What kind of music do you have/play?
Any professional DJ should have all the best hits from every genre of music. Unless you are looking for one specific kind only, steer clear of any DJ that doesn’t. Like most DJs, I buy music from a DJ supply company that specialises in putting together multiple hits CDs.
There are three major suppliers in Canada and I have used all three; Prime Cuts, Promo Only, and ERG are the big names in music distribution for professionals. They are subscriber-based and pay all the licensing and royalty fees on behalf of the DJ or radio station. These companies also make sure that the music is edited professionally to meet CRTC radio standards for profanity.
I am a firm believer that at any event where there is going to be all ages, edited music is a must. Just because you and your friends like to sing along with the cursing doesn’t mean that your new husband’s grandmother will appreciate it. And don’t forget about your 6-year-old niece that you hoped would be in bed by 9:00pm but is still in attendance.
Client’s Point of View: I hope this guy has more than just rap music. That DJ at Sue and Jeff’s wedding played nothing but rap. My parents were not happy; they love their country music.
DJ’s Point of View: I hope they don’t pigeon hole me. Nothing I hate worse than getting trapped in one genre of music.
In my experience, it is very rare to have any event where only one genre of music is played. Even elementary school students are requesting more classic rock tunes at their dances. Try to find out if the DJ is using a licensed library. If they are not, there is a chance that your event could be unceremoniously shut down. The police have more power than ever to prosecute illegal music. That being said, I think you would be hard-pressed to find police that would shut down a party over this. I would like to believe that most police officers would let the party play out and make the bust at the end of the night. Never underestimate an angry cop having a bad day though.
Do you play requests?
Of course, I play requests if they are reasonable. I know that the new Lil’ Wayne track is your current favourite but that doesn’t mean that it is wedding appropriate. Yes, I will play Shout and Old Time Rock and Roll and YMCA and the Chicken Dance, give me time. Please don’t ask if your song will be next. As a DJ we try to play songs that flow and keep the dance floor going strong. That is our job. If your song doesn’t fit into what we’re doing at the moment or where we’re headed with the music,
that doesn’t mean we’re not going to play it. It just means that you have to exercise some patience.
All requests from the bride and groom will get preferential treatment. After all, they are the reason everyone is there.
Note: If you must have your song played immediately, write it down on a paper bill – the higher the denomination, the higher your chances of being next in line.
For a wedding, I always recommend that the bride and groom submit a list of 5-10 “must play” songs, 5-10 “play if you can find songs”, and 5-10 “do not play” songs. This gives the DJ a starting point for the evening. Any good DJ will be able to read the crowd and adjust accordingly after that.
Please, since you are hiring a DJ, don’t turn them into a human juke box. I had one client give me a list of songs in the order that they wanted them to be played. They also gave strict orders for any
requests to be cleared by the bride or groom. After about twenty minutes and twenty request approvals, they gave in and told me to play what I found acceptable. Suddenly the dance floor was
DJ’s Point of View: Why hire me when you can drop quarters in a juke box all night? What you are doing essentially is renting equipment at an inflated price. Trust in the professional you are hiring. You wouldn’t hire a plumber just to get some pipes; you wouldn’t hire a carpenter just to use his hammer, so why would you hire a DJ just to push play?
I have also been given some very obscure requests like Do they know it’s Christmas by Band-Aid that had the crowd in a hysterical state of bliss while singing along. There will be songs like this and there will be times when you really know your crowd. I can appreciate that. All I ask is for a little freedom to do what you pay me to do.