DJs can make vast amounts of money but also have the potential to make nothing or just earn a regular living like any other job. It all depends on your skills, marketing, and how much effort and time you’re willing to put into DJing.
DJs have several revenue streams they can utilize and different markets they can focus on. So you may need to ask yourself, where will you live? Can you travel? How much time do you have? How are your technology skills? What is your ultimate goal?
If you’re looking for a basic number, then consider a standard 4 hours club DJ gig in a larger city that could earn you $120 - $400 for the night, not including any expenses you may incur.
While you don’t have to pigeonhole yourself, you do need to set some expectations or goals in your DJ career, not everybody is going to be a superstar DJ traveling the world, and not everybody wants that either.
You can also mix and match what you want to be; maybe you’ll be a Wedding DJ or Corporate Events DJ while you’re trying to establish yourself in clubs, or perhaps being able to use your DJ skills as a Corporate Events DJ will pay all of your bills for you and your family.
If you’re just looking to have fun and practice your DJ skills, then you can DJ at house parties, parks, and any place where your friends or associates may want some good music and DJing.
Expect these to be free or low-paying gigs that may not happen very often unless you manage to get a good name for yourself in a larger city or area. In addition, you’ll most likely need your own equipment.
Wedding DJs can be in high demand depending on your area, but the type of music played may not be to your tastes, so it will be more about what the clients want and typical wedding-style playlists.
You’ll be expected to play for at least 4 hours and potentially more. You’ll also need to supply at least some of your equipment, depending on the venue.
Companies often use DJs during their corporate events, whether it’s a Christmas party, a yearly sales get-together, or some training event. Whatever the case, you may need to perform online or in-person for several hours spread out over a day or even a week.
What you play needs to be geared towards the style of the company you’re performing for, but in all cases, it needs to be vetted to be corporate friendly, so lots of songs or playlists may not make the cut.
Your actual rate is going to depend on how long you’re performing, what the company is willing to pay, and your experience.
Radio DJing can be done for many stations in your local area or even on some streaming platforms like Sirius Radio. However, becoming a DJ at a local station can often be challenging due to the competition in your local market.
How much you make can depend on how often you’re DJing, how big the station is, and even what timeframes you’re getting.
Club DJs can have a club they work at often, maybe twice a week, or could travel around their city, country, or even internationally to get work. Your pay will be determined by your experience, how well known you are, and how big your audience will be.
If you plan to travel or hope to make a lot, then you’re going to need a booking agent that can connect you to clubs and festivals in multiple locations. If you’re willing to work 200+ days a year, you can make good money that will increase as your experience and fan base increase.
As a DJ, you’re not limited to any specific type of DJing or any specific gig, so you can do whatever is required to maximize your income using your DJ skills. But what else can you do aside from playing as many events and clubs as possible to increase your income?
Social Media by itself may not make huge amounts of money, though the potential is there for product endorsements or selling your own music and products to fans.
The most significant benefit you’re going to get is building an online presence so that people get to know you more and your exposure to the world is greater. The more people that know you, the more gigs you may get, which will be the big money earner for you in most cases.
You want to be on some of the bigger platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, and it’s important to be producing and sending high-quality content as often as possible.
You can look to sites like YouTube to play your music, give reviews, showcase skills people can learn, or anything else. It could lend to being added to the creator fund, product endorsements, or just good exposure to new fans.
There is no shortage of people that want to learn how to become a DJ, what equipment they need, how to book gigs, how to build sets, and even how to produce original music. You have skills in demand from the general public, so you may as well sell them, and often these can be pre recorded sessions that other companies sell for you, such as Udemy.
Create your own brand that you can sell to fans at gigs or online through your social media; anything from hats, t-shirts, or hoodies. A range of companies will produce all of these for you if you provide the design. The bigger you get either through live events or through your social media, the more you can sell.
Consider starting with a company like Printful who offer reasonably priced options.
Streaming services are a way to make money and provide more exposure to your music. Unfortunately, DJing is about how well known you are and how good you are. The other benefit with streaming services is that you’re not limited by location; you can upload your music all over the world and see how well you do; maybe you’ll end up becoming famous in Japan.
Websites like Soundcloud or Bandcamp are big names in self-released music. Otherwise, services like tunecore can take your music and upload it to a wide range of streaming services without you needing to do all the hard work.
Often your gigs will be the biggest moneymakers, but you should use all avenues to promote yourself and make some extra money. You never know where you’re going to end up or who will enjoy your music, it’s a global world now, and language isn’t a barrier with music.