Determining and Demanding Your Value

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Determining and Demanding Your Value

Determining and demanding your value can be considered as being the most challenging things to do as a DJ, especially when one just wants to focus on their craft and entertain their audiences.

How does one turn fame into fortune? Generally speaking, an artist and their work are only worth what someone is willing to pay for the art and what perceived value the art represents to those who consume it.

For instance, a painting at a hotel lobby is not worth much, meanwhile the Mona Lisa is priceless. There are other intangible elements that come into play when considering the value of any work of art but everything being equal, a fundamental price driver is the perceived value of the work.

In their most basic descriptions, all fine art can be described as paintings on canvases. To an untrained eye, that do not understand the valuation and appreciation of art, it could even be argued that the Mona Lisa is old and weathered therefore worth less. However, this is not the case. There are a lot more things that go into determining the market price of art, and though this value may be generally accepted, the final price almost always depends on how much the final purchaser is willing to pay (the perceived value of this art to the buyer).

The same principle goes for DJing. Sometimes the opening act may be a lot better than the headlining act, but the headliner may be paid up to 10X more than the opening act. Though it is not an exact science, there are winning strategies which, if implemented, will increase the DJ’s perceived value and ultimately how much they are paid.

There are strategies which will help in culturing, curating, protecting and enforcing your perceived value. As a DJ, it is challenging to convince an event organizer to pay you $2,000 when you just collected $50 for a similar gig from another event organizer. An event organizer will not offer a DJ $300 when two weeks ago that same DJ played for drink tickets.

Here are a seven tips on how to increase your value:

  1. Be good at your job, be consistent and reliable. Event organizers like to have an idea of what to expect when hiring talent. Event organizers also talk to each other. Inconsistent information between various event presenters hurts the reputation and earning potential of DJs.
  2. Most event presenters are in the business of making money. Every DJ needs to ask themselves: How does my inclusion in this event help the event organizer’s bottom line? DJs that attract large audiences charge more.
  3. Be involved in the success of the event that hires you. This includes marketing and, if possible, selling tickets. Event producers take the risk of putting money upfront and hope for a return on their investment. They are encouraged by DJs who appreciate this and work to ensure that the event is a success.
  4. The more you do to create a buzz around you and your performance, the more money you can demand, so be interesting, unique and intriguing. Have charisma and let people who interact with you or your brand, remember it for something positive.
  5. It is more difficult to grow locally. Use the power of social media to create an international presence. Once you are contracted to perform internationally, you can demand higher fees, and once local promoters know that you are recognized internationally, their respect for you will increase.
  6. Invest in a publicist or agent, depending on what you are hoping to achieve. Publicists will help promote you locally while an agent will represent your interests to event presenters and negotiate your deals. This helps to ensure that the decisions you make are not emotional but geared to advance your career.
  7. Every gig has three elements: Money, vibe and people. If two of the three are met, it is reasonable to take the gig. For instance, if the money is no good however you know the event will be well attended and the audience (people) will be great and the vibe (intangible benefits) created by good music, and ability to network with other professionals, it is reasonable to take the gig. If only one of the three factors are met, it is advisable to stay away.

Understand that, as a DJ, you set your own bar and you should continuously adjust based on your social interactions, content created, business agreements and performance feedback.

A DJ’s fee depends on internal and external factors. Internal factors are those that the DJ can control: his or her persona, their social media presence, experience, work ethic and, above all, what the DJ is willing to accept. Understand that an emerging DJ will not demand the same attention and fees as their experienced counterparts. External factors are those which the DJ has no control over but which they might be able to change: Location, genre of music they play and social trends. A DJ can change their location if they are not successful in their original location. Studying the market factors and knowing which factors have an effect on career advancement is very important.

Be willing to put in the work. This may involve performing for free or opening for a headliner. In such situations, make sure that you have a contract with the event promoter which stipulates, among other things, that the fact that you are performing for free, should not be made public and that promotion for the event should contain information about your participation.


Author Since: May 21, 2020

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