Al muses on some of the essential facets of the party disc jockey business:
Call us a DJ or a disk jockey or disc jockey, deejay or a mobile music entertainer. Highbrows like to say they're a prodj or just a pro. They might play wedding reception music, or dance music for prom or a company party -- lots of the DJs around here say they specialize in dorm parties or frat parties at ISU (that's Iowa State University--home of the Cyclones) Most say they play the "best" music. But what is the "best" music? It may be country music, rap music, disco, hip-hop, R&B, jazz or oldies. Many make a big deal about having lots of music from the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's or 90's. Before long, I suppose we'll start advertising music from the 00's. Most brag that they play from CDs, but a few say that vinyl is cool again. (I retired my 1200's in 1987 and never looked back) Many are very proud about how entertaining they are when they talk to the crowd (we call it "working the mic") Others are equally proud of the fact that they hardly talk at all! Some claim they're the biggest, most claim they're the best. Almost all promise to play requests .
None of it really matters. Every DJ has one thing in common with all other DJs: we all play pre-recorded music. No DJ has access to any song that every other DJ in the world doesn't probably also have access to (If they do, its very unlikely it will be anything that will bring a crowd running to the dance floor.)
So what makes a "good" DJ good? Hah! You tell me and we'll both know!
Here's what I think:
1 A good DJ shows up -- even though you may have booked him more than a year ago. A good DJ does what he promises Period.
2 He plays "good" music -- meaning the right songs at the right time that will keep whatever crowd he's working for entertained, interested (and hopefully, involved) while they drink their beer / coffee / champagne / de-cafeinated diet cola, until they are tired and ready to go home.
3 He is able to get his job done without making too many people hate him -- and hopefully, he'll even make you smile .
That's really what makes a DJ "good." Sounds pretty simple, but I'm sure if you think about it you'll agree that it's probably not quite as easy as that looks What I think is most interesting is this: A good DJ can write down all his secrets and list everything he does that makes him "good." A bad DJ can read that list, learn it by heart, follow it to the letter and he'll still be a bad DJ. DJ's are a lot like guitar players that way. There are lots of posers. You can't tell how good they'll be just by looking at them. It takes practice. The better ones can usually play more than one style. A good axe won't make a bad guitar player good, but a bad guitar will make a good player less so. There are a few that do it for the money. For the rest, it's all about the music, but everybody has to pay the bills.
All DJs will tell you they're good. We're funny that way. That makes some DJs liars, doesn't it? Because everyone knows that not all DJs are good. While everyone knows that if you lie to people long enough, eventually you get a reputation and no one believes you anymore, many DJs have also figured out that they can promise almost anything to get a job, because by the time people figure out they've been had, it's too late! Who wants to admit to themselves in the middle of their party that they hired the wrong DJ? Does it interest you now to know that about 2/3 of all DJs are in the business for three years or less? Would you like to be a DJ? (call me!)
So what does make a good DJ good? That's for YOU to decide. But we'll try to help. Click here to go to the ALsMUSIC show info pages and we will tell you all our ALsMUSIC secrets.
As you read through these pages, I'd like for you to make note of the fact that there is more detailed information about ALsMUSIC and how we do what we do than you'll find from almost any DJ brochure--either online or on paper. We believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. (And the beholder would be you!) We believe we're good enough that we can afford to show you our stuff and let you make up your own mind, rather than just tell you how great it is and make you take our word for it.