Have you ever asked yourself if you’re too old to DJ? It’s easy to look at the host of young up and coming DJs in their late teens to early twenties and get discouraged. But does falling into an older age-bracket mean that DJing as a profession has to be a pipe dream?
Short answer, we don’t think so! At the end of the day if you’re a lover of music, you love to entertain people, and you’re passionate; then making a career as a DJ is always possible, no matter how old, or how young you might be! That goes for everyone, whether you’re looking to DJ at parties, weddings, and events; or you’re aspiring to hit the stage of your favourite nightclubs and festivals. In some cases, starting your DJ career as you get older can even give you the upper hand!
If you’ve decided DJing is for you, but you don’t know where to start; be sure to check out our How to DJ setup guide. Alternatively, keep reading where we explore everything you need to consider if you’re asking yourself “Am I too old to DJ?”
- How old is too old to DJ nightclubs?
- DJ’s over 40 still thriving
- 10,000 Hours
- Money & Equipment
- Networking & Marketing
- Hobby To Professional
- The Final Say
How old is too old?
You should never let age deter you from following your dreams. But at what age are you too old to DJ your favourite nightclub? I say if you’re still entertaining the crowds and loving what you’re playing; then you’re still primed for nightclubs.
Although the club scene is predominantly dominated by the youth, the only time you’re too old is when you stop vibing with the music that’s controlling the airwaves. The best DJs love what they’re playing, and they know how to read the crowd, and keep them dancing and having fun all night long. If you find yourself detached from the music, then maybe it’s time to consider stepping away from nightclubs. But even then, it doesn’t mean you have to stop DJing altogether. It might be just time to transition into the likes of weddings, corporate events, and birthday parties.
In saying that, if you’re over 40, you still love the club scene, and feel most comfortable playing the party tunes that appeal to a younger audience; you definitely don’t have to give up on nightclubs and festivals. Because as you’ll see below, so many of the world’s biggest DJs and producers are well over 40 and still at the top of their game!
DJs over 40 and still thriving
You’d be forgiven for thinking one popular DJ over 40 was a fluke. But the number of famous DJs and producers still grinding well into their, 40’s, 50’s, and 60s is a lot more than you might first think. Some of them have even coined their biggest tracks well into their careers.
Take David Guetta for example; he’s currently 52 years old, and still headlining the biggest dance music festivals in the world. His song “When Love Takes Over” has been crowned the number one dance-pop collaboration of all time. A song that was brought to life when he was in his 40’s!
Yes, a number of the DJs on our over 40’s list started their crafts at a young age. However, with the technology available to us in 2020, there’s no reason why you can’t burst into the scene as a more mature DJ!
- David Guetta – 52
- Armin Van Buuren – 43
- DJ Tiesto – 51
- Carl Cox – 57
- DJ Jazzy Jeff – 55
- Fat Boy Slim – 56
- DJ Kool Herc – 62
If your younger days are behind you, but your dream of learning to DJ is still at the forefront of your mind, nothings going to stop you if you have the skills! Our advice is to jump onto YouTube and watch as many tutorials as possible. From there, you’ll want to create a practice schedule on a daily and weekly basis to keep yourself accountable.
Practice makes perfect, and you hear people throw around Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule quite a bit. The theory is, that the key to success in any field is just a matter of practicing a specific skill for 10,000 hours. That equates to 20 hours of DJ practice over the span of 10 years.
It seems like a long time, but if you’re dedicated enough to learning to DJ, there’s nothing stopping you from becoming successful.
As an older DJ, you might not have the youth of a teenager. But if you’re passionate about music, you’ve probably amassed decades of musical knowledge and experience. Think about it, you’ve likely seen a whole host of musical genres and fads fade in and out of popularity. And as a result, you will have acquired a massively diverse music library. Not to mention an undeniable advantage over your average 17 year old who’s only familiar with music over the last decade or two.
It’s no surprise that DJing costs money. Whether you’re looking to get into it as a hobby, side hustle, or full-time gig; you’re going to have to drop some coin. While you can find a cheap entry-level controller for a few hundred dollars, eventually you’re going to want to upgrade to something a little more professional.
For example, when you start offering your services for hire, you’re going to have to consider DJ Controllers, Laptops, DJ Music, Lighting, Smoke Machines, and the list goes on. So its important to know the type of DJ you want to be and the costs associated to what you’ll have on offer!
If you’re a young kid, finding the money to upgrade to new gear is going to be tough. You either have to save for months at a time, wait for Christmas, or dig into mum & dad’s pockets. While in contrast, getting into DJing when you’re a bit older means you’re already going to have some money behind you. So you’re going to have the freedom to upgrade your gear a lot more easily when you decide you want to take it to the next level!
Networking & Marketing
When you decide to take your DJing more seriously, you need to treat it in a more professional capacity. If you already have business, marketing, and networking skills, these are going to be a massive advantage when transferring to your DJ brand. In turn, helping you get new gigs and continue to get booked at clubs. What’s more, as an older DJ, you’ve probably already amassed a large number of friends and acquaintances. Whether they be in the music industry or not, these are all great contacts you can use to leverage your brand and find paid DJ gigs.
Transitioning from hobby to professional
When you’re an older DJ, making the transition from hobby to professional is where it gets tricky. While you’re young, you don’t have any of the responsibilities that might hinder your possibilities, and you don’t need to worry about needing anything to fall back on. But if you’re older, you might have things like rent, bills, mortgages, and family to consider.
If you’re working a 9-5, making the transition to full-time DJ can be a tricky one, but it’s definitely doable, even more so if you’re happy to grind with DJing as your side hustle.
Especially if you’re going to be DJing nightclubs, your working hours are likely going to heavily contrast with your day job. The downside, you’re not going to be able to maintain a regular sleeping pattern, and you’re going to be in for an influx of late nights that go right into the morning. But if you’re okay with that, this also has its upside. If you’re prepared to work hard in your downtime rather than sitting on the couch, you won’t have to sacrifice any loss of income while you build your brand and side hustle as a DJ.
Another thing to consider is your travel. As a gigging DJ, you’ll have to be on the road traveling to a number of different locations, so you’ll have to be prepared. This could mean driving an hour into the city to hit the nightclubs, but it could also mean taking public transport and even planes traveling interstate. So you’ll have to be prepared to leave the wife and kids at home if a gig calls for it!
As a professional DJ, your lifestyle is going to change quite a bit. If you’re used to being a family man and socializing with your friends or your kids, be aware that you might have to make some sacrifices before you make the jump. Like we touched on before, you’ll be expected to work lots of late nights and hours. But if that’s not an issue, there’s nothing stopping you.
The Final Say
Above all, it’s never “too late”! That goes for anything, including DJing; you’re never too old or too young to learn a new skill. So if you have a dream, make sure you follow it, no matter how old or young you might be. Because at the end of the day, you’re going to be so much more fulfilled doing something you love!
If you’ve gotten this far and you’re still pumped about the idea of DJing as a profession, be sure to check out our resource section where you’ll find everything you need to know in order to take DJing to the next level.