Behind the Party
By Aaron Godfrey
When most people think of a disc jockey, they often think of nothing more than the guy playing the music at parties or weddings. This is only one aspect of the job however. Although the event is where the disc jockey makes his money, only a fraction of the work is done during this time. There are three major aspects of this career. There is the business front, which deals with advertisement and client contact. Then, there is the maintenance part, where time is spent testing and repairing equipment. Finally, there is the performance, or “gigs”, where the disc jockey displays his abilities. Even though these are three different aspects of the job, they are all equally important.
A large portion of the time a disc jockey spends working has nothing to do with the actual playing of music. A person in this industry can easily spend multiple hours a day working on advertisements or calling clients. The business part of the job, for many, may seem less important than the time spent at the event, however, this is untrue. Without spending time communicating with clients or advertising, it would be impossible to deliver what the client wanted, if there were even any clients at all. While the business part of the job may go unnoticed, this part is the true basis of the career.
Without their equipment, a disc jockey is basically worthless. For this reason, someone in this profession must spend a large quantity of time preparing for an event by testing and repairing their system. This task can take a long time to complete, but is highly necessary in order to keep everything running smoothly at events. Although disc jockeys spend time before hand preparing their gear for gigs, sometimes pieces of equipment can malfunction at events. Because mechanical problems can arise suddenly, the disc jockey must know their system well in order to single out the problem, sort through the tangled mess of wires and correct the malfunction. The disc jockey needs to fix it without anyone at the party noticing there is an issue. A disc jockey spends much of his time dealing with his equipment, because of the pressure placed upon it to work correctly when called upon.
The most obvious part of a disc jockey’s job is the time spent performing at events. While it may seem simple to just play music, even this action is more thought. First, the disc jockey must read the crowd in order to decide what genres of music the people will best respond. Then, the disc jockey must be able to recall the most popular and current music, as well as the somewhat older hits that always receive a good response. Even though the ability to play the right music is the most important part of a disc jockey’s performance, this talent must be aided by a good interactive personality in order to be successful. For this reason, a disc jockey must have good public speaking skills. Although this area of the job is only as important as the other two, it definitely requires a unique type of talent and skill.
To many people, it may seem as though all you need to know in order to succeed as a disc jockey is how to play music. This assumption, while understandable, is incredibly incorrect. There is much more thought and time spent working on aspects of the job, which have little to do with the playing of music. The disc jockey must spend time producing advertisements and communicating with clients, maintaining equipment, as well as performing at events. Although being a disc jockey can be an exciting career, it can be demanding of time and effort.