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Pro DJ vs "Friend DJ"

Updated: Mar 11

Today, everyone is a “DJ”. Just like everyone is a “photographer.” And, it’s all thanks to technology which has made the availability of easy-to-use devices and apps for building playlists and mixing songs. But do you really want just anyone at your event? If you’ve been wondering if you should hire a wedding DJ or just use Spotify, think twice before you make your move.


Do I need a DJ? Here are several arguments for hiring a pro.

Now, a backyard cookout with a small number of friends may not warrant hiring an experienced DJ and a ton of sound equipment where the music is simply background. But for larger gatherings where you want to create a memorable experience, a professional DJ can make a world of difference.


1. A great DJ will also emcee, keeping the party flowing

An experienced DJ also acts as emcee—which is a huge help when you’re having a big event. They’ll make announcements, get people on the dance floor at the right time, keep tabs on your crowd, and make sure everyone is having a good time. Any lulls will be addressed quickly, and your DJ will keep the party smooth and flowing for the duration.


2. They have an arsenal of great tunes perfect for your crowd

Keeping a large group of people with diverse tastes happy and on the dance floor is a challenge—and it’s one professional DJs are experienced in meeting. They’ll read your crowd and adjust as needed to make sure everyone is having a great time. You don't want to risk getting stuck listing to your friend's/an amateur's personal favorites and it's playing what your guests like.


3. PRO DJs come with solid, working equipment that will sound great

When you book a professional DJ, he or she will have a professional sound system with backup equipment to ensure your event goes off without a hitch. With an amateur, you may end up with terrible sound quality or not have sound at all, thanks to cheap equipment that is usually fails and/or sounds horrible (they're cheap for a reason).


4. Hiring a DJ has a comparatively low cost but makes a big impact

Hiring a DJ often amounts to only a small percent of what you’ll be spending on your wedding (for example), but the impact is very significant. So, be sure to make room for this in your wedding budget. The truth is that most guests will never know or care exactly how much you spent on your flowers and those "favors" will generally be left behind (and tossed -- along with the money you spent on them), but they will definitely remember a great party.


5. They maintain a professional image

It’s your DJ’s job to professionally represent themselves and the company they work for. They'll be dressed appropriately & conduct themselves in a professional manner. On the other hand, a Craigslist/Thumbtack DJ or someone you hired for some Facebook resale page is likely to be full of surprises—such as totally inappropriate attire, weird tunes, or drinking on the job -- or possibly not even showing up.


6. They’ll set up and break down

You just need to make space for your DJ. They'll show up before your event, set up all of their equipment & make sure it's all working. When your event is over, they'll pack up and clean up.


7. They’re dependable and know how to communicate

An amateur may say yes, only to cancel for another gig that throws a few more bucks at them OR be out of business by the time your event rolls around. A professional DJ has a reputation to uphold and, barring a catastrophic emergency, won’t let you down when the big day comes around (and even then, they’d probably find a great colleague to cover your event). A professional DJ will also respond promptly to your emails and calls, working with you before, during, and after the event to ensure your needs are met.


Two instances when hiring a pro might not make sense

1. You’re having a very small wedding or event

If your invite list is 30 people or less, or your focus isn't dancing, then having a DJ on hand might change the intimate vibe. If you’d still like a pro to figure out the tunes, make sure your DJ has done smaller events and is sensitive enough to not take over the room.


2. Your budget simply just doesn’t allow for it

Hiring a DJ is one of the least expensive, most impactful parts of a great event. But, sometimes just covering wedding basics is hard enough on your budget. If that’s the case, you’d still be wise to work out a music plan with a music-loving friend—or someone looking to get some experience DJing—in advance. If going this route, be sure to have your amateur DJ give you the playlist ahead of time so you can give feedback. They’ll also need to test the sound equipment setup at the event location (or in an acoustically similar space) well ahead of the big day. If you’ll need to rent sound equipment for your amateur, be sure to compare that cost with having a pro DJ come with their own setup.


My final two cents? Don’t risk your event—bring in the experts.


Are you ready to hire a Cleveland DJ, Akron DJ, Ohio DJ, Pittsburgh DJ instead of your best friend’s Uncle Ned who promises he knows what all the kids are listening to these days? We trust you’ll make the right choice when the time comes to hire a professional DJ—and I'll be here when you’re ready to book!


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