Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Good DJ is not a Jukebox!

The RIGHT song at the RIGHT time!
Ok heads up, I am feeling that this blog might be a long one. This is one of those topics that I am very passionate about because of the potential hazard if not applied. Since starting The Party Machine in 1993 we now have entertained at more than 5,000 events and over the years we have learned a lot. Some ideas we continue to use today and others, well, let’s just say no one will ever see those again. One of the biggest lessons and talents I think that we have mastered is what really makes a dance floor hop. There is a definite science to creating a successful dance floor flow but I think the single most important ingredient (as you may have guessed) is the MUSIC selections!

No doubt music is key, that’s why our song database is staggering, in fact, HUGE is a better word. At last count just over 80,000 titles with almost that many more on Karaoke. We have a wide variety of music such as Oldies, Beach/Shag, Swing, 70s/Disco, 80s, 90s, 2000s, 2010s, Dance, Country, Hip-Hop, Top 40, R&B and every line dance under the sun. I think it is safe to say that we probably have more music than all the Upstate radio stations combined.

As I have worked with clients over the years, I personally believe that the absolute worst mistake that you can make is turning your DJ into a jukebox. But sadly, it happens every weekend at probably hundreds of parties across the country.

For me, I find it baffling that a client would choose their entertainment based on the belief that they can do the best job for them, but then not trust their ability to bring the right mixture of music to the dance floor. I mean why would you not allow the DJ staff that you have hired to entertain you and your guests with their experience to do their job?

At The Party Machine, our goal is to mix in as many of your favorites as possible along with requests that make sense from your family and guests. This of course is your event, but what if your favorites prove not to be the favorites of your guests? At the end of the day isn’t it everybody all having a great time that proves to make your event a success? In the past, I have witnessed clients sabotage their own event by limiting our decisions on music selections and hindering us from being able to read their crowd and deliver the proper balance of music.

I do believe that your entertainment company should do their homework and make sure they understand your taste in music. They should allow you to have major input in what’s on the agenda and most importantly what’s NOT on the agenda. I always say that I am more concerned with what you don’t want that what you do want. It is important for the success of the event that you NOT ask your DJ to use your music list as a mandatory playlist, but instead use it as a guide.

My philosophy on DJing is very simple; it boils down to one word… timing! It’s basically an art of the right song at the right time. Over the years I have entertained at parties that ended up absolutely 100% perfect. But, I could not come back that very next week at the same time with the same crowd and entertain them with the exact music playlist as we used the week before. It would be virtually impossible to do that and make the event a success. If that would work, I could make a playlist, load up an iPod and send my kids to Dj the event while I sit by the pool and sip unsweet tea. And we all know that is not gonna happen. Many circumstances at an event cause changes from one moment to the next.

No DJ regardless of how long they have been in the profession can control a dance floor with a pre-planned list. If you disagree with my music principles and wish to make a mandatory playlist for your DJ to follow, then remember, by taking the music flow out of their control, you also have taken your party out of their control. Isn’t that sorta like hiring a mechanic to work on your car and standing there telling him how to fix it? If you ever do that, please let me know how it works out for you. J

Remember, a Good DJ is not a Jukebox!

Written by Jeff Hayes (Owner of The Party Machine) and he can be reached at

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