DJ Lessons Part III – Booking Gigs

Are You Getting Enough DJ Gigs?

DJ Lessons Booking Gigs

One of the best feelings as a DJ is booking that first DJ gig. Whether it is your first gig ever, your first gig in your new hometown or you first DJ gig making the shift to digital DJing…it is an awesome feeling. But part of why it is so awesome is because it takes a lot of hustle to book DJ gigs.

Most towns have no shortage of DJs which means gigs are at a premium. You will have to do more than smile and look the part to get booked at your dream venues. There are no agents out there getting gigs for you so you’ll have to rely on your charm, your skills and your ability to sell yourself.

Remember you’ll need to start small, you won’t be booking DJ gigs your first night out the gate. So be realistic and take these DJ lessons and use them to help you book more gigs.

DJ Lesson #1 – Be More Than A DJ

I don’t mean that you need to be your own lighting and sound guy—but, hey if you can…great!—I mean that you need to be able to tell the promoter or venue owner why booking you is a smart choice.

Don’t just say “because I’m a badass DJ” because honestly, so are the other hundred DJs who’ve been in this week. Tell them about that big graduation bash you organized or that time you rented out the club and 1,000 people showed up based on your following, friends and promotion skills. That is the kind of information that can sway an owner or promoter more concerned with the bottom line than the nighttime soundtrack.

If you’ve done your homework you can even toss a few ideas for how to maximize the number of people in the door…if you have them.

DJ Lesson #2 – Do Your Homework

One of the most important DJ lessons you can learn about booking gigs is doing your homework. If you were looking for a job with Apple you would brush up on everything you need to know about the company so why not do the same with the venue you want to gig at?

By doing your homework you can approach the manager with an impressive presentation about what you can accomplish for them. More importantly you will have tons of ammo to overcome any objections they may have. The truth is that managers and promoters just like most people are reluctant to change. They have a stable of DJs they are comfortable with and don’t have the energy to change it up.

So tell them you’re willing to take that Tuesday night slot and here’s how you can have the place at capacity by 10. Talk to the staff and get information on what the manager is looking for, what nights could use more people and which nights are not up for grabs.

Visit the venue. Talk to the staff and tip them well so they remember you and are always willing to pass along a few tidbits.

DJ Lessons Sell Your Brand

DJ Lesson #3 – Ask

You would be shocked at the number of times DJs email demos to promoters, club and bar owners and festival preppers in hopes of getting them to book a gig…but they never actually ask for the gig!

I know you’re thinking why the hell else would I be sending you my music if not to book a gig, and you’re somewhat right. However you are the one in need of a gig so it is up to you to actually, you know, ask for the gig.

You’ve given them enough time to listen to your mix, even if they didn’t, but now it’s time to follow up and tell them what you can bring to the DJ booth. Ask for an unpopular night that is likely to get you in the door and offer you an opportunity to shine. Who cares if it isn’t Friday or Saturday night; a holiday or mid-week DJ gig is just as much a legitimate gig.

You have to ask for the gig, as a DJ this is how you become a professional DJ. The worst thing that can happen is that you don’t book the gig. So you leave your contact information and keep going to other venues on your list.

DJ Lesson #4 – Prove Yourself

If push comes to shove then you can always offer to do the initial gig for free. I have my own opinions on free gigs but sometimes it is the best way to get your foot in the door. Just make it clear that if you reach a certain criteria (like 75% capacity) then you get to book a paid gig for the following week.

Your willingness to do a free gig may be what ultimately seals the deal for you. No one can pass up the offer of free services and just think; unlike an internship you’re only working for free for a few hours rather than a few months!

I hope my DJ lessons are able to help you book more DJ gigs. Email in the box below to get access to Free video DJ lessons that will answer all of your questions on how to become a disk jockey!

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