The way to book a DJ depends on what type of venue you are, what type of music you play, what type of clientele you attract, and what your budget is. You as the owner, manager or booking agent need to first and foremost know what you want.
Are you a large club with a sound engineer or do you depend on the DJ to handle their own? Are you looking for a resident DJ or a guest DJ; once a week or once a month? What type of music will fit your venue and attract more patrons? You need to answer these questions first; then you can begin your search for the right DJ.
However, it’s important to be cautious when booking a DJ for your venue. Nowadays, everyone with a computer is a “DJ”! Technology allows anyone and everyone to consider themselves a DJ but if they can’t read the crowd it’ll never work.
In order to find the right fit, you could advertise on Craig’s List or Facebook, talk to local promoters or industry expert. You can also scout out competitive clubs in your market to see who is accessible. Sometimes DJs that aren’t available can recommend others that are. If you have the budget, you can seek out a talent booking agency to make recommendations that fit your criteria.
Once you have narrowed down your list of potentials you need to do your research. DJs are hard to interview on open calls. For example, coming with a CD doesn’t do much justice. How do you know if it’s actually them and how many times it took to get the CD to be that good? Also, reviewing resumes and speaking to DJs isn’t really effective either.
Let’s say you were hiring a bartender. You could ask them about the ingredients to a Long Island Iced Tea. Within two seconds, they should be able to repeat every ingredient, then you know they have some bartending knowledge. I would suggest having DJs audition. This could be done during the day, or on a slow night for 30-45 minutes. You should be looking for their mixing skills, music selections and professionalism. In addition, if the DJ spins at other local clubs, go see him or her and check out any videos they may have online. Lastly, make sure you find out that this DJ is reliable and easy to work with, you do not want an egotistical, drunk jerk working for you.
Once you find the right DJ you need to make sure that you have a mutually beneficial relationship with them. This includes them marketing your venue and promoting their DJ sets to their network. It is your job as the owner, to provide them with graphics for social media, flyers and the proper information about the party. This is a team effort and everyone should contribute.
When considering a DJ, you should keep in mind their talent level first, but also their marketing worth. Check out their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Sound Cloud to see what kind of local following they have. Find out if their social media is geared towards the market you want to reach. For example, you wouldn’t book Tiesto at an all Hip Hop club. Even though Tiesto has millions of followers, they most likely would be attending EDM events instead of your venue.
In addition, and the most important part of hiring a DJ is your ROI (return on investment). Any type of investment you make, whether it is a home or business, you look at your ROI. For example, would Tom Cruise be paid 20 million dollars, if the movies he was in did not generate hundreds of millions of dollars? The same goes for a club DJ. Tiesto and David Guetta can demand big money, because they generate business for the venues. A good owner looks at what DJs are most beneficial to the bottom line of the business. You need to figure out what type of value your DJ is bringing to your venue. How many more guests will attend your venue because of this DJ? More importantly, how much income will it generate?