Being a DJ isn't just about attending parties, playing music and having fun. To be a successful DJ, you'll have to position yourself in the market so that people want to hire you. One way to set yourself apart from other DJs in this digital age is to go retro--have a vinyl setup and only play records. If you're just starting out as a DJ, here's how to setup yourself as a vinyl DJ without spending a fortune.
Purchase Used Equipment
Because most DJs now use computers, you should be able to find lots of used equipment for spinning vinyls at affordable prices. You will need the following:
- two direct-drive turntables
- a pre-amp if your turntables don't have one built in
- a mixer
- PA speakers
- high-quality headphones
You'll also want to have additional cartridges and styluses on hand, and you'll need a brush and fluid for cleaning records.
When looking at turntables, make sure you purchase direct-drive, not belt-driven, ones. In belt-driven turntables, a motor rotates a belt that spins the records. Because the records are spun by a belt, you can't pause or scratch the record. In direct-drive turntables, the mechanism that spins the record is directly affixed to the motor, so you can pause and scratch vinyls.
Hunt for Cheap Records
You're going to need a large library of records, so you'll want to find them cheap. While used record stores are an obvious place to look for vinyls, you may also want to try:
- flea markets
- thrift stores
- yard sales
You may even want to post an ad online saying that you buy old records.
Gather Obscure Records
When amassing your collection, you'll obviously need the major hits that everyone loves and requests. People will also appreciate obscure yet tasteful selections that they've never heard before. Add any good obscure records that you find to your library to give it some diversity.
If you're not an expert in Mexican funk or psychedelic jazz, study record labels. Learn which ones consistently produce great vinyls, and purchase records from those labels whenever you find them at an affordable price.
Being a DJ is a lot of fun, but it's a competitive market. You won't land every gig in town by going retro, but specializing in vinyl will set you apart from your competition. With the right DJ equipment, you should be able to carve out a niche for yourself and consistently find jobs from people who love old-school records.