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DJ is the short form for disc jockey. A DJ is someone who plays the music you hear on radio stations, internet radio stations, local bars and dance clubs, and even at wedding receptions. A disc jockey will consider their target audience when selecting the tracks to be played and often has a set list given to them by the company they work for.
A disc jockey is responsible for several tasks depending on their workplace and position in the music industry. In a radio station, a disc jockey is responsible for playing tracks from a set playlist that is given to them by station management. This playlist will often target a specific audience and music genre. Also, a radio station disc jockey is responsible for answering calls from listeners. These calls may be the result of an artist interview, station contest, or even just to comment on the selections being played. The disc jockey is in charge of interviews conducted with musicians of the genre chosen by the radio station, as well as being responsible for announcing commercials in accordance with the stations set programming requirements.
As a disc jockey for a dance club, the DJ will be responsible for playing songs that are both entertaining and will affect the audience in a desired manner. This may include playing requested songs as well as setting up selections that will direct the audience to a certain area. This is done by selecting tracks that have the effect of pushing the audience to visit the bar, check out a promotional item sales booth, prepare for a contest or just to dance.
A disc jockey may work in a large variety of places depending on their chosen field. With the wide variety of disc jockey positions available in the music industry, these places of employment could include radio stations, internet radio stations, private bookings for weddings and parties, mobile disc jockey services, local bars and dance clubs, and even genre based television channels.
Being a disc jockey requires a vast amount of energy and musical knowledge. You do not need to go to school to become a disc jockey, though that option is available for those who wish to do so.
The basic needs for a disc jockey vary depending on their choice of venue. A radio disc jockey will have a set playlist given to them by the station management and may select tracks from that playlist. The playlist generally consists of only songs from a specific genre, with a few tracks included from closely related songs. For example, a station who has chosen to specialize in the pop genre may have a few borderline songs from country musicians in their playlist due to the pop-style sound of the tracks.
A radio disc jockey will need to be able to communicate well over the air, conduct interviews with musicians in a professional, yet fun, manner, and also be able to handle calls from listeners with professionalism.
A disc jockey in a dance club, rave, or other party-style venue will need to have strong skills for reading their audience. This enables them to keep the audience dancing all night without wearing them out or boring them. They will also need to be able to communicate well with the venue owners and managers, making sure that there are no conflicts with the songs they are playing, the type of audience their playlist is drawing, etc.
Overall, a DJ needs excellent communication skills and needs to be able to manage and organize a varied playlist and audience. A strong work ethic will help maintain employment with radio stations, dance clubs, mobile disc jockey companies, and private bookings. A disc jockey known for cancelling their appearances will not be hired as often as one who is diligent about their professional requirements.
Founder of the dance label Coldharbour Recordings, Markus Schulz has been tearing up the trance scene for years, and is always open to sharing advice with fellow DJs.
To get paid to spin the tunes you’ve got to have a true passion and commitment to the job. You gotta be a DJ like JT Quik.
Britain’s late prime minister Benjamin Disraeli said “Beware of endeavoring to become a great man in a hurry. One such attempt in ten thousand may succeed. These are fearful odds.”
If you’ve noticed, DJing isn’t a one-track ideology. It’s not the same job in every venue you end up in. Playing for a wedding is not like playing in a massive rave. Playing in a sports bar isn’t the same as playing for a big club. In order to better market yourself, you need to focus on the kinds of DJing you want to get into.