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Everybody is a DJ

Freak 2[heading style=”1″]How to stand out![/heading]

How to stand out in a world where more and more people are becoming DJs and producers. Djing has come a long way from Technics Turntables and Pioneer CDJs. Todays DJing software makes it so easy and cheap to start “working” as a DJ that alot of the fulltime professional or upcoming DJs get worried about their future and rightfully so. So in theory every kid with a bit of talent and an Ipad can rock a party or spend the money for a Native Instruments Traktor controller and he or she is set – a real DJ, right? I guess it depends on what perspective you see it from. Let´s define the role of the DJ from a perspective that many miss out on:

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The Average Club Guy. ACG. While alot of oldschool DJs say that real turntables are a must and make fun of the new generation and their toys the Average Club Guy won´t care. Sure, they might think it has a nostalgic or cool touch to it if they ever come close enough to see you´re spinning vinyl but most won´t care about it. Matter of fact most ACGs won´t care about the DJ since they are too busy dancing, talking to their friends and mingling.

They don´t care for you but they very much care for themselves, that is unless of course they came just to see you in which case you are one level above most DJs that are merely side-show entertainers. You are a recognizable brand. A known name maybe. Or a small star even. A niche player or a genre authority. Whatever it is, if people come to the club to see you just leveled up from a no-one to a somebody.  Which leads us to:
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Lesson I – Differentiate from the mainstreamDrown Hipsters in the Mainstream by ~A2HN Digital Art / Vector / Conceptual Series "Drown Hipsters in the Mainstream": thinking on Hipsters and their insertion into the mass. Base 80cm x 60cm (possible extension) / Photo Paper 230g. € 50 License Some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Don´t be “just another DJ”. Develop a name for yourself. Don´t be “the dj guy”. That means you need to decide for yourself if you are willing to build a profile for yourself and that involves not taking every gig that is offered and not working with everyone who wants to collaborate. To stand out from a crowd you need to do things different than than how most of the others do it but also you need to not move too far away from the crowd so you don´t end up isolated. The golden middle is belonging to a culture but positioning yourself as the leader of a sub-culture of that culture.
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Lesson II – Differentiate within your culture[note color=”#FFCC00″]Inventing your own sub culture.[/note]
So you are a part of a special “tribe” not the mainstream – good for you. Now you need to figure out a way how to stand WITHIN your tribe. The best way to do that is to ideally invent your own sub-culture. This culture must look, sound and feel different than what the other guys in your tribe do but again without alienate people too much and find the right dose of “different”.

Check out this Deadmau5 DJ Set to see how he uses visual, aesthetic and sounds cues to differentiate from the hundreds of others top techno djs out there.

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Lesson III – Listen and learn from your audience
This part is about learning from LISTENING to  your audience.  To really stand out from 99% of other DJs you can do what most don´t and that is to listen and adapt. Learn from your audience´s reaction and find what works best for what crowd at what time during the set and during the night. Find out why and change your sets accordingly. Music is all about emotions. In fact music is only about emotions and while your Average Club Guy/Girl may still care more about flirting and drinking than you as a person/dj they will still get influenced on a subconscious level and can be turned into fans.
[divider top=”0″]Lesson IV – Who makes decisions vs. Respect 

Sign in hallway Respect August 25, 2008

With a lot of DJs it´s about respect – respect from your friends, peers and whoever else is close to you. People whose opinion you respect. Sure, you want respect from your peers but what good is all the respect in the world when you don´t get paid, laid or have no fans EXCEPT your  friends and the other DJ  guys close to you. That´s why it is important to understand  who can really help you advancing your career and who to listen to. As a DJ you rely on several variables and from a career & business perspective it all starts with: the club owner/ event organizer.

arrow_6The Club Owner, Event Organizer is here to make money. Even if they love music, without enough money they couldn’t survive – they have to make ends meet. The three main revenue sources for them are: Admission sales (Tickets) Food & Beverage sales and Sponsors. (Think Red Bull and other beverage or lifestyle brands)  All three revenue sources depend on one main thing: people coming to the event. [divider top=”0″]
[quote style=”1″]”Clubs are weird places. Debauchery as a business model…”              Derrick Carter[/quote][divider top=”0″]

People come to the event because of advertisement, because they are regular customers OR because they are fans of the band/DJ playing there.

attention_allSo from a club owners perspective the DJ is the person who should PULL IN club guests and KEEP THEM so they eat & drinksimple as that.
If the line up is exceptional it´s also easier to get sponsors than if it´s just another night with the resident DJ.
[divider top=”0″] So the easier you can make it for the club owners to get paid the more bookings you will get. (DUH!) [divider top=”0″]
The key here is again the golden middle between being popular but not being viewed as a complete sell-out, which depends a lot on your credibility, past and future actions and how they are perceived by your original fan base.

Always remember: Haters will hate.But you need to do your thing.
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[highlight bg=”#DDFF99″ color=”#000000″]I hope this short article was helpful in getting some insight on how differentiation could work for you. What do you think, how would you, how do you stand out in the crowd of millions of DJs?[/highlight]

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