How Much Money Do DJs Make? [Explained from A to Z]

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DJing is a skill that you can use to build a career that can eventually help you earn money if you get good at it.

Famous DJs that are currently headlining and playing clubs and massive music festivals are making more than enough to support a lavish lifestyle, and we all know it.

Where did these Rockstar DJs start?

Well, some started out playing small-time gigs before they became famous, and in this article, we will talk about how much money do DJs make.

  • Is the pay good enough to be a full-time career?
  • Is it enough to quit your full-time job?
  • Do you still need a day job while DJing on the side?

Keep reading to find out more.

How Much Money Do DJs Make?

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Some factors affect a DJs paycheck or talent fee.

Skilled DJs can charge more than beginner DJs.

In fact, some DJs don’t even get paid at all. Well, I know it’s sad, but it is the truth.

As a beginner, you cannot demand the price you want if you have nothing to show for, and club owners and managers will haggle the price if you don’t have a reputation yet.

In an average-sized club in the US, a DJ can earn $250 to $300 for playing a 4-hour set.

It sounds more than what you can earn in an 8-hour shift earning minimum wage, but if you do not have gigs at least 3 to 4 days a week, it will still not be enough to pay for rent, food, and utilities.

If you have one gig a week at this pay rate, you will probably have to get a part-time job or day job to make a living.

That may not sound fun, but it is normal for DJs to start having a day job.

If you want to quit your day job, you better get serious into mastering your craft and get more gigs to pay the bills.

The pay also varies on what type of DJ you want to be.

A mobile DJ that gets hired for private events such as weddings and Bah Mitzvahs gets paid more because they provide the whole mobile sound systems for the event.

Club DJs, as I have mentioned earlier, get paid depending on their popularity, skill, and experience.  

Another factor that affects the DJ pay rate is the day of your gig.

On weekends such as Friday or Saturday nights, club owners select skilled DJs because there is a more massive crowd turnout.

Because clubs make more revenue on weekends, they pay higher for experienced DJs to get the people coming in.

How Much Money Should I Ask For?

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The DJ should be paid depending on these factors:

  • Skill and Experience
  • Type of DJ and Service
  • Type of Event

You should do the pricing and charge for expenses.

To compute for the right amount, make sure you compute these expenses:

  • Transportation and Gas
  • Roadies/ Crew
  • Equipment Cost
  • Talent Fee

You can also make a deal with the club and get a commission on the drinks that people buy.

If your gigs are big enough to add a door charge, you can also ask the owner for a commission on the people you bring to the club.

Make sure that you negotiate the price within reason and based on the $250 to $300, which is the usual pay.

Types of DJs

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Let’s look at the types of DJs now: 

Mobile DJs

Mobile or wedding DJs can get paid up to $600 per event.

The pay is a little bit higher than open-format DJs and club DJs.

However, the songs that you should play in these types of events should be fit for the audience.

Some start playing birthdays, weddings, and other private events.

Most mobile DJs focus on the private event industry, but if you are versatile, you can also do clubs.

Being a mobile DJ, however, requires more investments such as speakers, mics, and lights.

You might also need to hire a crew to help you lift all the equipment, as well as a vehicle to transport it.

$600 a gig maybe a lot, but considering the cost of investment, it may take a while to get clean revenue.

If you get satisfied customers and build your network, you can get gigs frequently and start earning income.

Open-Format DJs

Open Format DJs are the most flexible type of DJ.

They are the backbone of this industry, as they are the most common DJs that play clubs and gigs playing music from different genres.

Being an open-format DJ, you need to have a wide selection of music from various genres to play for any type of crowd.

Open-format DJs make around $250 to $300 per night.

Aside from the decent pay, you can also find the most work.

You can play different clubs, bars, pubs, and restaurant bars.

If you are skilled and find the right connections, you can probably get regular gigs up to 5 days a week and quit your DJ job.

Promoter DJ

Experienced DJ with a lot of connections can start building promotions and produce their own shows.

As a promoter, you can take care of the scene and find other DJs to play events under your promotion.

You can book other DJs and local talents to perform in your events.

The pay will depend on the people attending your events.

Usually, promoters get 100% of the door charge and a percentage from the bar, which is a pretty good deal.

It can be a risk, so make sure you have a good grasp of the crowd and get local talents that have a cult following.

Specific Genre DJs

DJs of particular genres such as EDM or house music play for promoter’s events where you can get lined up with headliners or be the headliner yourself.

Being a DJ with a specific genre can be the gateway to becoming a producer DJ, such as the ones we know today.

If you want to become a famous DJ, you can start playing events and play some of your original productions.

This type of DJ usually gets paid around $50 per set.

Before you make it big, you need to get followers locally and use social media to get your name out there.

Since the pay is not too great, you may want to get a day job or play open-format DJ events before you become more established.

These gigs may not pay as much, but you get to play the music you want and fulfill your passion as a music producer and DJ.

In this scene, you will meet other DJs and talent managers that can help you gain popularity.

Professional DJ Tips, Tricks, and Ideas

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These tips should help you get more money as you gain both popularity and experience:

Be professional

Be a person of your word and be reasonable with the price you demand.

Promoters and do not like DJs with attitude.

Don’t be late for gigs

Do not, in any circumstance, be late for gigs, especially if it is your first time playing the venue.

Be punctual at all times, unless there is a real emergency that you need to tend to.

Have fun

Have fun when playing sets.

Do not look bored because it will affect the crowd’s mood.

Even if you do not like the songs you are asked to play, don’t let the crowd know that.

Focus on your skill

In your free time, you can practice your skills and transitions to get better at what you do.

Nothing gets more gigs than ability, so make it your secret weapon.

Invest in the best gear

The best gear can go a long way.

Investing in functioning wires and cables can reduce your setup time and reduce the possibility of technical and equipment failure.

Some people judge a DJ based on their gear.

Related Questions:

  • Should I play for free to gain experience?

It is unavoidable that people will take advantage of you and ask you to play for free.

It is up to you if you want to play for free.

If you think it is worth it, and you will gain popularity and experience, then go ahead.

Once you have proven yourself, you will get your break and get paid.

  • How much do famous DJs earn?

One of the top earners in the producer DJ industry is Calvin Harris.

He makes about 50 million bucks a year for doing music festivals, product endorsements, and streaming platforms.

Conclusion

DJs are becoming more popular nowadays, and they are considered to be the new rock stars.

If you get frustrated and can’t catch your break yet, don’t worry.

As long as your passionate about what you do, you will get the recognition you deserve.

The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy what you are doing – get your controller and mixer ready and shoot for the moon.