How to save money as a DJ
You can run into quite a few costs if you're starting out DJing. However you can also save money in multiple ways. If you need to do DJing on a budget, then read on for our tips.
Saving money while acquiring music
My best tips to save money while acquiring music is to use previews as much as possible.
Some platforms have inadequate previews, for example they only let you preview a certain part of the track. If you search the track on YouTube.com, then you may find the full track .
If you just want to mix songs at home, then BandCamp.com would have some free tracks that you could download. SoundCloud.com offers some free downloads, too.
If you really need to save money, then you don't need hundred of songs unless you're doing a set for a more general audience. A DJ library can be built up over time.
In certain circumstances maybe you can borrow a USB drive that another DJ owns. If you need to play a certain genre that you don't play, then borrowing could be a good solution. This should be fine as long as you don't copy the tracks.
DJing with vinyl is very expensive compared to digital. If you're looking to save money, then I suggest that you start off with digital.
You don't necessarily need equipment beyond a laptop, headphones and speakers to start. However if you want equipment beyond this, then buying second hand gear will save you money. Ensure that the seller is reliable, otherwise you may get burned.
You can probably use your existing headphones and speakers.
eBay.com can be searched to find second hand gear. You may also find some on the Facebook marketplace. I am always getting Facebook notifications of DJ selling their equipment.
You could also post in Facebook groups or on Craigslist.com that you want to buy DJ equipment.
You probably wouldn't want to send money to people if you haven't touched the equipment.
A few free versions of software packages exist.
Mixxx is a DJ software package that's free.
Virtual DJ can be free, but it requires you to not make money from your activities. If you're using it just to learn, then it could be a good solution.
Rekordbox also has a free version of their software.
Saving money on travel expenses
The biggest way that you can save money is staying at a friend's house; this is something that I did for years. Of course you need to stay away from dodgy people, but this could be a huge money saver.
You can possibly get deals on flights. The question would be whether the flying dates align with gigs.
You could try to schedule events when there's not a major event on; hotels and flights will be less expensive.
If a club or festival is hiring you to perform at a gig, then you probably wouldn't have to worry about paying for the travel. Usually travel arrangements are made for you.
You can save money by not having one. Some people believe that if you have social media, then you don't need a website. I wouldn't agree with this, but you probably don't need a website if you're just starting out.
If you do want one then companies such as Host Gator and Blue Host have deals such as a $4 per month offer on their starter plans. You can usually purchase three years in advanced. Be careful as one you renew it'll be about three times the price.
You can go from one introductory deal to another in the last month of your term. You'll need to know how to move your website. If you use wordpress, then backup and restore plugins may help.
Hosting companies like to offer all sorts of goodies in addition to your hosting. My advice is to not buy any of it. You just need web hosting and a domain name.
Don't go with web hosting companies that don't offer a free, automatic SSL certificate, you don't need the extra expense and hassle of getting a paid SSL certificate.
The cheapest hosting packages should be suitable for most DJs.
Free host do exist if you only need a basic blog, but some may consider this to be unprofessional. An example free blog host is BlogSpot.com.
If you want a professionally designed website, then this may cost extra. If you use WordPress, and can learn how to install templates, then you probably can avoid paying for a professionally designed website.
Cameras and photographers
You don't need an expensive camera if taking pictures or video yourself. The camera on your phone is probably fine, unless you're a big name. A fancy camera is nice to have, but if you can't afford it, then don't buy one.
If you're organizing events on a budget, then you don't need a photographer. People will take pictures. You can encourage them to do so, and you can get the party goers to send the pictures to you.
It's possible to do stream sets with your smartphone camera, but it's a very bad idea to use the inbuilt microphone for the audio.
If you need headshots, but can't afford a photographer, then you can ask a friend or family member to take pictures. A fan may also be willing to help you out.
Saving money on promoting your gig
You can promote your gigs on Facebook.com without paying for advertisements, but it may not be terribly effective.
Facebook will promote your posts more if they frequently get engagement. So do whatever you can to get people to comment and react to your posts. Encouraging people to share may help, too.
You could also learn to do your own graphic design instead of hiring a graphic designer. You could also ask friends, family members or fans to design graphics for you.
Saving money on the venue
If you're organizing your gig yourself, then you don't have to have your gig at a club.
If your party is small, then you may have a house party.
If the event is big, then someone may let you use their farm.
The downside to these options would be the party getting shut down if you're not careful. You might not make as much money either.
Deciding to be a particular DJ type may be a more expensive route.
If you're a mobile DJ, then you would probably need to pay for lights and speakers. You could have an agreement that the client supplies the equipment. Renting equipment could be an option, but the cost could increase as you get more gigs, and you may be better off purchasing equipment once things ramp up.
Music producers would need to purchase DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software, and this is usually expensive.
You definitely wouldn't start out as a music producer if you're looking to save money.
If you live far away from a big city, then it may be cheaper to be a streaming DJ. You'll need good internet though.
Save money releasing tracks
If you release tracks that people buy, then you can pick from many distributors. Some distributors are free but take a higher percentage, and some charge a fee every year but take a lower commission.
I imagine that changing distributors is a hassle, but it can be done. If you have low volumes to start off, then perhaps going with a distributor that charges no fees is a good choice.
It's possible that studios will let you use their facilities for cheaper at certain times. You'll need to negotiate with them about this.
If you're looking to save money, then many companies have sales on Black Friday. Some may have sales on Christmas and New Years, too.
Such sales might be useful for computers, web hosting or expensive software.
You may want to save months in the months or weeks leading up to these sales.
Search for coupons
If you're buying from a website, then it could be worthwhile typing the website name followed by the word coupon into your favorite search engine. You could find a coupon code. It only takes a few minutes to search the web.
I have started doing this myself. You're not guaranteed to find one, but from my experience, it does work sometimes.
Hire as few people as possible
If you really need to save money, then hiring as few people as possible could be worthwhile. However you'd probably need to learn new skills such as graphic design.
A drawback to this is that your attempts may be poor. It may also cost you time that you could have spent doing other things.
I know that I should hire more people, but people sometimes do a terrible job when I hire them, and I like to minimize costs.
You can get graphic design for fairly cheap on Fiverr.com. Some designers are not careful with copyright so you need to be careful if you take this approach.
Also you probably wouldn't be hiring locals if you use Fiverr.com, so if supporting the local economy is important to you, then you may not want to use the website.
I haven't used this website, but occasionally I've used freelance websites. It's rare that I don't regret the decision to do so, but generally I have better technical skills than most people, and can do most things myself.
Save money distributing merchandise
As stated in my selling merchandise article, you don't need to buy merchandise in bulk if you want to distribute merchandise to your fans. You can simply upload designs and have your fans purchase merchandise from various websites directly. View my selling merchandise. article for more details.
From my experience if you go down the bulk purchases route, the profit can be higher. This probably requires an upfront investment and it's typically more work.
You can choose to make your business a sole trader to avoid the fees that comes with a limited liability company.
You shouldn't need a liability limited company unless you're releasing music independently or you are somehow at risk at getting sued.
Make more money
An alternative to saving money is just making more money. You can do this by doing extra work. We have a guide on how DJs can make money.
You could utilize crowd funding to pay for equipment or travel expenses. You probably would want to have a decent following for this.
Avoid interest when possible
Interest is an expense. My advice would to avoid it whenever possible.
It's better to have the money in the bank before making purchases on your credit card. This way you will avoid interest.
Most loans have interest. However asking family members to lend you money without interest could be possible.
Live with other DJs
Living with other DJs may save you money. You can share equipment.
I know two DJs that lived with each other and share the same software licenses. Doing this on a single computer would better follow the law. Sharing software licenses may be impossible if the people involved have gigs at different venues simultaneously.
You could also travel together if you're going to the same gigs.
See if you can find someone who will take you to and from gigs instead of taking taxis and Ubers. Even if you can only find someone to drop you off, that's still a saving.
DJ and music production courses
Countless DJ and music production exist. You probably don't need them, and you can learn by watching free YouTube videos instead.
Why you may want to be frugal
You may want to save money even if you can afford to splash out. Every dollar that you don't need to spend is a dollar that you can invest or can spend on things that you enjoy.
You probably wouldn't want to use all of our tips if you have excess cash, but you can probably use some.
You may need money for your life-style or children.
Knowing when you save money
Just because you can save money doesn't mean you should. If the work that you're doing would be better if you spend money, then you should consider doing this.
Thanks for reading
I hope that I have given you tips that you can utilize to save money.