Even though it seems that the pandemic restrictions are lifting, COVID-19 is still very prevalent throughout the world. One of the more prominent industries impacted when the pandemic hit was the music industry; many performers were left pondering just how to keep afloat when their bread and butter of performing live in concerts and gigs were eradicated.
Despite all of this for DJs in the business, more fortunate DJs took it as a challenge and discovered new ways to connect with their audience. Of course, the music industry still has a long way to go before “normal” will be found again, but DJs could still book and perform gigs and collaborate and interact in other ways.
So, how were DJs still able to reach an attentive audience? Here are some examples that come straight from DJs in the field and how they could sustain their business and be relevant in the music industry.
Outdoor Events and Gatherings
One thing that DJs have done to stay connected and work events is moving all of their gigs and concerts to outside. In addition, events such as weddings, birthdays, and other occasions where people wanted to get together safely found that the best option was outdoors. Backyard parties and weddings allowed guests to keep their anticipated event dates while staying safe during the pandemic.
Cody Reinheimer from Durango, Colorado, is a DJ who said that “outdoor gatherings on private land” was the best way to do all of his events. It can be challenging when wintertime comes around as people don’t want to be outside during those months. Heated tents, lots of airflow to the outside, and other accommodations are made to ensure the safety of people in attendance.
Sanitization and Social Distancing
When it was unavoidable for a venue to allow events to occur outside, DJs had to find ways to do inside gigs and performances safely. For Joe Kalamaras of Sacramento Wedding DJs, he said that staying relevant and keeping business meant that they had to frequently sanitize their microphones and other gear that people would touch more than once.
Sanitizing equipment was done before any presenter used a microphone to speak, like when giving a toast. Kalamaras also said that they would ask anyone using the microphone to stand away and not touch the microphone or stand that it was on and make sure to wipe it all down before/after any use.
He also stated, “We [also] perform guest interactions with a program of our own called PlaysYourSong – a DJ request app, for a distanced way of requesting songs.” In short, guests at a wedding or other occasion could scan the QR codes placed on the tables or around the venue, and then they could request whatever music they wanted to hear while keeping their distance.
Virtual Concert Experiences
Initially, when the pandemic broke, events and occasions could not occur at all, meaning that DJs didn’t have these options. Virtual venues were a way to keep DJs in the business.
Livestreaming of concerts and virtual shows were showcased across DJ YouTube channels and social media platforms as a means to stay relevant, continue to showcase original work and allow audience members to interact. Depending on your budget as a DJ, you could design your own virtual venue and perform a true EDM experience for your audience in real-time through an online, digital setting.
In some of these virtual venues, such as Redpill VR, they created a platform that is a replica of a live music concert location. Their guests have to utilize a VR headset to “explore” the site and enjoy it like they were attending the performance in real life.
David Guetta, an infamous DJ, did a show at the top of Rockefeller Center. While he couldn’t have viewers across balconies, he was able to interact with his audience with the help of Zoom web conference, having private meetings during his sets. Interaction still played a significant role in the ability for DJs to connect with listeners and allows the performer to see real people enjoying their music.
Teaching and Music Licensing
For some DJs, performing took a total backseat during the pandemic, and they found new ways to share their love of music. Some DJs taught music lessons and created courses and masterclasses with enticing subjects, such as how to properly mix and master music online for aspiring artists to purchase. It was an excellent method to stay relevant in the industry and utilize their talents for something else.
Other DJs also utilized their creativity on other realms of entertainment industry and found that it was rewarding to license your music for film and videos. Music licensing is a process in which you create original musical songs that creatives like producers and music supervisors would purchase within projects, such as advertisements, video games, and films. Working with a music licensing company, your DJ business could potentially find some great projects to work on and even develop relationships with creatives who would then hire you to do more work in the future.
The Pandemic Opened Up Doors For Musicians
When the pandemic hit, musicians had two choices – give up their lifestyle or take the challenge to find and discover new and innovative ways to continue their DJ business. Many DJs found that taking the pandemic and turning it into something positive allowed them to find ways that they might never have considered for their business before.
Livestream concerts through web conferences, virtual VIP events, courses, and music licensing are just a few of the many ways in which DJs could stay connected and interactive with their audience. It doesn’t just stop there, either – the digital world created and continues to create more opportunities for DJs within the music industry.
Embracing technology in this digital age played a massive role in providing DJs with alternate avenues to establish bonds and let others know they were not alone during this difficult time. When the pandemic ends, chances are some of these new ways will still stick around. In addition, many of these alternative business methods and tactics have opened up new doors to sustaining a music career and a brighter future for success.