Getting your first DJ gig can be a daunting and intimidating task. You’ve put forth so much work into your music, and now you want the world to hear you. I get it. I was there. This was something I really struggled with. Looking on how to get your first DJ gig is the first step to a successful career. Once you get your first one, the effects snowball. Let’s look over how to get a DJ gig.
So how does one get a DJ gig?
- If you have a Social Media following, use it to promote yourself.
- Talk to other DJs at shows & online
- Hand out your mixes & put them online
- Ask around at local bars, clubs, festivals, etc., if you can DJ for them
- Try to keep your mixes on you. You never know when it’ll be your time to shine.
This is a time where I want to put extra emphasis on not being discouraged. These are not like the usual tips that you see on the internet all of the time that don’t get you anywhere. These options for you to get a gig can work if you put the work in and you most likely won’t have to spend a dime. Let’s take a minute to dive deeper into what you can do to get yourself a gig.
Promoting Yourself On Social Media
First, if you have a social media following, put up some posts asking if anyone needs a DJ. You can also do the opposite by putting up some posts that show you’re offering your services.
Offering & Asking are 2 different ways of marketing yourself and it does make a difference. What you do may depend on your confidence, number of fans/followers, and other things. You can also use relevant hashtags on your posts to increase your reach.
Talking To Other DJs
This is the perfect time to transition into how talking to other DJs can help you. You can talk to them online and in person. You can comment on some DJ’s posts, but make sure it’s genuine and don’t spam them. You can also directly message them for tips and possible opportunities.
There are so many nice people in this world who will give you a chance to do what you really want to do. When you look at famous people and people that are doing well, it’s fairly likely that they knew someone who helped them get into the position they’re in.
Getting Your Sound Out There
Once again, we’ll be going back to Social Media, but we’ll also be talking about what you can do off of the internet. You can get your sound out there by handing out CDs and putting your mixes online. As popular as the internet is, CDs are not extinct yet.
You can hand your CDs out at malls, clubs, and wherever there’s some good traffic. As far as the internet, you can put your mixes on YouTube, SoundCloud, Instagram, Twitter, and many other places. You can even send them to accounts that might repost your mixes.
There are plenty of places you can go to for the purpose of asking if you can DJ for them. You need to know what to say though. If you’re a natural at talking to people, feel free to skip this part. As stated in the beginning of the article, you can go to bars, clubs, festivals, and other places/venues.
Try asking if you can open up for the show or if you can get a chance at closing time to have your stuff heard. Maybe you’ll even get a chance to be a part of the show without having to go on at the beginning or end.
Keep Your Mixes On You
This is simple and the easiest thing to do on this list. I won’t hold you long. Keep your mixes on you because you never know when one of the other things on this list will end up working in your favor. Using a good hard drive or even a small USB stick can be beneficial. We have a guide on some of our favorite hard drive storage for DJs that you can check out as well.
Choosing The Right Place/People To Work With
This is something that could get overlooked because of you being eager to start or just not thinking about it. Don’t just work with anybody just because they gave you an opportunity. Even if you get offered money, don’t get swept off your feet because of a few dollar signs.
You can’t really know a person until you put some time into them, but there are some things to look out for regardless of the amount of time you put into a person. Let’s talk about some of those things.
Is the person you’re working with really looking out for you? Does the person you’re working with care about you and your goals in a positive way even if it’s on a small scale? These are questions you need to ask yourself once you make your first encounter with whoever you’re going to potentially be working with.
If you get a sense that they don’t really care about what you’re trying to do, don’t work with them. You don’t need to working with someone that’s going to end up hindering you in the short or long run.
As far as the place you DJ at, which also links to the person you’re working with, make sure the place is in a good area and has a good environment. Also, make sure to consider where the place is before you go to DJ if you get a location sent to you that you aren’t familiar with.
Should I Get Multiple Gigs?
When we come into something that we can have multiple of, we usually go for it. I completely support going for multiple gigs, but only if you can handle it. If you can produce high quality work for each gig, go for it.
An important thing to do is to not be stagnant though. You need to elevate what you’re getting out of it, upgrade how you do business, try to offer more to your clients, and look out for them if they deserve it. You’ll also want to start researching contracts and the business involved so you can cover yourself as your gigs/career move forward.
Integrating Social Media
I’ve mentioned Social Media quite a few times in this article and that may have resulted in some of you wanting to know if it’s something you should focus on after the beginning stages.
My answer is yes. Social Media can help you tremendously. Think about having your performance recorded and put on Social Media for tons of people to see. That would easily get people excited for your next show and keep your name in the air.
One mistake some people make in certain fields is letting their marketing come from only when they’re working. That’s not a bad thing, but you should take marketing more seriously if you’re really passionate about your craft.
Keep in mind that I’m saying what you SHOULD do. This doesn’t mean you HAVE to do it, but the results could be great for you.
Do DJs get Hearing Loss Over Time?
Unfortunately, the loud sounds that DJs deal with are dangerous to the ears. This is not one of those things that you’ve been hearing about all your life, but then it turns out to be not as bad. Before you start to rethink anything, there are ways to reduce the damage. Feel free to do a long and separate investigation about this.
How long should my DJ set last?
DJ sets vary in time. You could have a 1 hour set or you could have a 5-hour set. The important thing is that there is no one amount of time to focus on. Have plenty of mixes ready and strive towards bettering your endurance.