Open-Format DJing is a new term that I’ve come across in the last few years, more so because of going to a lot weddings. It’s an interesting way to describe a multi-genre DJ.
What is an Open-Format DJ? An Open-Format DJ, also known as a Multi-Genre DJ, plays and mixes a variety of music styles to cater for a wide range of audiences. For example, Open-Format DJs tailor music styles to the request of the club venue, student union, party organiser or wedding party.
To me this is not a style of DJing that suits my skillset, interests or personality. More so because I prefer DJing within a genre or niche music style. Let’s look into the Open-Format DJing in more detail to understand what it’s all about. You never know, this style of DJing could be up your street, certainly seems to me there’s money to be made from this style of DJing.
Where do Open-Format DJs play?
- Student Unions
- Hotel Bars
- Corporate Events
The list goes on to be honest, as Open-Format DJs play a wide variety of music it opens those DJs up to an absolutely wide variety of DJing gigs.
Examples of DJs in the Open-Format Style
Researching online, looking at forums and YouTube, it seems that A-Trak, DJ AM and DJ Yoda pop up a lot in search results for “Open-Format” DJ related searches. Noticeably, references such as “turntablist” are used to describe the cooler image and more well-known DJs. My perspective of an Open-Format DJ is also someone like DJ Jazzy Jeff or DJ Yoda, also DJ Shadow potentially.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be super well-known to be an Open-Format DJ, these DJs are just a few great examples of DJs that have done well for themselves. There are many amazing and talented DJs that are less well-known and play different types of gigs and venues. There are lots of opportunities out there to be successful.
As Open-Format DJs are multi-genre, the world is literally your oyster in terms of the amount of music available to play. Ideas around selecting music for your mix, or “set” as some people say, are endless.
Before we get stuck into the playlist examples, take a look at the diversity of genres of Open-Format DJs.
DJ MILO on Serato forum has shared their playlist with genres ranging from:
- Latin Pop
- Chill beach house
Here are some example music tracks from the above set list.
- Purple Disco Machine – Dished (Male Stripper)
- J Balvin – Reggaeton (DJDX Uptempo Edit)
- Beyonce ft Jay-Z – Crazy In Love (Intro Clean)
- J. Cole ft Miguel – Power Trip
- Dr. Dre ft Snoop Dogg & Akon – Kush
- Major Lazer ft J Balvin & Sean Paul – Buscando Huellas
See the whole set list here on the Serato Forum.
For more Open-Format DJ setlists that other DJs have shared see Serato’s Open-Format Genre by other DJs.
Tips for Open-Format DJing
- Practice quick & smooth transitions between different genres – unlike mixing and blending together just house music, Open-Format requires quicker transition. This benefits to audience listening to not listen to an awful clashing mix. Quick transitions help keep the momentum going, even if there is a tempo drop.
- Be creative – old school with new music, acapellas, remixes and even making your own edits of tunes. People love a different take on a popular and well known track. It keeps the music interesting for the audience and gets people on the dance floor. It will certainly show off your skills too.
- Segment sets – by this I mean split sets by 15 minute intervals of specific genres. This will certainly help support with the above point about transitions. I feel this would certainly give a better flow of music in a mix and also give you a break from doing quick transitions all throughout the set.
- Backup your music library – as you will likely be playing longer sets than a genre specific DJ set, it’s without a doubt worth backing up your songs onto another USB drive, USB pen or even CDs.
- Read the crowd – some DJs share their opinions about this a lot, even if they aren’t Open-Format DJs, it seems to me that DJing all genres would play a bigger part in your DJing. Over time you’ll likely get know what each crowd is like and what songs people are likely to react well to. So make sure you read the crowd, play some bangers and get the crowd singing and dancing.
- Requests – in some cases where you DJ as an Open-Format DJ you’ll likely get people asking you to play specific songs. I’ve seen this many a time in student unions, weddings and corporate events. I’ve read online that a great tip for this is simply have a pen and pad for people to write down their requests. Be proactive, get the requests in early so that people can enjoy your DJ set.
- Spotify – depending on the venue and the type setup for your set, before playing, a few days before an event get the organiser to allow people to add their requests onto a Spotify list. This is easy for DJs to understand genres and get a feel for the music tastes of the people attending.
Open-Format DJ Agencies
There are plenty of DJ agencies online that connect DJs with bar owners, club night organisers and even hotels. So if you’re looking to make some money and get into DJing as a side hustle or progress into DJing as a full time profession, here are some agencies I’ve found online for you.
Where can I find Open-Format mixes?
It’s possible to find Open-Format mixes online including websites such as SoundCloud, Mixcloud, Spotify and YouTube.