Just like everything in life, DJing goes through seasons. One month you’re spinning 5 nights a week, and the next you’re sitting at home on the couch binge watching “The Get Down” on Netflix. Sometimes, these periods of fewer gigs can last a little longer than desired. Maybe your weekly spot closed its doors, or it’s a slow time of year on the mobile DJ front. Whatever the case, here are a few ways to survive the DJ “off-season” and use it to your advantage.
Polish Your Marketing Materials
When you’re busy spinning at clubs or events, it’s easy to ignore things like updating social media profiles, freshening up websites, and polishing promotional materials. However, a down time in your DJ career is the perfect time to tackle these tasks. Are your last professional headshots from 2010? Time to find a professional photographer and update those! Have you played at additional venues or events that aren’t listed on your Electronic Press Kit? Time to add them and possibly overhaul the entire thing. Does your DJ logo still match your current style and sound? If not, get to work on making a new one. Not only will a marketing refresh help keep you busy during slow periods, but it will help you book more gigs in the future, reducing the duration of future “off-seasons”.
DJs live to mix music. When you find yourself in the middle of a gig drought, one of the best ways to keep your spirits high is to turn out mixes! Set a goal to put out a mix every week or month and do your best to stick to it. Use the mixes to help keep your website and social media profiles updated with content. Not only will a regular mix schedule help keep your skills sharp, but you’ll also be able to stay on top of current music trends.
Even though making mixes in the studio is fun, it just doesn’t have that crowd interaction that DJs crave. Thankfully, live streaming video has gained popularity over the last few years, giving DJs the perfect platform to interact with fans while mixing live. Along with your audio mix schedule, create a schedule for live streaming mixes on Facebook or Periscope. Give your followers a heads-up a couple hours before you go live and encourage interaction and requests during your set. A great live streaming mix session is definitely not a substitute for a super-hype club crowd, but it’s definitely better than just DJing to your bedroom wall!
Work on Your Cuts
If you’ve been wanting to learn a new scratch or two, a slower than normal period in your DJ career is the perfect time to do so! Check out our previous article on how to use deliberate practice to become a better scratch DJ.
One of the best ways to drum up new gigs is to get out and network. Support the clubs and shows that you would like to spin at. Just don’t be that “hey, I DJ too” guy! Let relationships develop organically, and eventually you can work your way up to requesting a guest slot. If you’re a wedding DJ, visit a few bridal planners and venues. Introduce yourself and leave some of your newly redesigned marketing materials. If there are DJ meetups in your area (open deck nights, NAME meetings, etc.) attend them whenever possible. In the DJ game, “who you know” is key in developing new opportunities and booking gigs. So get out there and meet people!
When you’re not playing out anywhere, it’s easy to become unmotivated and “stuck in a rut”. Entering DJ contests is a great way to stay motivated and focused on a goal. If you’re into Thre3style or DMC battles, it’s never too early to start putting together elements for a set. Or, if you are more of a mix DJ, check out the competitions page on Mixcloud.com. Companies from a variety of industries (beer, automobiles, fast food, etc.) often post online DJ competitions to help boost their brand appeal. Hit the studio, put a mix together, and submit it. You never know what might happen, and you can’t win if you don’t try!
Organize Your Music Library
If you’re running out of hard drive space and your music organization leaves much to be desired, the DJ off-season is the perfect time to get things organized. Spend some time deleting duplicate tracks. Do you really need 12 remixes of that song that was hot 6 years ago? Probably not….delete them. If your DJ software uses “smart crates”, take advantage of them to organize your library by genre or decade. Use software like Mixed In Key to find the key of your tracks to make harmonic mixing easier (the latest Serato DJ update does this as well.) Go through your playlist history and create a few custom crates compiling your playlists from previous weddings and club gigs. When you take the time to optimize your music library, you’ll be better prepared when the busy season comes back around.
The DJ off-season can be a difficult time, but if you exert the effort and use it to your advantage, you’ll easily make it through and become a better DJ in the process!
This article originally appeared on the Mixcity Inc blog at https://www.mixcityinc.com/blog/surviving-dj-off-season/. Check out our text-to-screen software at JammText.com
Filed Under: Business, Performing
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