Everybody is a DJ these Days..

Today, it seems, that more and more DJ’s are popping up everywhere. Wherever you turn, someone who just got their laptop yesterday and are calling themselves DJ “Fillintheblank” or “Whatshisname” Studios and that should scare you. It scares me. Not just for the state of my business, but for the poor people who turn the reigns of one of the most important events in their life… to a novice. Anyone with half a brain can look great on “YouTwitFace” (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook) or have an amazing website, it’s all laid out there for you. Anyone can afford the gear. It actually takes the work out of it for you. Most of all, anyone can do it cheaper. What you can’t put a price tag on however is doing it right. Nobody wants to do the legwork to make sure that what is essentially the cornerstone of your event is the best value for your dollar. What I hope to do is give you my 30 years of professional entertainment experience and arm you with the right information and questions to ask besides “How much?”

In this world of lightening fast information at our fingertips, there are many websites to give you tips on what to look for in hiring a professional for your affair. Unfortunately, there are just as many disinformation websites as well. Years ago, professionals were found by good old fashioned word of mouth and leg work. The biggest difference between then and now is that then… you couldn’t fake it! Now, the equipment makes is so simple. It’s easy to get sucked in by flashy marketing and cheap price point.  I want to start by describing what a professional will do for you and your affair.

First of all, theres a big difference between pushing play on a controller and being able to entertain a room full of strangers on any given night. No two parties are the same. Each night has its different nuances and audiences. A professional will have multiple ideas to help you maximize your time, make music suggestions, understand the vibe you’re trying to create, make proper name pronunciations and have tools to help their client achieve this in a easy and non stressful way.  Each venue has their unique way of formatting an evening. A professional will know instantaneously what format the venue runs, what kind of crowd they have (older, younger, country lovers, country haters, club vibe or yacht rock) and they will know when and where to play certain songs to maximize their impact. A professional will also know how to work one on one with your maitre’d to ensure a smooth and relaxing evening for you and your guests. A professional will take the responsibility of the night out of your hands and allow you to enjoy your affair instead of managing every detail. We make 150 decisions that you pay us not to think of…oh…and we play music too.

To a professional this is not a hobby, this is what we do. A professional is properly insured and they’re available to answer any and all of your questions in a timely fashion. What makes your event a success is what happens in the days long before we come and set up the first speaker. The planning and expertise advice a professional will give is invaluable. A professional will use their extensive event knowledge to help make your event a effortless and flawless one. They have a passion for what they do and take what they do personally. I know that a lot of my professional colleges take the success of your event to heart. They will entertain everyone from 8 to 80 and work hard to do so. A professional also knows when to lay off the mic and let the party come to him instead of force his will on a party. A professional will not oversell you. They will offer you suggestions to fit your event and budget.

I say all of this because I’ve seen the opposite more and more these days. I’ve read the horror stories. I’ve helped people who’ve had their initial DJ choice disappear on them days out before their wedding. As a long standing professional, it angers me to see people do the business I love to make a quick buck of an unsuspecting client. I feel for each and every one of them.

Every website has a list of questions… they are generic and cookie cutter. Here are some questions I’ve created to ask your entertainer that may take them aback ..and their answers may surprise you.

  1. Were you DJing before 2004?  Why Ask: The advent of the laptop made it easier for everyone to be a DJ. It took off in 2004.
  2. Can we see you perform live?  Why Ask: Anyone can get lucky and show you a video of their greatest hits. I know we put our money where our mouth is live at showcases at least a dozen times a year.
  3. Ask about their music knowledge. Why Ask: If you need 50’s/60’s or Motown music and they come back with only 3 suggestions and get stuck, they may not know how to entertain an older crowd.
  4. Have you played our venue before? Why Ask: Being a long standing professional, we’ve played all of the top venues here in NJ and the tri-state area. Odds are we will know your room, how they run their format, how to set up in the room and maybe even who the maitre’d is for your event. All of this adds up to the immediate success of your affair.
  5. Is this your full time job? Why Ask: If this is how they make their living and they’ve been doing it a long time, its a safe bet that they are good at what they do.
  6. How Much? Make this the last question. Why? Because the most important part about your entertainer is their personality…thats what makes your guests feel comfortable.. thats why people enjoy themselves at events across the country…you cant get to know whether or not the entertainer will be successful without getting to know them beyond asking “How Much?” Then…when all the criteria I’ve listed above sounds and feels right, the price will work itself out for you too.

Lastly, this part is for you the consumer. If you do your homework, and give your entertainer the information they need to make your affair a success…..show up…relax…enjoy your party… that’s all… we will take it from there….