Thursday, March 26, 2009

What To Expect From Your DJ

Your DJ is an integral part of your event. An experienced, professional DJ will play several roles before and during the event to ensure that it will be a fun and memorable celebration.

Sound Technician

First, your DJ is responsible for delivering a sound system to the site of your event. He or she will assemble the sound system, conduct a sound check of the area and make sure everything is working and sounding great before your first guest arrives. This represents a lot of time, energy and work on the part of your DJ that very few people will see during the course of your event. In fact, this process may take several hours depending on travel time and the physical layout of the venue. In this sense, you have hired your DJ to be a delivery person and a sound technician.

Only through experience can one really understand the challenges and nuances of setting up electrical sound equipment in a safe manner that is out of the way of your guests, and making adjustments to provide the clearest possible sound. An experienced DJ will be able to do this in rooms of various shapes and sizes, inside or outside, making necessary adjustments throughout the event as people come and go (people in the room coming and going can change the way sound will travel). Your DJ will continually adjust the sound throughout the event so that your guests won’t be made uncomfortable by feedback, sound that is too high pitched or that may have too much bass, or is simply not well balanced. This is what many in the industry have traditionally called “sound mixing”, although the term now has several different interpretations.

Announcements and Coordination

Second, your DJ is responsible for making all necessary announcements throughout the event so that your guests and other vendors know what is going to happen. Photographers, for example, don’t appreciate when a DJ goes ahead with an unannounced portion of the event that might cause them to miss meaningful photos. Your DJ acts as the emcee of your party making sure that everything you want to happen, happens in an orderly way. Often your DJ will be playing and mixing pre-selected music while at the same time making announcements or facilitating festivities. This means that your DJ needs to be comfortable multi-tasking while coming off smooth, calm and collected. A DJ who effectively fulfills the role of coordinator and announcer will create a flow to the celebration and avoid a choppy, haphazard feel to the event.

A professional DJ will be prepared. Preparation is the key to making announcements at the appropriate time and ensuring that all that you want to happen, happens in smooth order. Preparation time is time well spent. Your DJ should communicate with you before your event to get from you the information necessary to act as emcee. There are various ways to go about planning. Some DJ services have online planning tools, many have planning documents that are completed by the client and returned to the DJ. Often a DJ will meet personally with their client to go over the details of the event. Your DJ will also be communicating with other vendors during the event to be sure everyone is on the same page for each planned festivity.

Music Selection and Engaging the Crowd

The third role is what most people think of when they imagine their DJ at work. He or she will be selecting music that reflects your musical tastes and will produce a fun and active celebration. Your DJ also needs to gauge the extent to which your guests need to be engaged and encouraged to get up and dance! Your DJ should be first and foremost concerned with the type of music you and your guests want to hear and dance to. Too many DJ’s show up with their own prescribed notion of what will be a fun time without consulting their clients. A professional DJ knows how to engage guests and encourage an active dance floor but without being obnoxious or too overwhelming. A pro will always remember that the celebration is not about the DJ but about you, your family and guests and will be more than willing to respect your choice of music.

Your DJ will, with your guidance, create the musical atmosphere you wish to have at your event. An experienced DJ knows that music has a powerful affect on the psychology of the group and therefore can influence the flow of the celebration. He or she needs to be able to “read the crowd” as quickly as possible and gain insight into what motivates guests to have fun. Your DJ will constantly monitor the energy level in the room and speed things up or slow things down when necessary. A pro will be sensitive to the diversity represented in the crowd (age differences, ethnic differences, etc.) and be sure to play music during the event that will be enjoyed by everyone. Be sure to ask your DJ how he or she prepares for the music selection of the event. Ask about the process that allows you to give input, song selections and how your DJ will incorporate requests from your guests. Be sure to mention, too, which types of music or specific song selections are NOT to be played.

A professionally operated DJ service will enable (and encourage) you to get to know your DJ and how he or she operates before the event. Don’t hesitate to communicate with your DJ by phone, website planning tools, email or a personal meeting. Your DJ will be glad to answer all of your questions because this type of communication leads to the effective fulfillment of the three roles discussed in this article. Remember, your DJ is your partner in planning and wants, more than anything, to give you a celebration that you will fondly remember forever.

Click here if you want to learn more about our DJ service or receive a price quote for your upcoming event!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Billboard's Moneymakers

All DJ’s must love music in order for them to be effective. A good DJ should be humble enough to understand that without songwriters, artists, and everyone involved in producing music, we would be without the stuff that enables us to make a living. So keeping tabs on the dynamics of the music industry comes second nature for a serious pro.

I found an article in the March 5, 2009 Wall Street Journal that listed the highest revenue generating artists of 2008. Just thought my clients and readers might be interested in the results. Keep in mind that most artists spend gobs of money on business expenses such as agents, promoters, event planners, set-up staff, technicians, drivers, etc. But the numbers show that for these superstars – the music industry is still a pretty good gig if you can get it. For almost all of the artists, touring generated the most revenue.

Billboard’s Moneymakers List 2008

1) Madonna: $242,176,466
2) Bon Jovi: $157,177,766
3) Bruce Springsteen: $156,327,964
4) The Police: $109,976, 894
5) Celine Dion: $99,171,237
6) Kenny Chesney: $90,823,990
7) Neil Diamond: $82,174,000
8) Rascal Flatts: $63,522,160
9) Jonas Brothers: $62,638,814
10) Coldplay: $62,175,555
11) The Eagles: $61,132,213
12) Lil Wayne: $57,441,334
13) AC/DC: $56,505,296
14) Michael Buble: $50,257,364
15) Miley Cyrus: $48,920,806
16) Taylor Swift: $45,588,730
17) Journey: $44,787,328
18) Billy Joel: $44,581,010
19) Mary J. Blige: $43,472,850
20) Kanye West: $42,552,402

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