5 Kinds of DJ’s: which one are you?

5 Kinds of DJ’s: which one are you?

Are you a crowdpleaser? Do you really play ANYTHING to make a crowd go wild? Or do you play for those five freaks who like your tracks, ignoring the annoyed ‘simple minds’ who go home early?

That is the question that every starting dj has to ask himself when trying to ‘make’ it in the business. For every DJ goes, that our BIG 4 is what matters in being good. But each of the 5 kinds of DJ’s we distinguish brings other job opportunities. And they require a different approach when you want to make a living out of it. Knowing which one you are, or want to be, makes becoming a DJ a lot easier!

1. NO LIMITS ALLROUNDER














Characteristics
Plays ánything he can to make the the dancefloor go crazy. Has an enormous music collection and is in no way principal in playing alĺ genres. He has a wide knowledge of how people react to different kinds of music. And he is able to ‘read’ the crowd quickly.
Examples
Thousands of dj’s worldwide who provide the music to anything from barbeques to weddings. Although a lot of famous dj’s started like this, most stay anonymous because of their non-distinctive style.
Job opportunities
A lot. But don’t expect to get paid festival-fees. There are countless places where people need, and are willing to pay for dj like this. Promoting yourself an allrounder in a clever way, can very easily bring you life as a professional DJ.
The way to go
First, find out if you really like pleasing people more than educating them. Make sure there is no song request in the world that would offend you. Then, start downloading the alltime Top-500 of Disco, Top-40 and House. And never forget the local heroes in your own language! This kind of dj is usually not booked for his flawless mixing. But he should have the technical skills to mix different styles in a way that does not scare the listener.

2. CREDIBLE ALLROUNDER












Characteristics
The allrounder who DOES want to educate his crowd. This DJ is usually well-trained, and educated enough to know which tracks from the last four decades are ‘credible’. He will for sure play ‘Sweet Dreams’ by Eurythmics but will throw his drink at you when you ask for ‘Paradise By The Dashboardlight’. He is a crowdpleaser, but will take any chance he got, to throw in a lesser known track.
Examples
The Flexican, DJ Jean
Job opportunities
Very good. The majority of parties in general, are the kind of party where the crowd needs a mix of Top-40, Classics, House and a bit of Urban. Every big city in the world holds dozens of clubs and bars where this mix is being played. DJ’s who can do this usually work at least 3 days per week.
The way to go
Listen to these dj’s to get a picture of what is credible and what is not. Get your mixing skills to a level where you can smoothly mix anything with anything. Then, find the club you would like to play, beg the manager for a chance and keep everybody in the house ‘till closing when you get your first chance.

3. ONE GENRE DJ












Characteristics
This DJ sticks to his style, lives and breathes it, and stays true to it in every circumstance. DJ Tiesto playing Trance for hours in empty basements in the late 90’s is the best example of the Genre-bound DJ. Make it in this style, or die trying!
Examples
Carl Cox, David Guetta, Afrojack
Job opportunities
Narrowing your style makes you less employable as a dj in general. But, having a distinctive style makes you recognisable. So reaching any kind of fame comes closer, as well as having a dedicated fanbase.
The way to go
To beat the competition as a genre DJ, most important is to play as distinctive and original as possible. As most of your colleagues draw from the same pile of songs, you make the difference by track choice and timing. And be sure you can improvise, to anticipate the crowds’ response. Ofcourse, reaching any fame as a genre DJ is almost impossible without releasing your own tracks.

4. ONE GENRE DJ WITH EXTRA’S









Characteristics
Specializes in one genre, but is not afraid to throw in something surprising when he feels he should. This could be a house dj, famous or not, who plays his ‘own’ sound for hours, but is still ready to blend a Michael Jackson track in when heavy weapons are nessessary to keep the crowd awake. Could also be a respected R&B hero who plays the odd Drum ‘n’ Bass track for some extra energy.
Examples
Fedde Le Grand, Laidback Luke, Sharam Jey
Job opportunities
Sticking to one genre means your are true to your own taste of music, but it makes work as a DJ harder to get. Being flexible to include some related genres to keep your set accessible, makes you still employable in a wide variety of clubs.
The way to go
Be great in the style you really want to be good at. But, never close your eyes to what raises the roof in other genres and throw in a surprise like that when you think you should. All famous dj´s of this kind, reached that mainly through their own releases.

5. NICHE DJ










Characteristics
This DJ sold his heart to a specific sub-genre or just one kind of vibe, energy level or BPM-range. Can be a someone who plays only the darkest of the darkest Electro, but also an R&B lover who only plays tracks from ‘84 to ‘89.
Examples
Paul Kalkbrenner, Neophyte, Ricardo Villalobos
Job opportunities
From easy to get work, to very hard. Making a choice for a certain niche makes career planning easy because your goal is clear. Plus, if you´re good, everyone will book you when they need a dj in this niche. But, competition will be hard, because in niches there is only so much work for much more dj´s.
The way to go
Find out who´s who in your niche, from dj´s to bookers and party organisers, and get in between. And, make sure you´re bloody good at this one thing! Making your own tracks, exactly in the style you play, will make a big difference in entering the niche-world.

In our Artist Development course we are coaching ambitious dj's to discover their own identity. If you are interested in being coached in your way through the scene, an Intro Lesson is a good way to get to know us.

Written by Olivier Meijs
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