How Do I Get The DJ To Play My Song?

09Jan13

Hi folks,

Hope you are all well and good this fine afternoon.

Todays blog post isn’t directly related to any recent incident but it is something that time and time again comes up usually when dealing with guests rather than clients.

Before I started DJing for what I would describe as “mainstream parties” I had all sorts of ideas about what music I would play. Coming from a funky house background I was going to rock parties up and down the country with cool tunes that nobody had heard before and everyone would be dancing. I had no idea how wrong I could be until I actually did start doing Uncle Johns 40th and more recently weddings.

Six years (and roughly 500 gigs) later and my outlook and ideas have changed. Yet still every so often I have to explain to guests why I’m unlikely to play their request which some people understand but many don’t. Today hopefully I will help some people understand at least the thinking that I put into my song selection.

Firstly, there are a few general golden rules,

*As a wedding DJ my job is to entertain and get everyone dancing. I’m not here to “musically educate” everyone.

*People in general will only dance to music they know pretty well.

*What you may consider a “big hit” may not actually work as you think. If I had a pound for everytime I’ve heard “play it, everyone loves this song” then I wouldn’t be writing this blog post.

*I usually have a rough idea of the next 10/15 minutes of songs. I’m a reactive DJ so always looking to “play the right records at the right time” so if I’m playing some Motown to a full dancefloor I’m very unlikely to play a record that is vastly different such as heavy metal. I will however save that request for later and will even plot roughly how I will move from motown to metal but it will take some time to do so. The only time it is worth abruptly going from one song to the next is it you suddenly need to “up the tempo” or the current song isn’t working (which I have to admit is rare but it happens to all of us). This is a major point most guests don’t actually understand and appear to think we have our own collection of songs on shuffle. If is a common theme that us DJs encounter is the party goer that goes “play my song now, nobody likes this” to a full dancefloor of people.

*If your a guest at someones wedding, chances are the happy couple have had some input into the music policy for the evening, heck they are more than likely to have chosen their DJ based on their music policy. If your DJ tells you that the couple have vetoed your request then he/she is very unlikely to change their mind no matter what you say.

That said here are some things I urge you not to do

*DJs surprisely are also humans, if you ask for a song in an aggressive and rude manner then it only makes it more unlikely that he/she is going to play it.

*Don’t ask “what songs have you got”. Chances are the DJ has already got a few to work through and failing that is trying to rack his/her brains to find the next good song. If you don’t know what song you want to request then please do not ask the question. The answer will be “thousands” whoever you ask. If you know the song but don’t know what it is called then that is different.

*If the DJ is actually on the microphone or has his headphones on please don’t stand their poking him/her within an inch of their life. You might think this is common sense but it happens………

*The most important one is that a good DJ knows what they are doing. None of us want an empty dancefloor and we have a sixth sense that tells us if what we are playing is “working”. They don’t need to be hearing “play this right now” or “this music is ****”.  Remember you are one of what should be a good number of guests all with their own musical preferences and pleasing everyone is a nigh on impossible task. The expression “you can either please all of the people some of the time or some of the people all of the time” rings true.

So there you guys have it. In summary I certainly don’t want this to sound like me on a soap box having a good old moan because it really isn’t. Its more to give people an insight in what the DJ at your next party is likely to be thinking and his/her approach. With this knowledge you can hopefully appreciate the thought process and understand why your song may not get played straight away. Naturally if anyone has any questions then please feel free to comment below and I’ll happily get back to you kind folks.

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One Response to “How Do I Get The DJ To Play My Song?”

  1. How amusing. So so true. your story could be me. Minus the number of gigs now, as I pick and choose. Had a women on new years eve have a right moan at me for the ACDC playing which was requested. She wanted motown, which I played at 10pm for about half an hour, then went out of my way to annoy her for the rest of the night with music I knew she (but everyone else did) not like. Also you didn’t mention the dj has always a ‘get me out of jail’ song or two, for those nightmare tumble weed moments!


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