What Kind of DJ Should I Be?

by Mixing Dj on April 20, 2009

in DJ Tutorials

This is one of the first questions you will ask yourself when you are deciding to become a DJ –“What kind of DJ should I be?” Before you go any further, before you even learn how to beatmatch, you have to make a decision on this question. Your decision will influence what kind of equipment you get, what music you play, how much money you’ll make and lots more. So, what kind of DJs are there? Let’s find out.

Club DJ

The way I see it, there are 4 major types of DJs. They are:

  • Bedroom DJ
  • Mobile DJ
  • Bar DJ
  • Club DJ or Lounge DJ

A bedroom DJ is someone who likes playing around with music as a hobby but doesn’t really have plans to take it to professional DJ status. This could be either because he doesn’t have the time for it or just doesn’t see it in his future. There’s nothing wrong with being a bedroom DJ, as always the key things are to love music and to have fun. A bedroom DJ doesn’t necessarily need top of the line equipment or fancy extras. As long as he can do what he wants to do, he’s happy. He can play whatever music he wants and he could do whatever he wants with it. He has the freedom to play around with all sorts of techniques without having to cater to an audience’s tastes.

A mobile DJ has to be able to cater to the tastes of an audience. Common gigs for a mobile DJ include weddings, anniversaries, and birthday parties. To be a mobile DJ you will have to have a large music library, be familiar with a wide variety of songs and genres, and have a good sense for what your audience wants to hear and what is appropriate for each particular event. You will also need to own or have access to speakers that can adequately fill a large room with music at a good volume. Many mobile DJs get different kinds of DJ lights like strobes and lasers in order to decorate the dance floor.

A bar DJ usually plays typical bar music, without a need for fancy DJ tricks. Of course, it depends on the venue and the audience but in general a bar DJ will stick to a collection of songs that are popular in bars at the time. He usually doesn’t need to bring his own equipment unless the bar doesn’t have a DJ booth installed. A bar DJ is often asked to promote the bar so that more people will come and buy drinks. His pay may be a percentage of the total bar at the end of the night, rather than a flat fee.

A club DJ or lounge DJ can usually stick to his preferred type of music, as long as he can find a club where that type of music is appropriate. For example, a club DJ could be a hip-hop DJ or an electronic music DJ. Club DJs have to have an excellent sense for what the crowd wants to hear. While at a wedding or a bar the crowd is there for another reason, at a club the crowd is often there for the primary reason of the music that will be played there. Therefore, a club DJ’s skill and track selection has a lot to do with how many people are on the dancefloor and whether they’re actually dancing or just standing around. Depending on the arrangement, a club DJ can be paid either a flat fee, a percentage of the bar, or some sort of combination. If the DJ acts as a promoter for the club, he can often receive a cut of the cover fee as well. He rarely has to bring his own equipment because any club or lounge almost certainly has a DJ booth set up.

For an excellent guide about how to be an awesome Club DJ, I highly recommend the Club DJ Guide – check it out!

Good luck!

-Mixing DJ

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa May 28, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Thanks for writing, I really liked reading your newest post. I think you should post more frequently, you clearly have talent for blogging!

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KrisBelucci June 2, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Hi, good post. I have been wondering about this issue,so thanks for posting. I’ll definitely be coming back to your site.

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CrisBetewsky July 6, 2009 at 11:12 am

It’s a pity that people don’t realize the importance of this information. Thanks for posing it.

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Dj SGT. Neo December 18, 2009 at 7:34 am

Hey excellent information, Great job….

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Bar and Night Club Enthusiast December 21, 2009 at 3:32 am

I think the hard part is going from a bedroom DJ to a fully fledged DJ… I think a lot of DJs need to get out there and promote themselves more then just through facebook, but also youtube. I dont think it is enough to just get a late night set and a night club or bar and just hope people show up…

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ppo January 3, 2010 at 2:29 am

A dj should he well rounded with the old and new release from different genre. You never know what gig comes up. It could be a country gig or a reggae gig or something latin. Stay current
.-= ppo´s last blog ..PPO Insurance and Plans and deductibles =-.

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admin January 7, 2010 at 10:30 pm

Thanks to everyone who left a comment – I appreciate it.

@BaNCE – you are definitely right about that. You could be an amazing DJ but making that transition from bedroom to club is one of the most difficult parts. It all comes down to self promotion and seeking out opportunities. Getting in touch with some local club promoters is generally a good way to go too. Once you start getting exposure in clubs, your popularity can really pick up. But you need to promote your events and get people to show up too, otherwise the bars and clubs have no reason to hire you.
@ppo – that is a great point, some people don’t realize how much work it takes to be a great dj.

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Dj paranoiik January 9, 2010 at 11:45 am

maybe about 1 year ago I was a bedroom dj , I was only doing it for fun and doing very little home parties for friends. after that I really got into it and bought speakers , tripods , trusskit , Lights , fog machine and Im now a mobile dj =) If you really love music and your willing to sacrifice yourself for music Mobile DJ is probably the best job in the world if you <3 music 😉

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fooz January 12, 2010 at 9:18 pm

I totally agree with you, if you love music and djing then being a mobile DJ is an awesome job. I did my share of mobile gigs before getting into the clubs and to me being a club DJ is even more fun but I still do a mobile gig once in a while too. It all depends on what’s right for you. In my case, there’s nothing like the feeling I get when I pump up the volume on a club sound system and see the dancefloor explode with people having a great time 🙂

Interminable January 19, 2010 at 8:49 am

Hey thr…
i heard maximum DJ’s recommend not to DJ with softwares cuz da have der own limitations..
By default i gotta buy da DJ GEARS..but da problem is de cost lyk crazy in my country.i practically have to import dem 4m other neigbouring country.Nd da amt i hv 2 spent i can prolly buy my own car with it(it is true)..
my question is wat do u do when u have a dying passion for being a DJ but you’re seriously broke?!?! i now c my dreams falling apart 😐 pls advice…

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college sweatshirts January 19, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Good question here! What kind of DJ should I be? Well, I am not really a DJ.. I don’t even know how to scratch and spin that stuff. But I have always admired DJ’s in their passion to entertain people. If I were a DJ, I think I am more of a bedroom DJ. I just love music and I love to explore on music. I think I’d enjoy doing it in my room and if my friends want some party, I’d definitely would want to entertain them through my music, free of charge.

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admin January 25, 2010 at 9:55 pm

@Interminable – there are really only 2 things you could do if you want to be a DJ but you’re broke: either save up some money and wait until you have enough to buy some gear, or scrape up the money you can and try buying used equipment from eBay or sites like Craigslist.
@cs – that’s cool man, a lot of people (including me) love rocking a small party for a few friends. It’s always a good time!

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Klip izle January 28, 2010 at 7:38 am

Really like that. Thanks for post.
Bar DJ !! 😉

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Ryan Je March 10, 2010 at 5:59 pm

i love to be a mobile dj..i really really love djing….but it cost a lot of money to have a dj gear even just a cdj 100…..can’t afford to have…huhu…

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hip hop beat maker March 14, 2010 at 4:16 am

Thanks for the insight.

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chris @ Karaoke DJ Equipment April 3, 2010 at 11:38 am

I like how you broke it down into categories. Looks like being a mobile DJ is most expensive due to equipment costs. Does the chance to make money match that outlay or is competition too fierce for the mobile?

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Music Festivals May 12, 2010 at 3:26 am

Im suprised to read that there are different types of DJ. Especially if you want to be a DJ for a living. Surely you just need to be able to cater for every taste and occassion.
.-= Music Festivals´s last blog ..Sub Focus Records New Track =-.

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Philip Hawkin June 4, 2010 at 5:15 am

The thing most wedding guests remember from a wedding is the entertainment. So a good wedding DJ has one of the most important jobs of the reception.

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New Mexico Wedding Photography June 8, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Agreed. The hardest part is coming out of the bedroom haha and really getting yourself out there as a DJ. My friend DJ’s and this was thre trickiest part for him. Theres money in DJing for sure its just getting to the point where people know who you are.

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MP3 Money July 23, 2010 at 6:51 pm

So what advice would you give to someone who wanted to be a touring DJ (i.e., DJ for artists who tour a lot, etc.)? I know it’s not as common as it used to be, but there are still some hip-hop purists out there who perform with DJs.

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Stephen Paylor August 1, 2010 at 8:01 am

Our dream at the moment is to open up a bar in Thailand. We’ll be DJing ourselves, starting with ambient chilled out, getting funky later then ending the night on something electro and drum & bass.

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lake tahoe portrait photography August 11, 2010 at 4:56 pm

At the club, one of the things I enjoyed listening is the DJ mix. I love how they rap it that’s why every time I get a chance to go a club. I always make sure to llok for club that have DJ mix.

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san diego wedding photographers August 11, 2010 at 5:17 pm

After reading this article, hubby and I decided to go bar hopping this weekend and look for a club that have DJ Mix so we could enjoy dancing and hanging out with some friends.

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wedding photography boston August 11, 2010 at 6:46 pm

I wanted to have a club DJ on my wedding to give life to the after party celebration. I hope this will make everybody enjoy and dance to the max. This is a great idea.

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Chris@photography August 19, 2010 at 2:25 am

I have always dream of become a dj aside from my passion in photography. It never came true because I have other things to prioritize. However, during my free time I practiced it by myself. Now I realize I am still a dj myself, I can consider I am a “bedroom dj”. Thanks for the information, it boosts my confidence that I can still be a dj in someways.

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dlf@weddings August 26, 2010 at 5:30 am

If I were a DJ, I will be a bedroom type of DJ because I don’t like to go out at night. I prefer to stay at home and enjoy the music by myself.

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teenacelis@gmail.com September 1, 2010 at 4:44 am

Me and my cousin do some dj jobs during family affairs. We’re having so much fun. I guess it’s a start of becoming a good dj someday.

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panther September 23, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Used to earn extra money doing the mixers at high school. Got money, long hours.

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Janice November 11, 2010 at 8:35 am

I was only doing it for fun and doing very little home parties for friends. after that I really got into it and bought speakers , tripods , truskit , Lights . hanks for the information, it boosts my confidence that I can still be a dj in someways.

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Michelle - Wedding Photographers Boston February 8, 2011 at 4:42 am

So that’s what I am … a bedroom DJ! 🙂 I’ve always loved music. I cannot go around without it. I even go back for my iPod if I forget it at home … no matter how late I may already be for an appointment. I’ve also been the point person in our family when it comes to songs for any occasion … anniversaries, parties, long drives … even kiddie parties.

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Sean February 19, 2011 at 2:36 am

You don’t go from bedroom DJ to superstar DJ overnight! Most will never reach those heights as most don’t have the drive. Just enjoy mixing, put a few CD’s out and see where it takes you. You will then discover what type of DJ you wanna be.

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Sandra March 7, 2011 at 3:30 am

Whatever you choose to become, always keep the music to your heart. As cheesy as that sounds, that’s what really matters.
As long as you play a great set, for both yourself and the crowd, you’ll find that you’ll always have fun. You’ll meet a lot of great people along the way, learn many new tricks, party in the sketchiest of places, but it will all be worth it.

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Steve March 21, 2011 at 6:50 am

I really got into it and bought speakers , tripods , truss kit , Lights , fog machine and I’m now a mobile DJ. If you really love music and your willing to sacrifice yourself for music Mobile DJ is probably the best job. Thank you.

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Sara March 21, 2011 at 9:14 am

I don’t even know how to scratch and spin that stuff. But I have always admired DJ’s in their passion to entertain people. If I were a DJ, I think I am more of a bedroom DJ. I just love music and I love to explore on music. Thank you.

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Julia April 28, 2011 at 5:14 pm

It all comes down to self promotion and seeking out opportunities. Getting in touch with some local club promoters is generally a good way to go too. Once you start getting exposure in clubs. Thank you.

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Heather May 10, 2011 at 5:07 pm

I enjoyed listening is the DJ mix. I love how they rap it that’s why every time I get a chance to go a club. Thanks for the information.

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Laser Lights May 14, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Just ran into this now, the sad thing is IMO some of the best DJs out there are the bedroom DJs.

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Michelle May 25, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I think I am more of a bedroom DJ. I just love music and I love to explore on music. I think I’d enjoy doing it in my room and if my friends want some party, I’d definitely would want to entertain them through my music. Thank you.

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Ted May 25, 2011 at 5:08 pm

This is great article. You could be an amazing DJ but making that transition from bedroom to club is one of the most difficult parts. It all comes down to self promotion and seeking out opportunities. Thank you.

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