Dealing with DJ Talent
For the last year, Doug Jacob and his partners Rachid Kallamni and Matthew Rowean have owned and operated True Talent Artist Management in New York City, placing their clients at events in clubs such as Bungalow 8, Marquee and Goldbar. While in the present economic climate prices for live bands are trending down and becoming more affordable by most accounts, DJ fees are holding strong and, in some cases, rising.
“The price increases according to the amount of commercialism,” Jacob observes. “For example, DJ AM dating Nicole Richie has helped raise his price. All of the clubs have gone to smaller budgets in the recession, but in the last couple of years, the per-booking price for well-known DJs has still been going skyward.”
“The price also depends on the event and the sponsors,” Kallamni adds. “For our newer, less recognized DJs, we set a quote from $500 to $1,000 an hour, but as that person gets more press, the price rises. Also, playing a club for an evening, it might be by the hour, but at a big event, like the opening of the W Hotel, a DJ like Nick Cohen might get $4,000 for the night.” So what should an operator expect from a DJ for $4,000 a night for an out-of-town gig?
“When it comes to a big event that involves travel, a rider is sent with the DJ. They need certain equipment, and we will have a contract with the club. That rider sets up transport and what equipment they like to use,” Jacob explains.
For most of the events in New York City, however, True Talent Artist Management forgoes the contract in favor of a handshake. Kallamni and Jacob also attend some portion of every show to check that everything is running smoothly.
“Feedback is important because these guys need to stay fresh and current,” Jacob says. “It’s a matter of customer service as well, so we ask the club owner how it went. If they are unhappy, we use another DJ in the roster for the next show. We have learned that every venue has a certain sound, and it’s our job to place the right DJ in the right place.” NCB