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How to Become a DJ In (2023) [In 5 Simple Steps]

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Do you enjoy curating music? Do you love to party? And are you able to persuade people to get on the dance floor?

If you answered “Yes!” to all these questions, then becoming a DJ is the perfect career path for you.  

Fortunately, becoming a DJ doesn’t require licensure or certification. However, it does require years of practice to hone your performance and DJing skills.

Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry.  

This post will shed light on everything you need to know about how to become a DJ, from why to consider this career path and how much you can make as a DJ to the general steps you must follow to become a successful DJ.

Let’s jump right into it.

An Overview of DJing: A Primer

DJing is a form of art and entertainment that involves mixing music using a wide variety of techniques and sound equipment.

There are different types of DJs (an acronym for disk jockeys), including radio, club, mobile, and performing DJs, to name a few.

DJs use equipment like turntables and CDJs to combine songs from CDs, vinyl records, and digital audio files.                                                                              

Simply put, DJs are the life of the party. They’re the key to getting people to dance and have a good time through their passion for music.

Related: How to Become a Singer

How Much Do DJs Make?

According to ZipRecruiter, DJs in the United States make an average hourly rate of $22.89. The hourly rates are as high as $74 among top earners and as low as $9.38 among beginner DJs.

The same source indicates that the average DJ makes around $47,611 per year. But, of course, factors such as location, experience, and club fame have a major influence on a DJ’s pay.

What You’ll Need to Become a DJ [& Associated Costs]

Here’s a list of all the requirements you need to meet to become a DJ, along with the associated costs:

1. Passion for Music

The first requirement to becoming a DJ is an inherent love and passion for music. You must be in tune with the latest trends in the music industry.

You must also be familiar with the different styles of music out there, from electronic dance music to rap and hip hop.

2. Equipment

Besides a natural ear for music, you need quite a few pieces of equipment to start DJing. Based on your style of DJing, you may need headphones, turntables, mixers, monitor speakers, a laptop computer, DJing software, and music records.

The cost of DJ equipment varies greatly. As a beginner, expect to pay $250 to $1,400 for a budget-friendly DJ set. Check out this comprehensive guide to learn about the cost of each piece of equipment.

3. Lots of Practice

DJing is more challenging than it seems. It involves different techniques, from the spin back and dead stop to the scratch and the power cut. Learning and implementing these techniques is key to becoming a successful DJ.  

4. Performance and Moves

As a DJ, you’re the commander of the dance floor. You need to have the performance skills and the swag needed to influence audiences to follow your lead and keep them entertained. You can’t be stagnant or look like you’re bored!

How Much Does It Cost to Become a DJ?

The cost of becoming a DJ is directly linked to the cost of the equipment you’ll need to buy. As mentioned in the previous section, a beginner-friendly DJ set will set you back anywhere from $250 to $1400.

As your DJ career grows, you’ll most likely need to replace your budget equipment with more professional alternatives, which, according to Liv Technical, can cost you $4,000 to $9,000.

Is It Hard to Become a DJ?

While it might seem as easy as putting a bunch of songs on shuffle, DJing is an intricate form of entertainment that requires years of practice, deep technical knowledge, and electrifying performance skills.

Not only do you need to know your way around the deck, but you’ll also need to find the right connections, prepare for a lot of traveling, and learn how to read the room.

After all, DJs who don’t listen to their crowd don’t get far.

How Long Does It Take to Become a DJ?

How fast it takes to become a DJ depends on several factors, from your resources and learning method to how many hours of practice you put in every day.

Though you can learn the most basic DJing skills within a matter of weeks, it can take months or even years to land your first gig as a beginner DJ.

Don’t let that discourage you, though. With enough time and dedication, you’ll be earning good money doing something you enjoy, which is what everyone strives towards in life.  

How to Become a DJ in 5 Simple Steps

Now that you have a good idea about the art of DJing and what it takes to become a DJ, let’s go over the main steps to becoming a DJ.  

1. Learn About the Different Types of DJs

Before you start your career as a DJ, you must learn about the different types of DJs to figure out which one you want to become.

Here are the main types of DJs:

  • Club DJs: These are DJs that play music mainly in bars and clubs.
  • Performer DJs: Also known as turntablists, performer DJs deliver one-man-band shows.
  • Radio DJs: A radio DJ curates music and playlists for radio stations.
  • Producer DJs: These are DJs that handle both music production and live beat mixing.
  • Mobile DJs: A mobile DJ performs in different settings, from house parties and clubs to weddings.

2. Get the Needed Equipment and Software

The next step is to get all of the physical equipment, which may include:

  • Laptop computer
  • Turntable deck
  • DJ controller or mixer
  • Monitor speakers
  • Headphones
  • Microphone for MCing

You’ll need to choose and learn your way around DJ software such as Ableton Live, Virtual DJ, Pioneer Rekordbox, Serato DJ Pro, and Native Instruments Traktor DJ 2.

3. Start Building Your Music Library

There are several ways to build your music library as a DJ. You can opt to collect physical media like CDs and vinyl.

Alternatively, you can collect digital media on your computer. Music library platforms like Taxsource, Beatport, and SoundCloud can be quite helpful if you go digital.

4. Learn and Refine the Basic DJing Skills

From operating turntables and knowing your way around mixing software to equalization and beatmatching, learning the most basic DJing skills is a must.

Having learned these skills, you can move on to more advanced DJ skills and techniques like harmonic and polyrhythmic mixing.

5. Network and Build Your Brand

Now that you know your way around a turntable deck and DJing software, it’s time to start networking and building connections.

Get to know club owners and event planners in your area. Become friends with local DJs and ask for their help. Keep in touch with other aspiring DJs in your area so that you can help each other out.

You must also start seeking gigs. You may not make much in the beginning, but you have to start somewhere.

Reasons to Consider Becoming a DJ

Here are some of the most notable reasons to consider becoming a DJ:

  • Share Your Passion for Music: Seeing audiences grooving and dancing to the music you’re playing is incredibly rewarding. That’s not to mention that you get to meet and hang out with people who share the same passion for music.
  • Unleash Your Creativity: As a DJ, you can try something new at every gig, from other genres of music to different techniques. You also get to experiment with various tools, enabling you to unleash your creativity as an artist.  
  • You’re Your Own Boss: As a DJ, you set your rules. You dress as you like, negotiate your pay, and choose where to work. It’s a career path that offers a great deal of freedom and flexibility.
  • You Get Paid to Do What You Love: Last but not least, becoming a DJ allows you to make good money while doing something you enjoy and are passionate about. That’s not to mention all the traveling and new experiences you’ll encounter!

Frequently Asked Questions

Still on the fence about becoming a DJ? The answers to these common questions might help you reach a decision.

Do DJs Make Good Money?

Yes, DJs make good money. The average club DJ makes around $100-$200 per night. Keep in mind, though, that a DJ’s pay depends on many factors, including experience, club location, and club fame.

Can Anyone Become a Good DJ?

With enough time, dedication, and a natural ear for music, anyone can become a DJ. To garner great success, though, your technical knowledge and understanding of DJing equipment must be on point. You should also be in tune with the latest trends in the music world.

Who Is the Most Expensive DJ Per Show?

Calvin Harris is the most expensive DJ per show, earning around $400,000 per gig on his Las Vegas residency. The Scottish DJ, performer, composer, and record producer has an estimated net worth of around $300 million!

Similar Gigs to Check Out

If you think becoming a DJ isn’t for you, here are a few other career options and side hustles to consider:

  • How to Become an Event Planner: Do you pride yourself on your creative vision? Do you enjoy creating powerful experiences and bringing people together? If so, becoming an event planner is an excellent career path for you.
  • How to Become a Food Critic: Want to make money by dining out and writing about your experiences with food? Our guide can help you start your career as a food critic. Keep in mind that this is a competitive field that requires a lot of dedication.
  • How to Become an Instagram Influencer: Do you have a strong following on social media? Are you quite knowledgeable about a topic or field? If so, you’ll appreciate the flexibility and freedom of being an Instagram influencer.  

Wrapping Up

From getting paid to do what you love and sharing your passion for music to being your boss and making a cultural impact, DJing is one of the most thrilling and rewarding career paths out there.

Besides, successful DJs get to travel all around the world, putting smiles on people’s faces and being the heart of the party. That’s not to mention that DJs make a lot of money!

Hopefully, the information shared in this article has helped you determine whether or not DJing is the right career for you. If not, be sure to check out some of our other career-related articles. Surely, there’s a career path that’s perfect for you.

If you enjoyed this article, consider sharing it with others who might be interested in DJing.

And if you have any questions or concerns regarding today’s topic, leave us a comment below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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