How to Become a DJ: 10 Tips to Start DJing in 2024

Production
How to Become a DJ: 10 Tips to Start DJing in 2024
January 23, 2024
If you're passionate about DJing and dream of becoming a professional producer, then it makes sense to get tips from those who've been there and done it. Well, we've compiled a list of just that. So buckle up and get stuck into our step-by-step guide on how to become a DJ in 2024.

The world of DJing has evolved far beyond simply spinning dance records at night clubs. It's now a vibrant global community for independent artists to express themselves, create unique musical experiences, and become the next big name in the electronic scene.


How to start DJing in 2024

Before diving headfirst into the deep and diverse world of DJing, it's crucial to immerse yourself in various genres of music. Explore everything from electronica to hip-hop, techno, house, and beyond. Your unique musical taste is what's going to set you apart from everyone else and help you craft out your niche as a DJ - not to mention provide that much-needed inspiration to get you started.

How to Become a DJ: 10 Tips to Start DJing in 2024

1. Learn the basics of DJing

Got your eye on the latest speakers or headphones? Hold your horse. It's probably better to get a decent grasp of the fundamentals of DJing before forking out on a fancy new home studio setup. Some key topics you might wanna initially brush up on include:

Beatmatching

This is all about syncing the beats of two (or more) different tracks, ensuring a smooth transition between each song.

Mixing

Mixing is the part where you'll blend these tracks seamlessly - adjusting your volume, EQ, and adding any effects.

Phrasing

Phrasing will help you recognise different song structures and create cohesive mixes.

Scratching & effects

Once you've played about with the other stuff, you can start experimenting with advanced techniques like scratching and applying extra effects. This'll help you boost your live sets.

There are loads of online courses, tutorials, and production schools that offer in-depth training on these all of these topics, so it's worth dedicating some time to practice regularly and fine-tune your skills.


2. Invest in the right equipment

Basics ticked off. Now you need to pick out the right equipment. 

While professional setups can be expensive, there are loads of budget-friendly options for beginners. Consider purchasing a DJ controller, headphones, and a laptop loaded with DJ software. It might be pricey, but quality equipment is essential for honing your skills and creating top-notch mixes.

But this doesn't necessarily mean splashing out on the most expensive options. Northern Irish Producer & DJ, The Cyclist, has these tips for starting out and developing your skills:

“Start experimenting and learning the tools. There are so many free versions of everything to get started. Try searching for ‘free VSTs’ and go from there.”

You can also check out our list of the best free VSTs below:


3. Build your music library

Your DJ career ultimately hinges on the quality of music you play and how well it goes down with your crowd. To cover your own back during potentially tricky sets, you’ll want to build up a diverse and extensive music library. This will include a mix of tracks that resonate with your style and also the preferences of your target audience. 

Explore electronic music platforms like Beatport, buy sample packs from stores like Splice, and consider subscribing to DJ record pools for access to a wide selection of music.

How to Become a DJ: 10 Tips to Start DJing in 2024

4. Define your sound

Just as bands and solo artists need to nurture their own specific sound, DJs need to carve out their particular style and decide on the sound that they're going to build their career around.

Use other artists you're a fan of as reference and start playing about with certain sounds or samples that you like. This is the start of your journey so be experimental!

“Writing loops/beats/riffs is great fun and a place to start, but you need to finish tracks. Work on arranging these into a full track format - use other tracks as reference and for ideas on improving your production and arrangement.” - The Cyclist


5. Create your brand and identity

As an independent DJ, your brand is everything. Develop a unique name, logo, and visual style that reflects your personality and musical style. Your music branding should be consistent across all your promotional materials, from social media profiles to event flyers.

Once you’ve established your brand, you’ll be able to get a better understanding of your following and lean further into producing the sounds you're becoming associated with.

How to Become a DJ: 10 Tips to Start DJing in 2024

Take Fred Again.. as an example. His brand of honest and personal social media marketing lead to him selling out global tours as well as headlining Glastonbury and Coachella in 2023. A lot of the hype built up around Fred's came from his branding, a simple '..' - which was used across his merch and discography as well as used to tease appearances online and get more people chatting about him.

A large-scale example, but good branding strategy which you can apply to your own music.


6. Promote yourself online

When developing your brand, you'll need to harness the power of social media and online platforms to showcase your talent. Create profiles on Instagram and SoundCloud to share your mixes, engage with your audience, and build a following. Post regular content, engage with your audience, and network with other local artists and promoters.

“When sending out tracks, treat it like a job application. Make every email, message or DM personal and unique. And choose labels and venues that you definitely know are open to playing and releasing music like yours.”

- The Cyclist


7. Record and share mixes

Recording your mixes is crucial for showcasing your skills and gaining exposure. Upload your mixes to platforms like YouTube. Share them on social media and encourage your followers to listen, comment, and share.

Alien Izz is an independent producer and DJ based in Liverpool:

“An important thing for me was recording mixes at home and putting them out. Not only was this a great way to attract more promoters but I also found this great practice for thinking about how to approach and execute a set without the pressure of a watching crowd.” - Alien Izz

Some of the best places for DJs to share and sell their music include:

Beatport

SoundCloud

YouTube Music

Start uploading your tracks to all of these plus 150+ other major music stores with a free 30-day trial of Ditto Music.


8. Network & collaborate

Building a network within the music industry is essential. Attend local events, connect with other DJs, producers, and venues to explore collaboration opportunities. Collaborations can introduce you to new audiences and expand your reach.

“I was going out to lots of smaller local events and meeting a lot of other DJs and promoters. Having this network of people around you is really important for support and inspiration in the early months and naturally more opportunities come your way from investing your energy in the scene.” - Alien Izz

You can also think about starting your own record label if you're keen to get tracks out there and collaborate with other artists.


9. Start playing live

As you gain confidence and recognition, start booking gigs. It all starts with small local events, gradually working up to larger venues and global festivals. Playing live allows you to connect with your audience and build a reputation as a performer.

‘When I started out as a DJ two things were really key for me in building my confidence and skills and starting to get my name out. The first was actively becoming part of the local music community. I started working for local radio and meeting people of all ages and backgrounds through the station.” - Alien Izz


10. Keep going!

Becoming an independent DJ is a journey that requires dedication and persistence. The music industry is dynamic, so be open to adapting to new trends and technologies. Keep honing your skills, learning, and evolving as an artist.

How to Become a DJ: 10 Tips to Start DJing in 2024

Starting a career as a DJ is often a long but rewarding road. But with enough determination and commitment to your craft, you can carve out your own unique niche, make your mark in the music industry, and create unforgettable experiences for your audience. 

So, get behind the decks, mix your beats, and let your creativity shine. Your journey as an independent DJ has only just begun!

Want the latest Unsigned Advice?

Subscribe to our mailing list to get tips, tricks and hacks straight to your inbox!

Thanks for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

By subscribing you agree to our privacy policy

How to Become a DJ: 10 Tips to Start DJing in 2024

Want to get amazing distribution, industry standard features and career boosting advice? Join Ditto Music the truly independent solution for musicians.
Join Now

Newsletter

Get the latest unsigned advice, straight to your inbox.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Our newsletter is packed full of tips, tricks and hacks to take your music career to the next level! 

Related Posts

++ Comments