I'm realizing how much of a hole there is in the infrastructure for DJs in North America, specifically for open format DJs. The whole DJ business changed DRASTICALLY in the last 10 years.. and there's pockets of the DJ scene that kind of got left out. (cont'd)
Those changes happened with the explosion of EDM. Money brings change & infrastructure – like in any sector. When DJs started having huge hit records and the event space boomed (festivals, tours hitting ticketed venues), the business became legit.
DJs used to get known on the strength of their DJing (duh!). But then DJs started becoming known for their songs and that created serious draw to other markets. That also created a need for proper managers, lawyers etc. The social media boom happened at the same time.
The old school model was: most DJs had an agent-slash-manager. Which isn't ideal (church & state!). But most of us didn't need managers before. I was DJing for 10 years – multiple time world champion etc – before hiring my first manager.
That model worked all the way up to the DJ AM era, when bottle service clubs became more prominent and Vegas opened up to more DJs. But those types of venues and clubs don't respect DJs. So DJs need representation.
After that the music exploded and an entire industry was built… But what about the DJs who weren't producing records? who, truthfully, are better *DJs* than most of those getting known for their hits..? The club scene got caught in a bubble, a time warp.
And here's where it gets weird: then the EDM bubble burst. Club talent buyers started saying they were going back to booking open format DJs (for those who don't know that just means multi-genre DJs rooted in hip hop). But most of those DJs don't have modern agents, modern biz.
The DJ explosion that happened earlier in the decade created fast growth but now I find the scene needs some nurturing. And there's a lot of excellent DJs who still need representation. It's wild: a celebrity DJ is more likely to have a legit agent than a GOOD open format DJ.
I think part of the problem is also because of the handful of people in a position of power in that club scene, that open format scene: it's very clicky which imo hindered it from riding the big wave a few years ago. Some ppl were too self-content to even SEE the wave…
The end result is a bunch of very very good skilled DJs who don't have an infrastructure. I went to the #BeyondTheMusic retreat last week, organized by @DJcity & @djvice. It's clear that there's a big demand for mentorship, leadership, guidance in the scene.
It's a great start. We need more though. I don't understand why the main booking agencies aren't picking up more of these DJs. There has to still be a viable lane for DJs whose main focus isn't to produce music or be an Instagram personality, but just to be a great reliable DJ!!
there's no problem, if you can't put bodies in the club or sell tables you're a working stiff. That's fine, it's a respectable thing to be and you can earn a good living, but being good at DJing has NEVER been enough.
Enough to get you to the next level. Make great music, run a promotions company, be an instagram star, date a reality TV star, do whatever you gotta do to put bodies in the club, but if you can't sell tickets or create the illusion of selling ticks, shit, be happy you even work.
I've watched so many guys my age and a little older/younger struggle so fucking hard with 'why isn't being good enough' IT'S JUST NOT. NOT IN FUCKING VEGAS, NOT IN BOTTLE SERVICE LAND OF ILLUSION. YOU NEED A HOOK, A STORY, SOME BULLSHIT TO DRAW BECKY IN. HUSTLE. BULLSHIT.
People out here wishing clubs would start really caring about good DJing, wish in one hand and shit in the other, see which ones fills up first. Half these DJs people act like are good can't even fucking play.
If you're willing to do the work all the infrastructure is in place for you to succeed. If you can get bodies through the door you will win, I 100% guarantee it. Look at Harvey, he is one of the ultimate working DJ success stories. It took a long time and a lot of work, but…
Well, one more thing, I will say you can totally build your core following around being a good DJ, a lot of people have done it, and I think it's a great place to start, but combining good with other salable concepts is where the rain comes.
tubby lil AM was doing well in LA before Nicole Richie, and if he had only been mediocre he still woulda had steam off her, but being dope and dating her changed everything. He used to act like he got booked cause he was good, but he was good and he was shrouded in celebrity.
Via @DjSalParadise "Other thing is a great DJ never gets mediocre crowds going. They murder a good night but a name with clout will make a mid room happen better almost always Just because the crowd feels some pull to like oh yeah I’m here for this"
I love my working DJs and want everybody to get money, but if we gonna get more out of these clubs we need hard evidence, clients that know our names, people that pay to see us, not some theoretical idea about who’s a good dj or what real DJing is.
the fucked up shit is in the world i’m speaking on, i’m the OG and trailblazer. These guys were chasing dwindling dnb and turntablisim showcase money when I was 10-4 in NYC. Then bouncing around the hollerboard world while I was in NY, LA, Miami and Vegas getting money.
he’s got me here y’all. I def haven’t learned anything from my mistakes, or 23 years in this thing. Not anything that could benefit an up and coming open format DJ. I am poor. Do not listen to me! https://t.co/VXtaEd57I8
today was fun y’all. My door is always open to up and coming dudes who want to talk about their future and place in this business. I’m not here to tear anyone down or keep anybody from getting money, but I will be realistic. roctakon at gmail anytime.