Spin your way to success doing what you love just like these top DJs!
By Nissa Larsen
It’s recession-proof, fun and you can start right at home. You don’t need an elaborate outside facility or hefty startup money to launch this dream biz as a DJ.
Today’s DJs have come a long way from doing wedding and bar/bat mitzvah gigs. They are now viewed as artists and producers making millions of dollars a year. DJs have the power to set the tone of any event.
Creativity is limitless and there are a variety of techniques that are used by DJs to mix and blend recorded music. These tools include the cueing, equalization, and audio mixing of two or more sound sources.
To become your own DJ, be as inventive and inspired as you like as you grow and build your business. Club DJ turntable techniques include beatmatching, phrasing, and slip-cueing to preserve energy on a dance floor. Turntablism embodies the art of cutting, beat juggling, scratching , phase shifting, back spinning, and more to perform the transitions and overdubs of samples in a more creative manner (although turntablism is often considered a use of the turntable as a musical instrument rather than a tool for blending recorded music).
One of the first true Superstar DJs is Paul van Dyk. He was one of the first artists to receive a Grammy nomination in the newly added category of Best Dance/Electronic album for his 2004 release Reflections. Paul Van Dyk made $60,000 for a six hour set at the Sound Factory and earns an annual million dollar paycheck on club gigs alone.
Another DJ who has paved her own way is Liz Ladoux. Musically inclined from an early age, she has become one of the most sought after sound selectors in the business, steadily expanding her resume over the past 6 years. She first developed an interest in the craft as a teenager, but it would be another few years before Liz purchased her own set of turntables and began to learn the basics of mixing and setting the mood. She slowly started making a name for herself in her local club scene thanks to her versatility and clean blends, her signature style being a well rounded mix of old and new, with an emphasis on reading the crowd.
She has opened for Grammy winner Questlove, spun alongside legendary hiphop duo The Awesome Two, Stretch ArMStrong, Samantha Ronson, and DJ Tamara Sky, to name a few, and just recently was the DJ for Tiesto’s ultra-exclusive after party. Consistently asked to provide the soundtrack for high-profile corporate events, fashion shows and industry parties, she also holds residencies at 3 of the most highly publicized venues in Boston, dominating in her hometown. With an established reputation as one of the top DJ’s in the region, she has started to showcase her talents elsewhere, and has recently played in such places as Los Angeles, Toronto, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Mexico City, Bahamas, and Beijing, China for NYE 2012. A perfect combination of party-rocking skills and sexy charisma, Liz Ladoux is in high demand in her own city and beyond.
When asked how she got started, DJ Liz Ladoux says “the business element of DJing developed organically; it initially was just a fun hobby, there was no thought of financial gain. Once I started to see how lucrative it could be however, I put on the professional hat and began to consciously network, word of mouth being my number one form of advertising. At this point I’ve established enough of a reputation to keep a steady influx of business coming in. I’m incredibly lucky to have found something I love to do and have it pay my bills.”
The artist Will.i.am, from the group Black Eyed Peas told Billboard, “In my experience, DJs make the most money. A reasonably well-known DJ can make half a million dollars a year; a superstar can make several million. How many rock musicians can say the same?”
A good book to look at is Joe Shambro’s “How to Start a Home-based DJ Business” which arMS DJs with a great resource to run a savvy, profitable business while developing a deep understanding of mobile DJ basics. It includes information on live sound reinforcement, audio equipment purchasing and training, and industry-specific issues of starting your own business. DJs will learn how to increase their profits by being as versatile and diverse as possible.
Sources for more information: How To Start A Home-Based DJ Business by Joe Shambro, (Globe Pequot Press, $19.95), www.tranceaddict.com.
New Client Targets
There are plenty of customers in your community and you can take on as much business as you can handle. Here are a few suggestions—
• Engagement partites, rehearsal
• Bar/bat mitzvahs
• Sweet Sixteen parties,
• Theme parties
• Corporate events
• Product launch parties
• Club theme nights
Liz Ladoux and Paul van Dyk in action spinning their beats at the hottest clubs worldwide. Will.i.am from the group Black Eyed Peas said that DJ’s are the real superstars and can make more money than singers or bands these days. Today’s DJ’s are creative producers and artists in their own right.
Nissa Larsen is a writer based in the New York metropolitan area.