What year do you believe the Mobile DJ Community had the most active working DJs

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What year was the Mobile DJ community the Largest in your opinion among these options?

  • 1981 or prior

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 1985

    Votes: 2 20.0%
  • 1990

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 1995

    Votes: 1 10.0%
  • 2000

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 2005

    Votes: 1 10.0%
  • 2010

    Votes: 3 30.0%
  • 2015

    Votes: 1 10.0%
  • 2021 as in RIGHT NOW

    Votes: 2 20.0%

  • Total voters
    10

DJ Ricky B

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Mar 9, 2015
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What year approximately do you believe that the Mobile DJ community was the very largest, and had the highest number of working mobile DJs out there?

I think it will be interesting to see everyone's answers/perception on the subject.
 

djtaso

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Apr 4, 2017
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NJ
www.djtaso.com
Hands down 2010... some of the originals that started back in the 80's and 90's were still working rather strong... and of course that was the time that serato was blowing up and dj's getting mainstream and famous. Entering the dj industry was never easier. So you had lots of professionals in their prime and lots of entry level dj's as well saturating the market.

One could argue by 2015 was the peak... but by then in my opinion, many of the newbies started fading out as they realized how hard the industry was to make a profit... and a lot of the original pros decided to close up shop as they couldn't keep up with the new trends in equipment and especially online marketing.

Now is perhaps the lowest point of the 2000+ era... with many part time and some full time dj's seeking other work due to covid or taking a chance on something new they've been wanting to try, and enjoying the new lifestyle as a result of their decision. Heck, even I'm in that category despite the extremely successful career I had (I honestly don't think there are many solo op dj's pulling in the numbers that I was right before the pandemic hit)... although djing for me isn't phasing out entirely just yet... I have made the decision that as of this month going forward I will be booking strictly Weddings and have even taken a major step by removing all Sweet 16 content from my website.

If you are still in the game in 2021 and had a good reputation prior to covid, you're gonna come out even stronger than before as supply of dj's has shrunk. I've gotten so many calls from couples who had to postpone now saying their djs are no longer working and they need a new dj.
 

dunlopj

DJ Extraordinaire
Aug 14, 2008
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Belair MD
I have made the decision that as of this month going forward I will be booking strictly Weddings and have even taken a major step by removing all Sweet 16 content from my website.
Wow! This is huge news! What led to that decision?

Is this part of your transition to a real estate license?
 

Jeff Romard

Administrator
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Sep 4, 2006
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I'm saying around 2005 at least in this area. It was always up and down but by 2005 the technology had been in play 6 or 7 years and cheap gear had hit the market in a big way. Free music really led to a rise in the years 2000-2005 by '05 we had hit the pinnacle.
 

Albatross

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Sep 7, 2016
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Honestly, I don't have a good sense of this at all.

It feels like the question is asking for when there were the largest number of participants. There are plenty of guys that can do a gig that I don't consider mobile DJs which would blur the number for me. If you have weekly club residencies and do 3 weddings a year... you're technically a mobile DJ, but not really.

And I also don't really have a sense of how many people are in the market. There are companies with visibility either through advertising and social media. But for every Jason Jani, Joe Bunn, or Mike Walter in the world... there could be 1,000 guys like me. I know a handful of DJs, but I don't spend a lot of time networking these days and a new entrant to the business would have no idea who I am unless they wander onto this board.

So... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

Scott Hanna

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Oct 25, 2006
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I agree with Ross. I really have no idea.

I think some DJs spend too much time worrying/wondering about the overall market and not enough time focusing on their own business.

There was a guy in my area that quit about 10 years ago because he felt the market was shrinking and there was too many DJs in the business. I felt the exact opposite. I saw our business grow.

Yes things change. Trends change and we need to change with it when appropriate. But some see a dip in their business and immediately assume the market has shrunk.

Also, you have the people who spend time trying to get other DJs to raise their prices. The thought process is if other DJs raise their price, I won't lose business to "low-ballers". Yes you will. The market will open up to New DJs and you're in the same boat. Some people aren't your customer and won't ever be. Stop spending time thinking they are.

I feel as I've always felt. There's plenty of business at whatever price point you are comfortable with. Some just take more time and effort to get.
We have a limited inventory of available dates. We focus on filling the ones we want to fill and wish everyone else the best. I just sent a wedding to a DJ friend of mine because we are completely booked up for a date. He'll do a wonderful job. He sends leads to us when he and his one other DJ are booked.
 

DJ Ricky B

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 9, 2015
6,827
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I agree with Ross. I really have no idea.

I think some DJs spend too much time worrying/wondering about the overall market and not enough time focusing on their own business.

There was a guy in my area that quit about 10 years ago because he felt the market was shrinking and there was too many DJs in the business. I felt the exact opposite. I saw our business grow.

Yes things change. Trends change and we need to change with it when appropriate. But some see a dip in their business and immediately assume the market has shrunk.

Also, you have the people who spend time trying to get other DJs to raise their prices. The thought process is if other DJs raise their price, I won't lose business to "low-ballers". Yes you will. The market will open up to New DJs and you're in the same boat. Some people aren't your customer and won't ever be. Stop spending time thinking they are.

I feel as I've always felt. There's plenty of business at whatever price point you are comfortable with. Some just take more time and effort to get.
We have a limited inventory of available dates. We focus on filling the ones we want to fill and wish everyone else the best. I just sent a wedding to a DJ friend of mine because we are completely booked up for a date. He'll do a wonderful job. He sends leads to us when he and his one other DJ are booked.

I am just simply asking when you believe there were the MOST working Mobile DJs out there from your point of view. Do you believe there are more today, or more in the past? Nothing to do with how people perceive the industry and how it affects their decision making process, or how they go about to create price change in other DJs or themselves.
 
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djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
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www.djtaso.com
Wow! This is huge news! What led to that decision?

Is this part of your transition to a real estate license?
Yes and no... this was always in the works and I had expected by 35 to start phasing out of teen events. Covid allowed me to start the process one year earlier essentially. The reason for this is a multi part reason.

- Sweet 16's that I was doing are VERY time consuming and Labor intensive. Designing graphics, photo booth templates, step and repeat banners, tv graphics, montages, etc.... plus picking up dry ice or exchanging CO2 tanks... ALL for ONE party can be extremely demanding of one's time. Especially when the profit margin on each of the above items is around $200 avg. On top of that... a large production, which I am know for can require 4-5 assistants (another $1k+ in expenses). 3-4yrs ago when I was doing 25-35 sweet 16's a year, those 2nd and 3rd string assistants were still getting quite a bit of work from me... however with weddings overtaking my schedule and booking further out, I am not booking as many sweet 16's, and therefore it's hard to retain all these extra employees when you only need them for 3-4x a year now. Weddings I need 1 assistant 80% of the time... 2 people the remaining... never need more, as weddings don't tend to do the major tv's or production work that Sweet 16's do.

- Sweet 16's don't necessarily make more anymore. As I said above, they're very labor intensive, need investment in materials, and require lots of time. The avg Sweet 16 was around $700 more than the avg wedding. But between the materials needed, the extra labor involved and time dedicated... was it actually more profitable. As I've raised my minimums for weddings, the line is now blurred as to which one is more beneficial.

- In terms of benefits... being considered exclusively as a Luxury based Wedding dj has more prestige and appeal than "Wedding & Sweet 16 DJ". Sweet 16's just appear one step lower

- Finally... As I do try to take on more real estate business, and realizing the time that one needs to dedicate to be successful, I realize that Sweet 16's are counterproductive in that sense. Weddings, while more detailed and demanding emotionally, timewise they're not as demanding. I had a very successful first few months of the year in real estate and saw the time it involved.... and knew it wouldn't be possible if my schedule was all Sweet 16's.

This isn't to say I won't take Sweet 16's... but it's going to be more selective, working for clients that don't really require me to spend time selling myself. I've also removed some labor or time intensive items from Sweet 16 pricing such as the tv production so I can still do it with 1 or 2 assistants. While I had 20 Sweet 16's in 2019 compared to 30 Weddings... 2022 I expect around 35 weddings and 9 or 10 sweet 16's max.
 

djtaso

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Apr 4, 2017
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www.djtaso.com
I'm saying around 2005 at least in this area. It was always up and down but by 2005 the technology had been in play 6 or 7 years and cheap gear had hit the market in a big way. Free music really led to a rise in the years 2000-2005 by '05 we had hit the pinnacle.
In 2005, the digital era was just beginning of the change, but the spike didn't happen until Serato's scratch live went mainstream CD's weren't even needed, combine that with dj's like david guetta, tiesto, afrojack, calvin harris, and steve aoki becoming mainstream and everyone wanting to be a dj... all of that peaked right around 2010-2012 in my opinion.
 
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DJ Ricky B

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Mar 9, 2015
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Honestly, I don't have a good sense of this at all.

It feels like the question is asking for when there were the largest number of participants. There are plenty of guys that can do a gig that I don't consider mobile DJs which would blur the number for me. If you have weekly club residencies and do 3 weddings a year... you're technically a mobile DJ, but not really.


So... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
If they are ACTIVE and working Mobile Events, and charge for their services, they are a Mobile DJ.

A Club or Bar DJ that does 3 weddings a year would be included in the Mobile DJ community. They are working and active. It does not matter if a DJ does 2 events a year, or 100 events a year. If you are a working DJ, and charge for the service (and hopefully pay taxes) then you are an active, working Mobile DJ.
 

DJ Ricky B

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Mar 9, 2015
6,827
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In 2005, the digital era was just beginning of the change, but the spike didn't happen until Serato's scratch live went mainstream CD's weren't even needed, combine that with dj's like david guetta, tiesto, afrojack, calvin harris, and steve aoki becoming mainstream and everyone wanting to be a dj... all of that peaked right around 2010-2012 in my opinion.
I can agree to this to a good extent! I remember during the recession all these new DJs advertising on Craigslist. Also, lots of Young Fly by nighter DJs and bedroom DJs were getting into the field. If anyone remembers the 2012 or 2013 DJ Expos, they had A LOT of people, and A LOT of young men either attending as part of multi ops from CHicago, Jersey/New YOrk, or they were just getting started in the field, and wanting to be DJs! David Guetta, and a lot of those other guys were hot on the charts as well and brought a lot of interest into the DJ Genre as well!

I also noticed prices/rates drop in Maryland/DC in part because of the recession, but also in part because of all these newbies entering the scene willing to go out for $150 to $300. Where in 2006/2007 customers would have a tough time finding a DJ for under $400 or $100 per hour. $400 was the bottom of the barrel in 2006. Then in 2009, it seemed there was a hole in the barrel, and there was no bottom to what some DJs would be willing to book a gig for! 2010 seemed to be a mish mash year booking gigs, but there was plenty of work out there that year! Then in 2011, it started to get easier to raise prices. By 2013 and 2014, I did not encounter too many people claiming they got a $300 price quote or whatever for their wedding, and I felt like I was seeing the Cheap newbie DJs posts fading away from Craigslist etc.

2010 to 2012 are probably the years where we had a big surge, and saturation of DJs in most markets, and in 2014 many DJs were exiting the market and some older DJs ended up retiring. It kinda leveled off in 2015 and kinda stayed consistent until the Pandemic.

I have only been around in this business for 22 years which is a good amount of time, but I don't really know how DJs felt about the number of working DJs out there back in the 80s, or 90s. I know that in the 80s and early 90s Multi Ops seemed to RULE the industry with all of these multi op companies ranging from 10 to 50 working DJs working in various markets out there. It seemed that most of the public would know 2 or 3 big multi op DJ companies that serviced the area, and those 2 or 3 companies pretty much got 98% of the business out there. The other 2% went to a Friend or Family member of the event host who could DJ back then. Then in the mid 90s, many experienced DJs seemed to venture out on their own and become solo ops and have their own business which slowly killed off the multi ops over time.
 
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dunlopj

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Aug 14, 2008
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Yes and no... this was always in the works and I had expected by 35 to start phasing out of teen events. Covid allowed me to start the process one year earlier essentially. The reason for this is a multi part reason.
Taso, thank you for your detailed answer! I totally understand.
 

Jeff Romard

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Sep 4, 2006
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Sydney, Nova Scotia
In 2005, the digital era was just beginning of the change, but the spike didn't happen until Serato's scratch live went mainstream CD's weren't even needed, combine that with dj's like david guetta, tiesto, afrojack, calvin harris, and steve aoki becoming mainstream and everyone wanting to be a dj... all of that peaked right around 2010-2012 in my opinion.
I see what you are saying but I think the celebrity DJ's and Serato helped create more club than mobile. The digital era, at least for me, started in late 98 early 99 I was running Windows ME and switched to 2000 in early 2000. Once I switched to XP I never looked back. I carried backup for a bit and soon started leaving the backup in the truck. By 2002 I was fully digital with no CD backup
 

Jeff Romard

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Sep 4, 2006
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but I don't really know how DJs felt about the number of working DJs out there back in the 80s, or 90s.
There was plenty then too but the cheap gear and ease of music made it grow. One of the big differences is we were all charging close to the same back then it was easier to get booked on talent. Availability had a lot to do with it too things were more active then. I had 4 bar gigs at one time back in 89-90 I would play them Monday to Thursday and then do a wedding sometimes Friday and always Saturday on the weekends in prime season. I remember doing a lot of 50's and 60's dances back then and a bunch of 25th and 50th anniversary parties they are rare these days.

It wasn't unusual to be booked for New Years Eve the same place for several years in a row because of availability. I remember one NYE 86 or 87 I believe, I setup 7 or 8 dances for one multi op and played one for another multi-op.

The downside was we were doing private gigs for $200 local and bar gigs were $50-$75. NYE was $400 or so
 
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djtaso

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Apr 4, 2017
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NJ
www.djtaso.com
I see what you are saying but I think the celebrity DJ's and Serato helped create more club than mobile. The digital era, at least for me, started in late 98 early 99 I was running Windows ME and switched to 2000 in early 2000. Once I switched to XP I never looked back. I carried backup for a bit and soon started leaving the backup in the truck. By 2002 I was fully digital with no CD backup
Yeah the club/mobile dj thing seems to blur the lines... but a lot of the 16-25yr olds were getting in it at that 2008-2012 around here because of Pauly D and Jersey Shore. Now in NJ being a mobile dj and club dj are both equally as big (since a lot of money can be made in mobile djing here). In other parts of the country, I can see how there's no attraction to the mobile world since they don't make that much to begin with... so might as well focus on bar/club/frat.
 

DJ Ricky B

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Mar 9, 2015
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Yeah the club/mobile dj thing seems to blur the lines... but a lot of the 16-25yr olds were getting in it at that 2008-2012 around here because of Pauly D and Jersey Shore. Now in NJ being a mobile dj and club dj are both equally as big (since a lot of money can be made in mobile djing here). In other parts of the country, I can see how there's no attraction to the mobile world since they don't make that much to begin with... so might as well focus on bar/club/frat.
Ocean City, MD is a small market, and totally seasonal basically SUMMER only. However, I know that at least up until 2018 that there was a small group of DJs that took all of the bar gigs in the town. Between Seacrets, Green Turtle, Ocean Club, H20, and a few other bars in the area, this group of DJs stays busy 5 to 6 nights per week between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. I was told that pay per night was usually only $125 to $175 each night, but when you work 5 nights a week that can be $750 or so per week, and $900 or so for 6 night weeks. They stay busy during the summer. There seems to be about 8-10 or so DJs in the area that are a part of this group each summer. I probably don't know who the DJs are now. I noticed in 2018 the DJs I had met 5-6 years earlier were out of the scene down there.

Seasonal tourist towns can be solid money for local DJs working the bars and local clubs.
 

Albatross

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Sep 7, 2016
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If they are ACTIVE and working Mobile Events, and charge for their services, they are a Mobile DJ.

A Club or Bar DJ that does 3 weddings a year would be included in the Mobile DJ community. They are working and active. It does not matter if a DJ does 2 events a year, or 100 events a year. If you are a working DJ, and charge for the service (and hopefully pay taxes) then you are an active, working Mobile DJ.
Under those assumptions, I'm going to guess that very recently (pre-pandemic) was probably close to the maximum number of mobile DJs. The barriers to entry are lower than they have ever been with streaming now being a dubious, but possible, way to conduct an event.

But I also don't think serious professionals should be concerned with that type of statistic. I think most people in the mobile DJ market are exceptionally part time doing a small number of gigs for some extra cash when it comes their way.