If you want to make a living as a dj, it’s very hard to do this solely in your hometown. If you do, you’re likely playing 3-4 nights a week, just barely making it by on little-paying gigs and residencies.
Realistically, to get paid better in your hometown you have to play out of town. Doing so automatically reduces how often you can play in your hometown, leading to better pay locally through both the extra hype of being in demand elsewhere and by playing more selectively thus spreading your draw less thin
So, great, getting more gigs out of town will help me locally – so just how do I get these gigs?
Great question of course, I won’t go through any history but skip to the present. First of all you don’t have to be a famous dj but you have to look like a Pro one which means you have a press kit with updated bio and good photos, a Facebook fan page you pay attention to, a paid Soundcloud account that lets you host lots of mixes on.
Once you have this is in place, my best advice for finding potential places to play out of town these days would be to surf Dj Artist Pages on Facebook, find artists similar in style and following, check where they are playing, find the Organization pages connected to those events and contact those places asking if you can send a press pack. This may not always work but it a professional approach. To take it to the next level, keep a spreadsheet of the contacts you find this way so you can easily go back to them later
Avoid doing things like posting on event pages if they need any djs, especially when the party is close and already has a lineup posted – major turnoff to promoters! If the event is close then better to wait til after and say you want to be considered for the next one. Always better to contact people directly rather than posting your hopes and dreams about getting booked.
Be prepared to put in a lot of work for perhaps seemingly little reward – most of us traveling and making a living from DJing did not happen overnight but with constant work on both the music side and promo/gig-finding side of the business!