How to Find a Good Disc Jockey Near Me?
According to Nielsen Research, 93% of Americans listen to music, spending over 25 hours every week jamming out to their favorite tunes. Therefore, your event will not be completed without the right playlist that suits the theme of the occasion. An experienced disc jockey near you can help make your party a memorable one.
In addition to providing good music, a professional DJ can help you with other event-related matters. These include acting as the MC, making announcements, and providing additional lighting and sound equipment for your venue if needed.
However, not everyone that claims to be a professional DJ actually is. Therefore, it is very important to verify that the DJ's experience and equipment meet the specific requirements of the event you are hosting. Before deciding on hiring a qualified disc jockey near you, you should ask the following questions:
Are You Licensed, Registered, or Certified?
Disc jockeys do not generally have to be licensed, registered or or certified to perform at private small venue events. They also do not require any permits. Note that venue managers and event organizers are generally required to obtain public performance licensing and permissions from appropriate authorities and music licensing agencies where necessary. However, in situations where the event venue or organizers do not provide the appropriate music licensing, then the DJs may have to obtain public performance licenses from the relevant music licensing agencies before playing any music that is not written and owned by them.DJs may be required to obtain public performance license from relevant music licensing agencies before playing any music that they did not compose themselves. . If the venue already has the needed license, the DJ is covered by it.
Also, most venues will require that a DJ has business insurance and can provide proof of coverage before starting the gig. As such, you should always make sure that any DJ you intend to hire has the required music licenses and can show proof of insurance, prior to starting the job.
While the disc jockey career is not strictly regulated and does not have any government agency oversight, there are several DJ associations that help their members get advanced education in the type of DJ-ing that they do, acquire discounts on DJ insurance, and also connect these members with the prospective clients. Examples of such associations are the United States Disc Jockey Association (USDJA) and the American Disc Jockey Association (ADJA). Such professional organizations usually require their members to follow a set of standards, so the clients know what to expect if they hire a member of such associations. An additional benefit of hiring a DJ from a professional association or a membership group near you is that they will usually have valid business insurance that they obtain through that organization. Solo DJs with short or part-time experience in the business are less likely to have proper insurance already on hand, and will likely require additional time to obtain it if needed.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Disc Jockey?
The average cost of hiring a DJ in the United States is $50 - $400 per hour. This cost is primarily affected by the popularity of the DJ in question, and some DJs usually have a minimum charge of three to four hours per event, which is typically the time needed for them to set up, perform the set, and then break down the equipment. Other factors that affect this cost include the type of event that the DJ is expected to play at, the location of this event, and its duration. Listed below are the average hourly cost estimates for common events, for which you can hire a DJ near you:
- Bar/club events - $40 - $80
- House parties - $50 - $150
- Birthday parties - $60 - $250
- Weddings - $150 - $500
If the cost of the DJ service is of great concern, clients are encouraged to reach out to multiple local DJ organizations and agencies, to see if there are any price specials being offered. Also, reaching out to the DJs directly, without any affiliate organizations, may lower the price, since the DJ does not have to pay any referral or overhead fees to the agency.
What Are The Common Disc Jockeying Expenses?
The most common disc jockeying expenses are the music equipment, music and its associated licenses, lighting equipment, fuel for transportation, advertising, and insurance. If the DJ is required to dress a certain way for the event, clothing is another expense. When booking the event, it is very important to discuss what services and equipment are included in the advertised price and any items or services that might cost extra. For example, if the client requests lighting or photo equipment beyond the standard package, the DJ will usually charge extra for it.
Who Will Do The Work?
When hiring a DJ near you, you get to select the actual individual who will be doing the job. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to get confirmation that this specific individual will be the one playing at your event. You can do this by getting a written contract that includes a clause for refunds or other remedies if the DJ is unable to make it to your event at the required time. If you are hiring from an agency, you may be provided with the option of selecting several DJs, where one can replace the other, in case your first choice is not available on the day of the event. Make sure to stipulate such substitutions in the contract during the booking process.
What Qualifications Should A Disc Jockey Have?
The profession of an event disc jockey does not typically require any formal qualifications. Anyone can be a DJ as long as they know their equipment, how to properly use it to mix music and know how to work with the audience. However, some employers in the radio and television industry may require DJs and announcers to have a degree obtained from a higher education institution after studying subjects like mass communications, advertising and radio advertising, radio production technology, and other media-related courses. Finally, some DJs may also become members of professional organizations, such as the American Disc Jockey Association and the United States Disc Jockey Association. These DJs tend to be more educated in their career field because these professional organizations generally provide ongoing training and career field guidance for their members.
Will You Provide References?
Getting references from a DJ is extremely important because you want to verify their experience prior to hiring them. After every successful performance, good DJs always ask their clients to leave a after completing a gig, so they can use it to showcase their quality of work. Clients seeking to hire a DJ should do their research, to make sure that the DJ will meet their expectations. If the DJ does not have enough references, that means that they are either new in the industry and have not established themselves, or they do not feel like their former clients were completely satisfied with their performance and do not want you to talk to them. review, a testimonial, or agree to be a future reference. If the considered DJ does not have any references or testimonials, that can be a sign of inexperience or bad previous service.
Here are several ways to check the experience and to verify the provided references of a DJ near you:
- If a venue is being used for the event, the organizers should inquire with the venue's management if they can refer a DJ who knows the place well and fits within the outlined style and budget. Chances are that they will be able to provide a list of solid options to choose from.
- After obtaining the list of referrals, the client should ask these DJs for references and contact information of their previous employers.
- Searching for a DJ near me on Google or any other search engine returns a lot of local results. Those can be local entertainment agencies, for-profit DJ associations, or websites of the individual DJs. It is important to remember that all of these websites are created to serve as sales portals, and you may probably not see any negative stories there. All reviews encountered on the sales pages should be verified against other sources. If the DJ is really that great, other review sources will confirm it.
Most DJs showcase examples of their work in sample video clips on their business websites or in their profiles found on the websites of professional associations like the American Disc Jockey Association.
Local review websites and applications, such as Yelp and Google Review can be a great source of information, but the researchers should stay cautious of the data. People are more likely to leave a review when the experience does not meet their expectations, than if everything goes according to plan, which can cause the overall rating to be skewed more towards a lower number. Make sure to check the Better Business Bureau, to see if the considered DJ has any reports filed for or against them.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
While professional DJs are typically able to play any type of event, such as weddings, birthdays, reunions, anniversaries, clubs, and even corporate events, some of these DJs may decide to specialize in a particular type. As such, when you want to hire a DJ near you, you should always make sure that the DJ is skilled enough to provide the desired experience for your type of event.
Some DJs offer additional services, such as providing props like photo booths or additional lighting equipment for venues that do not have enough lighting. However, note that you may have to pay extra fees for this.
While some DJs are excellent MCs, others stick to playing music only, either by choice or due to the lack of this type of experience. As such, if your event requires a person to make the music announcements, introductions, or talk in order to provide entertainment, then you should always confirm that the DJ you intend to hire is capable of performing this task.
Many professional DJs typically have liability and equipment insurance. Nevertheless, you should always request proof of insurance from any DJ near you that you intend to hire. Doing this protects you, the employer of the DJ services, financially against any liabilities that may arise due to on-the-job injuries or equipment damages that may occur during your event.
Some DJs may accommodate a request to play your own music if it is your original creation or a song that is relatively unknown. However, if it is a song that is easily available for download, the DJ will usually prefer to purchase it themselves, because they can choose the quality of the file.
Professional DJs typically have a collection of songs that is large enough to accommodate any guest requests. However, it is a good idea to provide the DJ with a list of any pre-requested songs ahead of the event. This gives the DJ enough time to prepare a proper playlist and also download any of these songs that may not be included in their collection.
Professional DJs normally arrive at the venue of an event to set up their equipment at least one to two hours before guests are supposed to start arriving.
The standard list of DJ equipment includes:
- Music controller
- Music mixer
- Two turntables
You should always find out from your DJ whether any special requirements or modifications have to be made to your event's venue. It is a good idea to get the DJ to also speak to the venue's management, to understand what is available and what the DJ may have to bring along.
Booking a DJ near you can be done in person, via the DJ's or agency's website, or through the management of the venue where the event will take place. Booking of DJ services can be done online or in person, depending on how the DJ you like lists their services. Some disc jockeys advertise through professional associations, while others may prefer word of mouth or venue referrals. During the booking, many DJs request a non-refundable fee of up to 30%, with the rest of the payment due either before the event takes place or once the event has been concluded.
Payments are usually done via checks, credit cards, payment apps like Paypal and Venmo, or cash. Payments made with a credit card may include additional processing service charges of 2-10%. In situations where you have to cancel the event, you may receive a full or partial refund, depending on the terms of your agreement with the DJ and how far out from the event date this cancellation occurs. Make sure that those terms are clearly defined in the booking contract.