3 Reasons Artists Need to Invest in Themselves First

As an artist you’ve likely felt at some point you weren’t being acknowledged for your efforts, leaving you feeling under valued in your niche. This may have happened over time and now you do not understand why or how it came to be. So often we want to help others in our community and forget to take a step back to see how that may not actually be benefiting our brand in the long run.This is the point in which I would tell a client, “It’s time to refocus in on your personal goals and start investing in yourself first. ” These are the 3 reasons why you need to come first so you can be a better partner and team member.

1. To Attract Your Tribe

 Dj Investing in yourself FIRST

Instead of working alongside people that may not understand their self-worth,  you start to see the value in working with others that believe in you as much as you believe in them. They motivate you and you to them. You grow and learn off one another whiling building stronger more reputable relationships.

2. To Show Your Self-Worth

 Dj Investing in yourself FIRST

If you don’t have it, no one else is going to see it in you. Not a label, club owner or your fans. This is especially relevant when we look at landing quality gigs. When we accept wages fare below our worth, we indirectly tell people we don’t value our time. Therefor they don’t either. This is far less likely to happen, when you consistently invest in your brand. You understand your worth and put yourself in mutually beneficial partnerships.

3. To  Avoid or leave a Bad Situation
Dj investing in themselves first.

Investing in ones brand, is not just spending money on a nice website, but taking the time to learn about the business aspect. If you are negotiating wages, it’s important you learn how to properly negotiate. You want to appeal to businesses that trust your vision because you walk into the conversation with a plan, you heavily researched. You will need to be bold and put yourself in uncomfortable situations sometimes.  Investing time in educating yourself FIRST will help you feel more confident in the tough situations, avoid future mistakes or even help make the decision to walk away from venture that simply isn’t working out anymore.

Side note: Many djs (even the ones that have been around for some time) have  no idea what industry standards are let alone equipment requirements that a club should already have. Time and time again, you have lovely, talented artists being taken advantage, bending over backwards for promoters and club owners, simply because they didn’t take the time to learn and were taken advantage for their kindness.

Investing in one’s brand is a lot like investing in your health. If you regular go the gym you know your efforts are wasted if you don’t eat the proper foods to help gain muscle mass or loss weight. In personal brands, you are much less likely to get involved in business ventures that may actually bring the quality of your brand’s image down. Because for you, you vision is clear. You know what’s important and you KNOW what your worth because YOU invested in yourself first.

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How Much to Charge For a DJ Gig – Your Fee Calculator

Charging your worth, how much djs should charge

Have you ever wondered what exactly a fair fee might look like? Many artists make the mistake of agreeing to a gig before knowing exactly what is involved. From knowing the venue capacity and ticket price to HOW the event coordinator is marketing the event, other artists involved, and even the format. Asking questions and knowing this will help give you a good idea about their experience and what sort of budget they might be dealing with. Once gathering that information you can create a fair price on what it will cost for your services. These are the things things to considering before  calculating your final fee.

Your Personal Costs

If you must rent any equipment or purchase additional music by request of the party planner you can add this number into your overall fee. Asking questions will help you figure an estimate.

Your Hourly Worth

Maybe you feel you’re worth $40 an hour for your experience and expertise. You’ll need this number in order to calculate your fee. If you have been djing for a longer period of time, it’s fair to raise this number. It’s also fair if you have a larger following that will support the events you play.

Hours Spent

This is NOT just the 4 hours you are performing but the additional hours spent preparing your music, whether that is into folder or searching for specific music the event coordinator would like. Don’t forget to  add hours spent practicing.

NOTE: If the event coordination is incredibly specific about WHAT they are looking for and even take a more controlling approach to your dj set, you may want to tag on an additional fee as this can increase stress and it is always better taken with a price worth your time.

Add up your hours spent and times it by your hourly fee. Now add your additional fees for rental equipment and / or estimated music purchases  and you get = your fee.


Preparing 3hr
Practicing 2hr
Performance 5hr
= 10 hr

Additional fees
Sound Rental $60
Beatport + iTunes  $80

10 hours x $40 hourly fee = $400 + additional fees $140 = $540.00

Why it Is important to charge your worth?

If a promoter offers you $150 to do a 5 hour dj set and you spend an additional 5 hours preparing, then supply your own gear and spend $50 on new music, suddenly you’re worth a whole $10.00 an hour. Less than minimal wage.

I am a true believer that in order to have the scene we’d like to see thrive we must act the part. Collectively that means we as djs need to RAISE our standards and ask for a fair wage. Knowing your worth is crucial to the growth of your personal business. In addition, the overall quality of our scene is at risk when quality artists undercut one another and even play for free; desperate to showcase their talent. Raising our fees as a collective would also mean the quality, experience and professionalism would too have to be on point for those getting booked. This would put low quality events to a minimal.


Setting the industry standard

Right now, with the popularity of EDM  we are dealing with a lot of thrown together parties. They include mix-matched line ups and a lack of experience because it’s very affordable for people to throw together parties. This means quality events are sometimes missing out on clientele because there are far too many events to pick from creating sparse attendants across the board.

When you charge a fair fee, the risk may increase for the promoter, but so does the gain. It puts the promoter in a position where they must work harder create a budget for flyers, sound and promotion. Instead of depending on the artists to bring in their crowd, promote and sell tickets, they are left responsible for their own party planning. This way the artist is responsible for putting together a great dj set instead of stressing about ticket sales. Which is ultimately the djs job.

Related articles:

7 Reasons You Should NEVER DJ for Free
How NOT to Get Screwed By Sketchy Promoters
The Most Common Mistake DJs Make
How to Stand Out Among Other DJs

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