It’s Party and Event Season! Local Disc Jockey Scott Brandon offers thoughts and tips on hiring the best DJ for the job!
HIRING A PROFESSIONAL DISC JOCKEY by DJ Scott Brandon
You’re planning a major celebration, and you want a professional DJ to provide the soundtrack. With so many choices out there, you may wonder which DJ service you should choose. You may also be wondering, with today’s digital technology, if you should even hire a professional DJ in the first place. Hopefully, this article will help answer your questions.
Let’s start with technology. Yes, you can simply load a list of songs onto your computer or MP3 player and just let the music play. So, let me ask you one question: In the days before digital music, would you have loaded a record, cassette or CD player in lieu of hiring a professional DJ for the celebration you’re planning? If your answer is no, then you also don’t want to let today’s components do a professional DJ’s job for your upcoming party.
Automated playlists can only do so much. While most software automatically cross-fades songs, this is typically accomplished by timing the overlap in increments of seconds. The problem with this is, due to the varying degrees of characteristics in each song, these timed segues either still leave dead air between songs, or will overlap inappropriately, resulting in a horrible combination.
Another area where automation falls inadequate is audio dynamics. There are widely varying degrees of sound quality amongst the songs in a vast music library. A professional DJ with a working knowledge of audio dynamics will not only adjust the overall volume appropriately, but will also have professional equipment such as graphic equalizers and/or dynamic range processors to keep the dynamic levels both audible and appropriate.
Professional DJs also pride themselves on skills such as beat matching. This is the synchronizing of multiple songs’ beats per minute, allowing for uninterrupted dance music. Only professional DJ software and/or equipment containing professional features like pitch/tempo manipulation, cuing and seamless looping, along with the professional DJ’s trained ear, make this possible.
Professional lighting, party games, props, and professional MC skills when necessary and/or appropriate, as well as programming your event’s itinerary (and relating said itinerary to your other professional vendors), are more skills a professional DJ brings to the table. Another feature is multiple sound systems to enhance various parts of your celebration in different locations.
Price is a huge factor when deciding which professional DJ you should hire. Keep in mind that a lot of circumstances, above those mentioned previously, determine a professional DJ’s price: Is the business a solo-op or multi-op? Do they have replacement DJs on standby in case of emergencies? Do they carry liability insurance? Is their music obtained legally? How long have they been in the DJ, and/or other related fields (This also relates to the above-mentioned skills/knowledge)?
On some personal notes, after reading this article and comparing the info & customer feedback of various professional DJs, your best determining factor will be to schedule in-person interviews with a few DJs. This is the only way to ensure your chosen DJ will be the right one for you. You should avoid hiring a DJ who claims to have never disappointed a customer. In order to have “achieved” that, they either are being dishonest, they haven’t been in the industry very long, or they don’t perform too frequently. While nobody likes them, disappointments are a part of life experience. Such experiences only help us to do better from that point on.
[box] Scott Brandon has been a mobile, club & radio DJ since 1985. Other industry experience includes radio production and public relations. He currently owns Positively Energized Disc Jockeys in Nazareth, Pa. He can be reached at 610-905-0328 and/or www.pedjsb.com[/box]