There’s a quote folks in the DJ industry use all the time.
“Everyone thinks they can DJ!”
This statement in itself is true! Most people look at the DJ and believe that its really not all that hard, especially when you're talking mobile DJ's that perform corporate events and weddings.
Truth be told, the actual technical act of ‘disc jockeying’ is NOT very hard, especially if they’re not doing things like beat-matching or song-mixing while they blend songs. If DJs aren’t doing that, then no- the act of DJ’ing at that point is not much more then using a computer or some turntables to switch between songs.
However, that’s NOT what we pay DJs to do. Yes, anyone can switch songs back and forth, just like technically ANYONE can take pictures or even bake a cake. But the real value of a DJ comes from a few other areas, just like those other jobs mentioned above.
Where is the value in Hiring a Professional DJ?
You pay a photographer not to ‘press a button on a camera’, but to capture little moments in the best light and exposure. You pay a baker not to mix some batter from Kroger and put it in the oven but to craft a great-tasting, custom-decorated cake. The same goes for a DJ. You’re not paying them to ‘play songs on an iPod’, but rather to:
Emcee and lead an event, acting almost like a second coordinator
Set up a quality sound system, make it sound good, and use it to create a buzz and contagious energy in a room to make sure you and your guests have a great time and dance all night long
Put together a song list that will create peaks and valleys during an event and keep the dance floor full
So while it’s true that anyone can perform the general ‘action’ of DJ’ing, being able to lead a party and not just randomly pick songs and hope for the best is something that takes experience, trial-and-error, and experimentation. All of which your college buddy Rick with the ‘fire mixtapes’ probably doesn’t have!
BUILDING THE PERFECT PLAYLIST IS AN ART
Putting together a DJ playlist for a wedding or special event is an art. It really is.
Think about it: as a DJ, you’re tasked with putting together a list of 120-150 songs (about 60-90 seconds of playtime each) that will appeal to your whole audience and one that ensures they’ll be interested enough in them to dance. It’s kind of a daunting task!
You’ll also be dealing with people coming up all night making requests, some which will DEFINITELY kill your dance floor.
A Real Wedding Example
I performed at a wedding once where this girl, probably in her mid-20s, kept coming up and asking if I could play this random slow hip-hop song. At first, I politely told her, “I’ll try and squeeze it in later!”, knowing full well I was not going to play it because it would totally kill the vibe and I’d lose the crowd. But then she came up again and asked. Then again. Then AGAIN. Finally, I told her I wasn’t going to be able to play the song because it wouldn’t go over well, and it’s so hard to get a dance floor back once you lose it.
5 minutes later, I get a tap on my shoulder- it was the girl’s father. Yes, a mid-20s woman had tattle-taled on me to her dad that I wouldn’t play her song, so the father decided “he’d see about that!”. At this point, I said, “All right, whatever!”, played the song, and (as expected) the dance floor no more.
What's my point?
I use that story to get across the fact that putting together a playlist is more than just picking your favorite songs- that will almost never work, even if your taste is ‘great’. People don’t want to discover and be exposed to new, cool music on a dance floor- they want to dance and sing along to songs they know. All generations too, not just young bucks! Grandma wants to get down too.
So with that in mind, here are some pointers if your still looking at handling this yourself.
PLAY THE HITS
KEEP IT 90% FAST SONGS, 10% SLOW SONGS
PLAY THE TOP 5 POP SONGS ON THE RADIO THAT MONTH
DON’T LEAVE ANY SILENCE BETWEEN SONGS
DOWNLOAD THE SONGS BEFORE YOU GET TO THE VENUE
ONLY PLAY A SONG FOR ABOUT 90-120 SECONDS
Obviously we highly recommend hiring a professional. You don't want any added stress of something going wrong, worrying about requests, and the dance floor being empty.
We would love to talk with you and figure out the best plan for your event.
Ready To Meet With The Wedding Coach About Being Your Cleveland Wedding DJ?
Thank you for making it to the end of another one of my blog posts. My blog has become one of the most popular on the internet. Please feel free to check out other posts as well. Hiring your wedding DJ is right up there in importance like finding the perfect wedding venue and outstanding wedding photographer to capture all the fun. Whether you'd like to talk to me about the content in this post or about me being the DJ for your Cleveland wedding, I love talking to newly engaged couples about their big day. Click here to see if we are available for your wedding day NOW.