Finding DJ Gigs in Unusual Places

July 14, 2016

DJing a Gigi in A Retail Environment

There’s no doubt that being a DJ is a great gig. We get paid to express ourselves through music and make parties happen night after night. However, maintaining a steady stream of bookings and paychecks is a constant grind that requires continuous effort. The supply and demand ratio for club DJs has been in the clubs’ favor for quite some time now, making it increasingly difficult to survive on club work alone. Sure, spinning at weddings and privates events is a great way to supplement your DJ income, but that still leaves plenty of holes during the week that need to be filled with profitable gigs. The good news is, there are plenty of businesses and clients that could benefit from your unique set of skills as a DJ. Although they may not always be the most glamorous gigs, these unlikely places can help fill your schedule…..and your wallet.

Retail Stores

Occasionally, retail and clothing stores will have a DJ on location during sales and special promotions. This creates a upbeat and fresh vibe for the store and also helps DJs fill their daytime schedule. When it comes to smaller, independent chains, you may be able to get your foot in the door by introducing yourself to the manager and discussing what you can bring to the table. If you are aiming to spin for some of the larger brands, you’ll need to reach out to Scratch Events. They have contractual agreements with stores such as H&M and Victoria’s Secret and are the leaders in the retail DJ space.

Fashion Shows

If fashion shows occur often your area, make note of the names of the designers and reach out to them directly. Make sure you carry yourself well and express your desire to create an amazing vibe at their next show. If they do reach out to you in the future regarding a show, be prepared to sit down with them to work out all of the details of the event. If you know the agenda of the evening inside and out and program your music appropriately, you can help everyone involved pull off a great show. You’ll also increase your chances of booking future gigs.

Art Galleries

Similar to fashion shows, art gallery events are all about creating that certain “vibe”. When a new gallery or exhibit opens up to the public, the gallery owner or artist will work tirelessly to make sure their opening is “THE” event of the evening. Contact them and discuss how your skills behind the decks can elevate the atmosphere at their next show. DJing at an art gallery probably won’t be as structured as a fashion show, but you’ll still need to be very conscious of the music you are playing so that it works well with the mood of the show.

Sporting Events

Many professional sports teams have a live DJ to help maintain a certain level of energy throughout the evening. Some will even showcase them on the big screen throughout the event in front of thousands (the Chicago Bulls do a great job of this)! Although it may be tough to land a gig in the big leagues, many minor league teams would jump at the opportunity to have a talented DJ take over the music duties at their home games. Contact the Marketing Director of the team or venue and schedule a time to pitch your “live DJ” concept to them. If you end up landing the gig, focus on keeping the energy high, and the crowd signing/clapping along!


Gyms and workout studios are constantly searching for the latest workout trend to help boost membership and attendance at their facility. Fortunately for DJs, high energy music is often part of the equation. Zumba is probably the most well-know dance/exercise craze, and their website makes it easy to find classes and instructors in your area. Reach out to the instructors and pitch them the idea of taking over their music programming responsibilities. By spinning live at their classes, you’ll add another level of “cool” and help set them apart from the competing instructors just down the street.

Children’s Events

If you can tolerate small children (or better yet, actually like them), you can make some decent daytime DJ money by spinning at daycares. Kids love to burn of energy dancing to their favorite Top 40 and animated movie soundtrack tunes, and the daycare staff loves anything that keeps them busy for an extended period of time. Plus, the business can leverage the cool factor of “weekly DJ dance parties” to win more business. It may not be the most glamorous gig, but if you play your cards right, it can turn into a weekly revenue generator for your DJ business.

Bar and Grills

Sometimes the only things that differentiate a nightclub from a bar and grill are a dance floor and bottle service. Even though dancing isn’t the primary focus at a bar and grill, people still want to kick back a few cocktails and listen to some good music. Unlike a normal dance club where song requests are fairly predictable, a bar and grill gig will have you fielding requests from all eras and genres. You’ll also be dealing with people from varied backgrounds and status, so you’ll need to do your best to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable. But, if you’re a social chameleon with a thorough knowledge of music, a bar and grill residency can be a great opportunity to generate DJ income throughout the week.

Remember, when pursuing alternative DJ opportunities like these, it’s important to keep your ego in check and show your gratitude to your clients. Sure, playing “What Does the Fox Say” in its entirety to a bunch of toddlers may not be your idea of a perfect gig, but at least you’re getting paid for doing something you love. Stay humble and keep grinding. Those dream gigs are just around the corner!

JammText interactive software

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About Mixcity Inc

Mixcity Inc was founded in 2008 with the mission of creating innovative software solutions and engagement tools for the working DJ. The team's first DJ product, KueIt, was groundbreaking when it was introduced years ago, and still remains an industry standard software solution to this day. Mixcity's latest innovation, JammText, is a revolutionary text to screen software solution that allows DJs to reach exciting new levels of crowd interaction and audience engagement.