The Difference Between Booking a DJ and Using a Playlist
What’s the difference between booking a DJ and using a playlist?
This is a question we hear a lot, and a lot of people think the answer is simple — that everyone is now a “DJ” since we are always playing music on our phones, laptops, iPods, whatever, and making curated custom playlists is such a breeze now.
Which leads them to think that handling the music for a live event is as easy as plugging in a device loaded up with music (or connected to Spotify), hitting play, and letting it do its thing. Maybe the amateur selector will try to make a mood and change the songs up, or just let the playlist play on.
This can be done, but it’s not giving you the same high-quality experience as booking a professional DJ, and your event will suffer for it. Here’s why hiring a DJ makes a difference.
They’re pros at reading the crowd and keeping it moving
A plugged-in playlist doesn’t respond to the energy on the dancefloor. A DJ knows how to read a crowd, see how they’re responding to the songs, and play to their energy. And keep that energy up! The worst thing is when one song doesn’t gel or the music is heading in the wrong direction, and the mood dies instantly. This isn’t a problem when you have an experienced DJ, who knows just what the crowd wants and needs to have fun.
They match the music genres to the uniqueness of the crowd
You may think you know what genres of music to load up on the iPod playlist, but it’s easy to get it wrong — or not be able to change it up when the crowd composition shifts. A DJ knows how to cater to whatever demographic has showed up, and line up the songs they will like. This is doubly important as crowds can change over the course of the evening, with older guests heading home and leaving the dancefloor to the Millennials. Totally different musical tastes, and not a change a pre-set or limited playlist is going to handle well.
They bring a deeper catalogue of music
A common mistake among the DIY playlist set is to load up a bunch of big-name staples, and then just let them play one after the other. This isn’t a deep bench of music, and crowds can quickly tire of hearing standard songs with little variety. This isn’t a problem for a DJ, however, as they’ll know to bring a range of music, from standards to quirky under-the-radar stuff, and offer the kind of variety that keeps the energy flowing and the crowd wanting to move.
They mix music properly, with no gaps or dead air
DJs have learned the ins and outs of playing music smoothly, across songs, without any jarring transitions between tracks. They know how to cue up a song properly, and then fade into it as the preceding song winds down. Throwing on a playlist doesn’t give you these professional touches, and can result in some improper jumps between tracks, and even dead air, which will work like nothing else to kill the vibes and make people think about anything but the music and experience you want.