Hiring a disc jockey is something you will likely only do once in your lifetime. Given the number of disc jockeys that appear in a Google search or in the Yellow Pages, how do you tell them apart?
Here is a list of 10 questions to ask myself or any disc jockey that you are planning to hire. The questions are in no particular order, but are ALL important!
1. Are you licensed by the Audio Video Licensing Agency?
The AVLA represents all of the major music labels in Canada and have inspectors who are always on the look out for those using pirated music. If your DJ should happen to be inspected at your event and be licensed, this is a quick and painless process.
2. Are you insured?
God forbid anything were to happen to one of your guests that was the fault of your dj (lights/speakers "can" fall, etc.) However, if your dj isn't insured and your guests decides to take civil action, where are they going to turn?
3. How do you dress for an event?
Believe it or not, I have seen disc jockeys who dress in jeans - a suit is a must!
4. Do you take, encourage and PLAY requests?
Too many disc jockeys "play what they want to hear" and put requests "on the back burner". Demand that your dj plays your guests requests.
5. Do you offer ALL INCLUSIVE pricing?
So many dj's charge extra for dinner music. Who wants to hear the sound of clinking dishes? Of course you need dinner music, so why do they charge extra?
6. Do you provide references?
I would encourage you to SPEAK with the references that your dj provides. When it comes to written references, it is amazing how many disc jockeys only "show you the good ones". By speaking to a reference directly, you will have the opportunity to ask the questions YOU want to ask.
7. How do you stay current with your music library?
If your disc jockey doesn't belong to at least one or two disc jockey music subscription companies, he is likely using illegally obtained music. It is simply not cost or space effective to use store bought music. Also, store bought compilations are released too late - they tend to be the "what was", not the "what is".
8. Does your dj belong to any disc jockey associations?
How does a dj learn and stay on top of trends if he is not regularly updating his skills and learning from other people in his/her industry?
9. Does your dj outsource work?
The old "bait and switch" is extremely common in the disc jockey industry. Ensure that the dj that you are meeting with is the ACTUAL disc jockey that will be playing your event!
10. Is his/her equipment fully backed up (and for that matter himself)?
If a piece of equipment should happen to break, how will he/she react? Will there be downtime while someone brings a replacement? What if your DJ were to get sick prior to the event?