Corporate DJing 101

November 14, 2016

Corporate DJ

DJs are like snowflakes: no two are alike. Sure, they all may have similar tracks in their libraries, but having a great library alone doesn’t make someone a good DJ. DJs come in all styles, preferences and packages. It’s a great thing, and it can sometimes be a bad thing when potential clients are looking for a specific type of entertainment for their upcoming events.

Such is the case with corporate clients. Because a company’s brand and perception can be connected to events, their functions typically have a very specific purpose, and care has to be taken to ensure that your presentation and music will align with the event’s purpose and mood, and to ensure that your set and skills will present the company in a positive light. That being said, here are some basics you should always consider when given an opportunity to DJ a corporate event.

Before the Event

Your online presence will be your calling card, so to speak, so make sure that your website is updated and reflects your skills and prior experience. Sample videos or mixes, especially ones specific to corporate events, should be on your site for your potential clients to preview. If you don’t have any, consider making one for promotional purposes. Chances are you will be asked for a business card at the event; if you use them, make sure you have them readily accessible.

When you interview for the corporate event, get all of the facts about the event. Find out the date, time, location and duration of the event, and put that information on your calendar immediately. Be sure to ask questions about the audience demographics, as that will help you fine-tune music selections for the event. Ask about the aim of the event (employee appreciation, holiday social, product launch), the overall mood that should be created (festive, relaxed, sociable), and the role that music should play at the event (background, crowd engagement, etc).

Regarding the music, it will be important to ask about the client’s preferences to have a closed playlist or an open playlist. A closed playlist prohibits you from playing anything outside of the client’s specific song suggestions. An open playlist will allow you to incorporate your choices. This will alleviate any issues with people’s requests during the night (and save you from a few headaches). Always assume that your client would prefer clean edits; lead the conversation with that, but specifically ask about their preferences.

Have an updated copy of your contract with you when you interview with the company. If you interview by phone, have a contract ready after the conversation to email to the client with the specifics of the event that were discussed.

Do not finish the interview without asking about the attire for the evening’s events. Even if the client won’t require you to dress as the attendees will, such as a shirt and tie, it always makes a great impression to go the extra mile and assimilate your event outfit with your environment. Pack the tie and dress shoes, even if you decide not to wear them.

Once you’ve secured the event details, Secure relevant music selections and all needed equipment at least two weeks in advance. If possible, create at least two back-up drives of your music files (Murphy’s Law is real). Make a plan for eating before the event, not on the way to the event; food in your teeth, bad breath, accidental spills on your clothes or tardiness to the event will never be great impressions on your corporate client (and again, Murphy’s Law is real).

During the Event

If you have prepared appropriately, the event itself should go off without any problems. However, there are some elements of professionalism that should be maintained throughout the duration of the event:

  • Have a background personality. This is your gig, but it isn’t your show. The focus of the event should be the company, not you. Defer all MC responsibilities to a company representative, unless specifically instructed to do so by your client. Even if you’re given the green light for mic duties, still do so minimally. Allow the company and the event to be the star, not you.
  • Read your host carefully. Throughout the night, be extremely aware of your host and his/her reactions to your set; what (s)he thinks and feels about how you’re doing should always be the priority. If (s)he gives you the freedom to have an open playlist for the Employee Appreciation Bash, by all means read the crowd and do your thing. Otherwise, ensure that your client remains pleased until the end.
  • Check Your Preferences. Look, you may be the best beat juggler or scratcher in your area, but a corporate event is not the place to show off those skills (unless specifically instructed to do so). Neither is this the time to have a drink because it is offered to you. The key to anything you to should be to establish yourself as a professional that can be trusted to provide the best entertainment for your client.
  • Enjoy yourself. As the DJ, you’re creating the event’s atmosphere! Represent the friendly, fun air the event was meant to be, and the customers/employees will follow suit.

After the Event

When the event concludes, pack up as expeditiously as possible, especially if the event is held at the business location during operating hours. Do your best to not linger and engage with business customers; let your event set, business card and/or website do the talking for you. Thank your client before you leave, and secure their satisfaction with the work you did. If there was a problem, address it verbally, and acknowledge it again via email correspondence afterward.

Corporate events may have different methods, but the end goal is still the same: a great time with great entertainment. Apply these tips with your next corporate opportunity, and you’ll be chosen as that great entertainment time and time again.

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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.