It might be fun to be a DJ (short for Disc Jockey) because you get to listen and play with the music most of the time.
But just like every other job in the world, there are pros and cons when it comes to making a living being a DJ.
The hardest part is getting your first few paying gigs.
Fortunately, you’re not alone. Even some of today’s top earning DJs struggled to get their initial gigs when they were initially starting out.
And for many, the best part is the fame and the money that comes with being a world class DJ.
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What will I learn?
Wanna Make $46 Million a Year?
If you’re just starting out, you probably aren’t making much money being a DJ, yet.
That is okay! It’s the norm.
Now, most wanna-be DJs give up at this stage, but the few who are passionate enough to keep going will eventually succeed and go on to make a lot of money.
Most aspiring DJs know the story of Adam Wiles.
This Scottish guy was working in a grocery store. No degree. Living in his parents’ house.
But he knew what he wanted.
He worked hard and took any opportunity he came across.
Fast forward a few years later and Adam, who has re-branded himself now as Calvin Harris, earned a whopping $46 million in 2012, becoming the world’s highest earning DJ.
But you’re not Calvin Harris!
You’re not big enough yet to make that kind of money as a DJ.
So are you doomed?
No, you’re not!
In fact, there are a few ways you can earn extra money DJing. You won’t make millions of dollars, heck you may not even be able to make a full-time living, but you will make some money.
How to Make Money as a DJ
Here are the best ways to earn money as a DJ.
1. Teach people how to become a DJ
There are a lot of people who’d love to be a DJ. And they’re willing to pay to learn the skill.
And who better to teach them how to DJ than a DJ?
You can make money teaching people the ins and outs of being a DJ.
Use your social media accounts to promote yourself. Tell your friends and family to get the word out. Put a few free ads on Craigslist. Do what you have to do to let people know you are available.
2. Find work as a Radio Mix Show DJ
These days, most radio stations have their own mix shows, so they’re always looking for new mixers.
Starting out you may not be able to get your own show, but your talent will eventually land you your own radio mix show where you can make much more money.
You can use this platform to get your work out there. The experience alone will help you land bigger and higher-paying gigs.
3. Get a sponsor
Is there a local DJ store or a club-wear shop nearby?
See if you can get them to sponsor you.
You won’t directly make money, but you’ll get publicity and perhaps some free gear.
You could also try to get them to sponsor you financially. Return the favor by displaying their company or brand on your banners and flyers and even on your merchandise.
4. Monetize your blog
If you know a lot about DJing, you can build a website or blog and share your experience and knowledge with other interested people.
You can make money by advertising on your website or blog.
You can either display affiliate ads for gears and products aspiring DJs need to purchase, or you can sign up for Google Adsense and display ads on your site.
5. Be a mobile DJ
Most bar DJs don’t like the idea of becoming mobile DJs. But it can actually be a fun and lucrative way to make money as a DJ.
A mobile DJ (a DJ who goes to wherever the event is held) works at weddings, graduation parties, birthday parties, fundraising events, school dances, and more.
6. Sell branded merchandise
Do you have a DJ logo?
How about T-shirts that have customized printing on them?
If you have been at it for a while and have already developed a following, you may be able to make money by selling branded merchandise -t-shirts, hats, sunglasses, headphones, etc.
You can sell your stuff at bars, clubs, and where you are performing.
A great way is to wear the T-shirt yourself while you work.
You can strike up a deal with the owner of the venue and share the profits from the sales of your merchandise.
If it costs you a little extra for these efforts, it would be worth it because you will be getting your brand and name out to the public while making money on the side.
Other Ways to Make a Living as a DJ
Here are a few more ideas to get your creative juices flowing!
7. Club and Bar Gigs
Play at local bars and clubs. Many venues hire DJs for regular sets, especially on weekends.
8. nline DJ Sets
Stream your DJ sets on platforms like Twitch, YouTube, or Mixcloud, and monetize through ads, donations, or paid subscriptions.
9. Private Events
DJ at private events such as birthdays, anniversaries, and bar mitzvahs. Advertise your services on social media and through word of mouth.
10. Teach DJing
Offer DJing lessons or workshops. There’s a demand for people wanting to learn the craft.
11. Create and Sell Mixes
Record and sell your mixes online through platforms like Bandcamp or SoundCloud. You can charge a fee or accept donations.
12. Produce Music
Produce your own music and sell it on platforms like Beatport or iTunes. You can also license your tracks for use in commercials, TV, or film.
13. DJ for Radio or Podcasts
Look for opportunities to DJ on local or online radio stations and podcasts. Some may offer compensation.
14. Equipment Rental
If you have spare DJ equipment, rent it out to other DJs or event organizers.
15. Collaborate with Musicians
Collaborate with local musicians, bands, or vocalists and offer your DJ skills to enhance their performances.
16. Music Curation
Curate playlists for businesses, restaurants, or events. Create mood-setting music and get paid for your expertise.
17. DJ Competitions
Participate in DJ competitions, as they often come with cash prizes and recognition.
18. Write About DJing
Start a blog or YouTube channel where you discuss DJing techniques, equipment reviews, and share tips. Monetize through ads or affiliate marketing.
19. Social Media Promotion
Build a strong online presence on social media and partner with brands for sponsored posts and promotions.
20. Music Licensing
License your DJ mixes or original tracks to music libraries for use in commercials, films, or video games.
21. Event Promotion
Promote and organize your own DJ events, which can be a great way to earn money through ticket sales and bar revenue.
22. Sound Design
Offer your skills in sound design and create custom sounds or samples for music producers and artists.
If you have a dedicated fan base, consider crowdfunding platforms like Patreon or Kickstarter to fund your DJing projects.
Remember that success as a DJ often comes with dedication, networking, and consistently improving your skills. Combine multiple income streams to maximize your earnings and exposure in the DJing world.
Are You a DJ?
Have you ever made money as DJ?
Are you currently making a living as a DJ?
If so, share your experience in the comment section and let us know how you manage to succeed.