Tying Up Resident DJs
Recent DJ successes have proven that the hottest show stoppers and beat makers in the music industry are once again changing the game. Today, the biggest money-makers in NYC, Vegas, Miami and LA are defining and quantifying differently. Gone are the days of Studio 54; where now mega-clubs are generating revenues at a never before seen pace.
One major trend that has aided in the success of these mega-clubs packing the house is the rise of EDM and House music DJs. Patrons clamor to get the hottest table in the house for their favorite DJs; sometimes spending upwards of five figures to have the best spot. Many patrons don’t even blink an eye at the cost and have embraced the culture of conspicuously spending their money as they enjoy the increasingly exceptional VIP services provided by top clubs.
The aforementioned actions these days are due in part to the greatest DJ's in the world. With millions at stake clubs tie up talent in resident contracts and sell tables in the high priced real estate near or in good view of the mayhem. DJ's are often paid six figures and those who shake their heads at the cost aren't realizing the benefits.
Light Group controls a bunch of properties in Vegas including 1OAK at The Mirage Hotel & Casino, The Bank at Bellagio Resort & Casino, HAZE Nightclub at ARIA Resort & Casino, Light Nightclub at Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino and a slew of others that line the strip. At the helm of Marketing for the Light Group is, Nick Gold; and few nightlife industry gurus have the experience and background that he does. Nightclub & Bar caught up with him talk about resident DJ success and the music scene.
Nightclub & Bar (NCB): DJ residencies are the “the new norm.” Please explain that phrase.
Nick Gold: Clubs have had resident DJ’s for a while and it was normally local DJ’s who would play exclusively for one club. With the boom in EDM music clubs started looking at making big name DJ’s exclusive residents. For example, at Light and Daylight our resident DJ’s include the likes of Baauer, Nicky Romero, Skrillex, Axwell etc. Only until recently, it has been considered the new “norm” to have big name DJ’s as resident DJ’s.
NCB: How did you come to this position? Have you ever dj'd?
Gold: I have been in the hospitality industry for over 20 years and have always been a fan of EDM music in all its forms. Back in the day in London it started with “Happy House,” “Acid House” and Trance. My appreciation of music has grown over the years to cover many different styles and genres. After covering all aspects of the nightclub industry in London I was beginning to feel the need for a change and when the opportunity came to come and live in Vegas and work for one of the leaders in the hospitality industry I knew I couldn’t say no. I originally started as Director of International Marketing and then moved on to become the Marketing Director for The Bank Nightclub at Bellagio. I then opened Lily Bar & Lounge in Bellagio in February 2012. After that I was promoted to Creative Director for Light Group. My new position has given me the opportunity to work with and hear some amazing DJ’s and continue to expand my appreciation of house music in all its forms.
NCB: What do you listen to at home?
Gold: I’m showing my age here… but I love to listen to a lot of oldies when I am at home or in the car, as well as the likes of Florence & The Machine, Imagine Dragons, Oasis and many more.
NCB: What equipment/brands do you use in the DJ booth and speakers?
Gold: All our sound systems are designed and installed by John Lyons using the best equipment available.
NCB: Tell us about the light shows that go along with DJ performances.
Gold: Nightclubs have come a long way and light shows are an important part of it. When a DJ is about to drop a big tune and the lighting tech changes the lights to reflect that, it changes the entire energy of the room. It’s not just lights anymore though; there are snow machines and cryo jets that are utilized as well. At Light we took it to a whole new level by partnering with Cirque du Soleil; we now have a performance element. There’s always something amazing going on in the room at each of the Light Group venues.
NCB: Do the big name DJ’s or quality service draw in customers?
Gold: One is just as important as the other. Even if you have a well-known DJ spinning, if you don’t have great, quality service and professional staff then you won’t see repeat customers.
NCB: How do you determine which DJ is the right fit to a specific venue? Are they interchangeable or are you curating the talent to fit the scene?
Gold: A lot of DJ’s are interchangeable, especially those who play open format. On big weekends we would look at booking the right DJ for the crowd we would be looking to attract.
NCB: Have DJ's depleted the value of promoters or are they tools of that trade?
Gold: There are a plethora of clubs now in Vegas and only so many customers to go around so promoters and hosts are still an important part of making the night a success.
NCB: Do table prices get bigger with big name talent?
Gold: Table prices are based upon demand.
NCB: What would be the difference between a pool party set and a club set?
Gold: The style of set the DJ plays wouldn’t really vary greatly.
NCB: What determines the genre of music played?
Gold: EDM/House are extremely popular at the moment but there are plenty of club goers that don’t necessarily want to hear just EDM/House so we make sure to offer a mix of styles at our clubs.
NCB: What about opening and closing DJ’s? Are they the stars of tomorrow?
Gold: A lot of the current big name DJ’s started as openers or closers for other DJ’s. The DJ’s who open and close may very well be tomorrow’s stars.
NCB: Do you look at what the competition is booking or just do your own thing?
Gold: It’s important to be aware at what our competitors are doing and to look at the new trends and talent that are beginning to emerge.