It used to cost a lot of money to become a DJ. Since everything became digital, the costs have decreased somewhat. Let’s take a look at how much it costs to become a DJ now.
So how much does it cost to become a DJ?
The cost of starting out as a DJ will be in the region of $250. This is the average cost of an entry-level DJ controller, which is the only piece of hardware you will need to buy initially. This is assuming that you already have access to a laptop and stereo at home.
Of course, it is possible to start DJing with just a laptop and some free software and then invest in some hardware once you feel certain that DJing is something that you wish to pursue.
What equipment do I need?
If you don’t have a computer already, you will need to spend around $300 to get one capable of running comprehensive DJ software.
First and foremost, you will need a computer that runs Microsoft Windows or Mac OS. You will use the computer to prepare your music and run your DJ software.
There are lots of options when it comes to choosing your DJ software. Some have greater system requirements than others, so check the CPU, RAM, storage etc of your computer to make sure that it is capable of running the DJ software that you wish to install.
There are many free versions of DJ software available which will be perfectly good enough for starting out.
Once you decide to move on to a more premium software, then it will probably cost you in excess of $100.
Controllers vary in price. Massively.
At one end of the scale, you can pick up a basic model for under $100. At the other end of the scale, you can easily part with $3000 to get a top of the range touch screen model.
A basic model will be good enough to get you started and learn the fundamental controls. As you upgrade your controller and spend more, you will have a larger number of FX and commands at your disposal.
All the while you are practising at home, there really is no need to spend a lot of money on a specific branded pair. Any headphones or even a pair of earbuds that come with your phone will suffice at this stage.
However, once you are DJing in bars and clubs, it is necessary to invest in a good pair of headphones or in-ear monitors. Prices for these will start at $100 and can really help to protect your hearing.
While a microphone isn’t a necessity when first starting out, once you start to upload your mixes online for the world to listen to, introducing yourself can be
While I wouldn’t recommend opting for a really cheap solution, you don’t have to spend a fortune either. An investment of $50 is enough to get you started with your first microphone.
Once your equipment is sorted, it is time to source some music
In the days when DJs played records, it was very expensive to build a collection of music. Each track would cost around $10.
Nowadays, it is much cheaper to source music.
For DJs who are wanting to build a sizeable collection of music, I would recommend a subscription to a record pool.
With monthly prices starting from $10, a record pool subscription is definitely the most cost effective way of building up a combination of classic tracks as well as the upfront floorfillers.
It isn’t impossible to make a name for yourself solely as a DJ, but it does definitely make it more difficult to become established.
Look at the most famous DJs in any chosen genre. Are they just DJs? Or are they producing music as well?
In my opinion, the sooner you can start out making your own edits of tracks, the better. Even if you just lay a famous acapella over an instrumental part of another well-known track, it will start to show something unique about you as an artist
As with DJing, there are many different free versions of music production software available. I would recommend starting with some free software to understand the foundation of music production and then look to purchase a more advanced solution at a later date.
Now you need to tell the world about yourself
After countless hours of mixing and production practice, you may feel ready to showcase your talents in a local bar or a club. The problem is, no-one has heard of you.
Nowadays, having the talent is only half of the battle.
I have lost count of the amount of times that a DJ with very minimal talent has managed to get the best gigs. In the majority of these cases, it is because that DJ has managed to build a very strong brand.
There are a lot of factors involved in building a brand and a lot of platforms available to help you.
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A logo is an important part of any brand. Many of the world’s leading brands have logos that are instantly recognisable, even if they don’t display the brand name.
Your logo will most likely display your chosen artist name and will be displayed across your website and various social media profiles, so consistency is key.
If you are comfortable using a program like Adobe’s Photoshop, then you may well be able to design your own logo
As the popularity of Soundcloud started to grow, so did the amount of disputes picked up by its copyright algorithm software.
With a lot of unofficial remixes and bootlegs being removed for copyright infringement and some users becoming victims of the “three strikes rule”, Soundcloud did gain a lot of negative comments. However, it is still a great platform to showcase your original productions.
Soundcloud offer a basic free account and their pro accounts start from $8 per month.
Mixcloud became the saviour of the many DJs who previously uploaded their promotional mixes to Soundcloud.
Whereas Soundcloud always offer a download option for the files uploaded to user accounts, Mixcloud do not. By keeping their service as streaming only and paying royalties to the various collection societies around the world, the artists, publishers and record labels are able to be compensated accordingly and your mixes are able to remain online without fear of being removed
As the second-largest social media platform behind Facebook, you can gain some serious traction by uploading videos of your live mixing.
The problem is that you can spend a small fortune on cameras, microphone, lights etc to be able to record your mix, then spend many hours on post-production to make it perfect, only to find that someone logs a copyright claim against you
With over 1 billion active monthly users, everyone’s target market is on Instagram somewhere.
There are many techniques that you can employ to generate a huge following that looks good, but a smaller amount of real “fans” can be a lot more worthwhile in the long-term.
From personal experience, I have found that the “boost” feature on Instagram can bring a good return-on-investment, making it more of a viable paid-advertising platform than Facebook and YouTube.
While I will always encourage every DJ to have their own website, you must remember that it is extremely difficult to gain traffic.
Personally, I use my own website as a central hub and simply embed links to my Soundcloud, Mixcloud, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Spotify profiles. You can take a look at my website here.
It is very easy to create your own website nowadays. With many website-builder solutions available from companies such as WordPress, Wix and Squarespace, you can be online within a few hours.
If you are unsure of how to go about building your own DJ website, you can check out my easy to follow
The initial investment in starting a DJ career can be as little or as much as you like.
Once you start to find your own niche within the DJ industry, future decisions will be made naturally.
For example, someone who wants to specialise in video DJing (or VJing) may need to invest more money in a top-of-the-range laptop. Someone who wants to become a mobile DJ may need to invest their money in speakers and lights