One of the most asked questions by beginner DJs is “how do I get more DJ gigs!?”
While there are no straightforward or one-size-fits-all answers to this question, there are two distinct ways that DJs will typically find gigs.
You either hunt them down yourself, or they come to you. While every DJs goal should be for the latter, that’s only going to happen once you’ve established a name for yourself in the industry. Even then, the bigger DJs will always have managers and booking agents that are out there sourcing the gigs for them.
If you’re just starting out as a DJ, then you’re going to have to put in the work! Thankfully, we’ve put together 20 fast ways you can implement to help get yourself more and more DJ gigs!
If you’re reading this under lockdown and thinking these things are pointless because of the lack of parties and clubs right now, think again!
Chances are you’re going to have an extra chunk of time on your hands, so you need to be using it in order to maximise your opportunities once things go back to normal. Or at least whatever the new normal will become!
- Start your own night!
- Play for free
- Build your brand (website, logo)
- Social Media (insta, fb, youtube – content)
- Follow Trends (tiktok video, live streaming)
- Start a podcast (guest DJs)
- Get professional press shots
- Produce your own music
- Make Mashups
- Reply to comments
- Engage with other artists, DJs and promoters
- Become a mobile DJ for parties & events
- Approach Gyms & Restaurants
- Start a DJ Duo
- Enter competitions like Your Shot
- Get a Manager/Agent
- Have a plan and stick to it
- Be the hardest worker in the room
It’s the most tried and true method for getting business in any industry, and it’s still just as effective today as it’s ever been. It probably comes at no surprise but promoters are always going to favour the DJs they have good relationships with and that support their night. So it’s important to build connections and develop relationships with the people in the scene you’re trying to break into! As well as regularly attend the clubs and venues you’re aspiring to play at.
Note, networking doesn’t mean rocking up to the club and shoving your mixtape in the face of the organizers. Nor does it mean getting so far gone that they’re picking you up off the floor at the end of the night. The key is to make sure you’re seen as an asset, rather than an annoyance!
Start Your Own Night
Maybe there are no decent club nights in your area, or maybe you just don’t get along with the organizers running them. Simple, start your own night! It’s a perfect way to launch your DJ career and you’re sure to have a heap of fun doing so. All while making a little bit of extra cash mind you!
Start by contacting some local venues that you think might be interested in a few extra customers. Then pitch your idea for a night in which you’ll take a percentage of the bar. You won’t need to drop a huge amount of cash up front to get something like this going, so you’ll have more money in your pocket when it comes to hiring photographers, graphic designers for promo, and of course, the DJs!
Play DJ Gigs for Free
If you’re an experienced DJ who’s been doing this for a while, I don’t recommend playing gigs for free.
However, if you’re just trying to get your foot in the door, your main focus should be getting experience playing in front of a crowd and building your reputation.
If you’re hitting up promoters and trying to get paid gigs, there’s a good chance you’re going to get turned away if noone knows who you are and noones seen you play. Offering your services for free or at least a cheaper rate presents a much smaller risk for the club promoters while giving you a chance to show off your skills and potentially find paid work in the future.
Build Your Brand
In the digital era we live in today, building and maintaining your personal brand is more important than ever.
A good place to start is by investing the money into getting yourself a professional logo, and a website to match. Because the more professional you look and the more you build your brand, the more valuable you’ll become to promoters when you’re trying to get booked for more DJ gigs.
All you need to do is take one look at the headliners on any clubs promo flyers. None of those guys will be using a photo of them passed out with a goon bag. Nor will they be using glittery clipart image of some headphones as their logo.
Following on with the theme of personal brand, you want to make sure you’re active on all the big social media platforms. Because promoters are known to check how many followers you have before considering booking you for an event!
So at the very least, you’ll want to have an active account on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube and be posting regularly on each of them. As the saying goes, content is king when it comes to online marketing!
If you’re not sure what to post, it’s definitely a good idea to check out what other DJs are doing online. Then, prepare your own social media strategy from that. But for a few ideas to get you started you should be posting photos and videos from your past gigs, videos of home mixes and mashups, the ideas are endless. It’s also worth trying to cross-promote with other DJs, Artists, Promoters and related brands.
As a DJ looking for more gigs, you need to be up on all the current trends of the minute. With half the country in lockdown over the past few months, two of the biggest trends that have sprung to the forefront of the industry are live streaming and TikTok videos!
While clubs and parties are on hiatus, the next best way to get in front of your audience is virtually. We’ve already written countless articles on the benefits of live streaming which you can find below. But TikTok is another trend that probably deserves its own article altogether.
- 10 Mistakes to Avoid During Your Next Live Stream DJ Set
- Ultimate Guide to DJ Live Streaming
- Avoiding Copyright Issues On Your DJ Live Streams!
- How to Multistream: Live Streaming to Multiple Platforms
- How to Stream with OBS or Streamlabs: Live Streaming on Youtube or Twitch
It’s no fluke the hashtag #DJathome was trending for so long on the platform. DJs have taken to posting live mixes & mashups as well as just sharing new songs for people to enjoy like the one below! With a much higher rate of discovery than platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, this is a great place to push out your content and increase your chances of discovery.
Start A Podcast
On the topic of creating content, starting a podcast is another great way to get your name in front of the people who can help you get more DJ gigs!
Podcasts are most commonly used as a platform for conversation and interviews. However, many DJ’s have also taken to podcasting in the form of mixtapes and mix shows. A way to showcase your talents as a DJ while giving the listener a variety of music to listen to. In turn, also creating a nice accessible portfolio to help land you more gigs, while increasing your followers at the same time.
Furthermore, you’ll often see podcasts where the host DJ performs a mix for the first half of the show. Then the second half is a guest mix by another DJ. This is a great idea because not only is it forcing you to network with other DJs to get them to feature on your podcast. But they’re likely going to help with promotion. So you’re going to get the listeners who came for you, as well as the listeners who came for your guest DJ. Expanding the reach of your mixes and opening yourself up to more and more fans and potential to get hired for more gigs!
Professional Press Shots
Adding to the importance of your personal brand & image, investing in professional press shots is just another way to help you sell yourself as a DJ.
It doesn’t take a genius to know with some high-quality imagery, you’re going to add another element of professionalism to your brand. Not only will this impress the promoters and organisers that are booking you, but it helps build an even stronger connection between yourself, your followers, and your fans. People want to know what you look like, and press photos help to show an authentic representation of yourself and your personality and can be much more memorable than your logo.
Produce your own music
It’s not as easy as it sounds, but producing your own music can be the best route to make it as a full-time touring DJ/Artist. Make a hit track that gets traction across the industry and you’ll have gigs coming at you left right and centre. If you haven’t already dabbled in music production, you’re going to have to dedicate a fair bit of time. But with technology today, all you need is a Digital Audio Workstation and a Laptop, maybe a MIDI Keyboard to make things easier.
You’re not going to smash out a number one hit overnight, but producing music is something I think every DJ should know the basics of! Check out our how-to guide for beginners below to get yourself sorted!
Another way to get your name out there and increase your chances of landing DJ Gigs is to produce mashups! Especially if you have no experience with music production, mashups are the perfect way to ease yourself into production before you get started on your own originals.
If you don’t know what a mashup is; essentially, a mashup is a musical creation created by combining two or more pre-recorded songs together to create an original composition. Often as simple as overlaying the vocal or acapella track of one song seamlessly over the instrumental track of another. If you’ve never made a mashup before, now’s the time to learn. Thankfully, we’ve already written a complete guide that’ll have you making banging mashups in no time!
Similar to producing originals and making mashups; remixing the latest tracks of the minute is another way to show of your skills.
If you’re producing a remix or bootleg of a popular song, then chances are you’ll have heaps of people searching for that particular track. Therefore, there’s an even better chance of new listeners stumbling across your music.
This is especially true if it’s a brand new song. Your remix is going to stand a much better chance of getting found rather than being hidden under a plethora of remixes you’ll find on already established songs.
Reply to comments
This is a big one! So many people make the mistake of undervaluing the comments left online across their social media. Whether it’s someone commenting on your latest Soundcloud mix, your photo on Instagram, or even when you share a post on your Facebook page.
It’s important to engage with your audience online as much as possible as it gives you just another avenue to strengthen your brand as well as your relationship with your audience. You also don’t (always) know who’s behind the comments. For all you know it could be the organizer of one of the biggest clubs in your city and replying to them could be the start of a relationship that propels your career!
Engage with other artists, DJs, and Promoters
Just as you should be replying to the comments you get on your posts. You should also be actively engaging and commenting on other artists, DJs and Promoters pages. Again, this serves as just another method of networking with those in the industry and opens up more possibilities to build relationships with the right people.
Take Mobile DJ Gigs
It might not be as glamourous or enjoyable as headlining a club, festival, or big event, but it can sometimes be even better pay! So it’s no surprise that many DJs supplement their main stage gigs by offering their services for parties, events, and weddings. By doing both clubs and events, you’re giving yourself the best opportunity to make enough money to pay the bills solely from doing what you love.
If you don’t want to pollute your main club DJ brand, you can always set up a second Mobile DJ company under a different name. So you can still earn money from DJing while getting more experience playing to different crowds with different genres of music.
Gyms & Restaurants
While we’re talking about mobile DJing, you should also be hitting up gyms and restaurants when you’re looking for DJ Gigs!
Now it goes without saying, not all restaurants and gyms are going to be looking for, or even want to entertain the idea of having a DJ at their venue.
However, it is a growing trend and more and more places such as F45 are jumping on board. Plus, given the fact that DJs in these type of venues is still in the infant stages, there’s no better opportunity than now to reach out to these local businesses that might want your services!
Start a duo!
As the saying goes, two heads are better than one. Forming a DJ Duo with a close (and talented) mate is another way you can work your way up the ranks. Splitting the workload gives you both extra time to focus on a number of specific things on this list which can help you progress even quicker. It can also be more fun and helpful when you have a second brain to bounce ideas off of!
You will have to split the pay, but if you find the right person to join forces with, you might have even more fun doing it!
DJ competitions such as Your Shot Australia poise as the perfect opportunity to take you from unknown to the big stage! Just look at DJs such as Tigerlilly and J-Trick who have made a name for themselves and skyrocketed to the top of the ranks thanks to this competition!
It will also give you the opportunity to network and meet so many other DJs and people in the industry. If you’re serious about DJing, this is a must!
Get yourself a manager/agent
We mentioned it in the first paragraph. The only time you’ll stop actively searching for new gigs is when you have a manager or agent to do it for you.
While it’s probably not worth your money if you’re just getting started, once you have a name for yourself having a manager can take a lot of the weight off your shoulders and allows you to focus more on perfecting your mixes and producing new sounds!
Have a plan and stick to it!
You probably had a few ideas or tricks up your sleeve already, but hopefully, this article has even further boosted your arsenal of ways to get more DJ gigs! What’s next? You have to have a plan!
It’s worth sitting down and fine-tuning a plan that you’ll continue to execute each week. Stay consistent, and you’re guaranteed to see results and growth in your DJ career. Then, after a few weeks or months working hard, if you aren’t seeing results, maybe its time to up the ante with your plan and switch things up a little!
Be the hardest worker in the room!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard this quote by The Rock. Always be the hardest worker in the room! Regardless of how much talent you already have, making sure you’re working harder than everybody else is going to pave the way for you to excel in your career as a professional DJ.