The REAL Reason DJs Dislike Branding And How To Get Past The Marketing Myths

If you’re like I was, you probably cringe at the word “marketing.” It sounds so damn corporate. But what I if told you it doesn’t have to be? That it’s not about saying, “buy my latest record” or “listen to my newest mixtape.” Promoting your brand can be authentic, it can bring value to others and even make you feel good about what you’re doing. But there is just one thing you have to do first. Get out of the mindset that marketing is a bad word so that you can take control with ease and STOP making excuses. Yes, I said it. Excuses about why you aren’t putting the effort into marketing. Let’s start with something easy.

1. The myth about marketing

Here is the good news. Marketing your brand doesn’t mean spamming people. Here is the bad news. It still takes effort on your end. Which should actually be good news to you because you can stop feeling like paying for likes is enough to get you a dj gig. It’s NOT. Stop telling yourself this is what people do, just to justify not trying. We are the rule not the exception and if  you focus on the exception of your perception you will feed into those beliefs.

2. You have more time then you think

djs need More time

It takes 5 minutes to check out a few local promoters, show your support and DM them on Instagram. Heck, you can do this while pooping. I’m not saying you should tell them to book you, (nor run your marketing from the bathroom) but start off by getting on their radar. People notice when you’ve just subscribed to their pages, commented on their recent content and show up to some of their events. It’s about focusing on the effort not the outcome. Keeping it small but in motion.

Pro tip: Take inventory of your time. How are you spending it and how can you spend it better? Are you on facebook too much? Read this article about what a social media detox could do for you.

3. You can create marketing content by doing what you love

Yes that’s right. You’re making radio a mix? Film it. Put it on your youtube channel. Boom, you’ve just created content for your video medium and guess what? It took 20 extra minutes of your life to set up a camera, record, upload it and write in a description and tags. You can get savvy and super creative with this. Think of producers that literally make tutorial videos out of music they are producing. Imagine gaining the kind of traction that gets these companies paying YOU to review their swag? Which leads me to number four.

4. Helping others IS promotion of your brand, too

Dj Investing in yourself FIRST

Do you like to help people? Does it make you feel good? Awesome! You’re able to market your brand this way too. When you give people something of value, you’re giving them a reason to come back to your brand’s pages. You’re someone they are going to think of when they need a DJ or knows someone that might need one.

Having trouble getting started? Read this article on how to STOP procrastinating STARTING now. 

5. Start being patient, now

Get it out of your head that people are overnight successes. Those are 10, 20 even 30 years in the making and you don’t know the full story about how someone got where they are. Heck you don’t know what crap they went thru to get there. How many failures they had to make, just to get that ‘big break.’ I know for me I’ve been a DJ for over a decade, I’ve had my ups and down and loads of experience. But when I rebranded 3 years ago, people that never knew me before the changeover were shocked that I already had a bit of a following seemingly, ‘overnight.’ I didn’t. And there is a lot about the new image that put me at square one. So don’t judge a brand by its facebook fanpage and then give up before anything really had a chance to happen.

6. Less really is more

If you have 10,000 facebook friends but rarely anyone comments, likes or shares your content; let alone comes to your shows, it doesn’t mean much. But if you have 100 fans and 70% of them show up at your events, share your mixes and stay in touch, you’ve hit the jackpot! It’s always better to find your niche rather than try to make EVERYONE happy. So stop worrying about the numbers and start executing on the things you can control.

All you can do is focus on yourself. If you focus on others but you don’t dive into their story or you allow it to prevent you from ever working any harder, well… that’s on you. Not them. It’s not our responsibility to change others. All we can do is be the change we want to see in this world. And don’t feel bad if after reading this you STILL don’t want to market yourself. Not every DJ wants to tour the world or get their music out there. Some just want to play music and chill with friends and that’s totally cool too. Just try to remember there are those that want more and that is okay too. That doesn’t make all marketing, bad marketing. So if anything please remember to encourage your friends and their dreams. You never know who might be the next big act and you don’t ever want to be the person that motivated them by saying they couldn’t do it.

Do you think you may have a fixed mindset? Do you need a psychological adjustment so you can let go of what you can’t control and start taking action today? Read this article here.

5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Being Offered “Exposure” Payments

No this is NOT an article about justifying taking gigs for exposure, because guess what? Clearly it does not pay the bills and YOU my friend, deserve to be paid! Yes, every artist at some point will be asked to free-jay an event. But when it feels like it’s the majority of your offers, naturally one might wonder what that is all about. While clearly an influx of inexpensive deejays can affect the economy there are some tell tail signs within your brand that maybe attracting the wrong clientele. Here are some important questions to ask yourself.

1. What does your brand image say about you?

 Why am I bring offer exposure dj gigs?


Does your website, logo and description look & sound professional? Do you personally value your craft and invest in your brand?

Unsure? An outside (professional) opinion will help clear this up. Try asking 2-3 friends or business professionals that can objectively look at your business. But remember you must be open to the constructive criticism. Someone from the outside will notice issues like missing links, spelling errors and even points of improvement.

2. What does your business approach look like?

 Why am I bring offer exposure dj gigs?


When people ask you for a quote or to play an event, are you gaining details or shooting off a price before you know what you’re getting yourself into? Maybe you struggle at asking for your worth and hold off asking for a wage until the gig has been complete.

Tips: Do not assume payment! Always confirm details and a wages a head of time. You might be surprised to learn that in many cases there are 1 or 2 artists on a line up that have been paid while others that did not require the payment therefore never offered one.

3. What types of events do you typically play?

 Why am I bring offer exposure dj gigs?

Dive bars can be fun, but if you perform for a club owner notorious for not playing their artists, you may end up on the potential free-jays watchers list. Where the assumption might be that you play for free. If however you are playing for bigger events (charging your worth) there may be an assumption of payment as those clients expect they’ll be paying top dollar.

4. What is your reputation?

 Why am I bring offer exposure dj gigs?


Are you known for getting back to clients right away with a great record for being on time? How about equipment, does it fail often or even worst… unprofessional behaviour? If you think “word of mouth” is bad, check out the infamous video of Hippie Sabotage. The social media world does not allow for this type of behaviour to go unnoticed anymore. While everyone loves to have a good time, it’s important to respect the patrons and staff! Really, why the heck wouldn’t you?!

5. Are You Consistent?

 Why am I bring offer exposure dj gigs?


Are you consistently giving it your all at each event or do you let your mood negatively affect your performance?  Everyone has off days, but it is still important to set the stresses of life aside so you can focus on your delivery each time. You may find this is actually a fantastic way to calm and cope with life’s craziness, by diving into your work!

Keep in mind:

Being offer “exposure gigs” doesn’t necessarily mean you are not giving value to your clients or that word around town is you are a free-jay. However taking a second look at how you are running your business may help you find where you can improve your image, business practices and offered services. Need extra help with this? On Sunday July.31 in Winnipeg, Manitoba at the Strange Things Emporium (B-914 Corydon Ave) we will be doing a FREE WORKSHOP, touching on the common mistakes and easy fixes in branding. This will  include charging your worth and getting it! Please contact me if you are interested in signing up as seating is limited! 



Eight Helpful Articles For DJs:

How To Get Paid For A DJ Gig

It’s a simple process yet people tend to skip right over to step 4 and wonder why step 5 rarely happens. What’s the definition of crazy? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Yet there is clearly a reason why people are scared to ASK for that payment and I have a theory where that steps from (but I’ll leave that for another article.) Let’s start with the 5 easy steps to ensure you get paid.

1. Get the details!

 How to get paid for a dj gig

Great! Someone has asked you to play a dj gig. You don’t know the date, the time slot or if they even have a working bathroom… what not to do? Accept the gig, yet. Why? Well in order for you to ask for a wage it’s pretty important to ask for the details FIRST rather than come off desperate for the job. Be grateful, of course. Thank them for the consideration, but make sure you know what you’re getting into FIRST!

2. Ask for or make an offer.

 How to get paid for a dj gig

If they haven’t offered you a fee they may be awaiting your charge. Heck, you could even go as far to ask, “What sort of budget are you working with?” Or go the bold route and simple state, “This gig sounds right up my alley. I typically charge $ amount per hour. All I request is the industry standard turntables which you’ve mentioned will be supplied and of course a trusty dj monitor. If this works for you, I’d love to confirm the gig and send over my press-kit for any promotional needs.” Easy, right?

3. Confirm the details.


It may seem over kill by now but sometimes the best way to ensure your payment is to have a paper trail, one that is CLEAR! If the promoter has said YES to the fee, this is typically when a client might received an email (from you) with your press-kit (if they do not already have it.) The email would be confirming details with the invoice attached! How professional, right? It says a lot about the service you provide and how serious you take your craft. This also gives them the opportunity to CONFIRM all of the details. Maybe there is a specific time you need to be there for set up and backdoor to use. Be in the know, far before the show!

4. Confirm Booking / Play Gig!

 How to get paid for a dj gig

You got the go ahead from the coordinator confirmed, so feel free to tell your friends! It’s 100% good, no wondering, stressing or feeling taken advantage of. You can rock out that DJ gig knowing you’ve done your best to ensure the right equipment will be there and that payment will be in hand.

5. Get Paid.

 How to get paid for a dj gig

In your details you would have confirm how much, when and who is paying you to ENSURE you get paid. Whether by cheque, e-transfer or cash!

TIP 1: If you make the mistake of forgetting to confirm details don’t assume you’re not getting paid. Simply ask, “Whom will I collect my fee from?” Unless you’ve been told other wise, typically a promoter shouldn’t be putting you on a flyer or event page and then having you play just to say, “Sorry there is no payment…”

TIP 2: If you’ve made your message clear ahead of time and you are struggling to get a response but a flyer has gone up on your name, a quick post on the event page should get you a fast reply.

“Hey there, I notice my name on the flyer but I am awaiting important details and haven’t heard back from anyone. Please contact me so we can work things out a.s.a.p. Cheers!” 

It’s calm, it’s professional but it says, “You don’t get to put my name out there BEFORE confirming these details.” This seems to work well since many people have not transferred over to facebook messenger as of late. Personally I’ve had this happen to me a couple of times and usually it’s just a miscommunication between the designer and organizers but you need to make sure to nip it in the bud, just in case you need to back out of the show. DJs tend to look like the unprofessional ones when it’s a back out day of, even when it’s the promoters bad. Protect yourself and stay on top of things!

And PLEASE let me know if these techniques have been working for you or any you might add to the list! One last exciting and easy tip: Secure your payments in advance using AGNT!

Need an agent? Look no further than AGNT the application for both djs and promoters on the look out for artists. Fill out your profile for free here and get booking gigs TODAY.

how to get paid for dj gigs

Winnipeg DJs – What To Know, What To Ask

Whether you are looking to hire or are the dj yourself there are a few really important questions both the customer and artist needs to know and ask one another. So let’s dive right in!

Disclaimer – No, you don’t have to be from Winnipeg for these to apply but this article will have a few Winnipeg entertainment companies mentioned for locals looking!


Winnipeg DJ

Customer to the DJ: What can you offer for the theme of my event?
Is this a wedding, fashion or art show? Maybe this is happening within a club environment and you need country music only! Your entertain will need to know this information and you need to know if this is within their realms of services. Don’t assume every DJ has ever track ever made, nor that all djs offer all the same services.

Disc jockey to the Client: What is the theme of your event?
If you say YES to the gig not realizing they needed folk music and all you have is hip-hop you might not be the person for the job or silly enough not prepared for the day of the gig. Find what sort of atmosphere they are going for.


Winnipeg Disc Jockey

Customer to the DJ: What services do you provide?
Do you need music, games and someone to coordinate between vendors? Maybe it’s for your wedding and you’re in need of dj to direct the photographer as to where you will be entering the venue, as well as speaking with the catering company about when dinner will be served. (Extra tips on wedding djs here.)

Disc jockey to the Client: What services do you need?
Maybe the venue is expecting you to bring your own sound and gear and doesn’t realize that your rider sates that they are to provide the equipment. You may be an electronic music artist that allows for artistic freedom and they are looking for someone to cater directly to their needs outside of your brand. Knowing this allows you to offer the right entertainment company if this is NOT what you provide.


Winnipeg djs

Customer to the DJ: What would I be looking at paying?
Keep in mind the artist will need to know what exactly you need, ie. sound, hours djing, music style etc. to give you the right price.

Disc Jockey to themselves: What is a fair price?
This is more of a question towards the entertainment company themselves. This is where your “DJ Fee Calculator” comes in handy. You’ll need to figure out the amount of hours you’ll spend preparing, money spent on music (if you need additional) rentals and promo including the hours spent setting up, performing and taking down gear.

Previous Events

Winnipeg DJ

Customer to the DJ: What experience do you have?
If the price is a little too good to be true, you may want to question their experience. As it’s said in the industry, “Good djs ain’t cheap and cheap djs ain’t good.” That isn’t to say there aren’t some great ones under valuing their services, but take the time to find out what previous events this djs has been involved with. This can include checking out their website and social pages to see what sort of feedback and projects they have been involved with, to reviewing their press-kit.

Client Tip: If you are a club owner and you are on the look out for DJs that are also great at marketing their events, or running special themed nights, find out if your dj has a press-kit with reference to previous work.

Disc jockey to client: What experience do you have as an event coordinator?
If you are playing for a first time promoter that is stating they are providing sound equipment, there are some things that can go wrong if they aren’t aware of whom they are hiring. It’s not to say this person isn’t capable of throwing a great event but you’ll want to ensure the person has the knowledge and support so that the event will run as smoothly as possible. As an artist there are few things that are worse then showing up at an event where the sound engineer does not know what they are doing and YOU end up looking like the unprofessional one while playing.

Available for Art & Fashion Shows In Winnipeg
Kilma (Electronica)
Cherry Tree Productions

Available for Club / Lounge In Winnipeg
Kilma (Electronica)
Bomb Squad Entertainment (Top 40 – Electronica)

Available for Weddings & Socials In Winnipeg / Manitoba Area
Kenny Beats
Bomb Squad Entertainment
Gudlite Entertainment
Cherry Tree Productions
Special Request Weddings

Available for Bar Mitzvah Djs
Cherry Tree Productions

Throwing a Wedding Social? Here is our 2016 list of places that donate!

6 Warning Signs That You Might Be A Jaded DJ

If you have a friend that sounds like this, I dare you to tag them on FB or Twitter. Hell, chances are they even try to fight you on this one. On the slight chance it could kick them in the butt to change… let’s do it anyways! Here are the 6 warning signs that you’re dealing with or simply ARE that jaded dj.

Are you a jaded dj?
1. Happy DJs irritate you

Like literally someone just being nice makes your skin crawl.

2. You are unable to be happy for other DJs

Even if it is actually a dear friend of yours, you just can’t bring yourself to say how proud you are because you’d in some way be saying all those grumpy opinions of yours were actually very wrong.

3. You find faults in everything dance music has to offer

Are you a jaded dj?

You cant help but put down anything good. Electronic dance music is becoming more widely accepted and you are angry that people didn’t like it back when you were still playing out.

4. You Are Subconsciously Jealous of others djs

Some may fully deserve the success they are gaining, but a part of you always finds the need to point out how they could be more to your standards (even if you have no plans on pursuing a career further, let alone trying any harder.)

5. You’d rather blame other djs, than change.

You easily spend hours online or with friends complaining  about things you dislike about the scene, but heaven forbid you get out there and make any changes, let alone acknowledge your faults.

6. You’d rather hate other djs, than look at your career.

Are you a jaded dj?


You look critically at those around you, avoiding any responsibility on your part. Could you make those changes? Sure… “But what about all the OTHER people around me?!?!”

Here is the thing…

Whether 1 or 2 of these things sounds like you on occasion or this entire list… it may be time to take a step back and ask yourself, “what is this really about?” Are you unhappy because you feel a lose of power and control over these situations? I’ve got news for you, those “irritatingly happy people” have decided to let go of what they can not control and take a hold of what they can. And that’s exactly how they find happiness, strength and inspiration. But you have to let go of those excuses FIRST!

We all have days where we think, “Seriously? This is not fair, this is not okay!” 

Anger and knowledge is powerful! If you let it, it can put you in a place of a movement. Don’t like the fact that you’re not getting the pay you deserve because you feel people are offering their services for free? TEACH people about valuing themselves and charging their worth! Show by example. Share an article of helpful tips on becoming a better dj or why it’s important to purchase top quality tracks. If you are angry about the unfair treatment you see djs experiencing or the poorly planned events in your city, TAKE CONTROL and do your own thing. Learn, experiment and show people how it’s done through actions.

My challenge to you to BE the change. Let go off excuses and do something BIG!

Contracts, how important are they for djs and promoters?

A friend recently mentioned a situation where she’d be royally screwed out of a large sum of money. She invested with a company she felt was reputable and they took her for a ride. When she finally figured out what was going on, the damage had been done. What started as a friendship, a business opportunity turned into a whole lot of wasted time, money and energy. But she did something that many djs don’t always do. She made a big change in the way she did business. She didn’t leave her icky situation to keep her stuck and jaded, but a smarter business owner. And to her surprise her NEW business venture meant the only people she worked with moving forward would be the best clients to work with. Here is a short list of reasons WHY djs and promoters alike need contracts and this one you can’t eat… Why djs need contracts

It holds people accountable

Without risk, there is no gain. If someone knows their actions can cause a loss in pay cheque or even a lawsuit, you bet they are going to take their job more seriously.

It says I mean business

Nothing tells your potential clients, “I’m a professional” quite like, “Let me send you the contract for review.” It lets them know you take your business seriously and you will NOT be taken advantage of.

Note: Don’t forget the fine details. Insure you are CLEAR about your duties and the responsibilities of the client. The customer is NOT always right and you do not want to leave any room for error.

Why djs need contracts

It keeps things friendly

Even if it’s your friend from out of town booking you, knowing there is a little piece of paper that says you are both going to do your job really helps keep people on point. Mixing business and pleasure is not easy but a written agreement can help.

Peace of mind

You know that sickening feeling in your stomach like, “What if things don’t work out and this person gets really unprofessional and puts me down and shares all my industry secrets I worked so hard for?” It protects both parties. You can put those feeling aside after you both sign at the dotted line.

Why djs need contracts

The Reward

If heaven forbid someone breaches your contract, there are often finical rewards for the person that was wronged and that little piece of paper will make it a lot easier to deal with when stepping into court.

I was you! I thought “this all seem quite intimidating.” Heck even that potential clients might get scared and turn the other way around, but when you’ve been in the business long enough you start to see far many more benefits to protecting yourself. Everyone is nice when they want something, but don’t forget how ugly things can get very quickly when money is involved. Cover your bases and keep yourself in the clear.

Have you ever gotten yourself into a sticky situation? How did you get out of it? What lessons did you learn? How could a contract change the dynamic of your future experiences.

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