Where should I launch my DJ career? 5 things to consider
Whether performing in front of thousands at a nightclub or playing a reception for newlyweds, music is your passion. In pursuit of becoming an accomplished DJ, you’ve probably invested in the right equipment and even booked some gigs. But, now you might be asking yourself, “what is the recipe for success?” As a musician, the city in which you choose to live could be the key to realizing your dreams.
Here are some ideas that can help your career take flight:
1. What kind of DJ do you want to be?
Before weighing the pros and cons of moving to a new city, you should decide the direction of your career. You can start by pondering these questions: Are music festivals your passion? Do you enjoy the thrill of young crowds and bright lights? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you are probably best suited as an EDM or Club DJ. On the other hand, if you are looking for smaller and more relaxed events at more reasonable hours of the night, then you may be better suited as a wedding or special events DJ.
2. Where are the current party hotspots?
Whether you are an aspiring Techno, House, or Hip-Hop DJ, it’s important to consider where you can gather the biggest audiences. These four cities are well known for their abundant nightlife and premier concert venues.
- Las Vegas – Vegas is teeming with opportunities for young DJs with big dreams. The city is home to hundreds of famous nightclubs that host the biggest names in the business. Before you find your way to stardom, Las Vegas still has many smaller venues that are perfect for DJs who are just starting out.
- Atlanta – This city might be more popular for producing many famous rap and hip-hop artists in the biz, but Atlanta’s underground DJ scene is booming. This smaller city offers a diverse music scene paired with a unique clubbing culture not found anywhere else.
- Miami – Miami is known as a vacation destination with a wild party scene. In addition to Miami’s abundance of nightclubs, it is also recognized for music festivals that gather some of the biggest audiences in EDM. Ultra-Music Festival, for example, has consistently featured some the most famous DJ’s in the industry.
- Los Angeles – LA was literally built on the performing arts and can be the perfect place to start your career as a DJ. Playing a set in LA is a rite of passage for both new and established DJs alike. Although LA may seem intimidating, there are opportunities for new musicians – and the weather isn’t so bad, either.
3. What are most popular wedding destinations?
A special events DJ can be an enjoyable and lucrative profession. But, it is hard to get gigs unless you are in an area with a consistent flow of wedding receptions. Here are some options you should take into consideration:
- North and Central New Jersey – The average cost of a wedding in this area is approximately $62,074, making it the second most expensive place to get married in America. This high price tag means that there are many high-paying prospects available for wedding DJs. Plus, with New York City nearby, there will be no shortage of job opportunities when considering the sheer abundance of weddings that take place in and around the city.
- South Florida – From Palm Beach to Key West, there are plenty of DJ’ing opportunities. Florida is known for its beautiful beaches and tropical climate, attracting weddings year round. As a matter of fact, Miami is known to have some of the best hotels in the country.
- San Francisco Bay Area – This stretch of Northern California, including the picturesque Napa Valley, is home to more than seven million people. With its endless attractions, and temperate climate, the Bay Area is a popular wedding destination with countless hotel options.
4. Look into the cost of living.
After reading these suggestions, picking up and moving to the City of Angels might sound like an obvious decision. However, the extraordinary cost associated with living in LA might be too difficult an obstacle to overcome. Luckily, there are numerous cities that can offer great potential to a DJ without demanding $2,000 a month in rent. For example, the average monthly rent in Atlanta and Las Vegas is somewhere between $800-$1,200. Even though Miami is nowhere near as expensive as Los Angeles, the average one-bedroom apartment in Miami still costs around $1,500 per month. Although these cost estimations might be headache inducing, the hours that come along with being a DJ can make working a second job much easier.
5. Assess your social media capabilities.
Let’s say moving to a new city isn’t a viable option. Luckily, your DJ’ing career still has infinite possibilities. These days, some of the most famous DJs have been discovered via Soundcloud, YouTube, and other online resources. However, using social media and different types of music platforms is not always as easy as it sounds. But, if you are willing to buckle down and find the different ways to promote yourself and your brand, then you might not even need to move at all. Whether you are living in Oklahoma or Vegas, it’s always important to identify your audience and then market your music.
Now that you’ve been given the tools, it’s time to make the right decision not only for your music interests, but for your wallet. The power of marketing and social media for musicians is now more influential than ever. That being said, the most effective way to launch your career is, and always will be, getting in front of a live audience. Moving to the right city for your needs, determining your target audience, and generating compelling social media are all crucial steps to take to get you in front of your ideal listeners. Moving to a new city will not guarantee success and a decision to move is not one to take lightly. While moving may provide more opportunities, consider all the details and issues involved in moving. Calvin Harris began his career by marketing himself on Myspace – where will you be discovered?