How to become a popular DJ in the world

, by Laura Ikeji

How Do I Get Started?

The idea of becoming a DJ can be an appealing one for many different reasons, and the idea is especially popular these days.

In this guide, I break down the general process of going down this path into 10 steps, as well as providing some other general tips and suggestions for starting your DJing career or hobby.

The purpose of this guide is not to break down every single skill and technique in great detail.  These things will come with practice and dedication.  This is a fairly generalized guide which is meant to direct you down the path to being a happy and successful DJ.

See Also- Best DJ Controllers 2015: The Ultimate Guide

hat kind of DJ are you interested in becoming?

Okay, so you probably already know what a DJ is.  But, I have a mild obsession with completeness, so please humor me for a moment.

Strictly speaking (and in modern context), a DJ is anyone who plays pre-recorded music for an audience.  If someone hires you to advance an iPod playlist at a cookout, you’re DJing.  But, since you’ve made it to this guide, I imagine you’re interested in doing a little more than that.

So, let’s break it down into a few (somewhat) coherent categories.  These are not hard and fast definitions, because many people (such as myself) often end up swapping different DJ hats.

The club/bar DJ (resident)
This is the DJ that has a (recurring, usually) gig at the local night club or bar.

Each club has a different feel, reputation, and audience… which also means that clubs vary in what they expect from their musical selection. Typically, the night club DJ’s job is to keep the dance floor moving, uninterrupted… often by doing long blends (transitions) between songs, or some other trickery to keep people’s feet moving.

Ideally, this DJ knows how to ramp the energy up and down to balance between an active floor and a busy bar.

The performer/guest DJ
There is a lot of overlap here between this type of DJ and the last.  The reason I put this in its own category is because the performer/guest can have a different kind of pull.

People go to see this DJ because of who they are, their reputation, what people think they can do behind the decks, etc.  This can include anyone who has built up a following that people will come out to see.

The more “exhibitionist” DJs also fit in here, such as turntablists (people good at cutting, scratching, and various record tricks), and other semi-live performers.

The mobile/wedding DJ
A notably different style of DJing is often required of the mobile DJ.  This is usually more of the entrepreneur type, and typically where you will have the most success in making some money.

This kind of DJ often needs to be comfortable with taking requests (and sometimes even playlists), speaking on a microphone, and investing in his or her own sound equipment.

The Radio DJ
This is where the concept of a DJ comes from in the first place (see some DJing history here).  I don’t really have much experience in this area, and it can vary greatly depending on the format.

We will mostly be focusing on the “live audience” kind of DJ for this particular guide, though we will be covering some radio DJ tips soon on the podcast… stay tuned!

Of course, these are broad categories and it really breaks down much further than that.  I have written elsewhere about what makes a good DJ, and we’ll be getting more into that in this guide.

Step Two: Determine Why You Want to DJ