In today's media-saturated world, we are surrounded by brands. While as DJs, we don't have access to million dollar advertising campaigns created by Madison Avenue, branding is still extremely important to our long-term success. It's a fact - customers like doing business with brands. According to Jay Conrad Levinson, the developer of the "Guerilla Marketing" series, "awareness of your brand or your business usually means confidence in it, and confidence is the key to healthy sales." Your brand lets people know who you are and what you are all about. How does the public identify with your DJ service? Perhaps they perceive you as the affordable, local DJ for family parties. Or maybe you've successfully positioned yourself as the go-to luxury, Super Sweet 16 specialist in your local market area. Or maybe you are "that karaoke guy." Just as consumers discern major differences between brands like K-Mart and Nordstrom, so too do they perceive differences between DJs. Disc Jockey Job Description. Disc jockeys often work for radio stations in soundproof studios. They might specialize in a certain type of music, such as classic rock, pop or contemporary R&B. ... They also might supply music and sound system services at special events, such as weddings and corporate banquets.
San Francisco Concert Promoter Robbie Kowal of HUSHConcerts says, "I like to say we're not in the music business, we're in the people business. Bill Graham used to be famous for saying that. Our job is taking care of the boring stuff behind the scenes so madness can ensue. What does that mean? We have broken it down to anywhere from sixty to eighty individual tasks to be done to run a successful show. Each one of these details is no more important than the others. For instance, there's getting the right artist and the right venue, making an offer to the artist, agreeing to a deal with the artist, booking support, getting the artwork done and approved, and building the marketing and advertising plan. Then you start getting into twenty different tasks just in marketing, [including] four different things on Facebook, and knowing how to use your own email list most effectively. All these different things go into promotion of the show. You have to do the hotels, ground transport, backline, get them the schedule of load in and load out times, all those production things. Any one of them, if done incorrectly, can shut down the entire show. When the artist is flying in and your guy isn't there to pick them up, the artist will be pissed. That's a problem. [It's the same] if you use the wrong photo or misspell something in the flier. If you pick the wrong date, artist, or venue, that can change everything too. At the show itself, maybe the sound isn't mixed right or the lighting isn't arranged the way the artist wants it. It's very detail-oriented and math-driven."
"A Talent Buyer is the person who books artists/concerts at a venue," says Elena de Soto, who books bands at Atlanta club The Masquerade. "My typical day is in the office of the venue I work at, sitting at a desk. I spend all day making offers, signing contracts, talking to [Booking] Agents, etc." Much of a Talent Buyer's day is spent on the phone or email, firming up details of a show and negotiating performance agreements. Buyers place holds on their calendar then reach out to Booking Agents with their offers; if the Booking Agent accepts, the show gets added to the venue's official calendar.
A lot of factoring goes into each decision the Talent Buyer makes about a band. Talent Buyers must consider likely attendance numbers and projected alcohol sales, the best price for tickets, how the show will be marketed, if any competing events are occurring nearby on the night of show, and whether a touring band will need local openers.
Talent Buyers work with a range of venue staff, music touring professionals, and bands, of course. They may work with Nightclub Managers, Production Managers, Tour Managers, Club DJs, and Recording Groups on tour, to name just a few.
Record Producer Adam Moseley began his career at the legendary Trident Studios in London, where Lou Reed, Queen, Peter Gabriel, David Bowie, Elton John, Carly Simon and the Beatles recorded some of the most influential albums of all time. Although in today's climate one often hears the term Producer and thinks of electronic musicians and artists who make hip-hop beats, a Record Producer in the traditional sense has a much more holistic approach, helping to develop the record from the earliest stages of pre-production to its final mix. Moseley describes the many facets of his position by saying, "As a Producer it means getting involved right at the beginning with the songs, working on the song structure, working on the arrangement, working on every note of every part and putting that whole picture together, getting into rehearsals. Pre-production can be done in my loft here with a guitar or piano, just sitting down and playing the song. That's the best thing: getting the song right at its earliest stage."
A Record Producer coaches the artist and cultivates the song, suggesting changes to improve the track while in pre-production. "Sometimes it's song structure, extending the bar after the second chorus, just a couple of beats and letting it hold to suspend the tension, to just hold the listener for a moment they didn't expect and drop back in it," he says. "It heightens the dynamic of suspense and the impact of when the chorus comes back in or when you drop back down to the verse. Once the basic parts are worked out, we'll go to a rehearsal room and try every idea, try every drum fill the drummer wants to come up with, let every musician try what they want. We'll have the song structure written down, and if we want to make a quick change to the song structure it takes a few seconds in the rehearsal room and you can do that at $15-$20 an hour.
In pre-production I let the drummer try every fill, then we'll choose the ones that work. We'll decide, 'This fill is great, it definitely should be in but it's too busy too early, so let's save it. Let's build the tension. Let's keep the fills simple and then maybe after the bridge, coming out of the bridge, that's where you can do the busy crazy fill.' It's all about letting the musicians express themselves while all the time you're just guiding and filtering. I see the role of the Producer as being the catalyst and being like the mirror image of the band. When they have an idea, to take their idea and throw the next idea back at them and see where I can take them."
Of course, what's expected of the Record Producer will depend on the situation. He says, "At times I've worked with an artist where the artist has just come in and sung and I've put all the arrangements together, all the backing tracks, all the string arrangements, done the whole thing and the artist has just shown up to sing their song. What I prefer to do when I work with the bands is to push them and show them the way to go to do something that they didn't even know they're capable of, or they didn't have that idea, to throw the next idea at them and see what comes back. It's about making music and making something unique and special. If I'm going to be involved and to help the band, it's about helping the band achieve something better than they would achieve on their own, without a Producer.
Once we're in the studio it's about capturing the moment and then after the basic tracks it's down to doing the overdubs, additional instruments-maybe additional guitars, lead vocals, maybe some backing vocals or keyboards or extra touches here or there. But it's always about keeping the vision or keeping the concept. The most important thing is having the concept very clear. From the first time an artist sits down with me and plays the song on the guitar or piano I have a concept for the song. I have a shape, a mood and colors, and positions.
Sometimes if I need to, I'll do some extra programming on a song, some beats or whatever or I'll add a little guitar part or synth part," he adds.
A Radio DJ plays and mixes music and discusses news, music, or other topics of interest on breaks between songs. An On-Air Personality, on the other hand, is not responsible for actually playing and mixing music.
DJ Brandi Garcia of classic Los Angeles hip-hop station KDAY says her day consists of "show prep. Scouring the internet, checking out celebrity birthdays, current news and what people are talking about. Looking at social media to see what's trending, what events we're promoting in-house so you can place your breaks and what you're going to talk about next." Most DJs must adhere to the station's playlist, which is selected by the Music Director (M.D.) or Program Director (P.D.), depending on the size and staff of the station.
After her daily shift, Garcia says she spends her time doing "production work, helping my P.D. schedule music and setting up for the next day. Seeing if there are any commercials or promos to record." Sometimes there are also interviews to be prerecorded for a later date or movie screenings or album listening parties to attend in her capacity as a representative of the station. "It's always fun and different every day," she says.
A DJ works with Board Operators, Producers, the Music Director, Program Director, and sometimes Recording Artists.