Types of DJs
Several types of DJs exist. I have listed them below. Usually DJs wouldn't be just one type, this can be true even for top tier DJs.
DJ types can be linked to genres, but this is not the focus of this article.
Types of DJs
Such a person would be DJing as a hobby and/or just learning to DJ. Most will progress to another DJ type.
Bedroom DJ or Basement DJ
This could refer to a hobbyist DJ, but it could also refer to a streaming DJ. You can read about streaming DJs below.
This DJ travels to events with their own equipment.
They may have their own lighting and sound system as well as DJ equipment.
This is exactly like a mobile DJ but performs at weddings.
This person would DJ at small bars. They do not get paid as much as club DJs. Perhaps they're doing this to get experience and/or income.
Some would be happy DJing small bars, too.
A streaming DJ would do their sets via live streaming. They probably would use twitch.tv to stream their sets. They would have their own equipment, including a camera to film themselves DJing.
Some would have a Pateron.com and/or a PayPal.com account to bring in income.
This type could be good for rural DJs with good internet access, or introverts.
This DJ regularly plays at nightclubs.
This DJ would be on the radio. They would go on tour and they may MC gigs.
Some radio DJs can also have other responsibilities such as working with a producer, hosting a program and more.
Music Producer or EDM DJ
This DJ produces and releases music. They would play at their own events and festivals. They may release music videos, too.
These DJs are usually self employed and make may make additional money from selling merchandise.
The world's top DJs are usually music producers.
Most DJs would have a social media following, but hobbyist DJs probably won't have this. It's possible that some bar DJs may not have social media.
While I believe social media isn't essential, most DJs would have social media. Social media could be more useful to music producers and DJs who want clients.
Some music producers would have people managing their social media for them.
Managers or Agents
Music producers might have a manager or an agent. Some radio DJs would have one of those, too.
How to pick the type that's right for you
It depends on what you value most:
Your own sound
If you want to develop your own sound, then becoming a music producer would be the best fit.
Fame and influence
You may be able to get local fame as a radio DJ.
If you want international fame and influence, your best way of achieving this would be to be a music producer. A DJ who live streams could gain fame, too.
Influence can also be used as a good thing. You can bring positivity to people's lives and direct your fans into charitable causes.
You want to uplift your local community
If you want to give your local community a chance to party, then be a bar or club DJ.
No late nights
If you don't want late nights, then perhaps you can be a streaming or radio DJ. However if you're a radio DJ, then perhaps you can negotiate hours that would work favorably for you.
This might be a consideration if you have a family or another job.
Steady job and less administration
You can be a radio DJ if you don't want much administration work, however, they may be other duties that you have to handle in this job.
If you have a manager, then you won't have to do administration.
A club could hire you as an employee and this shifts several burdens to them.
Most DJs are self employed and would have to handle administration work, such as invoices and taxes. However these days software is your friend. Chasing late payments would also be a potentially unwanted task.
Not spending time trying to finding clients.
If you get a residency at a club/bar, then you mostly can avoid getting new clients. If you have supplemental income then it'd be less likely you need other clients.
Doing gigs with less planning
If you're a bar DJ or club DJ then it's possible you won't have to do much event planning. However this would also depend on the contract with the bar/club.
Streaming DJs probably wouldn't have to do much planning, but they probably would have to do promotion.
If you just take on clients as a mobile/wedding DJ, then you can leave most of the planning to the people hiring you.
You want to drink on the job
You would probably want to avoid a career as a radio DJ. You may also want to avoid client work.
Going overboard with this has the potential to ruin your career regardless of DJ type.
Traveling may be common for club DJs and music producers. A radio DJ may travel depending on their station's budget.
See my travel tips for DJs.
If you don't want to travel, you can do this regardless of what DJ type you are. You may be required to travel if you're a radio DJ, but you can negotiate this with the station.
A flexible schedule
If you want a flexible schedule, then don't be a radio DJ. You also shouldn't get a residency at a bar/club unless you can get favorable hours.
You can plan your own events and set your own hours. Obviously there will be limits with this. An offline event at 1PM probably won't be well attended.
You want to dance
Some radio and wedding DJs probably dance less than other DJs; maybe they're not the best fit if dancing is a primary reason why you want to do the job.
Dancing can have its benefits; dancing to music that you love can make you happier. It can make you fitter, too.
Disliking the establishment and/or corporations
If you're anti-establishment, then you may want to be a music producer to spread your messages through your music.
You can release music independently or find an indie record label.
You not want to be a radio DJ, though you can always just not work for a corporate station.
All other types should be fine.
In most cases you'll need supplemental income. If you're a big club DJ or music producer, then you could survive on DJing alone.
Supplemental income could be a second job (even if it's part time) or "side hustle".
If you like small towns then perhaps you can be a bar DJ or streaming DJ. A career as a mobile DJ may also work.
I like big cities, but dislike the traffic that comes with them. If you're bringing your own equipment to venues, then using public transport probably wouldn't be suitable.
Is traveling for you?
I love traveling, many people love sightseeing and experiencing different cultures.
You may not want to travel if you have a family to take care of. Many people are able to juggle raising a family and traveling. You could be away for a few weeks or even months at a time if you do major tours.
If the costs of traveling fall squarely on you, then you may not want to travel. However this become less of an issue if you get a big fan base, since you could make more money.
It's possible that you'll have to travel very cheaply when you're starting out. Travel expenses are usually business tax deductible, but check with an accountant on this. A credit card that rewards you with flights could be a way to lessen the cost of travelling.
If you dislike flying, then you may not want to travel. If you get car sick, then you may not want to travel to rural areas.
The novelty from traveling can also wear off after a while. Sometimes you get sick of traveling, and need a break. I am speaking from personal experience.
Traveling can take up so much time, especially if you're flying internationally. It's doubtful that you'll do this when you're starting out, so you'll have time to consider whether you want to do this.
The good news is you mostly can control how often you travel. You may have less control over your travel frequency if you're a radio DJ.
You may thoroughly enjoy traveling; you may want to try getting some free time at the location to enjoy the scenery.
Thanks for reading
I hope this article was helpful to you.
Learn about the job description of bar, club and radio DJs.
Read about how DJs find and discover music