Let’s start this article by posing an important question – well, important by the standards of disc jockeys everywhere, anyway. What is the most important thing for a DJ working in 2023 who wants to get lots of bookings and a healthier bank account?
In an ideal world, Ears To The House would be able to confidently state that it’s all down to talent – the more skilled behind the decks and the better the music selection, the more bookings that would follow. But we’d be lying if we told you that – and suspect the reality is that things are nothing more than a numbers game.
This, after all, makes sense. We’re in an age where dance music is heavily influenced by social media – just look at how many artists have a big presence online, and just how many people are brandishing their phones during sets. More followers equals more eyeballs, equals more sales, right?
Er, apparently not. Modern Machines – a DJ from New York whose real name is Dimitry Mak – claims that the number of Instagram followers a DJ has is not the ultimate factor that gets them booked. So if it isn’t, what is? Writing on Mark Zuckerberg’s underwhelming new toy Threads, Mak explains his theory…
This answer is an illuminating insight into how the dance music world works today – but possibly not in the way that Mak intended. First of all, it’s very revealing that the words “have the skills to back it up” have been tacked on at the end of his comments – it’s almost as if they’ve been lumped on as some kind of afterthought.
Now, we’re not questioning Mak’s own talent here – having checked his own social media pages and done our research, it’s clear that he’s a pretty proficient musician in his own right. But the fact that talent and skill are only mentioned at the very end of this is utterly depressing – if not exactly surprising.
Secondly, he then reveals it’s actually about how you look – and Ears To The House must admit he’s not entirely wrong. In most other professions, the clothes that you wear or how you look after things like your hair are going to be judged – whether you like it or not. We certainly don’t see why DJs should have some kind of exemption in this area.
However, we suspect it depends a lot on who’s doing the booking. For fashion companies to insist on someone looking the part isn’t going to be a surprise – nor should it be a shock in the type of venues that put VIP tables in front of DJ booths. Judging by what we see on a daily basis whilst putting articles together for this site, however, we’re not quite sure this applies to everyone across the board.
It might help explain some of the very garish shirts being worn by a lot of the tech-house bros in recent years, though…