Recently, I ran across a Facebook post showing DJ guidelines either written by a venue owner or a manager.
Personally, as someone who plays a variety of music, I have no real problems with it. Yet, it definitely pissed off a whole shit load of DJs. On one hand, I understand why it would piss DJs off. The demands put a lot of pressure on the DJ. Yet, anyone who spent huge amounts of time in sports bars would quickly understand where the letter writer is coming from. I’ll break it down in a list.
1. You always cater music towards the women: If the women are happy with the music, they will keep coming back. When they keep coming back, the dudes will keep coming back, meaning more folks in the venue spending money.
There are exceptions to this. For one, you don’t want to keep catering to the same damned women all night. Second, there are some songs you just don’t play, no matter who asks for it. This leads to the next point.
2. Some songs you avoid like the plague: Imagine everyone having a good time. Now, some douche asks for a song that kills the whole vibe. Any venue owner forcing a DJ to honor every song request deserves a smack upside the fucking head.
3. Fuck no, you don’t scratch: Most people just want to hear upbeat music. Many do not give a fuck about a DJ’s scratching skills. They just want to hear the goddamned music.
4. College bar atmosphere usually means party atmosphere: When the letter writer means college bar atmosphere, I guess some folks assume a bar full of college kids. Yet, the letter mentions playing songs that both a 21 year old and 35 year old would recognize, usually most 80s songs up to most current songs.
5. The venue wants to sell drinks: This is why the bar demands upbeat music. Upbeat music sells more drinks.
6. If you want to survive in the business world, you definitely have to stand out: You’re a DJ. So fucking what? Why must a venue hire you over other DJs? How can your skills benefit the venue’s bottom line? The bottom line meaning making money.
Look at the venue’s point of view. Why would paying customers choose them over other venues? This is why a bar demands a DJ to be different. Being a DJ known for playing a hot jam brings people to the venue. Sometimes, I’m known for playing remakes of already known songs. That’s why some folks keep coming back. They know me for certain songs.
7. Catering to mixed crowds brings in more money: I witnessed this first hand. After having diverse music on a Monday night, one local bar started catering to the rock guys. Monday nights sunk like the Titanic. By catering to one group, the bar owner fucked up a good night that attracted many people.
If you’re a DJ concerned only about the “important music” and hate other varieties, I got some good advice for you. Form your own clique or whatever. Then, find a venue that allows you and your buddies free reign to cater to other pretentious music snobs like yourself. Along with pretentiousness is probably someone who is also racist, homophobic, etc.
As I point my understanding of the demands, I do see some problems. Will the bar have your back when someone asks for a song outside the guidelines? Then the letter asks for recognizable songs but want you to play songs that can’t be heard elsewhere. Yes, I answered why a DJ should do both. Still, the actual wording can be confusing. Another thing, as you try mixing the music, most of the crowd may vibe to one type only. This explains why the DJ might play rap most of the night, people enjoying it the most.
Why would someone write this in the first place, you ask? Either the bar is suffering financially and putting pressure on the DJ or bad experiences with past DJs. Some people may say they shouldn’t have hired bad DJs in the first place. After an action is already done, everyone and their grandmother always have a fucking opinion on what action should have happened.
After being handed a demanding letter, I probably would get pissed at first. The list comes across as if the venue doesn’t think I can do my job. Would I take the job? Damned straight. For one, I hate fuckers asking for music that brings an upbeat crowd down. Second, I hate fuckers always complaining about the other music I play. The night is for everyone, not some dipshits who think the world centers around them. Any venue catering to assholes like that deserve having their place go out of business. Catering to fucktards like that means a venue having no real respect towards other paying customers. So, yes, I would take the letter writer’s gig. If the venue really does turn out to be shitty, I do have the choice of leaving.