How to start your DJ career: The fast way
How to start your DJ career: The fast way
So, you want to become a DJ, travel the world and play incredible music to amazing people. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Yet, at the same time it is possible and many thousands of people enjoy their life as jet-setting DJs. It is possible!
If you want to live the DJ lifestyle and experience life to the fullest, you need to learn how to DJ but also how to launch your DJ career. Luckily for you, you’re reading the right blog!
I have taught thousands of DJs since 2008 and I’ve seen what makes some DJs a success and what obstacles stop the rest. If you heed my advice in this blog you can start your DJ career, and do it in record time. Learn from me and you’ll have your DJ career established in less time and with a higher success rate.
In this blog I will uncover the secrets of how to establish yourself as a DJ, travel the world for free and life your life to the absolute fullest. Let’s get started!
Step One - Learn how to DJ, fast
Firstly, you’ll need to learn how to DJ. The fastest way to learn how to DJ is by taking one-to-one tuition like we offer here at London Sound Academy. One-to-one DJ courses offer you the flexibility to learn on your own schedule. At LSA, we offer DJ lessons seven days a week from morning till night. This means, even if you work a 9-5, you can always find time to learn how to DJ.
There are many online DJ courses and DJ courses at colleges or institutions but they are frankly a waste of your time. If you’re in a group class you’ll learn at a slower pace and the lessons won’t be tailor-made to suit your style of music. One-to-one mentorship is customised to the individual student and this means you’ll learn in more depth and much faster.
Not only would you learn how to DJ faster but you’d also benefit immensely from the advice and experience of your DJ tutor. All the DJ tutors at LSA are practicing DJs with a wealth of real-life experience. You can ask them anything! What better way to launch your DJ career than learning from others who have already done it?
Step Two - Learn how to produce.
Have you ever noticed, all the famous DJs who headline massive festivals like Tomorrowland have released music? Being a DJ just isn’t enough to establish your DJ career. You need to become an artist by releasing your own music and remixes. This is how DJs build a fan base and fans equal bookings!
At LSA, our DJ course students normally start by completing the Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and Elite DJ Courses. Then, once they are secure in their DJ practice it’s time for music production.
Having a good foundation in DJing will help when learning how to produce electronic music. You’ll be a few steps ahead.
Once again, one-to-one tuition is the fastest way to learn how to produce your own music. Speed is really important here because some people just never really conquer the skill fast enough and get bogged down in self-doubt. The producers I witness making the biggest gains are the ones that learn faster with a crash-course. The speed of the learning curve gives you adrenaline and you’ll want to go further and further.
Learning how to produce is like learning a language, anyone can do it, but you have to be dedicated. Keep chipping away by learning new skills every day. Set yourself a task to learn three new music productions skills everyday. You’ll soon be able to produce fluently.
Step Three - Get DJ gigs.
Now that you can DJ and produce you need to build up experience performing for a live audience. If you want a DJ career you need to know that DJ performances are a skill in itself. Just because you’re a good DJ or producer doesn’t mean you’ll be good at performance. Think of this as a skill you need to obtain.
Constructively, critique your own performances and set goals to improve. Ask your friends and fans what you think you need to work on. Be open to criticism and don’t take it personally.
Now I’m not going to lie. Getting your first DJ gigs is tough and many DJs fail at this obstacle and never take their DJ career any further.
Luckily for our students at London Sound Academy we organise DJ gigs in London at famous venues like Ministry of Sound, Egg and XOYO alongside music festivals and international DJ tours. This is by far the easiest way to access DJ gigs so if you’re able to come to London for tuition click here.
If you’re not able to join LSA you should take action to find your own DJ gigs. There are so many ways you can do this and most of them will probably fail, keep exhausting all the possible options open to you and never give up! Remember, DJ gigs aren't a career in itself, and many people play for free for experience sake. This is all good and well to begin with but once you're more established you need to find paid DJ work.
Most people fail in establishing a DJ career because they simply give up, indulge in self-pity and apathy or just never get off the couch! Think of your DJ career as a full-time job, in fact give up your other job and dive in deep if you want to make it!
Okay, that might be a bit extreme, right? But honestly, the people who actually do concentrate on their DJ careers full-time will obviously get ahead of those who don’t. If your dream really is to become a successful DJ you should consider going full-time. You’ll be amazed how fast you can progress if it’s your sole focus.
Now back to gigs. If you’re not able to get gigs through a DJ academy like LSA I suggest that you click here for my list of ways to find DJ gigs.
Step Four - Start your own event
I would like to highly recommend one of the best ways to get DJ gigs. Book yourself!
If you want to launch your DJ career, one of the best things to do is start your own club night or DJ event. This way, you can book yourself to DJ and use the event as leverage to network with other DJs, bookers, promoters and people in the music industry.
Having your own event, record label or music business can really help you go beyond just DJing. A DJ career often actually comprises many side-hustles that all connect together. Once you have your own event or crowd you can book other DJs to perform with the agreement that you play at their event. This will greatly increase your marketing reach and introduce you to new audiences.
Your DJ name or brand will now preliterate at a faster pace and this will help you get noticed for more gigs. Play your cards right and this effect will reach a tipping point and start to snowball.
Second to the increased exposure, your event might enable you to become financially independent and free up more time for your DJ career. Many promoters are DJs and producers and this golden triangle can be the cornerstone of your DJ career.
Step Five - Go international
If you really want to make the big time, go international. International headliners command higher fees and can easily rake in tens of thousands per gig. Not to mention, how fun would it be to travel the world for free and experience incredible people at music events?
The best way to become an international act and successful DJ is to release a hit record. This is why music production is so important for DJs who want to launch their fulltime careers. You’re simply not going to make it as a big-time DJ if you’re not producing music, and producing music that people want to hear! Your production career should be a main focus if you want to gain international recognition.
If you’re looking for international DJ experience one of the fastest ways is to invite DJs from other countries to play at your club night. Organise a ‘gig swap’ and you can both benefit from the international exposure and cross pollination of your respective fan bases.
Other promoters will also notice your international appeal and take you more seriously as a potential act. You can charge a higher fee and you’ll work your way closer to the headline slot.
Step Six - Build a fan base like an industry pro.
One of the essential skills of successful DJs in business acumen. Let’s face it, it’s called the music BUSINESS for a reason. You can’t deny that this is a money-making venture for most people. You want to become finically independent and the only way to do this is to make some cash. Don’t be ashamed to want this, you can still be artistic and pay the bills at the same time.
There are so many incredible artists who make the most amazing music and perform like DJ gods, yet they never make it. What is the difference? In my experience the difference is the willingness to explore the business side of the music industry and to invest money into the pursuit financial freedom, and therefore creative freedom.
Financial freedom and creative freedom really do go hand in hand so don’t forget that. It’s rare to successfully have one without the other.
Spend some time brainstorming some business and marketing ideas. Think of businesses that link closely with your DJ career. Common ventures would include; events, radio shows, music PR, graphic design and artist management. If you're mostly gigging on the weekend there should be ample time within your 'working' week to explore potential business opportunities. These businesses can act as vehicles to help you market yourself as an artist.
Marketing is a key skill that all DJs, producers and artists need to invest in. I know many excellent producers who are making incredible music, yet no one ever hears it. It's really a massive shame. It would be better for these artists to invest time in marketing just one track. Instead of just constantly moving onto the next track in the hope of a lucky break, learn how to properly release one track. You only need one hit to launch you into the public eye. Once you have that hook, invest money in marketing.
To launch a successful DJ career you need to learn how to get press attention. Make sure you research how to write create a press kit, biography, USP and narrative for your projects. Harness any press or PR connections you can access, seek them out at all costs.
In all my years teaching new DJs and producers, and watching some flourish and some wither I have learnt one thing. You need to do a 'doer' If you sit on the fence, give into apathy or laziness, other DJs will leave you in their smoke. You really need to grab the bull by the horns, commit your full and undivided attention and shoot for the moon! Go get it. Start your DJ career today.