Most of our articles from the Beatsource Breakdown series have focused on what to do to succeed as a DJ, but sometimes it’s helpful to know what not to do. In our 20-plus years in the DJ industry, we’ve seen talented DJs fail to reach their potential for various reasons. So, what are some common pitfalls, and how do you avoid them? Below are five ways to ruin your DJ career.
1. Be a jerk
The golden rule reigns supreme here. Your reputation is just as important as your DJ skills, and the easiest way to lose bookings is by being a jerk and turning off others.
2. Stop practicing
Practicing consistently sharpens your skills and ears. You risk getting stale and sloppy when you stop practicing and rely solely on gigs for time behind the decks.
3. Stop digging
It’s easy for your DJ sets to turn stale if you aren’t constantly adding music to the mix. If you play the same tracks the same way every set, you will lose bookings. Keep your sets fresh by constantly adding music to your crates.
4. Undercut other DJs
It’s a struggle for new DJs to book gigs, but the wrong way is to find out what a competing DJ is getting paid and offer the client or venue to do it for less. This is called undercutting, and it’s frowned upon in the industry. Of course, when you first start DJing, your rates will be low, but you shouldn’t maliciously undercut DJs to get booked. You’ll create a bad reputation for yourself.
5. Drinking too much
Many DJs drink alcohol during their sets, but there’s a fine line between getting loose and wasted. No client or club promoter wants to see their DJ blacked out. Stay focused, and remember that while DJing is fun, it’s still a job.
Written by Styles Davis