How to become a DJ in India? Step-by-step guide

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DJs (Disc Jockeys, if you are a dinosaur) are the people that play and mix music, usually in front of a crowd in places like nightclubs and concerts. DJs are often confused with Sound Producers, but there’s a major difference – DJs play pre-recorded music, sound producers create fresh music. Also, a sound producer does not generally perform in front of a crowd, while DJs make their livings by performing gigs and being the lives of the party. But there are no hard lines here, DJs can also be sound producers and vice versa, so you can choose which role suits you or if you would like to combine the roles. A good example is our very own Ritviz, who first started out as a DJ but soon started creating his own stuff. 

DJs are usually paid per gig, but one can align themselves with particular clubs to play for them and become in-house DJs. Or you can make a brand out of your own and play huge gigs that are sold in your name. The sky is the limit in this line of work. Before we begin, there’s a burning question that needs to be answered – What the heck does a DJ actually do? I can’t explain it better than this article, so skim through it for an answer.

Salary of a DJ in India

Depends upon the number of gigs you get, but you can make anywhere around 50,000-60,000 rupees per month in the beginning. As you get more experience and more successful gigs behind your name, it can go up to 1,00,00 per month after a couple of years or so. But the best part about this career is that there is no upper limit to the amount of money you can make. Nucleya is drowning in money right now.

Job Profile (A Day in the life of a DJ)

Making a job profile for this particular career is quite difficult because no two DJs are the same. But here is some information from the DJs we talked to –

Most of the work is done during the nights, as generally, gigs are not available during the day; except when it’s something like a day wedding. At bars and clubs, mostly house and hip-hop/ r&b music is preferred; so make sure that you have good knowledge about those genres. If you are doing weddings, make sure that you know your Bollywood music or the people will eat you alive.

Socializing plays the most important role in this industry. At parties, weddings, or clubs, people may ask you for your contact numbers; so, make sure that you have your business card ready. Be in touch with other local DJs and also take part in DJ communities on the internet. Also, be ready for a messed-up sleep cycle if you pursue this path.

The small-town scene is not quite there yet, so you most probably would have to migrate to tier-1 cities if you want to play at clubs and parties. If decide to make a brand out of your music, money and fame will run to you once you achieve success. However, you have to be ready to grind it out for a few years to make that happen.

Degree

Getting a degree for becoming a DJ is about as useless as running backward on a treadmill while wearing a wig. Sorry (not sorry).

One thing people love about being a DJ

“The music! The people! The flexibility!”

One thing people hate about being a DJ

“The requests lmao” (Ps: This is what happens when you crowdsource all information. Still made me have a good laugh though!)

Resources and Tips

  1. Go to this thread to further clarify the difference between DJs, Sound Producers, Electronic artists, etc.
  1. r/DJs is a great resource on reddit for asking questions and mingling with the community. 
  1. YouTube will especially come in handy for you. Feel free to explore more, but here are a few channel recommendations from our side – DjcityTv, and if you want to get a better hold of the technicalities, look no further than DJ Bolivia. Look up the channel of DJ Deep Bhamra to get some information from the Indian perspective.
  1. Watch this if you need some motivation in a fun way from our very own Ritviz.

Step-by-step guide to becoming a DJ

  1. Listen to as much music as possible, and try to develop a likeable and extrovert personality, as well as a big social circle. 
  1. Learn about the craft from YouTube and other online course providers (There are a few recommendations in the previous section.) 
  1. Start networking and socializing. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Start you own Instagram and YouTube. Be known as the “DJ guy/gal” of the group. 
  1. Now comes the difficult part. Start hounding anyone who can get you a gig –Local club owners, relatives who are getting married, friends who are having a party. Here’s where that social circle would be put to good use. 
  1. Once you get a small gig, make sure that you rock it. Network as much as possible at such events. 
  1. Hopefully, one gig would lead to another, and you would start playing at bigger parties. Once you have had a few gigs, approach all the clubs in your town for a spot. Network network network. 
  1. If you feel like it, start making and mixing your own music to really take it to the next level. For some more advice, check out this WikiHow article. Some of the information in there is US-centric, but a lot can be applied to aspiring DJs in India.

Similar Occupations

Electronic artist, Sound mixer, Sound producer, Event Manager, Singer, Musician. 

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