Mobile DJ Job Description
From bar mitzvahs to wedding receptions, mobile disc jockeys (DJs) are hired to bring music to parties, special events, or other occasions. They use portable equipment to play digital music or CDs, encourage guests to dance, host party games, take requests, and make announcements. Mobile DJs are typically personable, outgoing individuals with strong public speaking and creative skills. They are employed mainly by entertainment companies or work independently. Hours are usually flexible but mostly require nights and weekends, as most weddings or parties occur during these times. Mobile DJs generally work part time and many have other full-time occupations, using mobile deejaying for extra income. A high level of job satisfaction is typically reported by those working in this profession.
Mobile DJ Duties and Responsibilities
No two mobile DJs are exactly alike, as specific skills vary from employer to employer. However, after analyzing online job postings, we identified several core duties and responsibilities common to the job, including the following:
Provide Music and Entertainment at Events
The mobile DJ’s main job is to play music and act as an emcee at various types of events. A mobile DJ at a wedding reception, for instance, will announce the wedding party and bride and groom as they enter the reception. They host party games, encourage guests to dance, announce special dances, and ensure that any schedule of events during a party is followed. Mobile DJs supply softer background music for dinner and cocktails and party music for dancing.
Mobile DJs create playlists of songs appropriate for the event they are working. They download songs or use CDs to play music for weddings, birthday parties, holiday parties, and other events. They also take requests and work with clients to create personal playlists.
Use Visual Effects Equipment
From strobe lights to fog machines, mobile DJs often use various effects to enhance events. They might use other props and even have small gifts or items to hand out, such as sunglasses, leis, hats, or wristbands, to follow a specific theme or add to a particular party game.
Interact with Guests
Mobile DJs should be the “life of the party” and use their energy and creative force to direct guests to participate in games and activities. They might get guests to sing out during a particular song, appear on the dance floor to inspire guests to dance, or allow guests to use the microphone to make special announcements to brides and grooms, birthday celebrants, or anniversary couples.
Mobile DJ Skills and Qualifications
Mobile DJs are energetic, love music, and can entertain a crowd. After reviewing several online job postings, we found that employers typically mention the following skills and abilities when looking for a mobile DJ:
- Computer skills – mobile DJs often use software and an audio interface to transmit signals to mobile devices, computers, and PA systems
- Technical skills – mobile DJs must know how to set up various types of audio-visual equipment
- Physical fitness – lifting and carrying large speakers and consoles, standing, and even dancing for long periods of time call for physical strength and stamina
- Communication skills – being outgoing and able to converse and interact with a diverse population is critical for mobile DJs, who use strong interpersonal and communication skills to speak to large crowds and provide entertainment
- Self-motivated – the ability to work without supervision to bring entertainment to any type of gathering is a must in this profession
- Customer service – ensuring that clients are satisfied with all of the entertainment aspects of their event or party is a major responsibility of a mobile DJ
- Creativity – mobile DJs must be innovative and creative to sustain a party atmosphere and keep guests engaged and entertained
Tools of the Trade
Mobile DJs should be adept at using the following:
- Media players
- Speaker systems
- Karaoke machines
- Light systems
- Fog machines
Mobile DJ Education and Training
No educational requirements beyond a high school diploma are associated with becoming a mobile DJ. Prospective DJs might take broadcasting or sound engineering courses at a community or vocational college to familiarize themselves with equipment such as media players, controllers, and digital mixers. They might also apprentice with an experienced DJ for several months in order to gain experience and become comfortable with talking to audiences, adhering to playlists, and setting up equipment.
Mobile DJ Salary and Outlook
PayScale reports that the median hourly wage for mobile DJs is $38.59, though this figure could vary greatly based on how much each individual DJ charges for a gig. Tips and bonuses could also affect this wage. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a median annual salary for announcers of all types, including mobile DJs, of just over $32,000. Those in the 10th percentile earn about $18,000 per year, while top earners can realize an annual salary of more than $83,000.
A 9 percent decline in employment is expected for all types of announcers through 2026, the BLS states. However, this statistic appears to reflect radio DJs and television announcers more than mobile DJs. The need for mobile DJs at weddings, birthday parties, corporate parties, and other events should remain constant.
If being a mobile DJ sounds like it’s in tune with your future plans, then you might want to learn more about this career choice. Use the resources below to explore more about what it takes to become and work as a mobile DJ:
American Disc Jockey Association – from expos and conferences to networking opportunities, ADJA is a great resource for those working for or running a mobile DJ business
The Mobile DJ Handbook: How to Start & Run a Profitable Mobile Disc Jockey Service – what’s the best new equipment to use for your mobile DJ business? What do mobile DJ contracts and advertising brochures look like? How can you most effectively perform at your next gig? These are some of the tips and strategies you’ll find covered in this comprehensive book
United States Disc Jockey Association – Network. Take advantage of educational opportunities. Learn best practices. Identify your weaknesses and find tools to help yourself improve. Get marketing tips. Find a mentor. These are many of the top benefits you’ll enjoy when you become a member of USDJA
KC Mobile Blog – get tips and an insider’s look at being a professional DJ in this blog hosted by a professional deejaying company
“DJ of the Year with DJ Jack Bermeo” – this podcast is hosted by a mobile DJ professional who guides you through everything from working an audience to building confidence in front of a crowd
How to DJ Right: The Art and Science of Playing Records – get valuable information about music theory, song structure, building a music library, and other useful tips and practices to make you a successful mobile DJ
The Essential Guide to Building a Mobile DJ Light Show – being a mobile DJ is about more than spinning records or cueing up digital music. Effects play a big part, and this book provides thorough details about lighting types, equipment, setups, and more
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