In my opinion every DJ should celebrate that the highest paid DJs make up to $66 million. When the top end is this high there are so many more opportunities to make money in the middle. I agree with many of the complaints I hear from DJs, that skills have really deteriorated (mixing and programming both), that PR/promotion and looks have become too important, and that you don’t have a shot at the big bucks unless you are also a Producer. But still, when I was a DJ in those ancient late 20th century days, I’m not sure if there was even one DJ making a million a year. An entire industry has been created. There’s a game to be played that was never there back in the day.
Club owners and managers: Instead of always letting your local bookers, promoters or even club staff schedule themselves and their friends as openers in your DJ driven venue, turn the opening slot into a promotional opportunity to put more people through the door and improve your club’s rep. Here’s 5 ideas:
(1) Have a social media contest between local DJs and their fans to get follows on your Facebook page, subscribers to your YouTube or SoundCloud Channel, followers on Twitter, or best of all more attendees at your events through contestant-created sub events (as Teisto demonstrates here).
(2) Have a cool sub-genre you’d like to promote to help your club stay cutting edge or appeal to a specialized audience starving to hear their music in a club? Opening slots are perfect for scheduling less commercial DJs and giving them a chance to be heard. This also prevents irritating the headliners with repetitive tracks by the opener.
(3) Let your best customers pick the opening DJ through a social media conversation or contest. Give out a code at the door on each night with instructions to reach a private online page (I suggest a closed group page on Facebook) to suggest/vote on future openers. Or better yet create an app that requires club check in to get into the exclusive online group. Great way to foster an online community of your best customers!
(4) Contact your headliner or their agent for suggestions for complementary openers for the particular headliner. This is most apt for larger city clubs with a scene known beyond the local area. Headliners may know and have favorite up and coming talent in your market. If you book their choices, the headliner will be more motivated to promote early arrival and can work together with opener to promote the event. The alliance will likely do more to publicize your event and push people to arrive early!
(5) None of these suggestions are to say you should not listen and take advice from your local promoters, bookers, in house staff etc. Just don’t consider them the only info source, and always question the reasons and promotional value of an opener. Keep an eye out for conflicts of interest and people trying to build their career in your club with your money – it’s very common! There’s hidden value to be discovered in taking control of your opening DJ schedule that can help boost your sales, your social media presence and your club’s reputation!
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