I am sure that when the majority of DJs are starting out, they dream of playing in a different country. We all see the likes of The Chainsmokers, David Guetta, Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto etc all jetting off around the world and we aspire to be just like them.
One of the (if not the) most famous destinations for DJs to descend on is Ibiza. The party capital of Europe attracts up to 7 million visitors each year and they all need to be entertained.
So what is needed to be able to land a DJ gig in Ibiza? The following tips will set you on the right path.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. This is true in all walks of life and DJing is no different.
If you are planning to go to Ibiza for the first time you will have no idea what to expect, so you will need to do some in-depth research months ahead of your planned arrival.
The obvious choices will be to swipe through social media profiles and read blog posts. While these will offer great insight, a source that shouldn’t be ignored is online forums.
A lot of people with experience of Ibiza will frequent these forums during the low season and are more than happy to offer their advice on how to succeed. Many of these people will also be members of secret Facebook groups and they may invite you to join them also.
Make sure that you don’t join these forums and groups and bluntly ask for gigs. Get to know the people there first, engage in their online community. Wait for them to ask you why you are there and you will soon start to make connections with fellow DJs, promoters, bar staff, tickets sellers etc who are all planning their return to Ibiza.
Once you have more of an idea of what is what and who is who, you can start to subtly introduce your mixes and promotional material and ask for feedback and you never know, it may catch the eye of the right person.
(02) Time your arrival correctly
Some first-timers get lucky and manage to land a gig prior to flying out to the white isle, but not everyone is that fortunate. To give yourself the best chance of success, arrive as early in the season as you can. The early bird catches the worm, as they say.
What has always worked for me is to book a holiday for as long as possible so that you know you have a place to sleep every night and a return ticket home if things don’t work out.
Once you are there, spend your time wisely. On so many occasions I have seen people arrive with the intention of staying to work for the season, only to get drawn in by the cheap alcohol and the intimate early season parties. Within 7-10 days, the money that was set aside to pay their rent for the summer season has been spent and they are on a flight home a few days later.
Use the quieter times to identify which venues you think your music style would be suited to. If you narrow your search to selected venues, you can spend more time networking with the people that matter and will stand more of a chance of securing yourself a gig.
(03) Network professionally
Arriving in Ibiza for the first time is always exciting and we all need a bit of Dutch courage from time to time, but know your limits.
If you are out trying to get gigs and club managers and promoters see you wasted, it doesn’t paint a very good picture of you if they are going to trust you with the immediate future of their business. You wouldn’t go job hunting in that condition in your home country, so it isn’t a good idea to do it here either.
My advice is to do your networking in the earlier part of the evening before you have started drinking. Not only will you appear more professional, but the likelihood is that the venue will be quieter at that time and the manager will have more of a chance to talk with you.
A very common scenario in Ibiza is that a bar or club owner will have an agreement with their DJ from the previous season that they will hold the job open for them and they will work together again. In a lot of instances, the circumstances of the DJ will change and they are unable to return. The position becomes vacant and the bar or club owner is left searching for a replacement.
(04) Always have a backup plan
In my first season of working abroad, it took me a month to find a gig. In the 3 weeks prior to me starting work as a DJ, I was operating a mechanical bull to bring in some cash.
Obviously, I didn’t go with the intention of operating a mechanical bull, but I knew that if I stayed there long enough and got to know enough people then the DJ work would come.
Having a backup plan could be the difference between staying for the season or heading home after a week or two. If you have worked behind a bar before or have a way with words, try to get a job as a bartender or a PR person until a more suitable opportunity becomes available.
(05) Take enough money
If you are determined to only work as a DJ while in Ibiza, then you must have enough money to be able to support yourself while you look for work.
It is a good idea to calculate the following before you fly out for the season:
- How much you will spend on rent
- How much you will spend on food
- How much you will spend on networking/socialising
- How much you will spend on necessities (flight home)
Calculating these costs will allow you to have an idea of the amount that you will need if, in the worst case scenario, you are unable to secure yourself a gig.
Of course, you don’t want to spend your entire life savings, but you also need to give yourself a good enough chance by staying in Ibiza for long enough.
It is with this in mind that I recommend setting yourself some timescales to stick to if you really don’t want to work as anything other than a DJ.
(06) Be musically versatile
Some DJs will go to Ibiza unwilling to play anything other than their chosen genre of music. This is absolutely fine, but if you do this then you must remember that there will be more competition and fewer opportunities for you.
The bigger the audience that your musical repertoire will appeal to, the bigger the chance you have of getting booked.
Ibiza is very popular and there will be lots of other DJs on the white isle with the intention of staying to work for the season. Not every bar or club will be looking for a DJ who is a specialist in one particular genre, but they may be interested in a DJ who can play multiple genres and who has a passion for something more specific.
Maybe the ideal gig won’t come straight away, but gaining that initial experience will help immensely if you are to move from one gig to another.
(07) Be able to offer something extra
The majority of the DJs heading to Ibiza for the summer will only have their services as a DJ to offer. If you have a skill other than DJing, it is a good idea to offer both skills as part of a complete package.
The bar and club owners in Ibiza only have 4-6 months to make as much money as possible, so they are always open to ways to earn more money. If you can help to increase their profits, then you have a better chance of being hired as a DJ and even earning an additional salary and/or commission.
Experience in graphic design, photography, videography, social media advertising, search engine marketing or search engine optimisation are very sought after during the summer season in Ibiza, so if you have experience in these areas, don’t be shy to tell people about it.
Take a look at my article about social media tips and this may offer some good advice.
Ibiza is an amazing place to visit and work, but it is very competitive. To stand the best chance of success, you must be better than the competition.
That doesn’t mean you need to be a more technically gifted DJ, it just means that you need to have a unique selling proposition.
When you arrive in Ibiza, you are going to be competing against all of the other DJs who are there with the intention of getting a gig for the summer season.
If you consider the tips listed here, it should give you an advantage and an opportunity to be able to sell yourself as a brand to potential employers.
Do you have any additional tips for getting a gig in Ibiza? Let me know in the comments