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
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.
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
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.
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,
Using home stereo equipment
is typically the mark of a beginner
What do you bring
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 getdj.com 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
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)
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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