How to Hire a DJ | Features | MN2S

It might not seem like something that needs a great deal of consideration, but there’s actually more than meets the eye to hiring a DJ than simply how much money you have to offer. ‘How To Hire A DJ’ sees MN2S booking agent Joanna Miles take us through the essential information and etiquette that any discerning promoter should bear in mind when trying to secure an act.

What’s the most common mistake promoters make when making a booking request?

Getting someone’s name wrong or calling a duo ‘he’ or ‘she’ or calling a single artist ‘they’. It makes sense to do some simple research into the artist before discussing this with the agent. Getting someone’s name or gender wrong is an error that should 100% be avoided at all cost if you want an agent to have faith in you.

What information can promoters supply in their first email to speed things up or get them a better chance of a successful booking?

It’s always good to have a bit of background info on the promoter – previous events, previous artists – and to never make an offer without the venue being secured and contracted. There is nothing more frustrating than offering your artist a gig to only have the promoter come back and say the venue is double booked.

I would also have a clear figure in your head of what you can afford and make sure you find out the travel requirements (the agent should clarify them with you) but if they don’t, get a clear idea or where they come from and what sort of travel is needed.

What percentage of requests do you turn down?

It all depends on the artist. The bigger the artist, the more you decline – whether it’s for fee, venue, line-up or availability reasons. As an artist gets bigger, this gets more and more crucial. When you are starting out you definitely want to be seen in the right places on the right line-up, but you’re less likely to turn down a low paying gig than someone at the top of their game.

Aside from the purely financial side, what are you considering when evaluating booking requests?

Line-up, billing, venue, previous guests and travel time. Making sure your artist is routed in the best way possible is crucial to them being happy. Knowing flight routes and distances between places becomes second nature.

I also see the way a promoter deals with you as being hugely important as to whether you want to use them for your bookings. Rude, bad tempered and unresponsive promoters are not people I want to do business with. Although you may book with them a few times if the party works with a tour, if you can avoid it, you will. I also try and avoid bad payers and people my assistant and accounts department need to chase repeatedly for standard information.

What other good etiquette should promoters have?

Be honest, upfront and communicative. There is an etiquette with going through the agent when there is an agent in place. Going direct to the artist is bad form and creates issues, plus the artist should be free to focus on making music, recovering from the travel and working with their manager and PR – not dealing with bookings. That’s our job!

What about during and after the event? How can a promoter make a good impression and establish a relationship with both artist and booking agent?

Be around and accessible in case anything goes wrong. Do not do a disappearing act and don’t get smashed at your own event. It’s all well and good to have a few beers and enjoy yourself but there is nothing worse than a promoter who has lost the ability to converse! I’ve been at events where the promoter is curled up rocking in a ball and getting any sense out of him – let alone a taxi booked home – was impossible.

Great artist liaison at events plus prompt arrival of the rider is always a bonus. Lots of people try and cut corners and it makes the event look amateur. I’ve had to beg for four beers for my artists (they were a duo). It’s part of the contract and if it’s something you cannot or are unwilling to supply then it’s best to say this upfront.

How much do the promoters promotional plans and track record affect their chances of a successful booking?

Track record is key. We know not every event is going to be a roaring success. Some are better than others, but knowing that a promoter or venue had promoted an event properly and to the best of their ability is what we want. That they have well thought-out line-ups and a track record of successful events is always going to be a factor. I’ve been to packed parties where the atmosphere has been diabolical (weirdly enough it was the same place that I had to beg for four beers) and i’ve been to parties where they didn’t have the right amount of people but the vibe was great and everyone had a good time.

I can’t stress how important it is to be honest and upfront with agents. If you need cancel, do it as soon as possible via the agent. Don’t discuss it with the artist first. Never go behind our back and try and book the artist direct. Be polite. At the end of the day, yes, the industry is a relaxed one – but it’s still business, and being rude and dishonest is not the best business practice.

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