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How To Choose The Right Disc Jockey For Your Event
Choosing a disc jockey for your function is one of the most important decisions you can make to insure the success of the event. Everything else can be perfect, but if the music isn't good, the party will fizzle. Selecting the right disc jockey can be confusing. There are over 30,000 disc jockeys in America; all promising they will do a great job for you. So how do you pick the right one for you? This article will provide some guidance to help you make the decision easier.
The best and easiest way to find a disc jockey is to hire one you've already heard. If you've been to a wedding or a party where the disc jockey was great, find out who he or she was. If you didn't get their card, ask the host or the manager of the function room where the party was held.
If you haven't heard a good disc jockey recently, ask your friends. Your friends probably have the same taste in music as you. Maybe they have been to a function you missed. Let them know ahead of time that you are looking for one and ask them to keep their eyes and ears open.
If the first two suggestions don't work, your job gets tougher. You might have to go to the yellow pages. Look under Disc Jockeys, Wedding Planning and Entertainment. You may find disc jockeys listed under any one of these categories. Circle the ads in which the disc jockey mentions the type of party you are planning. For example, a disc jockey whose ad says "We specialize in weddings" would be a good one to call for a wedding reception. You will probably find several disc jockeys whose ads look good. How do you tell which one is the best? Probably the worst way to choose a disc jockey is on price alone. Some disc jockeys are more expensive than others. Prices can range from $100 to $2,000 for a four hour event. That's quite a difference, and it would be very tempting to choose the cheapest alternative. If that's all you can afford, then you have no choice. But consider the law of supply and demand. There is a reason some disc jockeys charge more money than others. They are usually worth it. They can charge more because they have a lot of jobs, and they have a good reputation. Generally, the disc jockeys on the low end of the price scale are new to the business and are trying to get established. They could do a great job, and might be worth a shot if your party is on the informal side. But there is probably more risk with a less experienced person.
As you speak with the disc jockeys, pay attention to their professionalism over the phone. It tends to spill over into their disc jockey style. The most important thing to ask about is their experience with your type of event. If you are planning an event like a wedding, school dance, or company party, it would be normal to expect a professional disc jockey to have performed for at least 20 of these events. A number in the hundreds is actually more common for a disc jockey that is well established.
Disc jockeys with less experience might also do a good job. And they'll usually cost less. If you talk to one who sounds interesting, ask them for references. Get five or six names and phone numbers of people who have recently hired them. Call these references and ask about the disc jockey's performance. Any disc jockey can easily give you two or three names. Getting more names is a better test of the quality of their performance. You might also ask the disc jockey if they are performing in a location where you could hear them. If so, make a visit, unannounced. Observe how the disc jockey interacts with the crowd. Are people having fun? Are people dancing? Is the music too loud? Is the disc jockey dressed appropriately? These are all good clues to the disc jockey's skills and personality. Always ask the disc jockey about their request policy. The best disc jockeys will take requests from the audience and work them into their routine. However, do not expect the disc jockey to play every request. Many requests are simply inappropriate for the mood of the event. A good disc jockey is not a jukebox, he will blend the requests with songs he feels will properly motivate the crowd. The art of Disc Jockeying is timing and this takes experience. Forcing a disc jockey to ignore his or her instincts by making them play every request will result in an "uneven" (and less fun) party. On the other hand, the disc jockey should try to play as many of your audience's requests as possible. Try to get a feel for their philosophy of requests as you interview them. It is also appropriate to give a disc jockey a list of five or six songs you "must have". Be careful not to make this list more than 15 or 20 songs.
Many disc jockeys boast about the number of songs they have. While variety is great, the fact is that they will only be able to play about 60 to 70 songs in a four hour show. Having the right 60 songs is a lot more important than having 20,000 songs your crowd doesn't want to hear. After you tell the disc jockey what type of party you are having and who the audience will be, ask them what type of music they'd suggest. You should feel comfortable with most of his or her selections.
Many disc jockeys also boast about having great equipment. Unless you are familiar with professional audio gear, you probably won't know the difference between which brands are great and which are budget. However, your disc jockey should at least have professional grade equipment. If they list brand names you are familiar with at the local electronics retailer, that is cause for further questioning. Home stereo equipment is not designed to stand up under four or five hours of high volume use. It could fail in the middle of your party! For example, typical professional disc jockey power amplifiers usually have 800 to 1200 watts per channel, where consumer amplifiers that are considered powerful may have only 100 watts per channel.
Some disc jockey companies have more than one disc jockey working for them. In this case, it's important to get references on the particular disc jockey who will be assigned to your show. Even if the company has been around for ten years, they might have hired your disc jockey last week. He might be a pro himself, or he might be newly trained. Be sure of whom you are getting.