Six steps to pursuing a career as a DJ


Date: 6 February 2020

A professional DJ uses a high-end set of turntables equipment in a nightclub.

There’s a big difference between dreaming of a career as a DJ and actually pursuing one. The latter ambition is only for a select few ambitious amateurs - but even then, there are no guarantees.

The road to becoming a professional DJ can be a long, challenging and occasionally frustrating. Nevertheless, it’s a journey that could end with you performing at the biggest DJ events in the world, using the kind of DJ equipment you never thought you’d own.

What are the steps required to pursue a career as a DJ? If you’re just getting started, what exactly do you need to do to set yourself and your career in the right direction?

1. Stay connected

Staying on the cutting edge of both the industry and your preferred genre is of the utmost importance. You need to be aware of everything that’s happening, where it’s happening and why.

You also need to understand every aspect of the industry you’re looking to join, along with the culture of your musical genre. All of which should be enjoyable enough, if you’re genuinely into what you do.

2. Buy quality equipment

Don’t sell yourself short by setting yourself up with sub-standard DJ equipment. If you can’t afford to pay for the high-end gear you need outright, think about spreading the costs with an affordable DJ finance package.

Attempting to get by with low-grade gear will make it difficult to showcase your talents, and equally difficult for others to take you seriously. This is why you need to take advantage of available DJ finance packages.

3. Get your demo sorted

If you’re lucky enough to meet someone with connections, there’s a chance they’ll give your demo a listen. At this point, you need to present them with something that’s nothing less than mind-blowing.

In terms of both the quality of the music and the production itself, you can expect your demo to be scrutinised intensively. Again, this is another reason why quality DJ equipment matters from an early stage.

4. Market yourself aggressively

As a DJ, you are a brand… and your music is your product. As with any other brand or product, the key to success lies in promoting yourself continuously and assertively.

Always remember that there are hundreds of other artists looking to make their voices heard over and above yours. Do whatever you can to make a name for yourself and stand out from the crowd.

5. Get as much experience as possible

This often means biting the bullet and being willing to play any and every show you’re offered. Even if it’s a tiny crowd and doesn’t pay a penny, it is still invaluable experience.

In addition, you’ve no way of knowing just who might be in attendance at the time. Even if there are only 40 people watching your set, one of them could have friends and connections in high places.

6. Be patient - and don’t give up

Finally, you need to acknowledge and accept the fact that you probably aren’t going to make it overnight. In fact, could be years before you even take your first real step up the pro DJ ladder.

This is where patience and tenacity come into the equation - both of which you’ll need to get by. Irrespective of how long it takes to make it, all the effort you’ve invested will be worthwhile when you do.

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