Hard to believe DJ Times has been publishing for 30 years — since the last year of Ronald Reagan’s presidential term, a decade before inter-league play in Major League Baseball, and well before digital information became omnipresent.
So, for this anniversary edition of DJ Times, we asked a group of veteran mobile DJ/entertainers to help us reminisce.
Brian Doyle, Denon & Doyle DJs, Pacheco, Calif.
How did you generate most of your gigs 30 years ago?
“I reached out to the Yellow Pages – the Google of that day. Once the calls started coming in, I quickly found I was not competing with other DJs, but with bands. Quite a few of the calls had never seen a DJ at an event, they but were curious. So, I got my sales pitch down and started booking events for $350 a night.
“Where we used to design and print expensive literature, we can now do so with a website template and stock photos. Need some great reviews? Simply make some up. Want to advertise for events? We no longer have to commit to a year in the phone book, do a direct-mail campaign or put expensive advertising in a [local] magazine. Instead, buy some Google AdWords or hop on Craigslist or Thumbtack.”
Shani Barnett, Shani Barnett Productions, Chicago, Ill.
How much were you charging 30 years ago?
“I have been in the entertainment industry for over 25 years. I only started DJing 15 years ago – I started out as an interactive dancer, then interactive MC and now DJ and all-around entertainer. When I started mitzvahs, our basic package was around $1,500. Now the basic package before upgrades is $3,950.”
What changes have you seen on the dancefloor?
“Phones! Everyone on the dancefloor now are dancing less and taking pictures, posting on Snapchat—you can make a custom filter for the event. Also, they’re on Instagram in the moment, going Facebook Live and other apps. Back in the day, people were just dancing and living in the moment. But don’t get me wrong — the ones posting are still having fun. It’s just a different type of dancefloor fun now.”