Joining a DJ agency can be a good way of spreading the word about your skills. What role they play depends largely on how good and how famous a DJ you are.
You have your choice of several different types of DJ agencies:
Catering for famous, established, pro DJs who are in high demand rather than newbies trying to get a break or regular DJs at a small club. These agencies are less about hand-holding and advice, and are more about making sure nights go smoothly, clubs pay money on time and that the high profile DJs on their books are well publicised and booked solidly. As managers, these agencies deal with the publicity, bookings, travel, accommodation and so on, meaning the only thing that the DJ needs to worry about is the music.
Any booking fees payable to the DJ are paid to the management, who take a percentage cut (usually between 10 and 15 per cent) before passing the rest onto the DJ. The less bookings the DJ has, the less money the agency makes, so making sure that the DJs on their roster are reliable, booked solidly and getting paid is in the agency’s best interest.
Large towns and cities have DJ agencies that cater for the clubs, bars, function rooms, wedding parties and any reason someone may want a DJ. Although fame won’t be as large an issue, a strong track record of playing a lot of gigs is a necessity for these agencies to sign you up.
Local agencies take a similar percentage cut of the booking fee as the artist management agencies. Because the pool of available DJs on their books don’t have fame to sell themselves, these agencies work hard for their cut.
Internet DJ agencies help you with promoting yourself, rather than finding work for you. In most instances, they don’t actively seek out work on your behalf, but clubs and bars come to them requesting a DJ and the agency passes on your details to the club. Reputable Internet agencies have a large dossier of clubs who request DJs on their roster, and are able to prove a large hit-rate for their DJs working at clubs.
In many cases, you pay a yearly subscription to the Internet agency, rather than handing over a percentage of what you earn. This is an extremely controversial concept, and opinions are very strong on both sides as to whether you should pay upfront to try to find work.
Researching a DJ agency…
Before joining any agency (Internet, or otherwise), take a look at any testimonials that may be on their website, and if you get the chance, get in touch with the DJs and clubs to check that the agency is genuine. Some unscrupu- lous people out there do make up information to try to seem more profes- sional, so do as much research as you can and post some questions on DJ forums.