In this amazing age of information, it’s likely that most people know someone who wants to be a DJ. With the digitalization of music and new technology increasing accessibility, plus the explosion of DJ culture
into mainstream culture, Djs are the new rock stars, and everyone wants to be one. Previously, a DJ needed turntables, a sound system, a competitive collection of records, and a fine tuned skill set to rock a party and claim the title of DJ. Today, technology and music accessibility makes it so anyone with an IDJ2 app on their Ipad or a premium Spotify account can “be the dj”. While I think it’s awesome that the craft of Djing is accessible to so many, I think it also can make things a bit confusing when it comes to deciding who to hire for your events.
Let’s imagine that you’ve got an event coming up, say you’re throwing an anniversary party for your parents. Perhaps you’ve started researching the cost of hiring a mobile DJ, and maybe you were a little taken aback by the $100+ an hour range that was provided to you on the quote. So naturally, at this point, you start thinking of the friend you know who is sort of a Dj or interested in Djing or whatever. Your thought process might go something like, “$500 for a 4 hour anniversary party?! Geez. I should just see if (Insert DJ Friend name here) wants to do it.” It’s a fair and logical thought. And honestly, I’ve been asked by several potential clients to highlight the differences between hiring me professionally and having a friend with a good playlist to play their event. Please understand that for me, my goal is to empower you to make the right decision for your specific circumstance to help you have the most successful event possible. With that in mind, let’s explore the pros and cons of both.
Professional DJ vs. Friend With A Playlist
Let’s start with the Pros of Hiring a Professional DJ:
1. Professional Grade Skills – This person should be skilled in the trade of rocking a party. They will have a stronger musical knowledge and more access to a music selection than the Friend with a Playlist. Also, a professional will be able to put on a show and provide you a customized performance that goes further than fading in and out from one song to the next. This is a good option if you want your DJ to be the main entertainment for the event.
2. Professional Grade Equipment – A professional Mobile DJ will be able to provide all of the equipment necessary for your event. From a professional grade sound system to industry standard DJ gear and high quality music selections. Again this is a good option if the quality of Sound (and/or) presentation is important for your event.
3. Can Read a Room / Flexible – A professional DJ will be able to read a room and gauge the audience response. They will be able to determine the appropriate musical adjustments to make to ensure your party flows as planned.
4. Insured – Most Professional Mobile Djs carry a liability insurance policy. This is an extra level of protection for you and your guests in the event that an accident happens involving a guest and the DJ Equipment.
5. Music Managed – When hiring a Professional DJ it means that you’ve got someone dedicated to manage the music for the entire duration of your event. When tasking a friend with a playlist, you run the risk that the friend either doesn’t get to be a part of the party, or that the music will have to manage itself for a bit.
As for the Cons of Hiring a Professional DJ:
1. Expensive ($100+ an hour) – The most obvious Con is pricing. Most Mobile Djs start at around $100+/hour and the price increases with lighting and other add on services.
2. Limited Availability – A good mobile DJ is going to be booked and busy, which means they might not be available for your event on short notice. For me, I’m currently booked about 3-6 out, which means if you approach me for the event you’ve got planned next weekend, there’s a good chance that I’m already booked. While having a mobile DJ might be the ideal choice, as with most service professionals, your favorites may have limited availability.
Conclusion: Have you ever heard the term, leave it to the professionals? That’s a good overall evaluation here. While a professional DJ requires more investment than a Friend with a Playlist, that investment is going to provide you peace of mind that your event is in good hands and that your music is handled. You’ll be able to actually be present and enjoy your event instead of worrying constantly about what your friend with a playlist might play next.
Moving on, let’s look at the Pros of Hiring a Friend With A Playlist:
1. Less expensive – Again, pricing is the obvious factor here. A friend with a playlist may be willing to do your event for Free – Trade – Cheap compared to the Professional DJ. This may be a better option when budget is a key factor. This also may be a better option when the party isn’t as high profile (ie: friends over for some drinks vs. wedding)
2. Know Like Trust Factor – When hiring a Friend with a Playlist, you will likely already have a relationship with this person and know what to expect as far as how they’ll interact with you and with others. While finding a professional DJ that you like shouldn’t be difficult, you’ll already know the Friend with a Playlist.
As for the Cons of Hiring A Friend With A Playlist:
1. Quality of Equipment / Music – a Friend with a Playlist likely isn’t going to have access to high quality equipment. If you’re looking for a phone connected to a bluetooth speaker for your event, this may be a good option. If you are looking for someone to bring in professional equipment and music that isn’t ripped from youtube, this may not be the best choice.
2. Level Of Skill – A friend with a playlist will not have the same experience or skill at reading a room or making adjustments to the music to manage the flow of the event. If you’re looking for more than fading random songs in and out, this might not be the best selection.
3. Music selection is limited – It is likely that a professional DJ will have more accessibility to high quality current song selections than your friend with a playlist.
4. No Event Coordination – A professional DJ is responsible for coordinating the flow of your event. While your friend with a playlist may be good to set up and play a few songs, they will not have the experience or skill at managing the flow of your party that a professional DJ will have.
5. Friend is Working and Can’t Enjoy The Party – Naturally, if you’ve tasked your friend to be in charge of the music then they will not be able to be present at the party in the same way your other guests are because they’ll be tasked with working it
Conclusion: While a Friend with a Playlist is going to be someone you already know and much less expensive than a Professional DJ, they definitely won’t have same the skill set or experience to manage the flow of your event or read the slight energy shifts of the room as a Professional DJ. Also, remember that tasking a friend with managing the music means that you’ll be limiting that friend’s ability to enjoy the event as they will be responsible to work it. Hiring a Professional DJ means that you’ll have someone dedicated to manage the music and the event. If your event is low key and laid back with a low budget, a friend with a playlist may be the best way to go. If your event is high profile, or if you want your DJ to be the main entertainment and fully manage the music, a Professional DJ may be a better choice.
Before you go!!! If you read through the list and have decided that you need a professional DJ, but don’t know where to start, check out this article – So You Need To Hire a Professional DJ But Don’t Know Where To Start.
I’ve also made hiring your next DJ and preparing for your next event really easy with my Hire Your Next DJ Like a Pro workbook! It’s a free Download when you sign up to be a Shannon C Insider Here!