks like if you are a full time dj without become david guetta or ean golden….

    i would never recommend being a full time dj with all the experience i have now. its the same as if you say you want to become a pro sportsmann or something. it happens to some- but most likely not to you…

    sounds bitter but i am not i still make a living from being a dj and i still have fun but i know it wont last forever.

    • DJ Gerard

      You are not unique Moe. That’s my story and still doing it. IDK when it will end either but keep doing what’s in front of you man.

  • Anonymous

    In the great words of Sean Connery “losers always whine about doing their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen” haha this is such a great article

  • Craig

    Produce music and use that music as your business card. Living in LA where the Dj market is flooded and not just by bedroom Dj’s but by big names you have to have a product / brand that you can give a club.

    Yes you need to have the skills when the time comes for you to play but you should be playing your own material.

  • DJ SB

    Very well written. Nice article.

  • Fachkraft

    For me (i live in Switzerland) it was not too hard getting some bookings. You have to be a freak and love the music 100%!!!!! I always dreamt of making my own music and nowdays im addicted its like a drug. I cant stop and Im never satisfied with the quality of my tracks. If you’re no technical and musical freak, forget it!! I started one year ago, nowdays im getting well payed and I choose the events where I want to play. Im resident in two clubs and i had absolutely no connection to owners and promoters of them.

    My tipps they 100% work

    1. Produce music or make your sets extremely rare, special
    2. Go to partys alone, no drugs no alcohol, you have to learn from other masterclass producers and dj’s (you’ll need some professional ear-protection, its your most important gear!!!!!!!)
    3. Connect with a local label, and its all done!

    I payed 300 Swiss francs for mine, before I bought these, I was thinking to stop playing at clubs. You have to know that is fucking loud, I love loud music but trust me, if you play a 7h afterhour set at 105 db you ears will sing!
    Sorry for bad English, hope it helps anyway 🙂

    • Natch

      hey, living in Switzerland too, where are you resident? Ciao

      • Fachkraft

        Hey, Raumstation Club St.Gallen and Asisozial Reaktor Club Winterthur, the Label is called Stahlplatten 🙂

      • Stefan Lindblom

        Me to. So where do you live. Im working in Geneva and Verbier.

        • Scott Jenner

          Cool you guys now have given me a valid reason to spend more time in your country. I speak French and need to learn German. I was in Zurich last year for my last job and want to come back this time to spin tunes and make new friends.

    • DJ Shiva

      Thanks for reminding people about ear protection. If you wanna party or DJ longterm, you have to protect the one thing that you need in both endeavors: your ears.

      Those custom molded earplugs with filters are not only worth every penny, but you can wear them while you DJ, which is awesome when you have loud monitors blaring right into your ears. 🙂

    • Regina

      Getting gigs isn’t the problem… I think for most people in the USA, getting PAID bookings is an issue. Lots of promoters will try to make you work for free as a “trial” or get compensation on how many people you bring at the venue which is not acceptable. I however, do agree on the “connect with other djs” part.

      • Hamish Davie

        You should be happy to play for free sometimes, especially when you first start out! Then after you prove yourself you can start demanding (in a nice way) wages and things. You’ll sound like an ass if you pass up a free gig for experience if you’re a beginner!

        • Stephen Nawlins

          So when you go to a Young doctor who just finished his studies you also tell him “I won’t pay you you should be happy that you can practice on me”???

          • Julien Paturel

            there no moral rules or something it’s the offer and demand.

    • Hamish Davie

      you forgot networking! haha. networking, patience, and relentless passion. I think thats the key! Agree with everything else though, you definitely need to stand out 🙂

      • Scott Jenner

        true it really comes down to who you know. It is rough here in San Diego to break into the DJ scene.

      • Dego

        looks it’s true anywhere in the world

    • Scott Jenner

      I love Switzerland! This is very encouraging news as someday I want to DJ and perform there one day.

  • Spencer "Thunderball" Thayer

    Socializing with DJs is the key like this article says. It isnt what you know its who you know. Some scenes have the worst DJs yet they get the gigs because everyone likes them.

  • calkutta

    also,craigs list is always looking for ‘wedding gigs’,which actually pay and have mad experience to give.15 years ago to now is like horse and buggy to cars and space-shuttles.its way harder to stand out when there are so more many Dj’s than ever…but.
    bottom line,stand out,be different,do what nobody can do,ask yourself ‘do i wanna make a living being a Dj?’ or ‘do i wanna make a living be a Dj that plays only what he wants’,cuz one you gotta earn.the way most Dj’s play compared to how Ean or Z-Trip play is way way come to see them,like people come see a magician,not knowing what they are gonna do,but whatever it is,you cant wait.Regular Dj status you play to the crowd,like a wedding,until time and experience have taught you how to slide in ‘your stylee stuff’ in between.but above all,if you are serious,never ever ever ever ever ever give go become a Dj.

  • KIO

    When I got hooked on EDM in the early ’90’s a DJ was just that: A guy with a collection of disks, jockeying other people’s original productions that the crowd wanted to hear. By the turn of the century the focus of EDM parties had shifted from the crowd dancing to the tunes they liked to the crowd wanting to see the producer of the original productions either “perform” his/her OP’s or mix his/her OP’s with other tunes that the crows liked.

    Nowadays the only place where you can still find nameless DJ’s playing tunes is in your local venue, but for over a decade I haven’t seen a DJ on large events unless he/she is a producer. So IMO you can do whatever this article says, but unless you’re not cranking out killer original productions, you’re never going to be a DJ that anyone has heard off.

    • Michael Nelson

      this is true i started off as wanting to make edm music part time and djing full time i moved to vegas and notice real quickly that if your not a bg named act like dirty south avicci and such you wont be booked . and now a days local djs in las vegas go by the trade rule . i give you a guest spot dj gig here you do one for me and no one gets paid i did that twice and that places i djed at where packed so i bring him along . he brings me to his not more then 300 people where at his event and i wasnt paid . so i started to do production full time . see with producing if you get enough beatport tracks promoters willl notice . now a days promoters boook djs off of facebook soundcloud followers and twotter followers .
      which is sad becuase now its to a point where your forced to go into production in order to get booked as a dj

      • Julien Paturel

        Not american but Las vegas sound like the worst place on earth to become dj…. i mean not Douchy-brian-EDM-Bigmuscle-DJ


      thats soo true or there is other way in built knee pads ,,, becamo a dealer which i dont do any off it they can suck my 4 pipes

  • LewisLace

    So what happens when I’ve done every single one of these things and still not getting gigs? Am I just waiting for something to happen?

    • calkutta

      you could get some friends and promoters of skate-shops and other cool stores and make your OWN EVENT.then book local Dj’s and yourself and maybe even a guest from faraway and kick start the whole scene in your area.
      hope this helps….regardless man,anything worth ANYTHING takes time to master.
      Bruce Lee said that,and he was dope too.
      hang in there,if you build it,they will come….jus bomb the hell outta the event with fliers and stickers and web presence…dec 2012 is coming up,i know mad kats making events for that.

    • p.p

      go outside

  • Jonnyscratch

    it might be time to start saving and then giving up my job!

  • Adam Supey

    Amazing read !!

  • Kunal

    Love these articles from DJTT :). This is what drove me to come and check the blog out daily, then ofcourse the people on the forums and what not made me stay!