It’s easy to become a DJ in India if you know the right people and have good taste in music. Today, any aspiring DJ in India can grab the latest DJ controller and hook it to a laptop to mix and match music.
Yes, it’s really that easy if DJing is just a hobby for you. Where it gets slightly challenging is when DJing becomes your passion and you start looking for a DJ career.
No doubt, famous Indian DJs play at the hottest parties and make a lot of money doing what they love. But if you are just starting out, all that glamor and fame is quite difficult to achieve.
How to become a professional DJ in India from scratch
There are different types of DJs; Wedding DJs, Radio DJs, Club DJs, etc… So, first of all, you have to figure out what type of DJ you want to become.
Some DJ career options are easier than the others. For example, it is much easier to become a wedding DJ than it is to become a club or an underground DJ.
Your career choice will mostly depend upon the genre of music that you like and the type of crowd that you want to interact with. However, you must not overlook the fact that money is important in your DJ career, so you need to be flexible with your choices.
How to Earn Money as a DJ
In India, only Radio DJs and Resident DJs at bars and clubs earn a monthly salary. All other DJs work independently and get paid for their one-time performances.
Radio DJs and Resident DJs in India can earn 30 – 60k INR per month where Resident DJs also enjoy free food and drinks from the bar. Rates for one-time performances vary depending upon the skills, experience and popularity of the DJ, but usually the rate starts at 5k INR and can go up to lakhs for a 2 to 3 hours performance.
Here are the types of DJ jobs and performances that Indian DJs can do to earn money:
Weddings and Corporate Gigs
Quickest way to earn money as a DJ is by doing weddings and corporate gigs. Even beginners with basic DJ skills can make a lot of money at weddings.
Keep in mind, though, that you’ll need your own sound system and DJ gear for such gigs. Alternatively, you can rent DJ equipment and sound system, but it will reduce your earnings to a great extent.
As a radio DJ, you can earn money like a salaried professional. Radio DJs get paid from radio stations as well as get easy bookings outside their job.
However, radio stations are limited, so you really need good contacts and great talent to be employed as a radio DJ.
Another good option is to get a residency at a local pub or club. As a resident DJ, you will play regularly at the same venue and get monthly salary.
You can visit the local pubs and clubs regularly to know about such vacancies.
Events and Festivals
The next option is to become an underground DJ, who plays at various clubs, events and festivals.
Underground DJs get paid for a single performance. The amount of money which you can earn this way depends on your skills and how well known you are within the industry.
How to make a DJ career in India
Making a good career through DJing alone is hard and usually impossible in the beginning.
In your early days, you will have to add other skills to your arsenal. Like any other business, it is important to diversify your income streams.
Think about your family and future, and choose options that can bring financial stability in your life.
Some career options are directly linked to a DJ career. These will help you to not see yourself just as a DJ, but as a business.
You can promote events hosted by others, or promote your own events. Not only will this bring more money, but will also get your networking and contacts going.
Promoters can also DJ at their own events. They can warm up before the headliner DJ, or can even play to end the night.
To get regular DJ gigs, you should produce your own music.
As a DJ and Producer, you are more likely to get regular gigs and get a decent fan following.
Many people like you want to learn the art of DJing. After developing your skills as a DJ, you can teach others. You can give private lessons if you do not have a nice setup or enough space to handle a big group.
Job in the music industry
If nothing else works, you can find a related job in the music industry. You can become a journalist who writes about music, or a reviewer who reviews DJ gear.
You can even start a website/blog about DJing.
How to use DJ gear and mix music
It is not necessary to do a DJ course in order to become a successful DJ in India. But if you still prefer to learn this way, there are many DJ schools and academies throughout India. None of these academies, however, provide placements, so after you have finished your course, you will be all on your own.
Alternatively, you can learn to DJ online through sites like YouTube, and invest your money in buying DJ gear instead. When you will have your own DJ gear, you can practice at home anytime you want and improve your skills through self-learning.