Primary Blog/Gigging Musician Podcast/Episode 233 - Think Like a DJ: Elevate Your Music Career with High-End Gigs

Episode 233 - Think Like a DJ: Elevate Your Music Career with High-End Gigs

Monday, June 10, 2024

Listen to Today's Episode:


Episode Recap

In this episode, Jared Judge dives into the mindset and strategies that can help musicians break into the high-end gig market. Jared emphasizes the importance of marketing, networking, and presentation, drawing lessons from successful DJs who dominate the luxury event scene. Learn how to create a high-end website, network effectively, and present yourself as a top-tier performer to attract lucrative opportunities.

Best Quote

"DJs aren't focused at these high-end events on playing their own mixes, their own originals. They're pretty much 100% playing covers, and they're playing music that's current, that people love, that they know that will get people dancing. Because the value isn't really in the music, it's in the entertainment."


- BookLive: Everything you need to start marketing and booking your act online (without having to hire or rely on a tech team!)​
- Your First Gig: Everything you need to book your first high-paying gig.
- Fulltime Music Masterclass: The Secret To an Unlimited Stream of High-Paying Private Event Gigs …Without Spending a Fortune on Online Advertising or Having Any Connections!
- Fulltime Music Academy (Gig Vault): 24,665 High-End Venues + Event Planners: Use this directory to book your highest-paid gig to-date.


What's up, renegade musicians? It's Jared Judge. Welcome back to another episode of The Gigging Musician Podcast, where I'll help you break into those high-end gigs and escape those low-end, soul sucking gigs that we all hate. Anyway, chit.

Today's topic is called thinking like a DJ. And the reason why I think this is such an important topic is because in the world of high-end gigs, typically these high-end gigs are created because somebody is hosting a high-end function, a high-end event, a high-end party, whether that's a corporation hosting a corporate event, a high-end couple planning their luxury wedding, or, you know, it's a high-end, individual, high net worth, individual planning a private party.

And the reason why the gig exists is because they want entertainment for their party.

Now, if you look at the typical entertainment for these high-end events, I'd say about 75, possibly more percent of them use a DJ for their entertainment. And this is kind of also true in lower end events as well. But, you know, especially in higher end events.

You know, I'm. Tonight is a meeting that I'm going to for the National association of Catering and events as a networking group for the high-end events industry. And if you look at the members of this group, I am actually one of the only musicians in this group.

Whereas there are probably like 20 or 30 venue owners, ten to 20 private event planners, five or so florists, ten photographers. And then as far as entertainment is concerned, there's probably like four or five DJ companies. I can think of several right off the top of my head.

In fact, today, for the Denver NACE podcast, yes, there's a podcast for this networking group. I am interviewing a DJ named Brian Howe, who runs a DJ entertainment company called How eventful. And I'm actually on the roster of his company as one of the electric violinists.

I think I'm actually the only electric violinist, but he has, like, saxophonists who does this as well, and we play alongside their DJ's. But typically, the entertainment for these high-end events is DJ's, not necessarily because DJ's are any cheaper than live musicians.

In fact, they're oftentimes just as expensive, especially at this high-end caliber level where there's full production with trusses and, you know, large line array speakers with subwoofers and the whole, whole nine yards.

But I think, you know, it all kind of boils down to a couple of things, which is thinking like a DJ, you know, DJ's. I'm going to probably offend a couple DJ's here, but DJ's are no more entertaining than live musicians. In fact, I would argue that most of them are less entertaining than live musicians.

If you think about a DJ standing behind their table with a couple of DJ decks and a laptop, and they're not really performing in the way that we live musicians perform. Now, I know that's going to get me a lot of hate from some musicians and sorry to my DJ friends out there, but you know, it's a little bit less work. At least it's less visible work than what we musicians do.

Like, we are working hard, we're moving our arms, our fingers are flying up and down the necks of our instruments. If we're a brass player, you know, our lungs are sweating, we're working hard and people can see that and it's definitely more entertaining. Plus, we can move our bodies more.

We're not restricted by being behind a table with two DJ decks that are plugged in. You can't really take those with you. So I feel like, you know, we live musicians have a much more entertaining value proposition.

But the DJ's have us beat on several fronts, which is why we need to think like them instead of resenting them. We need to figure out ways that we could be more like them so that we could have the success that they're having.

The first thing that I think really will help most musicians break into the high-end market as far as like what DJ's do is DJ's market the crap out of their services.

Like the first thing that they do is they have a really nice website, especially the high-end ones. Like if you look at Brian Howe's website, it is nice. It feels high-end, it feels luxurious.

And so, you know, that's something that we as live musicians can tap into. We too can have a high-end website especially, you know, I was, I was looking at some statistics the other day and turned out over 75% of people first check a company out online before deciding whether or not to interact with them. And make no mistake, they see musicians as companies.

So that's the first way we think like a DJ's have a high-end website, just like DJ's do. The second thing is on their website and in the way that they talk to the people that they're working with, they really focus on their clients, right.

They're not selfish in the way that they don't really hype themselves up too much, although they do hype themselves up, but it's always in service of the client.

If you look at their website, it's always talking about, we'll help you have a crazy fun wedding where everybody will dancing. We'll help you have the corporate event that your clients and employees will remember for decades to come. Right.

It's all client focused language. Another thing is that DJ's are really good at networking, especially with people in the events industry.

Like, if you go to any of these networking events like the one I'm going to tonight, there is typically always a DJ sponsoring the event by providing a couple speakers and the DJ playing some background music for the networking portion.

And that's because they invest heavily in networking. I also know, just based on talking to a bunch of them, that they are doing a lot of visits to the high-end event venues and high-end event planner offices. Right.

They're visiting, shaking hands, learning the names of family members, figuring out who's recently had a baby, who's going through a divorce, whose house caught fire, and we need to raise funds.

They're just very embedded in the industry, and that is another way we can think like them. Now, another one we should definitely talk about is their music selection.

DJ's aren't focused at these high-end events on playing their own mixes, their own originals. They're pretty much 100% playing covers, and they're playing music that's current, that people love, that they know that will get people dancing. Because the value isn't really in the music, it's in the entertainment.

So DJ's know that we need to think like DJ's. How can we adjust our music to be more high-end? And that's. That's one way.

How. And I'm not saying, like, we need to play super fancy high-end art music. No.

Cause that's not, you know, even at the high-end level, rich people still love getting down. They still listen to still Dre and Led Zeppelin and, you know, September by earth, wind and fire. Like, that stuff is consistent regardless of if it's a high-end or low-end event.

But the difference is the marketing and the way that you present yourself. Another thing is we should talk a little bit about the production value of what they do. You know, there are high-end DJ's and there are low-end DJ's.

And if you look at a low-end DJ's setup, typically they've got, you know, a pair of really old beat up speakers that have dents in the metal grills, and then their wires will be just everywhere.

And you look at their setup and it looks like a hot mess, spaghetti on the floor. But if you look at high-end DJ's they typically have very well-maintained equipment.

It looks expensive. And the way that they've set it up and they've run their cables is that everything is organized and taped down.

And I've learned a lot from my own setup just by looking at DJ setups is when they set up a PA system mounted on speaker poles, instead of having like the wires dangling off the back to the floor, they actually tape the wires to the speaker poles so that it looks very neat and organized.

And I started doing that too. And it's made a huge difference because, you know, a rat's nest of cables looks cheap, it looks low-end.

And so it's the details, it's this paying attention, willing to put in a little bit more effort on these details to make yourself feel more high-end and thus more marketable to the high-end events.

So I'm going to dive deeper in my podcast with Brian. How tonight? So if you'll do a quick crossover listening exercise, look for the Denver Knees podcast on Spotify, Apple Music, et cetera. And you listen to this episode.

It should come out later this week and I will be diving in. I'll ask some of these questions about, you know, breaking into the high-end events market. How does he market himself as a DJ? And he runs a multi op DJ company, which means it's not just him DJing, although he does do a lot of DJing himself.

And I actually saw he's doing a, he got himself a regular Friday or Saturday night rooftop gig at the art hotel in downtown Denver. And that's awesome. I'm sure some of you would like it, you know, weekly rooftop gigs.

And that is a higher-end venue. So I'll ask him about that too. But I think it'll be an interesting conversation.

And I also think we live musicians stand to learn a lot by thinking like a DJ. So let me know if this was helpful for you, maybe if you thought about your setup and like, oh, I gotta tape down my cables. Yeah, you do.

Go get some gaff tape. It's no biggie. It's pretty cheap on Amazon or whatever, and it makes a world of difference to your stage look.

So let me know what you got out of this episode. Shoot me an email at And by the way, we do build high-end musician websites.

So if you're looking to increase the way that you promote yourself, make yourself look high-end so that the people with money are willing to shell out money for your act, then go to Learn a little bit about our process, and if it's a good fit, we'll talk about what it's like to work together.

All right. Thanks for tuning into The Gigging Musician Podcast. Remember, friends, “Your music will not market itself”.

Bye, everybody.

Episode 234 - Building a Music Community: Lessons from EDM and Metal Fusion

Episode 233 - Think Like a DJ: Elevate Your Music Career with High-End Gigs

Episode 232 - From Bar Gigs to High-End Events: The Renegade Musician's Guide to Success

Leadership in the Music Industry: How to Secure High-Profile Gigs and Take Charge of Your Career

Episode 230 - Unlocking the Secrets of Consistent Networking and Modern Sales for Musicians

Episode 229 - The Power of Networking and Recommendations in the Music Industry

Episode 228 - Navigating the Gig Economy: Venue Tours, Expos, and the Power of Numbers

Episode 227 - Strategic Moves: Venue Tours, Expos, and Unexpected Gigs

Episode 226 - Maximizing Gigs: New Tools for Tracking Success and Boosting Bookings

Episode 225 - Unlocking Gigs: Venue Tours and Strategic Partnerships

Episode 224 - A Day in the Life: Venue Tours, Unexpected Gigs, and Networking Wins

Episode 223 - Landing Gigs Post-Wedding Expo: A Musician's Success Story

Episode 222 - Navigating the Wedding Expo Scene: A Musician's Journey to Success

Episode 221 - Maximizing Success at Wedding Expos: A Musician's Guide

Episode 220 - Unlocking High-End Gigs: Venue Tours and Virtual Assistant Strategies

Episode 219 - Maximizing Your Music Career: The Power of a Personal Assistant


BookLive provides musicians the training and tools to earn a full-time living performing music.

Your Business @2022 - 123 Avenue St, ID Boise - Privacy Policy - Terms And Conditions