Why Talent Doesn’t Get a DJ Paid
A lot of promoters or artist management agents like to talk about the “talent” on their roster or flyer.
They may or may not actually have scored relationships with truly talented people. But, if we're being perfectly honest, promoters and managers are rarely looking for talent. At least, not by itself.
I bet you think this is headed towards bashing fly-by-night, no-name, boring promoters. No, we'll save that for another day. I'm talking about good ones, too.
It's A Search For Attitude
When considering hiring someone, a recruiter almost never looks purely at the skills or talent of the potential hired. It's more about finding good enough people for an acceptable amount of pay. In other words, filling slots.
In the club/festival/music scene, you can be the best DJ since sliced bread (hmm, new alias idea…) But without the right attitude (a positive and diligent work ethic), nobody's ever even going to hear your work or care.
In this business, talent is at a surplus. There are plenty of good DJs out there. I'm sorry to burst your bubble if you thought that you were a unique snowflake because you can make butter-smooth mixes and play the most obscure music possible. There is nothing wrong with that whatsoever… I'm simply saying, there's also nothing new about it. No reason for anyone to pay attention to you.
Honing your craft should come first, certainly. But then what? You can only beatmatch so perfectly. You can only download so many remix kits and DJ tools.
It's amusing to me when I see the DJ complaining about how nobody pays him or her any mind, even though they've been practicing and developing their technical skills for 15 years. Whether they think so or not, that is hardly what an average club-goer or music fan actually cares about.
It's time to take the reins on your DJ career, if you want it to go anywhere. Being the best carpenter in the entire world is awesome, but it's useful to nobody other than yourself if you're not putting that talent to use in a way that provides true value to others. And that's something that can only come with an attitude adjustment.
The Good News
A driven DJ with a positive, collaborative, up-and-at-'em demeanor is a zillion percent more likely to advance his or her reach than the DJ who walks around complaining about how nobody notices how unique and different they are.
A talent agency, promotional group, or any other organization filled with motivated, honest, eager, ethical, experimental, and forward-thinking individuals will always advance more easily than the one who merely has talent. Every time.
Attitude is a decision; a choice which is available to us all. And you might just come to find out that advancing and honing your attitude will get you a lot farther than practicing behind your decks/controller all day.
It's not that talent doesn't matter. It's about realizing that there's more to the picture.
Get out there, make a difference in your scene, solve problems, and be eager to help others. It's amazing how much it will help your talent to get noticed.