Most aspiring DJs share the same dream: To fill their calendar with high-profile bookings and make a mint doing what they love. All well and good, but breaking into the industry in the first place is not easy. Irrespective of what you do and where you do it, you will face ferocious competition from all corners.
In which case, what can you do to get that all important ‘foot in the door’? Is there a sneaky way of getting yourself into the DJ biz, if you’re not yet at the required level to bag high-profile bookings?
The answer is yes – in fact there are three ways you can sneak in under the radar:
Become a Talent Booker
A surprising proportion of DJs who end up going full time actually started out as events bookers. This is basically where you take charge of booking acts for local events and parties, while handling the logistics of getting them to the venue.
But here’s the kicker – becoming an events booker means having the freedom to sneakily slip yourself into the proceedings. You’re in charge of the entertainment, so who’s to say you can’t reserve part of the show for yourself?
Just as long as you’re good enough to perform on the same level as those you hire, this can be the perfect way to strut your stuff and start building a following.
Become a Press officer
Or for that matter, take up any kind of position in PR or marketing. This is more about networking than showcasing your talents to live audiences, as you’ll be spending most of your time promoting and marketing those you represent.
As an added bonus, you get to attend all of the events, parties and live performances your clients’ play – the perfect place to pitch yourself and your showreel to other promoters.
You’ll also develop excellent working relationships with those you represent along the way, who could technically become your promotional agents in a sense. As they get to know just how fantastic you are as a DJ, they may be willing to consider giving you a slot on stage as part of their own set.
Become an Event Manager or Planner
Jobs in event planning and management involve spending much of your working life backstage at major events and live shows. Suffice to say, there really is no better place to rub shoulders with those who have already made it, and to do your best to convince them to give you a shot.
More often than not, breaking out of amateur-hour as a DJ is all about being in the right place at the right time…and pitching yourself to the right people. Working in event planning, you’ll effectively benefit from a permanent all-access pass to the parts of the venue nobody else gets close to.
If you’re not afraid to make a bit of a nuisance of yourself from time to time, you never know who might just be willing to give you your big break. Or at least, point you in the direction of someone who can.