How To Choose A D.J.

The Professional Disc Jockeys Association

Link to site host - - "Brisbane's best-known DJ's"

The Wall

Selecting a Disc jockey for your particular function
can be a very bewildering and daunting task


The Yellow Pages Directory typically lists over 100 DJ's advertising in Brisbane each year, fully a third of whom change address or go out of business by the issue of the next year's directory. There are many more DJ's who operate as "Free-Lance" or "Book-A-Friend" DJ's at functions and parties for friends, possibly bringing the number of DJ's in Brisbane up to 250 or more.

Most of these seldom last more than 2-3 years in business when they start to lose interest  and realise that it really is tough work, expensive, and that they're actually loosing money. DJ work is incorrectly perceived as an easy way to make a 'quick buck'. Nothing could be further from the truth. It takes 5-10 years to gain the knowledge, business experience, professionalism and skills to make a sustainable profit.

Recommendations can be unreliable, often biased ("I've got a mate...", "I know a DJ...", etc.) and Seeing Particular DJ's in action is virtually impossible as most times the functions they work at are private and the style of function and the different crowd's music tastes could bear little relevance to the function you are planning.

The safest plan is to seek a True, Full time Professional DJ firm and by "checking their credentials", satisfy yourself that they are reliable and can provide exactly the right music, the right equipment and custom service you require.

Basically, there are FIVE MAIN TYPES OF DJ's to be found in Brisbane
(and mostly you get what you pay for)

1. HOBBYISTS - As the name suggests, these Dj's usually have a day job or study during the week and DJ for extra money on weekends. They typically only have 1 or 2 DJ Systems (Consoles) and use their own home music CD collections. (Total investment around $15000) They have very limited resources, no office staff or facilities and less than 2 or 3 years experience. 80 to 90 percent of DJ's advertising in the Yellow Pages fall into this category. Every year around a third close down.

Hobbyist Dj's may be keen, but do not usually have the music range to satisfy all clients, sufficient experience or back-up equipment if things go wrong. we regularly receive frantic phone calls on a Saturday from various DJ's desperate to replace their gear that has broken down during a show and they have no back-up gear available.

2. FULL-TIME PROFESSIONAL FIRMS - on the other hand, run their businesses on a full-time basis and depend on it for their livelihood - It is their "Profession". A great many hobbyists call themselves 'professional' simply because they charge money for their services. That is not enough. We define the term to mean a great deal more than that. There are very few Full-Time Professional DJ Firms in Brisbane (less than 6 or 7) and only four currently qualify for membership to the Professional Disc Jockeys Association.

Professional DJ Firms typically operate 6 to 8 Consoles, which we believe is the maximum number of units for which you can maintain adequate quality control in this industry. professionals also have a much higher lever of experience and service, including office staff, back-up operators, quality equipment, staff training and review, music range and supply of music to DJ's

3. "AGENCY-TYPE" FIRMS - by contrast, have as many as 30 Consoles with often half owned by the firm and the other half owned by the individual DJ's. There are probably four or five "Agency-Type firms operating in Brisbane and they ironically give the impression of being the big players in the industry by high profile advertising. However, their capital investment might be only in the range of $100 000, whereas one Full-Time Professional Firm is known to have invested over $500 000 in a business based on six Consoles.

The "Agency-Type" Firms are a bit of a "lottery" in that there is very little training or quality control. They may well have some very good DJ's working for them, however, there is potential for a large variation from DJ to DJ. Some might not even see their DJ staff weeks of months at a time as the staff are often allowed to keep the very basic style equipment in their own homes. Further, while some firms supply some CD's to their staff, the music is largely supplied by the DJ's themselves from their home CD collections. In some instances the DJ's are paid well below the going industry rates (as little as $50 for a 5 Hour show). Thus they find it hard to afford to keep up to date or expand their music collection.

"Agency-Type" Firms have been known to forward a list of songs to the clients which they tick to choose the music they want. However, this can bear little resemblance to the range of music the DJ has available at the function, due to the reasons mentioned above. Thus you're often at the mercy of the DJ's own personal tastes. this emphasises the need for some form of Quality Control.

Overall, the "Agency-Type" Firms seem to , i.e.. have the interests of the industry & association at heart
concentrate solely on smaller domestic functions and appear to be more interested in putting as many consoles as they can on the road, rather than striving to provide the best possible service to the client.

4. "IN-HOUSE" DJ's - Some function venues genuinely recommend various DJ firms that they have seen perform and know to be reliable to clients, or even organise a Dj on their client's behalf as an added service. This is because they realise how important a good DJ's contribution can be to the success of the function. Conversely, they know that no matter how good their catering may be, a bad DJ can leave the clients with an overall negative impression of the evening.

However, there are some circumstances we would like to warn about; particularly the offer of a so-called "Free" DJ with the room hire of catering. Over the years we have been advised of instances where:-

  1. The DJ recommended or organised by the venue is actually a relative of the manager.
  2. The manager is charger a greatly reduced price by the DJ but charges a normal industry price to the client, making a substantial profit. Or the worst reports of;
  3. A venue apparently offering a "Free" DJ with the room but allegedly placing a hidden surcharge onto the catering cost per head to make a substantial profit above the DJ's charge.
Frequently, the function manager is paid a "commission" or "spotter's fee" for recommending a particular Dj firm. Ironically, the manager often doesn't even attend the function and thus doesn't see the Dj they recommend in action, so they don't know how good or bad they really are. Use Discretion!

5. NIGHT-CLUB DJ's - have very little experience at functions and use very different techniques & programming styles to mobile DJ's. Further, they often have to hire equipment, adding to their already inflated price due to their status as a "Club DJ".

OVERALL - DJ Firms can be divided into:
  • Lighting & Sound Production DJ Firms (for both large  events and domestic functions) who have far greater technical knowledge and abilities and a much larger investment in high quality equipment.
  • Domestic Function DJ Firms who only cater for smaller domestic functions so purchase ready-made consoles.

ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION - The (non-profit) Professional Disc Jockeys Association was formed with the primary aim to provide a yardstick by which the public can differentiate between the Experienced Professional and and the Hobby-Type DJ. This allows the professional to concentrate on providing the best possible service, based on the client's needs.

To be eligible for Qualified Membership to the Professional Disc Jockeys Association, a DJ or Firm (Principal) must:

Further, the DJ/Firm is requested to demonstrate they have some form of of structured Staff Training and Quality Control programing place and should be recognised as Professionals by their peers in the industry.

A DJ's skill comes from a diverse knowledge of all music types, the ability to assess a crowd's tastes and read mood from moment to moment and so program the correct music for that crowd at that moment. The DJ must also develop good performance and presentation skills and have quality equipment. All this can be done with proper on-going training.

The Wall

Phone us for a list of Members

Link to site host - - "Brisbane's best-known DJ's"

The Professional Disc Jockeys Association
15 Borden Street, SHERWOOD  QLD    4075
Ph (07) 3379 6534


© 2003 DJ Dangerfield