1. The job starts long before we press play
Client relations, library organization, site visits, playlist creation, contract creation and revisions, and software and equipment purchasing are just a few of the vital things DJs must do before a gig. Prepping and playing a gig can be fun, but even the most enjoyable parts can feel like a chore.
2. Getting paid can be tricky
Depending on the gig and the client terms, some of us don’t get paid until 30, 60, and sometimes 90 days after the event, especially for corporate gigs. This isn’t always the case, and as you grow your career, you can write better contracts and set better terms. But many working DJs don’t see their money until weeks after the gig.
3. We are our own roadies
Until we’re headlining shows and can offer more than beer money to the homies who carry our gear, we are our own disgruntled roadie, sound guy, and lighting tech. Lugging in heavy equipment an hour before and after a gig, where you then stand in one place for 2-6 hours, will wear on your body. Stretching, rest, and Ibuprofen become your best friends.
4. Addiction is common
This isn’t often talked about. Many gig environments are late nights in places that are abundant in alcohol and drugs. Working in this environment, surrounded by free booze and substances, can have long-lasting effects on those who struggle with addiction. It’s not always easy to see, but addiction is real among many DJs.
5. It really is one of the best jobs in the world
To be a DJ is to share your personal and cultural tastes; the DJ is dancing with everyone. There is an unmatched feeling of playing music that you’ve worked so hard to prepare/produce for the enjoyment of everyone there. This is why we DJ!
Written by Sam Kofa