DJ Jerry B’s Blog Mostly daytime ramblings

January 1, 2015

2015 – Happy New Year

Filed under: Weddings — Tags: , , , , , , , , — DJJerryB @ 12:08 pm

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Being a DJ means that you have down time — especially come winter and “off-season”. There is always something to be done. This is the time for new and upgraded equipment purchasing. I do a good amount of research before adding to the equipment inventory, especially now that I am offering rentals. Of course, it’s also a good time to do early work for tax-filing (always such a joy, but I’d rather do it now, rather than waiting until the deadline, which is also just about the official start of wedding season.)

Traditionally, it is also the time when inquiries roll in for wedding season. Many, MANY couples get engaged between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. There are also a few winter weddings on the docket, so it’s a fun time to put energy into those. The website will get some minor tweaks. I’m also happy to have connected with a vendor — a truly gifted Celebrant — and I’m glad to have the opportunity to add her to the links page.

So for me, in every sense of the word, it’s a New Year. I hope yours is as good as mine looks to be.

January 26, 2014

A Match NOT made in Heaven

Filed under: Weddings — Tags: , , , , , , , , — DJJerryB @ 5:47 pm

Client inquiries come in a variety of flavors.  Some include little to no information, some provide the basics and some provide so much background that you feel like you’re ready to do the job based on first contact. That first contact, for me, generally sets the tone of the client relationship and, more often than not, gives me a good indication on whether we could have a good working relationship.

I received an e-mail just a day or two ago and was immediately excited at the prospect of meeting a new client. It was straight to the point: date, time, location.  There was a further qualifier that she was certain she would have many more questions but the first was whether or not I was booked.  Someone who was so efficient in getting the basics to me immediately makes me believe that we are going to be a good match.

I was wrong.

She started off by asking some of the boilerplate questions that suggested that she visited a few wedding “help” sites on things to ask your wedding vendors and that was great with me. She acknowledged that she had never hired a DJ before and wasn’t sure what to ask, so I reassured her that she was doing fine. Then came what was to become the deal breaker.

“Music is really important to us and we’d like to choose a lot of the music ourselves. Is that something you’d be okay with?”

It’s not at all unusual for a client to have strong feelings about their music and many want significant input on various aspects of their day. In point of fact, I stress to every one of my couples that I want their input on as much or as little as they choose to take on. First dance, parent or family dances, music styles or genres for the cocktail and dinner hours, the “must play” and “do not play” during the dance portion of the evening — I want to hear it all and work with them to craft an evening that will be fun, both for them and their guests.

As the conversation went on, it became apparent that they didn’t want to provide input. They want to micromanage just about every aspect of the musical portion of the day (in essence, they wanted to specify 90 to 95% of the music that would be played.)

I felt very much like the Grinch in the Dr. Seuss book. I puzzled and puzzled ’till my puzzler was sore. Why would anyone want to pay a professional, at professional rates, when they have already decided that they “know better” how to do what that professional does for a living?

I realize that there could be any number of reasons they are pursuing things the way they are. Maybe they’ve had a bad experience with a DJ at a wedding or party before. Maybe they have listened to other people complain about THEIR experience. Perhaps they are just terribly self-centered and want precisely and exactly what they want, without regard to what might make their guests happy. It could be that they flat out don’t trust anyone but themselves (not the DJ, not the guests…)

See, here’s the thing. I speak often about how important it is to feel a connection with everyone you hire for your wedding. I could have said ‘yes’ to everything she said during that phone conversation, purely for the sake of trying to land a payday. But I can’t do that. This IS a business and, in this economy, I have to tell you, it’s not easy to turn away the prospect of new business. But I also never lose sight of the fact that my job is to help facilitate one of the most important days in a person’s life. If I can’t approach it with 100% commitment and 100% belief that I am THE person to do the job for them, all of that would would just be marketing claptrap. It’s not.

I more-or-less took myself out of consideration for that couple. To her credit, she thanked me, quite sincerely, for my honesty and candor. I truly do hope that she finds THE perfect person to work with for her wedding.

 

 

November 22, 2011

Off Season has arrived

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — DJJerryB @ 11:23 am

The end of wedding season is always a mixed bag. 2011 was a great year on several levels. I’ve written about many of the couples I worked with and I would say that it was as satisfying a year as I can ever remember. And while one couple in particular made a huge impact on me (and if you are reading this, you know who you are!) I have to say that, across the board, I am thankful to have shared such special days with so many truly good people — I wouldn’t have traded ANY of them. I thank them all again for letting me be a part of their celebration.

And while there may be some small measure of taking a breath as the slow season arrives, it also presents new opportunities.

Inquiries for the following season begin to pick up around the holidays (many people either become engaged or announce it to their loved ones during family get-togethers around the holiday season.) Many dates in 2012 are already booked and, in fact, I am already beginning to turn away couples because their date is taken — probably my LEAST favorite part of this business. Even as I write this, I have several pending meetings with prospective clients who are anxious to hire their DJ.

It”s also a time to focus on the management side of things by looking ahead. It’s a time to plan business purchases, update/upgrade equipment, determine marketing plans, website updates, budgets and so on. I am excited at the prospect of adding uplighting  as an optional service. As a side note, I’m always very cautious about trying to wear too many hats, but this will fit nicely into the service that I provide and is only being introduced after careful consideration and planning.

2012 looks to be another very good year.

February 25, 2011

Cocktail/Dinner Music

Filed under: Advice,Weddings — Tags: , , , , — DJJerryB @ 8:59 am

For many couples, very little thought is put into music for the cocktail and dinner hour of their reception. The majority will opt to have typical lounge or jazz, which, in all honesty, I fully understand. You generally want something that blends into the background so that your guests’ senses are not assaulted and they have the ability to socialize.

For couples whose taste is a little more on the edgy or less traditional side, this is a great opportunity to incorporate some of “their” music into the day. An eclectic mix that incorporates ambient, downtempo and indie artists, along with more mainstream styles, can be just the thing that will put your personal stamp that guests will remember as being unique.

January 14, 2011

Most Requested Songs for 2010

Filed under: Advice,Weddings — Tags: , , , , , , — DJJerryB @ 12:42 pm

DJ Intelligence has released its annual list of most requested songs. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the company, DJ Intelligence offers disc jockeys a computerized database to manage their song libraries. Every song that is requested through the software is then tallied by the company. DJ Intelligence states that millions of actual client requests from real weddings and parties result in the compilation of these comprehensive charts, which you can download here.

To be sure, not everyone will be a fan of every song in the Top 200 listing. One couple that hired me last year went through an earlier list to create their “do not play” list. A little insider secret : although not widely distributed, DJ Intelligence also compiles a Top 200 DO NOT PLAY Song list. And, as you may have guessed, there are a large number of songs that appear on BOTH lists.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t avail myself of the DJ Intelligence database in my own business. I create my own song listings based on my own client feedback. I also constantly solicit input from customers and their guests, based on what they request and what gets them dancing. But it would be foolish to ignore the charts entirely, since the one thing that I do know is that I don’t know everything.

December 29, 2010

Picking Songs For Your Wedding

Filed under: Advice — Tags: , , , — DJJerryB @ 10:58 am

This is not going to be about choosing music for your first dance, last dance, the Bride with her dad or Groom with his mom. Perhaps that will be material for another post. This is about picking songs for your DJ to play during the dance portion of your reception. Couples can be all over the map on this one.

I have had a few prospective  customers call me who wanted to choose every song, and, in one instance,  to have them all played in a specific order. No variations and no requests from guests.

Um… okay… why did you call me? If all you need is someone push the play button, you don’t need a DJ.

Don’t get me wrong. I want input from every person who hires me. It’s the only way for me to get to know your likes and dislikes. Make as many suggestions as you like relative to music and song preferences. Choose 10 or choose 100. It’s really completely up to you. And I promise that I will take every suggestion that you offer to help build a play list that will make your reception as fun as it can be.

It has been so overused that I try to avoid using the term “it’s your day.”

Yes, it is your day. If you hire me, you are my boss that day. And it’s my duty to do the best I can to give you and your guests the best entertainment possible. That means being flexible. It means watching your guests and how they respond to the music selections. Choosing the time to change the tempo to try to get everyone on the dance floor. It means choosing different songs or styles because it’s what the crowd is responding to. It’s being able to play a request from a guest because it will add to the energy of the mix. And it sometimes means diplomatically saying no to a request that isn’t right for the moment. These are things that can’t be done by simply pushing the play button.

So you say you don’t want to hear those cheesy songs that every DJ plays? Guess what. DJs don’t want to hear them either.  Believe it or not, when I am getting ready to leave for a performance, the first thought going through my head is not, “Oh boy, I get to hear ‘Y.M.C.A.’ for the 8,000th time!” No talented DJ will ever add those songs to his play list for the evening. A veteran DJ only plays songs like The Macarena, The Electric Slide, Cha-Cha Slide or (ugh….) Chicken Dance because either a client or a guest requests it. Will I play them if the client has said it is okay to accept those requests? Yes I will and I’ll do it with a smile on my face. Why? Because it’s my duty to make everyone feel that there is room at the party for them. That said, you should absolutely provide your DJ with a do not play list for any songs that, under any circumstances, you don’t want to hear. And you should be specific by adding “even if requested by a guest.”

In a typical wedding reception, you will likely end up with around two hours of open dancing. That will translate to between 35 and 40 songs. Keep those numbers in mind If you have any must play songs for this portion of the reception. If you choose 30 songs that you have to hear, you are not leaving much room for your DJ to show the flexibility needed to craft the music that your guests will remember.

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