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Thread: The eternal playlist conundrum

  1. #11

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    I'm not particularly fussy.

    However, I make it clear that 'the more control they take over the music, the less responsibility I take for the success (or not) of the evening'.

    In most cases, I get given a couple of sheets of A4 of songs they like, but on the basis that it's not a playlist, and the trust me to pick the right songs. Very often, that list gives me a good steer as to what they and their guests like.

    I've positioned myself in a way that my clients pick me for my experience and skill. They're certainly not picking me for my price! I have found that as you charge more, you get more respect for your ability to pick the right songs.

    Perversely, in the same vein, I have also been paid handsomely by someone who did want to pick every song for the evening (not the order), but was prepared to pay more, for the reassurance that I would stick to his list, and not try and go off and do my own thing! Interesting the perception that 'budget DJs' often have!!

  2. #12

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    Don't get me started on the phone in the face thing. Last time someone tried that with me, they asked if they could make a request, I said "of course" & up came their phone. Ahem! TALK TO ME I said. "No!" they said, thrusting their phone further. I dodged it & went alongside them. Please, just ASK ME. "No!".

    Rather than continue like this I told them if they're not going to converse with me there's no request. Then they were forthcoming with an easy, run of the mill track. There. That shouldn't have been so hard.

    Do these people order drinks at the bar this way? Food in restaurants this way?

    It's easy to say oh it's because they think you won't hear them! Except you've already heard them ask if they can ask! Gimme strength. If you're rude, or open your gambit with confrontation, expect to go away empty handed. If you ask nicely I'll go all the way round the world to help. They don't need to come with a bunch of 50s on a gilded velvet cushion.. Just be NICE!

    It's not all young people either. Infact the last 21st I played the youthy ones were all full of polite. Even proms with 16 year olds (with the odd exception). Or maybe I only tend to get static from older folk because they're pre-empting the aggro they suspect I'm going to give them.

    So is all this a reaction to dire, recalcitrant DJs they've met in the past or something else?

    Gavin, you make an interesting point but I'd argue the whole merry point of hiring ANY DJ is for their ability to DJ. Alas for many, hiring a DJ is all too often cheaper than a PA system they could plug an iPod into...
    Last edited by Nakatomi; 14-08-2018 at 03:56 PM.

  3. #13
    Benny Smyth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Imagine View Post
    There IS a trend here though.....and it's quite easily summed up with one word. MILLENNIALS!

    Of the parties that are most likely to be playlisted, it's from this age group. Of the parties where requests "must be played next" - guess who?
    It's something I NEVER experience with the older groups such as older weddings and 50th birthdays.....and it's noticeable.
    As a millenial who predominantly DJs for millenials, I would like to say thank you for the pigeon hole you have shoved us all in. Quick question: is it fully furnished, or do I need to make an Ikea run for us all?

    An interesting side note, I rarely get this 'problem'. I would suggest that anyone who gets a playlist shoved in their face hasn't demonstrated to the client well enough that they can provide the entertainment that they would like. I personally wouldn't pay hundreds of pounds for a DJ that I didn't trust but if it did get that far, I dare say that I would be micromanaging them too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shakermaker Promotions View Post
    I've even had people cut out the talking and they come up with a pre-written text asking if I have a particular song. It is beyond pathetic in my opinion.
    I make that person stand there while I type into my phone "Did you lose your voice?" and then shove that in their faces, then after a bit of joking about, I invite them round to talk to me. I think this stems from Club DJs not wanting to talk to folk, and people assume this is the done thing. The amount of times I've had clients and their guests express their surprise of how approachable a DJ actually can be still boggles my mind to this day.

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nakatomi View Post
    So is all this a reaction to dire, recalcitrant DJs they've met in the past or something else?

    Gavin, you make an interesting point but I'd argue the whole merry point of hiring ANY DJ is for their ability to DJ. Alas for many, hiring a DJ is all too often cheaper than a PA system they could plug an iPod into...

    Let's not forget, 90% of all DJs are pretty rubbish.

    OK, I made that stat up, but I'm pretty confident that it's not far off the truth.

    Look at the apathy to self improvement - such a small percentage of DJs investing any time in to self development - even at the likes of BPM.

    And we see the posts regularly on the Facebook groups - 'I've got a 60th birthday coming up, what should I play'.

    So it's not surprising that people have little confidence in the DJ they have hired. As you say, in many cases, the DJ is cheaper than hiring the kit.

    If you're a 'resident DJ' or a 'budget DJ', you weren't chosen because of your expertise in music programming - it was because you either came as default in the package, or were a cheap option.

    When you charge more, there's a perception that you must be good at what you do to charge that much. It really does help to instil confidence.

  5. #15
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    Having spoke to Jus at length on this matter I know how much anguish it causes him and is certainly not the type of work he feels suited to. Unlike Benny however he's not really in a position to thin down his list of leads by those who are happy to let the DJ lead the night.

    For me it's just another attack of the millennials. It's not just the disco that is taking a hit in the tradition stakes, its all the parts of the wedding. I myself have just learned to roll with it as this pays the bills and I need those jobs coming in. Would I prefer to do it all myself, to a degree but I have always liked a little bit of input from the client and a few requests to light the way. I openly advertise that the client can send me playlists and use my DJEP to add songs etc but never seem to get it that bad. Is it luck or am I putting out a vibe I know what I'm doing - I just don't know.

    If I ever got a totally prescribed list, i'd just pop it on and take the money. Some nights you win and some you lose in this game. You just gotta hope for more wins.

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  6. #16
    Imagine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benny Smyth View Post
    As a millenial who predominantly DJs for millenials, I would like to say thank you for the pigeon hole you have shoved us all in. Quick question: is it fully furnished, or do I need to make an Ikea run for us all?
    No offence meant Benny - it's an observation from most of my gigs. The "older" generations have a little patience and ask for things politely. From bitter experience in my neck of the woods, it's the younger ones who MUST have their song on next or they'll have a tantrum.

    Now the differences in opinion there may be regional, or may be due to the fact that I'm nearer to being a baby boomer than a snowflake and don't know how communicate with them.....I dunno. What I DO know is that I'd rather be working for a more "mature" crowd than a bunch of young-uns...they just tend to be easier.

    I'll stop on that point because I'm probably just digging an ever deeper hole!

    Quote Originally Posted by rth_discos View Post
    If you're a 'resident DJ' or a 'budget DJ', you weren't chosen because of your expertise in music programming - it was because you either came as default in the package, or were a cheap option.

    When you charge more, there's a perception that you must be good at what you do to charge that much. It really does help to instil confidence.
    Gavin - as nearly always, I agree with you.

    Bear in mind I have a wedding on Sunday with a whopping 14 hours of playlist specified, no requests and no non-essential mic use (with a couple that didn't want to meet up)...

    I'm literally just back in the door from meeting a couple for October. They rejected the resident DJ at the hotel they're using in favour of yours truly because they KNOW what I can do (I was recommended several times to them), and they know I'm not the stereotypical cheesy wedding DJ. They're also paying double what the resident would have cost them (and that's AFTER I gave them a small discount because they're my local publicans and have always seen me right....it's a village thing).

    In her words, the resident won't have an interest in what they want (I wasn't going to argue because I know said resident and it's a case of turn up, press play, drink a few Stella's and go home again.....I'm fairly sure they're NOT all the same and indeed know several even on here that wouldn't dream of working that way).

    in fact, although the entire evening is to be very informal, we've already sussed out the various bits like first dances, cake cutting and even the Shoe Game and how they're gong to be executed. It's going to be a lot of fun.


    Ignoring the Millennials comment earlier (for that tends to be guests as opposed to the client), what I tend to find in a nutshell.....if I can meet with the happy couple before the big day, all's fine and dandy. There's an element of trust there between us which says "you can rely on me to do what you want".

    If I don't meet them (which sadly is becoming more and more common even though the offer's always there), that's when the huge playlists tend to come into play.

  7. #17

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    Oh great another bit of resident ragging. I may kill again

    Kidding!

    Honestly there are horror stories aplenty about DJs of all sorts in all kinds of situations. Of the people I've asked why they 'chose' the resident (me) it's simply been for them one less service they had to find & book. They think highly of the venue & assume they don't need to worry about the DJ (been there myself, done that myself.. OMG what a messup that was. But did it RUIN my wedding reception? Nah).

    I think it's funny though that people's observations from gigs about rude people & their ages are so different. In my case, I tend to get aggro from the older folks. Particularly parents of newlyweds where it comes to requests "Hey! I asked you to play Gangnam Style 30 seconds ago where is it? DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I PAID FOR ALL THIS?".

    Back on topic..

    I'd suspected that maybe I'd failed in delivering the right impression, when I realised nearly all my private gigs came with long lists & 'no guest requests'. That bears out what Benny & Gavin have already said. It's been yet another awakening & learning process.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Imagine View Post
    No offence meant Benny - it's an observation from most of my gigs. The "older" generations have a little patience and ask for things politely. From bitter experience in my neck of the woods, it's the younger ones who MUST have their song on next or they'll have a tantrum.
    I personally think it depends on how much the person asking feels they have in common with you (e.g. age). I get the most grief from the 50+ guests in general. I probably get the most praise from them also, maybe they're a little less restrained with their opinions.

    I think the whole playlist thing comes down to trust, if the client trusts that you know what you're doing and you understand what they want they will be far more likely to restrain from dictating everything. Which has now made me think... most of my clients don't trust me! Haha! If it's of any use to anybody this is the suggested system I've been using for a while and I've not had any negative feedback since:

    In order of importance:
    1 - Important tracks with timings (first dance etc)
    2 - Must play tracks (up to 15)
    3 - Tracks you'd like to hear (unlimited)
    4 - Guest requests (unlimited)

    If the client comes back with 40 must play tracks I will say - "no problem, I'll do it if that's what you want. If for whatever reason the must play tracks aren't going down well, are you happy for me to skip a few". If they say no, play the music, you are 100% in the know where you stand on the day. That being said usually the people that specify stricter lists give me a perfect selection for their guests! Maybe I'm just lucky.

    Dorset DJ - Dorset based DJ service
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  9. #19
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    The request typed on a phone thing.

    As I get older and my hearing begins to deteriorate seems reasonably sensible to me! Especially if they proceed it with a polite could you play this for me. I have struggled to hear people at a noisy gig plenty of times and after a 3rd attempt guess what theyíve said anyway!

    Anyhow, in the future wont they text in their requests or use interactive keypads?

    Semi playing devils advocate here.

  10. #20
    Ezekiel 25:17 funkymook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJColsie View Post
    The request typed on a phone thing.

    As I get older and my hearing begins to deteriorate seems reasonably sensible to me! Especially if they proceed it with a polite could you play this for me. I have struggled to hear people at a noisy gig plenty of times and after a 3rd attempt guess what theyíve said anyway!

    Anyhow, in the future wont they text in their requests or use interactive keypads?

    Semi playing devils advocate here.
    I just see it as a trend from noisy clubs and donít take it as a personal affront, itís just a request, itís the modern version of scribbling it on a beermat.....

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