When most DJs start their career they are inspired by battle, festival, or club DJs rockin’ turntables and huge crowds from the around the world while making boat loads of cash. Battle champions and festival DJs get their names plastered on flyers, billboards and get hefty purses, but the road to get there can be rough. It often takes thousands of hours to perfect the craft enough to earn a livable wage.
There is also a lot of competition with only so many DJ battles, festivals and concerts each year. The supply of DJs certainly outnumbers the demand when it comes to the amount of DJs slots available for the aforementioned events. What if there was a world in which the opposite held true?
Well it does; the private events world is an endless well of opportunities. While there may be a finite amount of club venues to perform at in your city, there is an infinite amount of events that can take place. People call upon DJs to perform in a wide array of settings from school homecomings to weddings, corporate parties, cookouts and more.
So what exactly is a private event? It’s when you DJ for a client that has not opened their event up to the general public; basically invite only. The events we listed above all have very good reasons as to why they would be invite only.
Private events are a great way to get new clients! A wedding usually has couples, couples that will see all the love in the air and get ideas. When it’s time for them to book a wedding DJ, they are going to call someone they’ve seen with their own four eyes, rock a wedding. Company holiday parties may have a wide array of guests that may need a DJ. The company’s boss may need a DJ for their daughter’s Sweet Sixteen in a year and then one for her graduation party a couple years after that. It’s a snowball effect.
Private events help diversify your music library and take music comprehension to new heights. Weddings for example can have two people of completely different cultural backgrounds joining together for a celebration. You will also get guests from different generations that will seek music from their era. Billboard 100 charts can be thrown out the window, but this leaves an opportunity to separate yourself from the one dimensional DJ. School homecomings will keep you keen to the hottest trending songs and dances, you also won’t find these Tik Tok tunes on your mainstream charts.
Although private events will have a set number of guests, those guests will remember the DJ at their special event more than they will the DJs on a night out to their local clubs. That’s because corporate events and weddings are not a frequent occurrence for anyone that doesn’t work in the private events industry. A person may go to 10-15 weddings in their lifetime, whereas they may visit that many clubs and concerts in a year. Private event DJs standout!
DJs typically perform for the duration of a private event, including times when guests will not be dancing. Understanding how to curate a vibe will impress your clients even during cocktail and dinner hours if done correctly. I’ve had guest ask for my card before any dancing ever took place.
The money is better when it comes to private events as well. A DJ may make $50/hour at a club in a night, or make $150+/hour working a wedding, company party or homecoming. As previously mentioned, all of these events need a little extra preparation, however the preparation for the payoff is more than worth it. Another part of why the booking fee is so high with private events is because the DJ must provide all sound equipment, essentially renting it out to the client. DJs should invest in the best equipment they can and reinvest to grow their brand.
Now you might not be famous as a wedding DJ, but you may get flown out to Hawaii for a few days to DJ. You may not see your face on a billboard, but you’ll be able to comfortably live off of DJing and eventually only work the gigs that you want to.
DJing in the private events industry open so many doors for growth and possibilities as a DJ. We aren’t telling you to quit the clubs, but consider learning the flow of weddings and shadow a local wedding DJ. Contact a booking agency and see if they need DJs for private events (they will) and be open to learning another side to our craft.