I’ve heard a lot of DJs griping about not getting paid what their worth so have decided to address that this week.
The fact is it’s true that most DJs don’t get paid what they’re worth and that’s because it’s a very fun and attractive job that has become increasingly popular and thus increasingly competitive.
Understand that choosing to be a DJ, and choosing to pursue that for income, is going to be more difficult and lower-paid for the effort than pretty much ANYTHING else you can do.
Also understand that the other people working at the event, from sound and lighting companies to deco riggers to door people, also get paid under what their worth, and they’re breaking more of a sweat than you.
It’s a fact that if every person working on an event – especially if it’s to any degree underground, outdoors, and festival-like – is likely working for less than they could make doing another job. If all of these people got paid what they were worth, then all underground event organizers would be bankrupt. And guess what, all of those jobs are less glamorous than the DJs..
Even at the very top, at a successful event, factor the rate per hour of all the work of the organizers vs that of the average DJ- who do you think gets paid more?
If you think your DJ job is harder or more poorly paid than organizing the events you get hired to play at, then you should have a go at organizing yourself – it will give you much-needed perspective.
It’s a labor of love for just about everyone helping produce events in the underground music scene, and that doesn’t mean you should get ripped off or not communicate your needs as a DJ. But it does mean that if your job at a quality event is to DJ, you are lucky and should at least have this in perspective.
You should also keep in mind that you are going to have to keep fighting, nonstop, to be that lucky because every day there are new people who wake up and say, I wanna be a DJ, and go after the same thing you do – and this cycle will repeat endlessly.
So yeah, I hear you, and I’d like to be paid more to DJ too. But I acknowledge I am competing in one of the toughest job markets out there and that I am doing pretty damned well considering. I also know what it’s like to do more difficult work for much less pay and so I have really tried to approach my gigs this year with the attitude: I am lucky to be here doing the easiest and most fun job at the event.