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Club DJ Salaries...what do you get paid?

Discussion in 'General Conversation' started by CashmoneyDJ, Nov 9, 2003.

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  1. CashmoneyDJ

    CashmoneyDJ Guest

    Hey Guys,

    I'm a wedding mobile DJ in San Diego and I'm looking into club DJ'ing on an "off night"...like Thursday or Friday night gigs.

    I would spin mainly mainstream stuff...top 40/hip hop/some latin...maybe some mainstream house at a decent club

    What can I expect to get paid at a club?

    What is the "average" pay for a club DJ...if there is such a thing?
     
  2. Paul Dailey

    Paul Dailey Club DJs Moderator

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    It is hard to say, as it varies from City to City...venue to venue.

    I would imagine that salaries in San Diego, you would be near the top of the food chain...though not as high as LA, NY, Chicago.

    I would estimate that with very little experience, you can expect to make between $150 and $200 a night. More experienced Club DJs make between $200 and $300. DJs with a following and some name recognition make between $250 and $500.

    Remember this is for club work...where you show up with your needles, headphones and music...if you have to bring in gear, then that is a bar and you should be paid for the use of your gear as well.
     
  3. DJ-Luke

    DJ-Luke New Member

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    Be careful on your negotiations, around here I get paid 100 bucks a night but I get free drinks and I dont have to bring in any equipment. Now some bar owners are VERY cheap. Sometimes they will want a discounted rate on the nights their not doing so good but not compensate you the other way when we pack out the house. A demo would be a good thing to turn in, mostly mic work and keep it kinda short, their not going to listen to a 60 minute demo. Lay down from what time to what time ahead of time. And if you want to get in the door, do a night for free to show them what you can do. Bar gigs are very steady gigs. Bar owners around here are cheap anyway. Need to go to a bigger city. Anyway, good luck.

    Diesel in the house :twisted:
     
  4. Shelly

    Shelly New Member

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    I did a club for about a year at $200 a gig, with free beverage and food, whatever I wanted. This is a small area this particular venue pays pretty well. No set up I just showed up with laptop plugged into their system and had a guy on their staff run lights.

    Shelly
     
  5. FlipFlop

    FlipFlop Audio & Video DJ

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    first of all, club gigs are difficult to get into. Generally, its not what you know (experience) but who you know. Also, understand that most bar owners don't give a hoot if you are good, great or even the best. If, and only if you get past the "who you know" game, it's all about the money.

    In my area, I DJ at only one club that took me 3 years to finally get into. Now that I am in, I am secured. They would rather play one of my mix CD's until I show up from a wedding than get another jock in my place.

    I just recently started DJing another club one Sunday a month. It took me almost 6 months of persistant follow-ups before I finally got in. The worst part is that the radio station I mix for sponsors that night!! The bar owner didn't want to pay any money. They had a bouncer on a laptop getting paid $10 hour to DJ!!

    It's a tough, low paying gig to get. But if you get it, it's great work & lots of fun!
     
  6. DJ Rysk

    DJ Rysk New Member

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    yeah im in a tough position, being in champaign, il (college town) they could care less who was playin music (legal or not). though im a mobile, i do club/bar stuff.

    I have a pretty nice role, being the "head" dj at a local bar, i can choose to pass it off to another dj (and get paid like 1/6 of the nights pay) or do it myself. it is also the highest payin bar around here that i know of (at 60 a night). you think thats bad? the place around the corner offered me a spot for 30 a night.

    I know what i'm worth, but its difficult to always get that. for example, i was offered the head spot at a martini lounge (i really really wanted this spot) and everything was all set, then came the money. Well he wanted me to bring out my equip (2 1000s and a mixer) each night. Not having a car down here, I told him 125 knowing that id have to walk 2 miles with my gear and cds. he basically hung up on the phone with me. sucks

    Ryan
     
  7. polarsounds

    polarsounds In Self-Imposed Exile

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    I know that the most populated club here uses burned music, so it's not coming as a big shock that it's the case in other places.

    Here in Juneau, I've worked a couple of night spots at $150 per night. One at which I brought my CDs and either did theme nights or served as the musical backdrop, the other where I was bringing in my video mixer, monitor, and DVD players.

    Frankly, it just hasn't been worth it for me. The owners, the cigarette smoke, and the overall BS hasn't been worth it. If I was desperate for the money, I'd do more of it. (Then again, if I really needed the money, I wouldn't be doing my Friday night mix show on public radio.)
     
  8. ProfessorJam

    ProfessorJam New Member

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    I have two residencies working four nights a week two at one and two at the other and I'm paid $350 a night because they do not charge a door cover. Clubs charging a cover pay more but I don't have one at present.

    They feed me and my guests (very good food) I could drink what every I would like but I stick with the sodas and coffee so I don't drink & drive at 3AM when they close... One benifit is I have a VIP booth and I give it to my clients that book me for mobile gigs... The manager takes care of them and the majority of the individuals I invite spend a chunk of change so it makes them happy as well...

    It is tough to break in but once you are in if you are liked they will treat you like a rock-star.... I will admit I've quit a few locations over the years not all owners or managers are created equal... However, I've witnessed a small change over the last few years...

    I wish you the best of luck...
     
  9. djKale

    djKale New Member

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    $350/night, no cover? That's pretty damn good. How much is the average home around there, $1,000,000???

    Depending on location , expect between $50-$150. I can attest to the bar owners being cheap so don't be surprised. It's a fun gig if you are single. It does get old fast though. The smoke is probably the worst part. Everything you bring will start to wreak of it.

    If you spin vinyl or want to play something more specialized, the crowd may or may not "appreciate" your talents. You might have an awesome mix going over the last hour and no one in the house has a clue, they're dancing to it but they are still clueless...or the GM tells you to switch it up. LOL! It can be depressing at times...

    Kale
     
  10. ProfessorJam

    ProfessorJam New Member

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    No not at all... I'm in the Tampa Bay area.....


    One thing that I found interesting was... I just added the second residencies last week and I quit another that was just to long of a drive for my taste..

    The owners of the new club, which is a new build on the location of a closed club, brought a partner here from Cleveland where they also own a couple clubs, during the first meeting after all the small chat that usually happens my rate came up... (Remember the local owner knew of me and the new club manager recommended me and they were the other two in the interview)

    When I said all I wanted is what I'm being paid elsewhere and stated my rates, the guy from Cleveland ****.. I saw the shock in his expression and within moments he said I was out of his budget... It did not faze me and I continued with the small chat and I showed NO sign of negotiation.... The guy started commenting on what he pays the Cleveland DJs and I said you can find DJ’s in this area that charge that rate as well, I won’t be insulted if you hire one of them.. At that point the major owner from this area asked me if I was hired at the lower $350 range and a month or so into the opening we could re-negotiate for the higher rate… It closed the deal and the area of the club is in Pasco County FL you can research the cost of living there and you will see it’s NOT a $100,000 average household area it’s quit the opposite..

    Nightclubs that do not offer food rely on the energy and unique style of the DJ to entice patrons into entering the establishment. It’s a total package that with one weak link the facility will flop… I bring a unique mix and music platform combined with extensive experience at reading the crowd… What’s weird is among the individuals I network with and I consider DJ peers “I’m A Low-Baller” I mix for a lot of conventions and I was just booked by 1-800-DJ to DJ only, I’ll just walk in set up my mixing unit and they will plug me into the stage system and I’m being paid $1,150 plus a hotel room at the Orlando Peabody resort. I could not give up a night for $100-200 to mix at a bar…. And I would NEVER bring all the equipment into a bar for $100-200 when a band would pay $500-1,000 to do the same and not bring in anymore of a crowd that I do.

    My advice, if you have talent, is not mix at a club for any less that $50-75 an hour… Good Luck.
     
  11. ProfessorJam

    ProfessorJam New Member

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    Op's I forgot... Remember most DJ's have day jobs... DJing is my full-time profession..
     
  12. Hutt

    Hutt Pro Dj groupie since 1996

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    and what does this have to do woth what you are worth???
     
  13. djKale

    djKale New Member

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    I see, you're talking about doing large clubs, not bars. I can see the guys spinning at the top clubs making at least that everynight. If I were into "techno" or "trance" or if I could even stand it, I would love to do something like that full time...

    Kale
     
  14. ProfessorJam

    ProfessorJam New Member

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    The "MAJORITY" of individuals who have day jobs earning a salary use DJing as a supplement to an established income... Absolutely an individuals would take this into account in establishing a value of service.

    Having a dedicated other job income has two effects;

    1. It establishes the ability to hold out for "Only a perceived rate" for DJing. This means you can afford to say I won't DJ for less than XYZ and if not accepted by a client and you stay home your livelihood will not be jeopardized.
    2. It minimizes the importance of the DJing income resulting in making it a supplemental income which many times results in acceptance of a lower income.

    I can not afford to work for $100 a night as that would not pay my present cost of living…

    djKale,

    Your obervation is only "Half" correct... One is a Nightclub and I mix retro 80's.. No Techno at all even though I do create my own re-mixes with a club flair... The other is an upscale Cheers type facility... I start with classic 70's - 80's & 90's up to midnight after midnight it's Urban totally...
     
  15. Hutt

    Hutt Pro Dj groupie since 1996

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    Yes..but as a club owner or manager...if you do not reveil this information that you have another job, would this make you less of a entertainer?? If you provide a service for this club and prove your worth..it doesn't matter if you have a "DAY" job.

    like I asked....what does having a day job do with getting what you are worth??
     
  16. djKale

    djKale New Member

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    Sounds like a sweet gig. I'm just trying to say something to keep from being jealous. :)

    I'd really like to spin old shcool rap like Big Daddy Kane, LL, KRS, as well as the songs they got all their hits from...Bob James, Incredible Bongo Band, Roy Ayers, Kool and the Gang, The Meters, etc. Now don't come back and tell me that Tyrone Davis' "Can I Change My Mind" rocked the joint last weekend, 'cause I know it didn't!!!LOL!

    Kale
     
  17. djKale

    djKale New Member

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    Hutt,

    I think having a day job definitely influences what you are willing to "accept", not what you are worth. If you look at the gig as a way to make extra money, you might be more elasily persuaded. Of course there are more ways to look at this than one, but logically, it does make sense that someone who just wants to make a few extra bucks would accept being paid $100/night as opposed the the guy who has a wife and childeren to support on that wage alone.

    Kale
     
  18. WinnsWorld

    WinnsWorld New Member

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    :shock: It sould make it easier for me to hold out for more, If your hungry you will work for less!!! :(
    Fear & Greed make the world go round :evil:
    Cheers.................D 8)
     
  19. Hutt

    Hutt Pro Dj groupie since 1996

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    from the dj aspect...yes..BUT from a club owner/manager...as long as you live up to what you say....it doesn't matter if you have a day job or not.....

    I get what I am worth...doesn't matter what I do during the day....
     
  20. kn27

    kn27 New Member

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    I think everyone is offbase except for Paul. Pay for club DJ has a lot to do with........
    1. Experience
    2. Name recognition
    3. Following.

    Lemme throw some names out and you think about what each of these DJs is worth.

    John Digweed, James Zabiela, Tiesto, Mauro Picotto, Paul Van Dyk, Eddie Halliwell, Sasha, Akufen, DJ Sammy, Hoover, DJ Icey, Midfield General.

    most of you probably recognize about a quarter of those names. Club specialists might recognize 3/4ths of them. Your pay is comiserate to who you are. Personally, I think counting free food and drink as part of pay is a load of crap. That's just common courtesy stuff that should be covered in your performance rider. (You all are using performance riders, correct? Remember...If it's not in writing, it doesn't exist) Basically though, you have to prove you're worth the money, and that your name alone is enough to bring people in. Keep in mind though....It's the PROMOTERT'S job to PROMOTE...Not the DJs.

    Now something DJ Kale said kinda stood out to me and got my dander up a bit.....
    There are too many DJs out there spinning music they don't love, and it's obvious that they don't. If that style of music is not your love, then don't fool with it. Do your thing, but don't make it harder for other DJs because it's obvious you're not into what you're doing. I don't like Hip Hop or Rap, so I don't play it. Not trying to sound harsh or anything, but it's tough enough already for us full time Club DJs
     
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