5 Skills Every Modern DJ Must Have To Succeed In 2021

5 Skills Every Modern DJ Must Have To Succeed In 2021

Technology has completely changed the world since the first DJs who worked with turntables and vinyl were born.

Today the old methods of mixing songs are an almost unrecognizable environment for new DJs – and we are only talking about a mere 10 years apart!

The basic skills you need to get to something like a DJ (and I’m talking to get to your first gigs, it doesn’t matter if you want to pursue this as a full-time job to live on or just something to earn extra on) are very different.

You seek fame, but fame costs and this is where you are going to start paying!

In short, if today you want to be taken into account in this competitive world of DJs, it is not going to be enough to have a list of songs and be able to do some mixing.

You are going to need another set of skills and knowledge. And no, we are not talking about raising your arms between mixing and mixing, saying phrases like “make some noise!”, Or throwing cakes at the public.

Skills A Current DJ Should Have

If you are considering becoming a DJ, here are the 5 most important skills a current DJ should have to be considered.

1. Learn to handle a multitude of devices and new equipment

Stay up to date with technological advances and learn to handle all types of equipment.

You might be comfortable with your current staging: using Serato, Traktor, CDJ Pioneer, a DJ controller, or whatever, but it’s always important to diversify your DJ skills across different tools and gear.

After all, knowing how the sector evolves and keeping up with all the resources we have available will keep you trying new ideas, innovating your DJ sets, and ultimately, evolving as an artist.

Also, you never know when you are going to find something unforeseen and have to act under conditions that were not planned.

Always remember that a good DJ has to be able to handle and perform a good session with any equipment.

Practical Tips:

  • Learn to handle and know perfectly the use of CD players (Pioneer CDJ type), always have a USB ready with all the playlists you need for a good session, learn to handle a controller, and also be able to do sessions with DJ software like Traktor or Serato.

2. Become an expert in marketing, social networks, and online networking

When I started working as a DJ (I bought my first vinyl records and a friend let me use his turntables to learn), the Internet was just a tool that was being born.

Yahoo! It was still the main search engine and AOL was still popular. Google… what the heck was that?

Now, with the advancement of the Internet and the new technologies at our disposal, the web allows us to share and connect through our music with any part of the world.

Knowing how to take advantage of what is there – Facebook, SoundCloud, Youtube, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. And of course websites and forums like this one are essential today.

And above all, let’s not forget, we like the idea more or less, being popular on social networks is increasingly necessary. To the point that many promoters will take things like the number of fans and followers into account more than your musical quality when hiring you.

Practical Tips:

  • Keep your profiles on social networks updated. Share and be generous.
  • Connect with fans and other professionals and above all “always give before asking.”
  • Keep in mind that social networks are also victims of fashion and that users’ tastes change, so if you want to be successful in the long term, you will have to find your way of “being authentic” and sincerely connect with your fans and followers. Then they will follow you whatever the social network that works at all times!

Offering something different, personal and authentic is the only thing that will ensure you loyal followers who will follow you and even look for you whatever the social network or app that is succeeding at the moment.

3. Make your own music, remixes, or mashups

The days of simply having to know how to mix two songs are over.

Today’s DJ has to know how to create his own mashups, remixes, and even produce his own original songs if he really wants to become a serious professional and have an important career in the world of music.

Production programs such as Ableton Live, Logic Pro X, Pro Tools, Cubase, etc., have made music publishing accessible on a professional level for almost any budget.

It’s about differentiating yourself from other DJs. To be unique.

From playing other people’s music to playing to another level and playing your own music.

Practical Tips:

  • Start by making your own mashups and remixes before diving into music production, as this is a path that requires a lot of dedication, learning, and time.
  • Music production will take you to another level as a professional, but as we say it requires a lot of time and dedication so we only recommend taking this step once you have mastered all the other aspects and skills that are required to be a DJ.

4. Become an expert in photo and video editing

As a professional and someone who can say that he makes a living from music, one of the pieces of advice I can give you is that not only are you going to need to be a good DJ, you’re going to have to stand out and learn many other things.

Something that will help you tremendously in your career is to “make” an appropriate image for yourself. And for this, it will be very useful if you know how to handle photo editing, design, and video tools.

Many professional DJs, even international tops who can afford and are supported by a team of professionals in marketing, editing, etc. They know how to handle these tools perfectly and it is they themselves who edit the videos that appear in their shows or who decide how their image should be treated.

Practical Tips:

  • Learn at least some basic editing tricks for both photo and video to be able to generate your own material.
  • Check all the flyers of your performances and ask that they not publish anything without your approval. Do not be afraid if you have to request changes or explain how your image has to be treated – Also be aware and humble of your position, if you are not Calvin Harris do not expect the same prominence.
  • Always provide professional photos, and even if you have ease in handling tools for image editing, you can suggest doing the work yourself.
  • Have a folder with your promotional images (what is known as press-media), which should be used to make flyers, promotions on social networks, accompany articles or press releases, etc. This folder should have 3-5 images (no more).

5. Control the live show and make your performances memorable!

Don’t settle for mixing songs. Create live. Interpret, act. Put all your energy into your session. Do magic!

The future of DJ sessions for every day more for the “show” live.

Anyone calling themselves a DJ these days. This is the harsh reality.

People download free, free, or paid DJ software, learn to mix some songs, and yes, technically they can be called DJs.

In our opinion, a “good” DJ is more than someone who “plays” music at a venue or event. For us, a DJ is someone who is CREATING and TRANSMITTING an experience!

The great DJs are actively involved in music; physically and emotionally.

If you are a DJ and you are seen as a robot behind a mixing desk pressing a button at the right time, you have to change. That is no longer enough today.

Practical Tips:

We are increasingly sure that the future of great DJs is to make a show out of their sessions. 

These are some of the things you can incorporate into your session to make it unique:

  • If apart from DJ you have experience or play an instrument, maybe you can incorporate that instrument into your set.
  • Do you sing? You can also perform live some of the songs that are part of your session.
  • Incorporate “live” elements into your session. You can use samples, Traktor Stems, Ableton live, Maschine.

Learn to drive in-depth and perform “tricks” with Pioneer CDJs (or whatever equipment you use) and improvise live.

With scratch, live sampling, loops, effects – with this, be careful and always remember that little (and good) pleases … a lot, tires! Come on, in other words: Do not abuse the same tricks and effects constantly or you can cause a negative effect on the public.

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