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With few exceptions, most of us got into this business because of a love of music, but it’s that very love of music that will ultimately cause too many of us to leave the business. When we focus only on the music and not the overall emotional experience of the day, especially for social events like weddings, we risk being replaced by technology. You think Spotify lists are a problem? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

30 years ago, clients didn’t have access to the music we had, so they had to hire us for music, but those days are long gone, and even for the club DJs, technology will replace you, whether you like it or not. There is already software that can mix and create, and more that is being perfected that can read a crowd and use algorithms to choose what to play next. Much like the independent radio DJ is really a thing of the past, we need to evolve or be replaced.

30 years ago, clients didn’t have access to the music we had, so they had to hire us for music, but those days are long gone.


As entertainers who use music as a tool, we have great power. As a music provider, we have very little. Learning to be a great master of ceremonies, rather than just another DJ making announcements and yelling the names when the wedding party arrives, is the difference not only of survival as a performer, but in eliminating all those calls for someone “looking for a DJ.” Wouldn’t you rather have a wedding client who is looking for you, specifically?

Resistance is futile. Become a full-fledged entertainer or become one of the legions of people who “used to be a DJ.” That means honing your craft as an entertainer, including MC workshops, DVDs, comedy classes, improv classes, acting classes, writing classes, community theater, rehearsals and practice.

how to dj a wedding
Randy Bartlett does not recommend fire-breathing as an opener

For example, in our advanced microphone skills workshops, we spend a great deal of time on our opening for weddings, reducing their complexity, making them more direct and succinct.

Instead of the typical, “How’s everyone doing tonight?” which generates, at best, a tepid response, try an enthusiastic and heartfelt, “Good evening. Welcome to Ryan and Jessica’s wedding reception!” Delivered correctly, this opener will generate spontaneous and enthusiastic cheers and applause — and now you have the guests right where you want them, something no algorithm will ever be able to do.

Delivered correctly, this wedding opener will generate spontaneous and enthusiastic cheers and applause.


You can spend your time and money on marketing; you can try to get every millennial bride to send you a request for prices via email or text, but getting direct referrals from guests at your events, clients who will pay a premium price and even schedule their wedding around your availability — that’s the real payoff.

Don’t be the last one to realize this. The ship has sailed.

Randy Bartlett is the owner of Premier Entertainment in Sacramento, California. He’s been DJing professionally for 30 years, and used to do open-mic standup comedy nights and even considered pursuing it professionally. You can find his The 1% Solution package of videos here

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DJ Times Magazine is copyright © 2019 by DJ Publishing, Inc.