How to choose a DJ
Finding a good DJ can be frustrating. There are no legal standards or special licensing for Disc Jockeys, so the good are mixed with the bad and it is up to you to sort them out.

There is no formula for selecting the best DJ for your event. We hope to help you understand a little more about DJ’s so that you can select the DJ that is best for you. Some advance preparation will help you keep the facts straight. Write down a list of questions and be prepared to make notes as you talk to the DJ. Ask him to "hold on" as you write down what he has said.

Ask a lot of questions. Of course, the hard part is knowing what to ask. Following is a list of questions that can get you on the right track. These questions have no right or wrong answers. They will start dialog and give you some basis to compare between your DJ’s. Beware of any DJ who does not want to take time to answer every question or dodges your questions.


Will you be the DJ at my event?
If the answer is "No". Ask to speak to the DJ. If you aren’t talking to the DJ, you’re talking to a salesman.

If you are speaking to a salesman instead of the DJ there is no way to know what you’re getting.


How long have you been in business?
Experience matters, but it doesn’t take 10 years to get good at it. This is more of a "get to know you" question.


How many events do you play in a year?
This is another "get to know you" question. If a DJ plays every Saturday night that is 52 events per year. Most DJ’s play other nights of the week as well, but also plan some time off.


How many (your type of event) do you play?
Just some good comparitive information.


How do you normally do a (your type of event)?
Ask some what-if questions. You want to determine if the DJ can "read" a crowd and react to the moment, or if he does a carbon copy show, week after week. If he reacts to the moment, you will want to develop a feel for his ability to react "correctly" to the moment.


Where do you buy your music?
Most DJ’s are on a DJ music service. This means the new songs are automatically sent to the DJ. You should quiz the DJ about any type of music you may want played at your event.


What kind of sound equipment do you use?
This is a tough one because professional brands of equipment are names you won’t recognize.

Examples: QSC, Electro-Voice, Rane, EAW, many more.

Beware if you hear names you recognize as home or car stereo equipment. The demands of DJ use are very different from home and automotive.

Examples: Sony, JVC, Kicker.

Using home stereo equipment is typically the mark of a beginner


What do you bring for lighting?
Make notes on the answers and compare. Special effect lighting can make a big difference on the success of your event. A DJ who is serious about entertainment will have plenty of special effect lighting.


What does that mean? or What is that?
Use this type of question any time a DJ makes a statement you don’t understand. Don’t allow the DJ to try to baffle you with technical jargon. If he truly has service and equipment that is superior he will want you to clearly understand it.


What do you do in your regular job?
It is rare to find a DJ that does nothing else during the week. The person’s career can be a clue to their personality. Example: At least two DJ’s on are schoolteachers. This indicates experience in leadership, good people skills and good communication skills. Working for the city driving a dump truck would indicate a whole different set of skills. None of which would support their talent as a DJ.


How long does it take you to unload and set-up?
One to Two hours is a good answer. "20 minutes" indicates the DJ doesn’t bring much equipment to entertain your guests with.


How much do you charge?
Keep this near the end of the list so that you can gather the other information without the distraction of knowing how well this DJ fits your budget. The old saying "you get what you pay for" does not apply to Disc Jockeys. Commonly, the DJ that advertises the most is the DJ that charges the most. And, that has nothing to do with doing a good job.


Is (your date) available?
Ask this question last. If the date is not available, the information you have gathered will help you judge the other DJ’s you speak with.


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