Do you believe a mobile DJ should be able to do any event?

MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 16, 2011
1,088
60
I'm asking this question because some years back a DJ on I believe the other forum said that as a mobile DJ you should be able to do any type of event.

I never believed that. I believe some are better at doing a certain event than others. Some on here like Steve don't do weddings. Do you feel a mobile DJ should be able to any kind of event?

What I find to be true is there are gig whores out there. That's a DJ that will agree to do an event because there is money to be made but not truly qualified to do the event. Of course there is a learning curve that goes along with this. Sometimes you may be able to study how to do a certain job and pull things off. I just don't believe I'm supposed to be good at doing any type of event.

I'm good at some events but not all. Some I stay clear away from. Does that make me a bad DJ?
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
3,252
A DJ who is adept enough to do any event would certainly be far more valuable than one who isn't. Even when you target one particular type of event, having a wide variety of experiences and audiences to draw upon can only make you more responsive and insightful when it comes to reading the group right in front of you.

I've seen plenty of "specialists" fall apart when even the slightest of change intrudes upon their expectations and routine. It's easy to categorize event types but, the fabric of life is consistently diverse across all events. If we focus solely on just one thing our perspective becomes very narrow.

The key point is whether or not we are qualified for a given event. There are very real limitations that can arise. I don't speak Spanish, for example, so I hire a Spanish speaking MC or DJ to work with me on events where the audience is mostly Latino. Most of the time any lucrative gig I turn down is going to have some very tangible hurdle that I'm not prepared to resolve.
 
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Albatross

DJ Extraordinaire
Sep 7, 2016
3,661
I think a DJ should understand the limitations of their knowledge and gear, and accept work accordingly. Sometimes you take on something new that will push you - whether that be from a production stand point, music knowledge, etc. That's fine, and it's how we grow. Versatility is a spectrum. But no, I don't believe there is one DJ that is appropriate for any event, nor is that necessary to be successful.
 

djcrazychris

DJ Extraordinaire
Jun 12, 2018
1,980
45
i think any dj worth his salt should be able to do about 80% of all gigs...as most gigs are of a basic structure... the 20% might be based on regional customs like say ... arabic weddings... greek weddings...etc... ive done an arabic wedding.... i had to write out the names phonetically for grand entrance and research the customs and music ...spending about double the normal man hours on it....but it was a good experience and i have full confidence i could do more if asked...

Now....on the subject of a dj "specialist" getting hung up on ONE tired old genre like 80s house... especially a mobile dj wanting gigs in 2019... i think that is someone with a lazy ear....a poor business plan...and someone who embraces failure...

cc
 

DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
10,546
Oklahoma City
... Now....on the subject of a dj "specialist" getting hung up on ONE tired old genre like 80s house... especially a mobile dj wanting gigs in 2019... i think that is someone with a lazy ear....a poor business plan...and someone who embraces failure...

cc
I have to disagree... If DJing is your sole source of income, diversifying is almost a necessity, unless your specialty is in high demand. If you have a primary income source and DJ on the side, then you can pick and choose the events and genres you want to play, as long as you’re getting the number of gigs you need or want.

One size doesn’t fit all. I CHOOSE not to do weddings, primarily because I’d feel like it would be uncomfortable for a young bride to have a DJ who’s old enough to be her grandfather. Frankly, it’s a little uncomfortable for me too. I’ve done a couple of weddings for people who specifically wanted me, and find them pretty easy to do... they’re typically very structured. I do other events where there’s a very loose agenda and you have to adjust quickly... especially when you’re the MC as well as the DJ. I don’t do any teen events either, though I certainly could if I wanted to, but fortunately, I don’t NEED to.
 

djcrazychris

DJ Extraordinaire
Jun 12, 2018
1,980
45
I have to disagree... If DJing is your sole source of income, diversifying is almost a necessity, unless your specialty is in high demand. If you have a primary income source and DJ on the side, then you can pick and choose the events and genres you want to play, as long as you’re getting the number of gigs you need or want.

One size doesn’t fit all. I CHOOSE not to do weddings, primarily because I’d feel like it would be uncomfortable for a young bride to have a DJ who’s old enough to be her grandfather. Frankly, it’s a little uncomfortable for me too. I’ve done a couple of weddings for people who specifically wanted me, and find them pretty easy to do... they’re typically very structured. I do other events where there’s a very loose agenda and you have to adjust quickly... especially when you’re the MC as well as the DJ. I don’t do any teen events either, though I certainly could if I wanted to, but fortunately, I don’t NEED to.
im sure you play more than a single obscure genre tho right? if so then maybe we actually agree?

Im sure there are a couple successful all polka dj's out there... but its a niche that would lead to starvation in most areas

cc
 

DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
10,546
Oklahoma City
im sure you play more than a single obscure genre tho right? if so then maybe we actually agree?

Im sure there are a couple successful all polka dj's out there... but its a niche that would lead to starvation in most areas

cc
I play many genres, but that’s really not the point. I might might not classify myself as a “specialist”, but I have found a certain niche in my market that I specifically cater to, and I stay as busy as I’d like. It took me a couple of years to figure out where I fit. But even if I got only two gigs a year, I’m not gonna starve.

I’m pretty sure you were trying to slam Mix, and I get it. If Mix was happy with the rates he’s getting, and the number of gigs he does, then the genre of music he plays would be irrelevant. The fact that the people who like his style of music are NOT gonna pay the rate he really would like means he needs to get used to the pay, or make some changes.
 

azdeejay

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 1, 2015
2,560
38
Phoenix AZ
Good question to be honest, and this could make for an interesting discussion.

Should a mobile DJ be able to handle every event?, no I dont, but I do feel they should be able to cover a good portion of them , as like its already been pointed out, most gigs are going to have a similar structure . I think is aslo as important as Ross pointed out to know your gear and what your limitons are .
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 16, 2011
1,088
60
I was talking about a DJ being good at doing any type of event. I never said nothing about just only being good at one type of event or style of music. I'm good at more than one type of event. I'm just not good at doing any type of event that comes before me.

Again I don't know anybody who is good at doing all types of events. Also some events will require more gear than you have. You can go out and do the gig but will it be sufficient enough to get the job done right. Also if you need to rent gear to get the job done right, will it be worth it. In other words will you make a profit or lose money?
 

DJ Ricky B

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 9, 2015
3,750
36
A mobile DJ should be willing to do whatever events they currently want to do, and are confident in their abilities to do.

I can do Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, but I don't market to them any longer. I am only booking them from past clients, or referred clients. I am not entertaining a mitzvah lead/inquiry any longer...at least not for me personally.

While I have a good amount of bollywood music, I tend to stay away from Indian parties because they are a hassle, and the clientelle are usually cheap. Not necessarilly for weddings though, but house parties...I stay away from them.

I don't do school dances any more. Moving away from those generally speaking, but I suppose I would book one if the conditions were right.

I don't care to do bars any more, and the pay sucks any way. ...I suppose at some point in the future I may want to get back into bars if I find a healthy, steady gig somewhere, but it's no where on my radar for the time being!

When I was younger, and more people were hiring DJs for more various events, I pretty much booked whatever came my way. The Talent Agency booked me on a lot of things too back in the day. Today, I just want to do Weddings, and Corporate. Going on 19 years here, I am just not excited enough to go out and book everything any more. I feel I did most of that stuff, and I just want to home in on certain types of clientelle, and event types moving forward.
 

Jeff Romard

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 4, 2006
11,828
48
Sydney, Nova Scotia
I was talking about a DJ being good at doing any type of event. I never said nothing about just only being good at one type of event or style of music. I'm good at more than one type of event. I'm just not good at doing any type of event that comes before me.

Again I don't know anybody who is good at doing all types of events. Also some events will require more gear than you have. You can go out and do the gig but will it be sufficient enough to get the job done right. Also if you need to rent gear to get the job done right, will it be worth it. In other words will you make a profit or lose money?
More gear just means a trip to the rental shop......You should know that you need it before you book and price accordingly

Can I do any event? These days it's not that complicated do your research on the internet you can make it through in most cases quite nicely. Should I do any event? there's a few that I probably shouldn't do. Bob mentioned Spanish events while it's highly unlikely in my area I probably shouldn't do one of those. I've never done a Bar Mitzvah but I'd be willing to give it a try if the client was willing to book it. I would give them full disclosure about my experience

If you're not willing to try new things it's way too easy to get pigeon holed
 

steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Sep 26, 2011
31,600
Prospect, CT
I'm just not good at doing any type of event that comes before me.
Either that means you're not good at ANYTHING requested of you ... or it means something much more unfathomable.
 

adj2ent

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 20, 2006
968
59
Long Island NY
No a DJ does not be able to do any type of events. A DJ should know what he can do and what he can’t. Depending on how he markets himself and what the market trends are in that market will determine what you need to know. Now depending on your business plan of course the more types of events you and more type music you can play the more markets you can hit. I have doing this a very long time and I can say can’t & won’t do any event. While I do play many types of music there are some genres I don’t play and others I play but my knowledge isn’t deep enough to do a whole party in that genre. Also even within a given type of event there are differences in how you handle the event ie; mixing, flow, equipment required, formalities & etc. Let’s get real should a DJ who plays oldies be able to play rap music at a High School dance to be considered at good DJ? Really?
Sometimes I just have to scratch my head. Now it’s always nice to expand what you can play. Any & everything is a lot when you are in a area like the NY tri-state area. So you have to pick what complements what you can and would like to do.

 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 16, 2011
1,088
60
Either that means you're not good at ANYTHING requested of you ... or it means something much more unfathomable.
I know there are certain events I would not shine at. I wouldn't want to do a client disservice by doing an event and I'm not the right DJ for the event.

Doesn't mean I can't take a risk sometimes. I just know for example I'm not the sweet 16 DJ.
 
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Valerie Hicks

Moderator
Staff member
I think most DJs are capable of handling the bulk of the events that come their way; however they might choose to specialize or decline particular events for one reason or another. We choose not to do many weddings because we've done 100s of weddings and it's just not our favorite thing to do. Can we? Certainly, and we do on occasion. If we needed to fill more dates we would certainly market for more of them. We PREFER doing teen dances and corporate events so that's where we keep our focus.

some DJs seem to avoid events because they might be more challenging--either dealing with the people involved or eclectic music or foreign music or whatever the portion that is unfamiliar....it's a matter of if you're willing to put in the work to make it happen or not.
 

wifedj

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 20, 2008
954
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