Interesting Week with phone calls...from other DJs

DJ Ricky B

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 9, 2015
4,203
37
I have received 3 voice mails this week all from other DJs. All 3 of the DJs were looking for work. Asking if I needed any help with gigs., or have any gigs for them to do I have never heard of any of the DJs who left me voice mails. I have not returned any of the phone calls. I'm not sure what the conversations will accomplish other than maybe befriending another DJ or two?

Frankly, one of them did not sound professional to me in their message.

Anyway, maybe that is a sign of the industry right now? Not enough work, and too many DJs in the area?

I barely have enough work for myself, and am able to get my sister and brother booked on a few events this year. I don't really have overflow work I can sub contract to DJs that I do not know. I also work full time now, so I'm not in a position to push booking events as much as I did in previous years either. I don't have the time for generating sales much, and I am automating things much more as I can't be fast in returning any calls or responding to most emails if they were to come in during a week day before 5:30 p.m.

Just thought I'd share that DJs are calling me looking for work...Strange that 3 called in the same week. I suspect that many DJs are feeling "The Crunch" right now as things have slowed down for them over the year, and the calendar has a lot of open dates moving forward.
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 16, 2011
1,256
61
This needs a 14 answer poll!!

cc
No it doesn't! I don't refer any DJ to a job that I don't know period. I only will refer a DJ I know because I know that DJ is really good and won't make me look bad because I referred them to a client. Sure there are plenty of DJs out here. You just got to work your butt off if you want to get the work. If you're not getting the work you want it's easy to blame other DJs. All you need to do is look in the mirror. That usually is where the problem begins and ends.
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
3,421
The number of DJs has been and will continue to decline. Whether or not you see that depends on where you draw the line between what constitutes a DJ and any other person who enjoys playing music.

The event market has polarized with respect to income. There are major players who continue to remain booked because they operate as entertainers with a production approach. Part time weekend DJ warriors continue to lower their expectations and hence compete with the home user and average consumer. There's nothing comparatively remarkable about a DJ in today's event entertainment reality. "Music" is not a problem anyone has trouble solving. Event customers are looking for entertainment - not a DJ. Even where a DJ is the source of the music - he's incidental to, rather than the basis of that sale.
 

djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
5,411
32
NJ
www.djtaso.com
I don't think it's less work available, or new people entering the biz. The people that are asking for work, were already in the biz... meaning they didn't find a way to adapt. Anytime a dj calls me looking for work, it's often the same thing... "i was so busy in the 2000's and then around 2012 it dried up"... I then ask do you offer this, offer that, have this, updated that... always nope or they did it too late. You have to adapt. In this area sparklers are huge... dj's that are charging a lot but are not offering the service are losing out weddings to those that do. Low-mid range guys never invested in a website and social media branding and are no longer being found, as searching has gone away from weddingwire/knot/yelp to a simple google search, or better yet, facebook and instagram recommendations. Their word of mouth has dried up since they didn't do anything to excite new people with their tired looking performances.

In my opinion there is way too much work out there... just what are you trying to attract, and are you doing a good job of it.
 

steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Staff member
Sep 26, 2011
36,989
Prospect, CT
I don't think it's less work available, or new people entering the biz. The people that are asking for work, were already in the biz... meaning they didn't find a way to adapt. Anytime a dj calls me looking for work, it's often the same thing... "i was so busy in the 2000's and then around 2012 it dried up"... I then ask do you offer this, offer that, have this, updated that... always nope or they did it too late. You have to adapt. In this area sparklers are huge... dj's that are charging a lot but are not offering the service are losing out weddings to those that do. Low-mid range guys never invested in a website and social media branding and are no longer being found, as searching has gone away from weddingwire/knot/yelp to a simple google search, or better yet, facebook and instagram recommendations. Their word of mouth has dried up since they didn't do anything to excite new people with their tired looking performances.

In my opinion there is way too much work out there... just what are you trying to attract, and are you doing a good job of it.
You should have them contact Mix .. looks like big things are coming up ..
 

rickryan.com

DJ Extraordinaire
Dec 9, 2009
13,060
55
Hendersonville, TN
www.RickRyan.com
Sparklers are not adapting.
There's nothing about sparklers that says: "we need a DJ."
Hmm, let's compare for a moment:

Bob: A crusty old curmudgeon, rarely ever shares anything useful, spends his days stirring up trouble and insulting people. Has been (or is that never was?).

Taso: Progressive thinking, always helpful and the very tip-top of the DJ game.

Whose advice would you prefer to listen to?
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 16, 2011
1,256
61
I don't think it's a matter of less work. I think it's a result of too many people entering the biz. It's happened on the photog world as well and wages have tanked as a result.
I hear what you're saying. I think it's those coming into this business thinking this is a quick easy way to make some fast money. When you've been doing this for a while you get to see it's not as easy as you think. It's hard work and dedication to truly stand out and make it.

The other thing is you have to watch out for cut throats. Those who will undercut your price to win a gig. The issue is do you stand out from your competition? Now also you need to identify who is your competition and who is not.
 

djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
5,411
32
NJ
www.djtaso.com
Sparklers are not adapting.
There's nothing about sparklers that says: "we need a DJ."
I agree. but I'm not addressing the demand for a DJ as a whole. I'm addressing the demand for a particular dj, who instead of adapting to current trends and offerings (even if they don't own them, but at least have a source of subcontracting or renting out), continues to charge top tier pricing without providing top tier expectations any longer. That was just a simple example from a dj that called me yesterday on an unrelated topic, but brought up the fact that he's losing weddings because he doesn't own sparklers. I offered my older model sparklers to him at a heavy discount months ago, and his excuse was "no ones asking me for those" so why waste money... fast forward to now, after the summer wedding season where many had them at their weddings, and now all his fall inquiries are asking for them.

Again, I just see the reason as DJ's turning to others for work as a result of not having stepped up their game, not because the overall need for a dj has lowered. Sparklers was one example... social media presence, online presence as a whole, in person performance, responsiveness, etc all play a role. The fact though is that today's modern bride is rapidly evolving. Now on general events, I can't speak to those... I don't see those trends or observe them. They're not my market... maybe the need for a dj at those is lower. I speak on formal events like weddings, proms, and sweet 16's.
 
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adj2ent

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 20, 2006
1,533
59
Long Island NY
People are still having parties & events and stilling having entertainment and/or DJs. What has charged is who they hire. And has you go up in level/price there are less and people in each category. Looking over the span of 45+ years I’ve seen a lot change. Some change and adapt, others don’t and end up dropping. Many guys I started with which are in the business either advanced to Multi-ops, became a event company or became a DJ personality. I know what I do now is totally different than when I started, although I have not changed the name of my company. Clients, music, types of events, areas where I work is always changing as well as what my clients are looking for. I guess the first big change I made years ago was to go after recurring work. The second was to add a second system. The third was not to go after DJ type events, that I was Instituted in there last eight years. Personally I don’t really miss it, no late nights, off many weekends, no loud music. The Last really big intense Video Dance Party I did, took me over 24 hrs to recover from. I couldn't get to sleep at the hotel, I was so hyped up. And that was only a 2 hr party. Yes, I will take certain DJ events but I really have to convinced me to do it. Now the path you take will be different for each, all dependent on who you know, what you know, where you are will to go, what you are willing to do and do you have the resources/money to do it. I've had DJs contact me for work. What they are missing is something that makes them special or unique, something that I or people already working with me can’t do. But then again If they had that they might be working already or just renting equipment if they needed.it,.
 
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Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
3,421
I agree. but I'm not addressing the demand for a DJ as a whole. I'm addressing the demand for a particular dj, who instead of adapting to current trends and offerings (even if they don't own them, but at least have a source of subcontracting or renting out), continues to charge top tier pricing without providing top tier expectations any longer.
Sparklers are not a top tier expectation, they are a gimmick and like all of these toys the fad runs it's course and you are right back where you started - looking for another gimmick to stay relevant. (The topic of special effects doesn't even come up until AFTER I've been hired. They are development ideas - not selling points.) The application of sparklers and other fads is no different than wearing a different outfit to work each day. You can't expect to show up in the same suit every day and not have clients get bored with you. These toys primarily serve distraction to aid those DJs who's routines have become so familiar in their market that they are like the guy wearing the same suit to work each day.

The sad part of how you explain strategy is that the moment you're not relevant on social media your business ceases to exist. The notion of sparklers as a lead comes across much like a strobe light in the window of a retail store. It will turn heads but, it will not sustain a long term client base. To develop a life long career in this field you have to advance yourself - as a person with real skills, high production values, and decisive ability - rather than a guy with easily copied inventory.

Sooner or later all top tier customers tire of the gimmicks and move on to higher caliber entertainment - that being DJs and entertainers with true talent, novel ideas, and event planning skills. What you bring will never be as important as knowing what actually matters to a given client.

The DJs calling Ricky are out of work because they never had what it takes to advance a career in the event business. They got by doing THEIR version of a DJ (the thing that they thought was important) during the low tide - that era where CDs/PCs made it easy and the public was still lagging behind in equivalence. That era is over.

The DJ calling you is the next generation of fall out. Sparklers will not save him. (It's a lame excuse.) His qualifications, skills, age, and personal expectations of the business have all converged to render him obsolete. There is no sparkler bright enough to hide that. For example, when the bride tells me she wants a lot of hip-hop line dances led, etc. I bring a young hip dancer along with me to emcee those segments from the dance floor. It's irrelevant how well I can do the wobble - the fact remains that a middle aged white guy teaching hip-hop isn't credible. It's the wrong visual, wrong feeling for that moment. Unfortunately, a lot of DJs don't know when to yield center stage for the sake of producing a better show experience. Adding gimmicks won't fix poor production values.
 

steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Staff member
Sep 26, 2011
36,989
Prospect, CT
Sparklers are not a top tier expectation, they are a gimmick and like all of these toys the fad runs it's course and you are right back where you started - looking for another gimmick to stay relevant. (The topic of special effects doesn't even come up until AFTER I've been hired. They are development ideas - not selling points.) The application of sparklers and other fads is no different than wearing a different outfit to work each day. You can't expect to show up in the same suit every day and not have clients get bored with you. These toys primarily serve distraction to aid those DJs who's routines have become so familiar in their market that they are like the guy wearing the same suit to work each day.

The sad part of how you explain strategy is that the moment you're not relevant on social media your business ceases to exist. The notion of sparklers as a lead comes across much like a strobe light in the window of a retail store. It will turn heads but, it will not sustain a long term client base. To develop a life long career in this field you have to advance yourself - as a person with real skills, high production values, and decisive ability - rather than a guy with easily copied inventory.

Sooner or later all top tier customers tire of the gimmicks and move on to higher caliber entertainment - that being DJs and entertainers with true talent, novel ideas, and event planning skills. What you bring will never be as important as knowing what actually matters to a given client.

The DJs calling Ricky are out of work because they never had what it takes to advance a career in the event business. They got by doing THEIR version of a DJ (the thing that they thought was important) during the low tide - that era where CDs/PCs made it easy and the public was still lagging behind in equivalence. That era is over.

The DJ calling you is the next generation of fall out. Sparklers will not save him. (It's a lame excuse.) His qualifications, skills, age, and personal expectations of the business have all converged to render him obsolete. There is no sparkler bright enough to hide that. For example, when the bride tells me she wants a lot of hip-hop line dances led, etc. I bring a young hip dancer along with me to emcee those segments from the dance floor. It's irrelevant how well I can do the wobble - the fact remains that a middle aged white guy teaching hip-hop isn't credible. It's the wrong visual, wrong feeling for that moment. Unfortunately, a lot of DJs don't know when to yield center stage for the sake of producing a better show experience. Adding gimmicks won't fix poor production values.
and yet .. it appears to be working extremely well
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
3,421
and yet .. it appears to be working extremely well
Are you trying to insult him?
Sparklers are not the reason people choose Taso over another DJ. Any other DJ could add that toy if it meant the difference between being hired or not.
 

steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Staff member
Sep 26, 2011
36,989
Prospect, CT
Are you trying to insult him?
Sparklers are not the reason people choose Taso over another DJ. Any other DJ could add that toy if it meant the difference between being hired or not.
I was referring to his statement that he stays on top of these trends .. not the sparklers specifically.
 
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djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
5,411
32
NJ
www.djtaso.com
Sparklers are not a top tier expectation, they are a gimmick and like all of these toys the fad runs it's course and you are right back where you started - looking for another gimmick to stay relevant. (The topic of special effects doesn't even come up until AFTER I've been hired. They are development ideas - not selling points.) The application of sparklers and other fads is no different than wearing a different outfit to work each day. You can't expect to show up in the same suit every day and not have clients get bored with you. These toys primarily serve distraction to aid those DJs who's routines have become so familiar in their market that they are like the guy wearing the same suit to work each day.

The sad part of how you explain strategy is that the moment you're not relevant on social media your business ceases to exist. The notion of sparklers as a lead comes across much like a strobe light in the window of a retail store. It will turn heads but, it will not sustain a long term client base. To develop a life long career in this field you have to advance yourself - as a person with real skills, high production values, and decisive ability - rather than a guy with easily copied inventory.

Sooner or later all top tier customers tire of the gimmicks and move on to higher caliber entertainment - that being DJs and entertainers with true talent, novel ideas, and event planning skills. What you bring will never be as important as knowing what actually matters to a given client.

The DJs calling Ricky are out of work because they never had what it takes to advance a career in the event business. They got by doing THEIR version of a DJ (the thing that they thought was important) during the low tide - that era where CDs/PCs made it easy and the public was still lagging behind in equivalence. That era is over.

The DJ calling you is the next generation of fall out. Sparklers will not save him. (It's a lame excuse.) His qualifications, skills, age, and personal expectations of the business have all converged to render him obsolete. There is no sparkler bright enough to hide that. For example, when the bride tells me she wants a lot of hip-hop line dances led, etc. I bring a young hip dancer along with me to emcee those segments from the dance floor. It's irrelevant how well I can do the wobble - the fact remains that a middle aged white guy teaching hip-hop isn't credible. It's the wrong visual, wrong feeling for that moment. Unfortunately, a lot of DJs don't know when to yield center stage for the sake of producing a better show experience. Adding gimmicks won't fix poor production values.
I agree with many of the same things you say, but I don't think we're talking about the same thing. You're talking about the need for a dj as a whole, and the importance of the DJ aspect and the skill one commands. I focused on more specific situations that are also relative, and just simply used an example of why someone, I know personally, lost 2 gigs. Both were generic inquiries who didn't know him personally, and he couldn't accommodate their vision. Will this trend change in 2 years... perhaps, and probably... but at this moment, this dj lost 2 events as a result of not keeping up. This dj who lost the event to sparklers has failed to keep up with a number of trends besides the sparklers... items such as photo booths and dancing on the clouds have never come into his inventory, and therefore when the clouds were big he lost a number of brides there too... why... because they had other choices who did offer the full vision. Over the years he's turned into a no frills dj... mostly sound and 2 lights for 90% of his gigs... yet he still charges top dollar... and as a result, often the no frills brides think he's too expensive... and the ones that are willing to pay top dollar are seeking more than what he has to offer.

Do you need a social media platform... no... but does it help excite a prospective client even more about you and what you offer... absolutely yes! So many couples that book me have been following me for months and years as a result of another event... when it's their turn, they're so excited to finally book me because of all the cool things they see my team and I doing. Would I have never gotten those calls without social media... no, I probably still would have gotten a majority of them... but theres also also a chance that with time they might have forgotten about me over the years, or be willing to still consider other options if they haven't been following me.

Again, I still agree that the add-ons are not the end all be all in the equation... many companies will offer them... and the contrast made between entertainment in that scenario will still ultimately be the skill, connection with a client, and the reputation that one has... but you'll still possibly alienate those looking for those trends if you're not offering and showcasing them... despite having the skill, reputation, and ability to connect with a client.