What is a DJ?

Do you love music? Do you make song playlists for yourself and your friends? You may want to consider working as a DJ!

DJ is the short form for disc jockey. Disc jockeys play the music you hear on radio stations, internet radio stations, local bars and dance clubs, and even at wedding receptions. A disc jockey will consider their target audience when selecting the music to be played and often has a list of song requests given to them by the person or company that hired them.

What does a DJ do?

A DJ plays pre-recorded music from other musicians, usually drawing from a large collection of available songs that suit the theme of the event or venue he or she is working at.

A DJ playing music at a club.

A disc jockey has several responsibilities depending on their workplace and position in the music industry.

In a radio station, a disc jockey is responsible for playing tracks from a set playlist that is given to them by station management. This playlist will often target a specific audience and music genre. Also, a radio station disc jockey is responsible for answering calls from listeners. These calls may be the result of an artist interview, station contest, or even just to comment on the selections being played. The disc jockey is in charge of interviews conducted with musicians of the genre chosen by the radio station, as well as being responsible for announcing commercials in accordance with the stations set programming requirements.

As a disc jockey for a dance club, the DJ will be responsible for playing songs that are both entertaining and will affect the audience in a desired manner. This may include playing requested songs as well as setting up selections that will direct the audience to a certain area. This is done by selecting tracks that have the effect of pushing the audience to visit the bar, check out a promotional item sales booth, prepare for a contest, or just to dance.

A mobile disc jockey works at weddings, school dances, and other big events that require music.

Are you suited to be a DJ?

DJs have distinct personalities. They tend to be enterprising individuals, which means they’re adventurous, ambitious, assertive, extroverted, energetic, enthusiastic, confident, and optimistic. They are dominant, persuasive, and motivational. Some of them are also social, meaning they’re kind, generous, cooperative, patient, caring, helpful, empathetic, tactful, and friendly.

Does this sound like you? Take our free career test to find out if DJ is one of your top career matches.

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What is the workplace of a DJ like?

A disc jockey may work in a large variety of places depending on their chosen field. With the wide variety of disc jockey positions available in the music industry, these places of employment could include radio stations, internet radio stations, private bookings for weddings and parties, mobile disc jockey services, local bars and dance clubs, and even genre based television channels.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to become a Dj?

Because there is no straight and narrow path to this career, the time required to become a DJ tends to vary dramatically. The timeline to enter the field is also blurred by the fact that self-employed DJs must learn not only the art of DJing, but also how to network and market their work.

Some aspiring DJs will need to attend classes to learn the technological aspects of the job, while others may have developed sufficient knowledge in this area from a young age when music was just a hobby. Despite these variations, the common denominator in career track of every DJ is practice. It takes months of frequent practice to reach the level at which a DJ can start earning gigs, and years of practice and performance to become successful.

Should I become a Dj?

Successful DJs commonly have some specific personality traits and accept the lifestyle that comes with the career.

• A love of music: Without the love you’re nothing more than a jukebox. - Josh Chambers, Professional DJ
• Comfortable with networking and meeting people: necessary to build a fan base and establish professional contacts
• Fun-loving and outgoing: excitement translates to the audience and makes them respond in a similar way
• Versatile: versatility in both music genres and use of music technologies is key
• Adaptable: no two gigs or audiences are exactly alike
• Hunger for knowledge and improvement: music technologies and trends are constantly evolving

• Weekend and late night work is typical; work/family life balance can be challenging.
• Beginner DJs usually hold down day jobs and start off by playing on slower nights.
• Many new DJs offer to play sets for free so that venue managers get to know them, their work ethic, and how audiences react to them.

To further help you decide whether a career as a DJ may be for you, here are some insights and advice from working DJs:

• Practise, practise, practise.
• Learn how to mix on more than one device. Technology can backfire on you easily. Always show up with your laptop, CDs, and a USB stick to make sure you can play no matter what happens.
• If you’re not writing music that is getting released, you will never make it to the next level.
• Learn to play an instrument or at least take a course in music theory
• The best part of the job is seeing people enjoy music as much as you do.
• The worst parts of the job are managing the odd technical disaster and dealing with drunk or high audience members and with some shady promoters.
• The biggest misconception about the job is that the work stops when you leave the building. The best DJs are always listening for new remixes and are always ready to build a relationship with a vendor, venue owner, or other DJs.

What are Dj'S like?

Based on our pool of users, DJs tend to be predominately artistic people. Music is one of the five main fine arts, along with painting, sculpture, architecture, and poetry. The DJs who play it, mix it, and often write it are most certainly artistic.

Are DJs happy?

DJs rank among the happiest careers. Overall they rank in the 95th percentile of careers for satisfaction scores. Please note that this number is derived from the data we have collected from our Sokanu members only.

When we satisfy our desire to eat, sleep, or reproduce, our brain releases dopamine, the ‘feel-good’ neurochemical associated with the experience of pleasure and reward. This same chemical is released when listening to music. No wonder, therefore, that DJs are happy in their work.

DJs are also known as:
Disc Jockey Radio DJ Club DJ Mobile DJ Radio Personality Professional Disk Jockey Professional DJ Night Club DJ