Being a DJ is awesome or not awesome, that is the question. In todays article we look at the top 20 pros and cons of being a DJ.
You might be thinking of becoming a full time professional DJ and moving on from being a hobby DJing at home. This is the dream of a lot of DJs and it’s the dream of all sorts of ages too, not just young people.
Hopefully the balance of both Pros and Cons will give you some perspective before pursing your career as a superstar DJ.
Music is your Passion
The amazing thing about DJing is that you get to play music. Some DJs become focussed on one genre alone and others focus on becoming open format DJs, playing all sorts of music.
What an amazing role to have in life, play music to people that want to listen to your music and get paid for it too.
I can’t think of one DJ that isn’t a DJ because they don’t like music.
Entertaining people is a buzz
DJs are usually DJing in front of a crowd of people, big or small, DJs playing live usually get a buzz out of DJing.
It’s the entertaining aspect that really gets a real pump of adrenaline and buzz from getting the crowd going and dancing.
I think this is some sort of an addiction to playing music live and entertaining. It’s why you see some DJs or bands that are still playing live even though some people their age are retired.
It’s social and meet new people
The great thing about DJing is the amount of people that you meet along the way.
It’s amazing to meet such a diverse bunch of people from all walks of life. Whether it be bar staff, fellow DJs, guests at the venue or even industry event organisers.
As it’s a social place it’s really good to networking and stay in contact with people that can help you progress as a DJ, potentially to become a bigger DJ. This is why DJing is so great, once you’ve got some DJing under your belt, your career can sometimes snowball and become even bigger.
Be creative and get paid for it
I couldn’t think of anything better than being creative and getting paid to do your craft.
Some DJs can potentially class DJing as an “art” which some people would debate. But still, creating amazing DJ sets with just music isn’t always the main part of DJing.
I’ve mentioned on Beatmatch Guru blog before that there are many creative ways that DJs show off their craft creatively.
I love the example and benchmark that the YouTube channel Cercle has set for DJs playing live in astounding locations around the world.
Here are a couple of examples.
You can change peoples lives
If you’re thinking that as a DJ you can’t change the lives of others then you might be mistaken.
I’ve met dozens of people that have attended massive festivals, weddings or local gigs in bars. There are some DJ sets that really touch people emotionally and help them get through difficult times or even just have an even better time in life.
Get this straight, even though some people might not attend certain gigs live, people can still be influenced positively from DJ sets recorded and put on YouTube for example.
Money can be amazing
When getting to the level of say Calvin Harris, Carl Cox or Tiesto then money is beyond belief.
Even if you’re running a business as a DJ, say such as a wedding DJ or corporate events type DJ, there’s still a decent amount of money to be had. Even mediocre mobile DJs can earn around £30,000 a year.
No more buying music
Becoming an established DJ, particularly as a DJ within a specific music genre scene can really help DJs get hold of a lot music.
Producers and labels are likely to be sending you music tracks to play for free.
It really does help if you’re a music producer for a record label then you’re more than likely to get hold of a lot of music from the label too.
Build up like minded DJ friends
Working in the music industry as a DJ (and potentially a music producer too) you’ll likely make some great DJ friends.
Some friendships evolve into working relationship e.g. running events together, or DJing back to back at events and even running record labels together.
It’s such an amazing thing to meet like minded people in the same field that you “work” in as a DJ. You can make life long friends.
It’s not a 9 to 5 desk job
If you’ve ever worked a desk job then you’ll know DJing is literally amazing in comparison.
DJing can take a lot of hard work in the beginning stages and even when you’re a working DJ it can become quite hard work too. The reward that some DJs gain even from all the hard work definitely outweighs the negatives.
I’ve seen an interview with CamelPhat not too long ago, and they explain that there are some low points but it’s very rewarding to be a DJ. A low point they explain is travelling for 36 hours, but the gigs they played around the world were the amazing high points.
Travel a lot
As mentioned above in the last point, CamelPhat explain that travelling can be a bit grim at times.
I’d say if you’re not great at travelling but really want to become a DJ, then you need to suck it up. Travelling can be tiresome, even if you are driving yourself, getting the train or flying it’s all a bit draining after a while.
Especially annoying when you’re having to perform your best DJ sets after having travelled a lot and network with people too.
Travelling on your own as a DJ can be lonely too.
Bad on your health and hearing
DJing is quite a taxing profession at times, especially because of the travelling, but also because of the late hours.
Your hearing can be at a risk of being damaged if you’re not careful. I’m not going to lie, when I saw the film “It’s all Gone Pete Tong”, I shit myself about the quality of my hearing. Ever since I’ve strived to protect my ears as much as possible.
Drugs and alcohol can also creep up you as a habit if you’re not careful, this is also portrayed in the movie featured above too.
Pay can be low at the beginning
Starting out DJing is a bit tough, especially on the money aspects of the job. It’s about proving that you can DJ to the level of the other DJs, but sometimes you might find it hard to command a price, if anything at all.
Even if you start getting paid it might still be tough to get enough money to start getting enough money to convert fully in DJing as a full time business or job.
Encountering drunk people
DJing at any venue or event, festival or wedding, there’s always that chance there going to be someone that’s wasted.
Whether it’s annoying you as the DJ with them pestering you or shouting at you from the dance floor, drunk people will always be around.
The worst thing sometimes is when drunk people start fights on the dance floor, or at least somehow start ruining the night for the others on the dance floor. There’s some unspoken duty for the DJ to take care of it somehow, or at least communicating it.
Requests from guests
Requests from guests is sometimes annoying but there are certain types of events where there are a lot of requests consistently.
This is definitely the downside to DJing certain gigs. My main issue within requests is that sometimes it breaks my focus and find it hard to get back into the vibe again.
Trust in the right industry people
It’s as simple as that, you can’t always trust people in general. Industry people within business can sometimes put business first and not you.
It’s a fact of life, there are going to be some relationships that you have that don’t turn out the way you thought they were on the face of it.
Running costs (business aspects)
Costs of running around to different gigs and paying for travel can add up over time. Whether it be train tickets, petrol or airplane tickets, the initial costs of getting to a gig can potentially put your money that you earn down.
Starting out this will be more of a challenge, but earning more money in the long run things are likely to even out a lot more. However that does depend on whether you’re running your own events which can be quite costly and risky at times.
Play gigs that you don’t want to
I’m sure there are some DJs that have a least one gig that they’ve played in the past that have said that they didn’t want to or didn’t enjoy that much.
There might be personal reasons because of feeling ill or not enjoying the travel to the venue. It’s all part of DJing as a “job”, there will be gigs that you don’t want to play.
Remember, it’s not all about the money, it’s about the music, or at least whatever motivates you.
We go back to the initial question, is DJing awesome or NOT awesome?
Here are my thoughts…
DJing is Awesome! I love it, the buzz of DJing and getting people to dance like crazy people is such as rush for me.
My advice to DJs and aspiring DJs out there is to figure out and manage the downsides to DJing. Having expectations of the negatives is good, but having an idea on how to overcome the negatives is an amazing thing that you can do.
Is becoming a DJ Hard?
Learning DJing skills is technically not too hard, especially when learning from a DJ course. The business aspects of becoming a full time DJ can be challenging and require knowledge but more importantly persistence, for example networking with people takes some time.
How do I get a job as a DJ?
Networking with a lot of industry people can really help allow DJs to find work. At the same time as networking, working on building a brand and following can really help influence gaining DJing work too. Making contacts with other DJs can help too as work might be passed on as a result.