Smart DJ Tips: How to Handle “Bad” Requests

July 15, 2017 by Jason Rubio

As a DJ, one thing is for sure: you’ll always get requests! For bar/club DJs, you can handle them pretty much any way you like. You can have a tip jar, which actually deters requests (I’ve done it) or you can just take the request and let them know if you’ll have time to play it or not. If it’s a bad song, that doesn’t fit at all with what you’re playing, just tell the customer this. I’ve had customers offer me a great tip to play something, but I knew it would totally kill the vibe, so I didn’t take their tip and didn’t play it (I explained why). Other times, I knew it would kill the vibe, but the customer’s tip was too good to pass up, so I made an announcement about the song request, who it was for and then played it. It’s hard to pass up amazing tips! 🙂 This is the easy part about handling song requests.

For mobile DJs, it’s very different. You often meet with your clients ahead of time and get their music requests before the event. We require everything to be turned in 21 days before the event. This allows us time to go through the list and see what they want. We’ve had clients request 20-30 slow songs, or clients who had “eclectic” music taste and literally requested songs that I’ve never heard of. They’ll say “I don’t want to hear the same songs as everyone else. So they request all the “B sides” that no one has ever heard. When this happens, what do you do? For me, I’ll review the list and send the client feedback. I’ll directly ask them “do you want all these slow songs played during the dance portion, or can I play them during the dinner or cocktail hour?” I advise them to play 1-2 slow songs per hour, to keep the party fun.

If we get that “B sides” client, I’ll say “I noticed that you have a lot of must-play songs. I’ll be happy to play them. When do you want them played?” If they say, I want to hear them during the dance or “all night” I just say “okay, no problem. What do you want us to do if no one is dancing? Do you want us to stick to your list, or is it okay to play other songs/genres?” We literally had this happen a few weeks ago, but the bride insisted that she wanted a “different wedding” and said we can only play her songs (she had an extensive list). We did this, but after about 30 minutes of people not really dancing, we approached her and asked the exact same question about sticking to the list. At that point, the bride said “I know what I said, but never mind, please just play whatever you think will get people dancing.” We did and of course, it worked.

These are just some ways we handle requests. What do you do? Leave a comment if you have more questions or feedback and I’ll be happy to reply!

Jason Rubio Jason Rubio (58 Posts)

Jason Rubio is the co-owner and founder of Austin’s Best DJs, a professional DJ & photo booth company that provides music and entertainment for events in the Austin and central Texas area. Jason started his DJ career as a mobile DJ, at age 13, in 1991, and has since DJ’ed thousands of events, providing music and entertainment for clubs, bars, radio, concerts, festivals and various other events. In addition to writing for Mobile Beat, Jason also writes for “The DJ Insider” for Rent My Wedding Magazine. Jason is also a graduate of Texas State University with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Education, as well as a Master’s of Public Administration, from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Though Jason worked in the education field since 2003, he continued to DJ public and private events, and later founded Austin’s Best DJs & Photo Booths, with his wife, Diana, who also DJs, in 2012. Today, Austin’s Best DJs provides music and entertainment for approximately 300 public and private events per year, in the Austin and central Texas area. Visit us: www.AustinsBestDJs.com


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