4am is music to revelers’ ears
The DJ management market is on the rise, as demand for top DJs with a following increases in every market across the globe. The latest entrant to the industry is 4AM, a collective of friends and DJs run by Jonny Lennon (of Goldbar renown), Adam Alpert (director of operations for 1Oak) and DJ Jus Ske. Launched just six months ago, the boutique agency is already booking its talented roster (DJ Jesse Marco, DJ Jus Ske, DJ Sinatra and more) in top hot spots all over the world, proving to be a venerable force on the burgeoning scene. The duo of Lennon and Alpert shared some insight into the DJ industry.
Top row - DJ Suss One, DJ Sal Morale, Adam Alpert
Middle row - DJ Anthony Vitale, Jonny Lennon, DJ Price, DJ Ani Quinn, DJ Theory, DJ Orazio, DJ Sinatra
Bottom row - DJ Brooklyn Dawn, DJ Phresh, DJ Jus Ske, DJ Jesse Marco
Nightclub Confidential: What’s the key to successfully starting a company like 4AM?
Jonny Lennon: Relationships. We wanted to put a lock on the New York City market and in the process we put a lock on Miami, Los Angeles and Las Vegas markets. It’s all connected and that’s because of solid relationships. We took a trip out to the Cannes Film Festival to secure French venues and clients, and because of how well our events did this year; we’ve already booked three parties for next year. Our reputation is spreading, strictly from word of mouth and the level of events were doing.
NCC: What effect is the recession having on bookings? Are your DJs still getting the same level of pay?
Adam Alpert: The recession has nothing to do with the fact that the DJ is now the focus in nightlife. It should’ve always been recognized as a central component to a night, but now, more than ever, when deciding on a place to go, people aren’t asking, “Where are you going tonight?” Instead it’s “Who’s the DJ spinning?” What dictates how fun your night is, is the music. You need a named DJ who matters, and pay is up because the demand is.
NCC: What’s the pay scale typically like?
Lennon: Entry level at a local club, say down in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, it can be as low as $100 for six hours. Most full time DJs who’ve got a following are looking at up to $10,000 for an out-of-town gig. Since these guys are working every night, they can make more than $200,000 every year, easily. The top guys, such as David Guetta or Deadmau5, those guys are making six figures for a single gig.
NCC: What are some politics at play that you have to be aware of when booking your talent?
Alpert: Whether the DJ’s name is a big enough sell in a market or if there’s a serious competition for that market; that’s a big one. Also whether or not the DJ slept with the club owner’s girlfriend (laughs). That’s happened before.
NCC: DJs often have travel horror stories. Any memorable moments with missed flights from your crew?
Alpert: I had to book one of our DJs a last-minute gig in Frankfurt because he missed a connection coming back from a gig in St. Tropez and was stuck in Germany for the night. I was literally Googling nightclubs in Frankfurt and cold-calling them to get him in. It worked though.
NCC: What if your DJ misses a gig completely?
Alpert: You apologize to the client and hope to reschedule it quickly. Clients are typically forgiving if the issues were beyond the DJ’s control. Jus Ske had a big gig in Paris last year, and NYC got hit with a blizzard so he couldn’t fly out, and he missed it. They had a huge promotion around him coming, with his face plastered on fliers all over town. But no one could do anything about it.
NCC: Last question. What do you think of celebrities DJing, like “Jersey Shore” cast member Pauly D? Does that help or hurt your business?
Lennon: It doesn’t affect what we do because people who call us want skilled DJs. In his market, he’s not a joke; people want to associate their brands with him. He’s not in our world but he’s making money and I can’t hate on that.