Finding My Niche: Seniors DJing and Singing for the “classic” demographic By Jim Papa

March 15, 2013 by Megan Fry

We all know that every DJ in the world, no matter how accomplished, must have a working mb148_060system in place to insure that they book new events. Some DJs work hard but struggle to get new or repeat business. Those who do may be trying too hard to emulate their competitors’ success by offering the same kind of and services. Unless they are willing to undercut every other DJs’ prices, without a track record or referral it can be extremely hard to compete
and almost impossible to win.

But why struggle like this when you don’t have to? To book more events and earn what you deserve you should figure out what you are good at and then put a plan in place to offer your skills and services in a unique way. That’s what I did and before I knew it I found my niche.
I started working as a part-time KJ for others in the early 1990s. After a year or two I bought my first DJ/karaoke system and performed as a DJ, karaoke host and a singer for all types of events. In time I gained experience and began to book gigs as a single-op DJ and a singer on a full-time basis. It started slowly, but eventually I got my name out there and my bookings grew to where I am today. Now I average over 225 events per year and have done so for the last 5 years. Although I continue to work all types of events, requiring all types of music, I’ve developed a specialty of providing music for senior citizens and groups of people who enjoy songs from the 1940s through the 1980s.

ENTERTAINING THE GREATEST GENERATION

Before you dismiss working for seniors as low-paying or somehow not as credible as weddings, corporate events or other events primarily attended by a 20- to 40- year-old crowd, let me point out some interesting facts. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2010, there are approximately 113 million people in the United States between the ages of 18 and 44. There are 81 million people between the ages of 45 and 64 and another 40 million people over the age of
65. Combined, there are approximately the same amount of people in the United States who are between the ages of 18 and 44 as there are people the ages of 45 and up. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census Summary File 1)

You can see that there are a lot of people who happen to be over the age of 45; and many may have a reason to hire a DJ. Organizations that cater to seniors plan entertainment for their members all of the time. Seniors enjoy all types of music, but like every generation, they tend to prefer the music they grew up with. And although seniors frequently leave the party planning to others, they can also be very influential with recommendations to their friends and family.

PERFORMANCE CONSIDERATIONS

To successfully perform at a senior facility or any type of party for senior citizens you must be able to provide music from the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. In addition you should be able to mix in some of the most popular hits since the 1970s, as well as some of today’s music. Senior celebrations include family members of all age groups and the staffs of health care facilities tend to be younger. If you play recent hits that are popular, clean and upbeat, chances are the younger people will react by getting involved. If they dance, sing or even clap their hands the seniors will enjoy the interaction and do what they can to be part of the fun. As long as you play a majority of songs that they grew up with, they rarely, if ever, will notice or care if a song is brand new or just a few years old. They just want to have a good time.

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Megan Fry (12 Posts)


Filed Under: Business, Issue #148