You've been trying to get yourself a DJ gig for a while and your work has finally paid off.
You've been spinning for a while but it doesn't seem like you are making much more money now than when you started. How do you go about moving to the next level? You want to get what you deserve but you don't want to price yourself so high that people won't think they can afford you. A DJ needs to eat too.
- The bar down the street from you has finally caved in and is letting you lug your equipment down to spin records (or CDs) this Friday night. The owner hasn't mentioned a thing about paying you. Do you speak up now or hope he'll do the right thing later?
- Your classified ad finally pays off when you get a phone call for a wedding. The first question they ask is "how much do you charge?" What do you tell them?
- After playing house parties for months for free you get an offer to open at a cool club night downtown. The promoter says he'll give you $50. Do you take the gig?
These are only some of the scenarios we face when the time comes for us to deal with the business end of being a DJ. If it's your first gig you are going to be tempted to give away the store, so to speak, for the chance to play. I understand that, but try not to lose your head. If you've been around for a while and made a name for yourself locally then you are a little more used to dealing with this and if you're a superstar DJ you probably have a high-powered booking agent who takes care of the negotiations and you don't need any advice from me.
I've seen stories about jocks who started with a single rig and now run large mobile DJ companies and there are club and radio jocks who have built empires complete with radio syndication, a successful club night, A&R positions or even their own labels. Not every DJ sucks at business but most of us do - me included. I know it isn't really fashionable these days to tell people you are an "artist" but we are in a creative field and creative people are traditionally not too good with the books.
So how much are you worth as a DJ?
#1 Golden Rule of DJing