What is a DJ Residency? Plus Advice for DJs


You might be thinking what a DJ residency is if you’re new to DJing especially.

A DJ residency is a regular DJ slot at a club or bar. DJs are employed by a club or event manager as a “resident” DJ to play on a monthly or fortnightly basis. Featuring regularly at club nights, “resident” DJs usually make a name for themselves becoming well known by club goers.

It might be your aspiration to become a resident DJ at a bar or at one of your favourite clubs. You’ll be surprised that not all resident DJs are superstar DJs or DJ at mega clubs.

Let’s delve deeper into what a resident DJ is and how to attain a regular DJ slot, plus more tips too.

Superstar or Newcomer DJ?

From experience, I’ve noticed that there are DJs out there that are not just Superstar DJs, but newcomer DJs that are up and coming.

The types of clubs that I’ve seen up and coming DJs that play regular DJ slots as a “resident” DJ include Student Unions, local bars and some large clubs e.g. Ministry of Sound.

The Superstar DJ, or well known DJs, are more often seen in clubs or bars in prime time slots. For example, Friday night or Saturday night slots at Fabric London.

Contract or Full Time Slot?

As a resident DJ you might be able to secure a regular slot fully employed by the club. As a full time resident DJ, you’ll be featured on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly slot.

You may be put on quieter nights such as mid-week or early sets on busier nights, all depends on how well known you are as a DJ and how much experience you have.

Some DJs might be more well known and might be more desirable to club owners and event managers. Therefore may be hired on a contract basis to feature at a particular club for X amount of nights during a season.

My example here is Ibiza. A lot of well known DJs will be employed by specific clubs on the island of Ibiza. The music season is limited over the popular months and so DJs will head back to their home countries to potentially DJ at another residency or travel from country to country, not in a residency.

“Resident” DJs are a Form of Marketing

Staying on the theme of Ibiza, it’s only a small island with a tonne of high calibre electronic music clubs. Which means a lot of competition to sell club night tickets and draw the crowds.

In a way attracting DJs as “resident” DJs is almost a sort of move that football clubs do when they buy football players. The statement is bold, and means that clubs are saying “if you want to come and see this DJ play, then buy a ticket and come to our club“.

Advice to Wannabe Resident DJs

Find Your “In” & Show Your Value

By finding your “In”, you need to be creative and find ways in which you can build trust with club owners or event managers.

Working for the club, promoting certain nights, lending your expertise in other areas of your skill set e.g. mix engineer, designer or marketer. Anything that can help build rapport with the most influential people at the club or bar you want to be a resident DJ will help.

Networking with people that work at the club events too is important. Usually making friends with people you’re naturally going to party with them too and likely show off your DJing skills to them too. Point being, they might be able to recommend you as a DJ to the club owner.

It’s Not Easy, Be Persistent!

If music and DJing is your absolute passion then you must not give up trying to become a resident DJ.

If you hover around a club or at least the local music scene for long enough then you’re likely to get a break at some point.

You see it’s a mix of networking, persistence, hard work and becoming a really well rounded confident DJ. All of those things align sometimes and give you the opportunity to become a resident DJ. Even if you start with a few gigs to begin with, take that and then see where it goes.

Build a Following

This is a classic method of showcasing that you’re a DJ with some social clout. Building up a following and DJ brand name will help boost your status and show that if you’re put on the regular club night slots you’re likely be able to have some influence the numbers of attendees to clubs events.

I’d say that this knowledge of a DJ having a strong following might put someone in good stead as a DJ. Therefore you’re more likely to have a longer standing DJ slot at a club if you’ve got a decent reputation and brand awareness.

Support Promotion of Club Nights

As an aspiring resident DJ or even a DJ with a residency, it’s important to help promote the club events to some extent. Making the club owners aware of the nights is important too so that they are aware of your influence.

Be Flexible in the Music You Play

One of the biggest tips I’d say from knowing a couple of resident DJs is that being a resident DJ is an important role for a club.

You be of the opinion that being a “warm up” DJ that starts the night or a DJ that plays the last slot after all the headliners is a bad thing.

Be the warm up DJ is important. You’re the DJ that sets the tone for the night. Playing to heavy music might just burn out the crowd or even steel the thunder of headliner DJs.

Closing the night is important too because the attendees of the club might want a more chilled vibe or keep partying hard.

You see, it’s all about reading the crowd, especially as a resident DJ.

Tailoring the music to the crowds desire is a valuable skill that DJs need to acquire.

Related Questions

How much do resident DJs make?

Resident DJ earnings depend on the DJ’s experience, the size of the club and size of club event. DJs can charge per hour ranging from £20 to £500 an hour. Small bars will pay less, clubs and super clubs will likely pay a lot more.

What does DJing mean?

DJing means Disk Jockey. A DJing means playing music to an audience continuously blending in one track with another for any given amount of time. A DJ is to entertain a group of people at particular events or venues.

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