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My View of the DJ Industry in 2016

My View of the DJ Industry in 2016 - 4 Minute Read - By Sanjeev Bouri


I find writing blogs difficult but after reading this article I got my arse into gear and motivated myself (and with the support of family and friends) to start writing down what exactly inspired me to launch Rated DJs.


About me

Before I start I want you to know that I’ve set myself an ambitious goal; to write blogs (including video blogs) sharing my knowledge of the DJ industry from a customer’s point of view. See I’m not actually a DJ even though I came up with the idea of Rated DJs – a website designed to help people find and book a DJ.

I’m 28, live in London, UK and worked in ecommerce since 16. The first website I launched was back in high school. I was selling mobile ringtones (which were .midi files back then) and custom operator logos for Nokia 5110’s (and above), Sony Ericssons and Motorolas through the website. I used PayPal as no other online payment gateway wanted to deal with a 16-year-old kid!


Nokia 5110s


As the years progressed I launched a local radio station for my school friends who are DJs. They had their own radio shows where playlist requests were made via SMS text at 10p (can you imagine being charged to send a text in 2016!) and MSN messenger.



We had guest speakers from other schools in the catchment area! This was when BT ADSL broadband had only been introduced and we used Winamp and Windows Media Encoder to broadcast our live shows.



How the Idea of Rated DJs Evolved

I’ve always had a passion for solving problems. Many of my close friends are DJs – one evening (back in 2013 – heavily in debt of a student loan) we were having drinks at a local bar. Two of my friends were talking about getting paid 2 to 3 weeks late (frequently) by DJ agencies and promoters.


I jumped in mid convo and asked why they both didn’t get paid in advance, direct from the person actually hosting the event. As the conversation continued I learned that venues had ‘favourite DJs’, clubs and bars had residencies and promoters were the ‘gate keepers’.


Unless you’ve got deep pockets of cash to throw at Google AdWords which has got harder since Feb 2016 (I’ll be covering Google AdWords 2016 update in a future blog post) it really comes down to your word of mouth marketing and your website to get direct bookings.

Google Adwords

From a person who’s not a DJ I saw a massive problem. There’s too many barriers to entry for a DJ to become truly successful. It needs to be easier! Obviously you yourself have to spend time practicing and DJing at gigs but it needs to be easier for a bar, club, venue or person to find and book you! It needs to be easier for DJs to increase their brand awareness, get rated and recognised for their work including direct bookings.


The DJ Industry Right Now

Although the DJ equipment (such as Digital DJs) has developed one thing remained the same – finding a DJ for the average Joe was difficult. A simple search on Google throws up 1000’s of websites with different website layouts, fonts, images, background music and flash animated sites. It’s kind of like MySpace – every person had a different layout.


Please note I’m not throwing a jab at you - my future blog posts will be about helping DJs improve their website performance by becoming mobile responsive and talking in-depth about SEO strategies.

SEO Infographic

All it takes is 3 seconds for a visitor to loose interest in your website. If you’re reading this – thank you for sticking around!

Someone trying to find a website to solve their problem

A simple search on Google was enough for Mr Joe Blogs to close his browser and find an alternative such as an agency or promoter. How?


Agencies and promoters are all about networking. They are experts! Promoters attend multiple networking events in their local neighbourhood to ensure every venue or group knows about them! You need to do the same!! Why?


A simple post on Joe Blogs Facebook status will get one or two tags with “hey, can you help, I’m sure you know a few DJs?” <- The promoter will be tagged and you may get booked through the promoter (great!) but going back to my original point – it’s a nightmare when you’re chasing the promoter to be paid so make sure you’re paid upfront!


The Cost of a DJ

As I was learning more about the DJ industry I noticed in many Facebook DJ groups there were repeated topics about the price of a DJ being driven down! I’ve read multiple comments that it’s to do with the client’s budget but I strongly believe the price of a DJ has been driven down by:


  • Too many middlemen (venues have their favourite DJs, promoters, agencies, wedding planners)

  • One gig will get multiple quotes


Imagine - one promoter has a gig going but 10 DJs feedback to the promoter they're available - in this instance the price for the gig is driven down. Common sense would say the price is driven down by the lack of gigs but in this case the gig was going through one funnel - the promoter. Had the host of the event contacted multiple DJs directly the price wouldn't be driven down as much.

Club Promoters

This reminds of when the local Costa coffee was opening and posted 6 job openings at minimum wage. Over 15,000 people applied for 6 positions!


This inspired me to design the bookings process on Rated DJs website to allow customers to book DJs by requesting a direct quote through the DJs profile– one quote isn’t shared amongst every DJ on Rated DJs website – unless it’s posted in the Job Board.

Request a Free Quote on Rated DJs Website

In Summary

Generally, we all are inpatient and we want ‘it’ now (whatever ‘it’ may be) so when we go to Google and can’t find what we’re looking for we ask someone else to solve the problem i.e. Facebook statuses -> Venues -> Promoters and Wedding planners.

I launched Rated DJs to give power back to the customer searching for a DJ and DJs themselves. It removes all middlemen and all bookings are direct. Every DJ on Rated DJs has the same profile layout – the only difference being the content and media found on those DJ profiles – similar to Facebook. (click here to see how it works for DJs)


DJs get paid outside of the website and there’s no fee to use the website. As your bookings come in you’ll be building a portfolio of reviews which will support your hourly fee and at the same time reassure future customers that booking you is the right move.


I wanted to do things differently. Every time a DJ receives a booking through Rated DJs website I’m literally over the moon because it’s confirms the idea that people want things fast. Generally, people don’t want to be dealing with 10 different suppliers from 10 different places.


We’re not an agency. The search results are randomised on each search and we don’t promote DJs against each other. It’s up to the customer to request a quote from you dependent on the content found on your DJ Profile.


Customers are happy to pay a premium if you can back up your hourly rate with previous customer reviews – the industry isn’t dying – it’s changing.


I'd love to hear your thoughts, please feel free to add your comment below. 


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