Looking to start a career as a DJ? Not sure if becoming a DJ is worth it? From the great pay rate to the ability to work for yourself, there are many great reasons to become a DJ. But unfortunately for some, a career in DJ’ing might not look as glamorous as it seems.
In this guide, we’ll be weighing up all the pros and cons of pursuing a career in DJ’ing. Our goal is to help you make an informed decision as to whether a career as a DJ is right for you.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Pro | Get Paid To Party
A career as a DJ’ing is every party-lover’s dream. If you enjoy attending parties, nightclubs or music festivals, becoming a DJ allows you to get paid to do what you love. For many DJ’s, getting paid feels like a bonus.
Pro | Great Pay Rate
One of the most notable benefits of working as a DJ is the great pay rate. Even at a beginner level, customers are willing to spend upwards of several hundreds of dollars for a mobile DJ. Beginner to intermediate DJ’s that play casually at bars and nightclubs can earn from $50 to $100+ per hour. Internationally acclaimed DJ’s can comfortably charge thousands of dollars per show.
Pro | Travelling
A career in DJ’ing comes with a side of adventure and you will likely find yourself performing to new audiences in unfamiliar settings. Of course, the most successful DJ’s get to travel the world but even DJ’ing at a beginner level will lead you to gigs in different places around your town, city, or even your state.
Pro | Work For Yourself
Working as a DJ provides you with the opportunity to work for yourself. Choose to do the gigs that suit you and negotiate your own hourly rate. As your own boss, there’s no cap on how much you can earn. Being self-employed allows you to call your own shots and pursue a flexible lifestyle.
Pro | Potential For Success
Another great reason to consider a career in DJ’ing is the potential for success in the industry. With bars, clubs, festivals and other events requiring DJ’s all year round, there are plenty of opportunities to advance yourself and become a successful DJ. In 2019, the total revenue of the recorded music industry amounted to 21.5 billion U.S. dollars, with some of the top international DJ’s earning millions of dollars each year.
Pro | Creating Networks & Connections
DJ’ing is a great avenue for meeting people that can help expand your music career. Developing connections with club owners, record labels, artist agents and booking agents can land you more gigs and music deals. These types of connections can also create fantastic opportunities for music producers.
Con | Expensive To Get Started
If you plan on DJ’ing at events like house parties, weddings, functions or corporate events, you’re going to need your own equipment. The initial cost of equipment is a big factor when considering a career in DJ’ing and is likely to cost you upwards of a few thousand dollars. On top of these initial financial setbacks, you may need to obtain a suitable vehicle to transport equipment to and from gigs. You might find yourself putting many of those cheques towards your DJ setup.
Con | Competitive Industry
With more and more people becoming DJ’s every year, an increasing rivalry for gigs and residencies makes it extremely difficult to break into the industry. A DJ’s goal to succeed is as competitive as ever. When not behind the decks, DJ’s need to be constantly contacting and networking, as well as self-branding and promoting on social media in order to land gigs and stand out from the competition.
Con | Not Enough Work
One of the major cons of a career in DJ’ing is the difficulty to earn a comfortable salary from DJ’ing alone In a survey conducted by Digital DJ Tips, less than 10% of DJs make a comfortable wage from DJ’ing alone. With a DJ’s work almost strictly limited to weekends, it’s difficult to work enough hours to make up a comfortable wage.
Con | Inconsistent Sleep Schedule
One of the most taxing downsides that comes with a career as a DJ is the late nights and inconsistent sleep schedule. Nightclubs traditionally open around 9-10pm when most people go to sleep and don’t close until the early hours of the next morning. Working the graveyard shift on the weekends makes it extremely difficult to work another job and maintain a healthy routine.
Con | Promoting Is Mandatory
For beginner to intermediate DJ’s, a certain level of promotion for a club night or an event is often expected in return for a set. It’s not uncommon for clubs to refuse to give a DJ sets if their promotion is unsatisfactory. Club owners and promoters will expect to see a DJ they book to support the night by inviting friends and sticking around before and after their set.
Con | Drug & Alcohol Culture
Statistically, nightlife venues like nightclubs or music festivals are settings where alcohol and illicit drugs are excessively consumed. It can be difficult to maintain a healthy and sustainable lifestyle when participating in the alcohol and drug culture associated with DJ’ing.
Con | Hard To Maintain Relationships
As a DJ, it can be difficult to maintain your social life and spend time with friends and family. It is likely that DJ’ing will occupy your evenings and weekends, which are the times that friends and family in other careers are available outside of their own jobs. DJ’s tend to develop new friendships and relationships with others in the industry.
| What Skills Do I Need To Become A DJ?
While no formal qualifications are needed to become a DJ, there a variety of skills you may need to possess in order to succeed in the industry:
• An ear for rhythm and a sense of timing
• Good people skills and communication
• Technical DJ abilities
• Networking, marketing and promoting abilities
• Confidence performing in front of crowds
• Quickly adapting to unfamiliar environments
• Being organised and planning ahead
• Keeping up to date with current music trends
| Is Becoming A DJ Worth It?
If you possess the skills required to become a DJ, don’t let anything stand in your way! It’s possible you have the makings of a great DJ. While pursuing a career in DJ’ing has its challenges, the rewards are well worth it. If you’re a naturally creative person with an ambition to succeed in the industry, DJ’ing is absolutely worth going after.
Want To Know More?
Here at Live Aspects, we have dozens of useful lessons and tutorials created to enhance your music production skills and help speed up the learning process. You can access our huge range of music theory lessons and production tips and tricks here.