How to Get Gigs as an Up-and-Coming DJ

How to Get Gigs as an Up-and-Coming DJ

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of booking your first paid gig as an aspiring DJ. By this, we mean the type of show that takes things beyond your own living room, or your best mate’s party with a few dozen attendees.

That all-important first gig really is day one of your professional DJ career. All well and good, but you quickly learn just how much competition there is for available slots, when looking to catch the attention of promoters and club owners.

Whatever type of DJ you want to be, there are basically two ways you can approach getting gigs. One of which is to adopt a passive approach, the other is a more active approach. Though of course, it goes without saying that the most effective option of all is a combined approach.

Active Ways to Get DJ Gigs

As the name suggests, an ‘active’ approach to getting DJ gigs involves directly putting yourself to promoters and club owners. There are various ways of going about this, including the following options:

Getting in touch with club owners directly through their websites or social media pages

Reaching out to established promoters and presenting them with samples of your work

Contacting local DJ agencies and event planners who source DJs and musicians

Networking online to find the contact details of those who hire DJs for events

Posting paid ads online and conducting an e-mail marketing campaign

The issue with the active approach to getting DJ gigs is the way in which it can be difficult to get your request through the door. Particularly when it comes to larger clubs and venues, managers and promoters have a tendency to be inundated with requests from aspiring DJs.

Understandably, they simply do not have the time to sit around and listen to (or watch) the samples sent in by each and every prospective performer. In fact, they don’t even bother giving most of them a second glance.

This doesn’t mean that the active approach isn’t beneficial. Far from it, as you cannot expect all the gigs in the world to fall directly into your lap as an aspiring DJ. It simply means that you have to target the right people at the right times – smaller venues, local events and so on. And while doing so, you also need to ensure that you have your passive game in order.

Passive Ways to Get DJ Gigs

The passive approach to getting DJ gigs lies in mastering the art of selling without selling. This is where you present yourself as an irresistible prospect and let the quality of your work do the talking.

Examples of passive ways to get DJ gigs include the following:

Build and maintain an active presence on all major social media channels

Stream live on a regular basis to showcase your live-performance talents

Post mixers and samples of your best work online as regularly as possible

Try to get local media coverage online and in magazines

Showcase your talents for free if necessary at local events

Work on building a recognisable brand and an established audience of listeners online

In short, it’s a case of building the kind of portfolio and presence that speaks for itself. With the passive approach, you gradually build a profile that naturally sells your talents and your services to promoters. At which point, it becomes much easier to win them over with an active pitch.

You approach them looking for gigs, you have an established profile as an up-and-coming DJ to watch, and they see in an instant you’re the real deal. After which, the rest pretty much takes care of itself.

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