How to Become a DJ- The Ultimate No Nonsense Guide to DJ Fame and Money
So, you want to become a famous DJ?
Let’s discuss what becoming a DJ really means-in more depth and with more detail so you know exactly what you are getting into and what is expected of you.
Becoming a professional DJ means you have to work on your own personal style and technique, and know what kind of music to mix and play depending on the occasion you are DJing for.
You will need to decide whether you want to be a music specialist or an audience pleaser.
1. DJ type
A music specialist is a DJ who plays a specific genre of music in which he/she has specialized in regardless of the event. This type of DJ is usually found in nightclubs that play a specific music genre. A music specialist may also have specialised in more than one type of music genre which is an advantage.
An audience pleaser is a DJ that plays what the audience wants and includes current music trends as well as old ones, depending on the audience. This type of DJ is well-suited for events like private parties and weddings.
2. The music
Once you have decided which type of DJ you want to be, you have to learn how to work the music successfully.
- Beats: You have to learn how to mix the beats in such a way that when you move from one song to another, the beat remains constant so the audience does not have to stop.
- Beats per minute (BPM): To mix beats, successfully, you must know the BPM of each song so you can mix it. BPMs can be calculated by using a stopwatch or if you count the beats. You can either do the mixing live or record them at home before the event. (BPM Calculator – Click Here)
- Intros and outros: Almost all songs have an intro which is usually before the vocals and an outro when it ends. As a DJ, you must know that when you mix, you have to blend the outro of the first song with the intro of the next one, so the music flows without pause.
- Scratching: Scratching can help kick the music you play up a notch if done correctly and send the audience into raptures. It’s not hard when you get the hang of it. You can use the decks to find the place you want in a song or you can use them as pseudo records and get scratching. There are different kinds of scratches like drags, scribble scratches, baby scratches and ones that you can use at various levels of pitch. One thing that you must keep in mind is that while some songs are optimum for scratching, others are not; so it’s important to know when to scratch and when not to.
- Music genres: If you want to be one of the best, you must understand all genres of music. That way you will be more versatile and know which songs to play and when to play them.
3. The equipment
With the advancement and technology and the various new DJ equipment that is available in the market, DJing has become easier than it once was.
- Basics: Since DJ equipment can be quite costly, it’s best to invest in just the basics when you are starting out. Basic equipment comprises of headphones, 2-channel or more mixer, two turntables or two CD players. As you establish yourself, you can add to the equipment and buy a mic, MIDI controller, Speakers, an audio interface, plugins and a monitor.
- Mixing software: Though you can still work vinyl records, there are more options available in the market which include, Traktor and Serato Scratch which are DJ mixing softwares and can read all music formats. They can also select songs.
- Music: You will also need all kinds of music (lots of it) which would include old and current trends in top quality.
4. Marketing yourself
Once you’ve entered into the world of DJing, you will need to promote yourself and tell people you have arrived.
- Business cards: Your first step should be to get business cards printed so you can give them to the relevant people, or you can place them at different points where they are visible to possible customers like party merchandize shops, announcement boards in colleges and gyms.
- Networking: This is essential and will help you gain footing in the DJing world. Someone in a local radio station may want you as their DJ, so visit them. Tell clubs that you are available to DJ for them and other DJs so they can pass on any unwanted gigs over to you, Even if someone calls you to their gig at the eleventh hour, take the job. This will show how professional you are and help your career get a boost.
- Online: Social media sites are a great way to promote yourself (this way how-to), and you could even post small extracts of your work so that possible customers know what you do and how to contact you.
DJs are becoming very popular at events. It may have something to do with their generally friendly, fun-loving attitude as well as their ability to get the party or event going.
When you are starting out, the best way forward is to take on any gigs that come your way. The more experience you gain, the easier it will be for you to establish a foothold in the business and with hard work and the right skills you could become one of the top DJs in the country.