Musical talent is a great thing to have as a DJ, but in an age when the whole world constantly comes together to judge everyone’s weak and strong points at a glance, musical talent alone may not be enough to stand out from the crowd. This doesn’t just concern working hard or having a great personality. If you want to succeed, you better have something else to bring to the table and it better not be an oversized ego!

It’s all about the money
Even if you may be in it for the great music and making the crowd go wild on the dance floor, this is a business, and as much as any other business, its main concern is with money. It’s a cynical world we live in. You may ask around and offer your talent to big promoters and club owners, but don’t act surprised when they choose a popular DJ to run their event. A big name will attract a big crowd, which in turn attracts big money from tickets, drinks, merchandise and everything else. Talent and enthusiasm can certainly play a role in this business. It’s a plus if you know how to “rock the crowd”, but at the end of the day it’s the size of that crowd that matters.

What makes a popular DJ popular?
What separates aspiring DJs from already established ones is quite simply the number of their fans. Naturally, a fresh DJ, no matter how good he is, can’t boast a fan base of thousands upon thousands of people. But there’s a reason why popular DJs came to have that kind of following, and that’s where their talent comes in. Over time, good music and consistence of its quality makes you noticed by the music lovers, media crowd and some award folk alike. When enough people put your work as a DJ into the spotlight, you get something to brag about before important people who can potentially give a boost to your career. They are more inclined to listen and offer you work when the public is backing you. Being a popular DJ certainly has its perks, since they no longer run around the city looking for gigs. Promoters find them instead.

So all you need are some people?
Exactly! Club owners don’t care just how “good” you are. They want to see other people back it up, and not just by saying it, but by turning up at your gig and making it seem like a real event for a start. A crowd can make all the difference, and more often than not it’s what draws even more people to the party. So, naturally, the owners want you to round up all your friends and bring them to your event! But let’s be real here, in the unlikely event that your Facebook friend count is in the thousands, even a hundred of them are not likely to show up. Then how about fifty? Or thirty? How many can you pull off? Fortunately, the promoters won’t push you to the verge of impossible as long as you make a honest effort of rounding up as many people as you can to turn up for the event. You will need to use all your tools, like social networks, mailing lists, texts and good old fashioned offline connections. If you’re lucky, it will be enough to please the promoter and they won’t mind if you come up a couple of dozen people short in the end. They’ll see you got more than your talent to offer and be glad to deal with you in the future.

Practice makes perfect
The more you’ll be at it, the better you’ll become. Eventually, you will have a big list of contacts to bother in case of emergency events. Having a readymade base of supporters to rely on can one day lead you to a big breakthrough. This might pick you up an extra gig or two every month, perhaps every week. Then, eventually, you will have regular work to be proud of.

SIDE NOTE: this chapter belongs to the forthcoming DJ-Lounge E-BOOK!