iPods Threaten Wedding DJs

from the do-you-really-want-to-hurt-me? dept

Digital technology is posing a challenge to wedding photographers as people seek to get around the prices they charge for reprints. But now their compatriots, wedding DJs, are under attack too, from MP3 players. Couples are increasingly not seeing the point of paying somebody to load up a playlist with songs when they can do the same thing themselves, and play exactly what they want. Professional DJs — like photographers before — say there’s quite a difference between an amateur loading up an iPod and the services a pro DJ can provide, though the line here seems a lot more blurry than in the case of a photographer. Apparently the biggest problem is that people want to play their own favorite music rather than “songs people want to hear and that people want to dance to,” says one DJ. She recommends playing songs like YMCA and Whip It. If that’s professional advice, no wonder people are going the DIY route.


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Comments on “iPods Threaten Wedding DJs”

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38 Comments
Rikko says:

Maybe they'll have to get a real job?

Let me tell you, I’ve been to a few weddings and have never seen a DJ do anything worth what he was paid.
Requests generally went unplayed (though of course he was “queueing it up”), he enjoyed mooching booze, and the majority of the crap he chose to play himself wasn’t appreciated by the general audience. Oh, and by the way, Bubbles, when women are at the age when they and their friends are getting married, they’ve generally outgrown the fanatically immature worship of DJs that you see so often in the club scene. So stop embarrassing yourself with your preening and strutting.

Photographers I can see as lasting far longer. I don’t care if the photographer is using my Nikon D70 – it may take fantastic photos, but the memories are only as good as the person lining it up and pushing the button.
If I had a wedding on a budget, I’d happily give my camera geek buddy a handful of drink tickets to snap my wedding pics – but I wouldn’t dare DIY that kind of job.

Wedding DJs aren’t making music, just like flight attendants aren’t cooking. At least my flight attendant isn’t pretending she’s doing more than taking off some cellophane and pushing a button on a microwave.

GK (user link) says:

Re: Maybe they'll have to get a real job?

The description you gave fits many of my so called peers. I have been a DJ for 15 years doing mainly weddings.

I play all requests that fit a reception. I get the guests involved by reading the crowd and knowing when to pick up the pace or slowing it down. I MC all events that the couple do that night Cake, First dance. ect. I think an I Pod will have a problem or the couples Uncle Ernie will trying to basically help run the reception so everyone has a good time.

Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

This is new?

I DJ’d a friend’s sisters wedding a few years back.

When it came time for the friend to get married two years later she asked me to burn her 3 CDs of appropriate music including a few titles she requested and offered me $50.

It was easy money and since then, I haven’t bothered to load up my gear and travel, I just put the songs they want plus a few standard reception must-haves (Otis Day and the Knights “Shout” for one) on a few CDs.

I hadn’t considered an MP3 player, but I don’t have to worry about getting the CD-Rs back, do I?

Mirx says:

Pro DJs Still Worth It

I just got married last year at 26, and we hired a DJ. I have probably 8 GBs of mp3s, so my music selection isn’t a problem. However, I was getting married so I didn’t want to play DJ that night, nor was I going to take requests on our night either, also planning out a playlist for hours of mixed crowd music isn’t my thing either. The DJ provided the equipment, quality speakers to fill a hall for 300, lighting, fog and (non-staining) bubbles. He also provided us with a quality microphone for our MC and head table to do speeches and announcements, he set us up for the wedding dances, and garder toss, took the requests, without incident so I heard. I enjoyed it completely, he charged $300, and it was worth every dollar! Looking down at my iPod, nope, I don’t think it comes close to a replacement, those ear buds only crank up so loud!

DGK12 says:

Extra

Some DJs have been using Digital Media Players in place of the massive load of discs they generally have to carry. If they can provide something worth-while (as a few comments here offered) then I don’t see a problem in paying someone to do the job. The only difference with the MP3 Player option is that they are a suitable option for those who do want an alternative.

WisconsinGod (profile) says:

The Truth About Music at Weddings

I am a techie and would love nothing more than the concept of an IPod Wedding. I automate my computer for all my house parties; I am a lover of music of all kinds.

Now the Truth is, I personally would never setup a playlist and hit play for a wedding. Music at weddings all depends on the size of the wedding and the type of guests. If you have a small quiet group that just wants to socialize, you can pipe in rat pack / jazz music and be just fine. If you have a roudy, beer drinking crowd that would give up anything to be a groupie for INXS, than a live band is usually the way to go. If you have a hyper crowd that lives at dance clubs, than any old DJ is the way to go. Finally if you have a large, mixed crowd (as most weddings do), than what you need is a professional entertainer. The difference between a DJ and an Entertainer is huge. A DJ is any tech savvy kid that can put CD’s into a machine and push buttons. An Entertainer is a professional who’s job it is to make sure everyone at the party gets what they expect from the night.

An Entertainer will get out on the dance floor and teach a crowd the Hokey Pokey or the Electric Slide. They are able to read the crowd and adjust the music to what the crowd responds to. An entertainer has the ability to get the brides grandmother to dance the funky chicken. Having fun is contagious and Entertainers have the ability to pull that fun out of people. Most importantly, an Entertainer can pull a huge burden off the couple when it comes to time management. Entertainers keep the night going long enough so the couple isn’t overwhelmed by all guest at once. It gives them time to rotate through the crowd as people come and go from the dance floor.

An IPOD can play through the music that a couple likes to hear, but it can’t predict what everyone at the party wants to hear. It can’t direct everyone’s attention away from a embarrassing moment when crisis occurs. It can’t step in and change the mood of a crowd to prevent a fight from breaking out. In other words, it would be like having a bar with a machine that you put your money into and get alcohol out. it can’t put a smile on your face with a witty comment, it can’t wipe a tear from an eye, and it can’t protect you and those around you by cutting you off. You tip bartenders for being human, and you pay (and hopefully tip) DJs/entertainers for doing the same.

Yes there is logic to playlisting your own music, you save money and are in more control. The thing that marks the difference is either having an wedding reception, and having a wedding reception to remember.

dan says:

Re: Re: The Truth About Music at Weddings

He’s right though. What is the point of a wedding reception if it isn’t to celebrate the wedding? People should be having fun, and it helps to have a competant DJ who can gauge the crowd. From what I have seen at various weddings though, competant DJs are the exception, not ther rule. Most DJs probably could be replaced with an iPod, especially if they are just following a static playlist, and why shouldn’t they? If somebody/something else could do my job better than me, can I really complain when they take it?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: The Truth About Music at Weddings

if a DJ is good at his/her job then you can never beat the real thing. Their ability to read the crowd , play music everyone wants to hear and generally entertain is what they are paid for. Sadly there are those who are only in it to make a quick buck though and give the profession a bad name – those guys could be replaced with a MP3 player anyday !

Rob B says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The Truth About Music at Weddings

Comment on digital photog at a wedding. My wife and I had our wedding with a professional photographer and after the ceremony shoot, he immediately uploaded his photos to his powerbook connected to a Cinema Display and had the photos slide showing during the reception – that is using technology. And as part of the package he gave us master DVD’s with every single photo for our personal use.

Dave (profile) says:

iPod played at our wedding ...

We used our iPod at our wedding in February, and it was fantastic.
We set up three playlists for early in the afternoon, mid evening and late night, plugged the iPod into a mixing desk hooked up to a sound system and it all worked really well.
By not hiring a DJ, we were able to put that money to good use on the food and drink, which is what everyone really cares about!

Coolz0r (user link) says:

The Wedding DJ

I don’t think wedding dj’s are crucial to have a good wedding, – most of them are only in it for the free food & drinks.

As for ‘flavor’… It happens all the time people go ask a song an then wait for hours to hear it play, often it doesn’t get played at all, because ‘mister dj’ thinks it’s not suitable in his playlist.

The iPods/mp3 players take away this situation and return the party to the party people.

If the DJ is really ‘that good’ I think he/she will still do business as usual. Only the crappy ones get scared. It’s not like disco’s are turning to automated djing too. Wedding dj’s in general often are ‘upgraded bedroom dj’s’ with an overload of narcissism. I never thought it was worth the title ‘profession’. But that’s my humble point of view.

Cruise says:

Re: Re: Yeah - right...

Just think – you can now automate your wedding reception the same way Clear Channel automated radio.

That made it so much better!

Seriously – DJ is a job that everyone thinks they can do. Very few people can actually do it well, and that is largely a matter of experience.

Reading the crowd is key. Unless you’re psychic, you can’t do this in advance while you’re programming a list.

Aside from music, there’s the public speaking angle. Anyone can do that – right? That must be why I’ve seen countless best men try to mic their navel and squirm around nervously while giving their toast.

Then there’s equipment… Google the term “ground loop” and then tell me how you’d eliminate one if it was causing a horrendous hum through your rented sound system.

Tim (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: the iTunes DJ

First let me say that I am not a DJ, but my wife is. I’m a geek, and as a geek, I’ve completely computerized her DJ system. She has a custom built pc in her rackmounted in her stand, and we use iTunes for the music player. Since I work for a large telecom company, I also installed a broadband wireless modem in the PC so she can get online and purchase music while performing. If we don’t have a song you requested, give us 5 minutes and we will. I opted not to use a laptop for her setup because laptop sound cards are usually substandard or “adequate” at best. While we do take requests, we will not let the bride and groom select EVERY song that gets played. We feel it is our job to entertain your guests, and I will guarantee you that not everyone has the same musical tastes as you. We do offer a searchable music library for your event, and we send you the iTunes playlist after the fact so you can see exactly what was played at your event and purchase copies of any songs you want. (Sorry, can’t help myself…I’m actually pretty proud of myself for the iTunes search! view it at: http://www.byrequest.dj/cgi-bin/itms4all.cgi )

Some wedding DJs are good and some are horrible. Plastic props, straw hats, and other such junk should never be used at a wedding. All good wedding DJs would gladly join you in making these bozos die a horrible death. The value of a good wedding dj lies in getting your guests to interact with each other. Groom’s Uncle Bob may have lots in common with Bride’s Friend Mark, but they’ll never know it if they don’t interact. Some groups are great at interaction. Some are not.

Another job for a good dj is to play music that the crowd enjoys. Some other djs touched on this, but none hit the nail on the head in my opinion. A simple shuffle has no way of knowing who is dancing to what. A person does need to run things, but putting your 12 year old nephew won’t do you any good either. The person in charge of the music needs a large amount of music knowledge. A good DJ should have this knowledge. A good DJ should be able to identify a song based on a few bars hummed out of tune or a snippet of lyrics that are slightly incorrect. And while we’re talking about Mr. Sure-I-Can-Run-Your-Music, does he/she know how to auction off a garter? I know of seven ways, and I’m not the DJ!

One question I’ve never seen answered in any of the tips on using an iPod for your wedding is where do you get the speakers? Or the Mics? or the Mixer?? Do you know how to set up mics, speakers, and a mixer? If not, will the rental company give you a tutorial? What do you do if the sound is crappy? A good will not only know the answers to these, but will have back up parts readily available in the event of catastrophe.

Another indication of a good wedding dj is one who is covered by insurance. Imagine your neice slipping in a puddle of soap from your $20 Wal-Mart bubble machine. Think the venue will cover the medical expenses? Sure, your homeowners policy *might* cover it, but I’d hate to see your premiums next year. Don’t think accidents will happen to you? Are you serving alcohol at your reception? I can just hear bridzilla now…”All the drunk people I know never act like fools!” Besides, many venues actually require proof of insurance because they don’t want to see their premiums raised because your grandma tripped on a speaker cable and broke her hip.

While I was making this post, I did some calling around. It turns out that in my area, you can rent a basic DJ setup (sans music player and music library) for about $250 a day. You pick it up, set it up and bring it back the next day. Then you throw a $200 liability insurance policy on top of it. Toss a $50 gratuity to the person running the music(unless you’ll let anyone press play, even second cousin bob who likes to listen to the Dukes of Hazzard theme on continous loop). Better toss in another $25 for music that you think people might like to hear (Aunt Millie loves a good Waltz), and your at $525 now assuming you didn’t have to rent a truck or van to haul equipment. If you did, you better add $50 for 2 hours of the Home Depot truck. My wife’s standard rate for a wedding reception this year was $650.

That being said, if you KNOW your group will interact without being tricked (or just don’t care if they interact or not), and if you’ve got a person with an encyclopedic knowledge of music that will run your iPod (instead of enjoying your reception), and you have adequate insurance to cover any accidents that occur due to your iPod setup, and you have a large enough music library to make sure everyone gets to hear the music they want, and you’re able to get your hands on adequate dance lights and speakers, then by all means use an iPod. You honestly have no need for a DJ. But in the case of my wife, for $125 more (possibly less) you get professional equipment, professional knowledge from someone who has planned and performed at over 1000 weddings, peace of mind that any glitches will be resolved quickly, no hassles about tearing down equipment when the reception is over, and no worries about getting it back before you owe another $250. Putting the fact that I’m married to a DJ aside, I’m not seeing a benefit here…

(As an aside: I have huge problems with DJs who feel that they should get paid $40k a year for working 40 gigs. Technology like this allowed us to LOWER our prices substantially, and all the wedding DJs out there who charge thousands of dollars a gig are no better than the tuneless hacks with straw hats and plastics saxophones. They shame the industry.)

bob carpenter says:

Re: Re: Re:2 the iTunes DJ

I own a wedding DJ company and I can tell you that DJ bashers are just people that cant afford a good DJ. They may have seen bad DJ’s over the years, and had some bad experiences with DJ want to bes but from someone who has been in the wedding business for 17 years and have seen many things. I can tell you from experience there are alot of bad DJ’s. They buy cheap equipment, download their music for free, create some cheesy website and charge 1/2 of what a professional DJ costs. So many people get these DJ’s because they are cheap, most people dont allow it in their budget for a good DJ.
The previous writer who believes his 650 dollar wife is exceptional and everyone over 1000.00 is a highway robber. Running a successful DJ company costs alot of money, and buying the best sound equipment isnt cheap.
A good wedding DJ doenst just play music, they also make sure the night runs smooth, they work with all the other professionals in the room. However, like I said most cheap DJs wouldnt have the first clue on how to run an elegant reception.
I think an iPod is a wonderful idea for some events, and some weddings. A truly great DJ doesnt need to play the chicken dance, hokey pokey and electric slide. I think any DJ who plays that thinks they’re playing at a birthday party and should be banned from weddings.
I know one thing, that the iPod will replace bad DJs but business has never been better for guys like myself who have a vast knowledge of not only music but wedding coordination and planning.
The people who have seen a good DJ in action know how important they can be and the differnce they can make. When you see bad DJs constantly because everyone spends more on their cake, then no wonder why they want an iPod.
Before going the iPod route you should first ask around about the best DJ’s in the area. If your on a budget then by all means go with an iPod. It isnt as easy as you think and an iPod doesnt take requests but then again neither does a bad DJ.

Amy says:

Re: Re: Re:3 the iTunes DJ

I used to DJ. One comment I always received is that I listened to my clients. I decided to go with an IPod for my wedding when my best friend had one at hers that was suppossedly the best yet managed to play all the songs she specifically requested he didn’t play. Even after being told to stop the song and play something else. the bad ones certainly give the good ones a rough go of it.

DeeJay Gary Lynn (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 the iTunes DJ

Recently I received a phone call on a Friday afternoon. It was a frustrated mother looking for a Disc Jockey . In one week, her daughter was going to iPod her wedding reception. The mother ask if I was available and I was . My only Saturday open in May was about to get used up. I needed to clear it with my wife Linda because we had planned to do a few things. Then the mother explains she has not told her daughter about this. I told her I could not just show up and play the girl need to know and we had only a few days to put this together. She call back and said the daughter now knows and would I please call her. Yes a few words where exchanged between the two. I was hesitant but called her daughter. The bride to be was pleasant toward me. She told me she had 78 songs she absolutely needed played. 78 X 3 = 234 minutes / 60 = 3.9 hrs of uninterrupted music !!??.. All country love songs. All to be played in order. The last one at twilight, as a carriage arrived, and sparklers where waved by the guests. OK . . . Are we going to toss the bouquet and fling the garter? And dressing the garter? About cutting the cake? Will the best man be giving the toast? Are you doing a first dance. Will you dance with your father. What is the grooms song to dance with his mother and will you invite your wedding party to the dance floor to help celebrate and the song for that will be? Will I announce the grand entrance or are you just strolling in. . . .Silence . . . .Yeah, much to do and little time to do it.

We pulled it off. Compete with a sword arch entrance and sparklers in the exit. Did she need a Dee Jay. Ask her. Her carriage was 15 minuets late. The Dee Jay worked around it. Just like he made time for the boys to practice the sword arch since none of them had done it before. Just like he played the music at the right time. Yes they where her songs, but in my time frame. And as they rode out of site the whole crowd cheered sparklers sparkled and moms cried.

Dee Jay Gary Lynn

Tim (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 the iTunes DJ

“The previous writer who believes his 650 dollar wife is exceptional and everyone over 1000.00 is a highway robber. Running a successful DJ company costs alot of money, and buying the best sound equipment isnt cheap.”

No, my wife’s new Crown amp was not cheap, nor was the new Mackie mixer. But get serious if you think you need to charge over $1000 a night! Check out this tool to help you determine what you should charge and then try to justify your $1000+ show to me: http://www.customdj.us/component/option,com_wrapper/Itemid,46/. If you feel your price is still fair, you have problems. Either you’re too lazy to work (doing fewer than 40 gigs a year) or you’re spending too much money.

Jasmine says:

ipod looking more attractive than wedding DJ

I think it is very obvious who supports the DJ’s and who is a ‘do it yourselfer’. As a general ruel–if you have no music knowledge or can”t see beyond your own taste in music, it’s gonna bomb (that’s a no-brainer) but that said… I am considering both options for my upcoming wedding. Currently I am leaning toward the ipod route.

For one–I have never been to a wedding (and I have been to LOTS) where I believed that the DJ was worth the $. I have noted that every reception I attended included several songs that cleared the dance floor, and some that packed it. If you’re an observant person, you can make notes of these songs and include or blacklist them. It doesn’t take a genius to realize the older crowd will like classics/hits from the 30’s, 40’s etc. and that the younger crowd (who will often be the last ones standing at the end of the night) will like the current top 40’s. I have a huge library of ‘tested’ tunes that i have compiled with minimal effort. They do not simply reflect my taste (as many DJ’s fear), in fact some are just songs that I noticed the entire senior crowd love, or my parents generation think are great. I’ve also noticed what kind of crowd hits the dance floor first (usually the crazy relative) so I’ve chosen songs that I know these people would like–just to get the party started!

Second: someone mentioned technical set-up. really, this is a poor argument for DJ’s. I am NOT tech-savvy, but this past weekend I had to organize music for a charity walk that took place in a park. With no knowledge, i was still able to connect a lap-top to an amp and speakers so that 400 ppl could enjoy music at the event. It worked perfectly, the sound was clear (even outdoors!), and many people commented on how professional it seemed. If I can do it, really anyone can–it was cheap and simple. Lighting on the dance floor is an issue at weddings, so I do agreee that this would probably require some work.

Despite all the great hings about doing it yourself the one thing that an ipod can’t supply is the flexibility and entertainment a real person –if i were 100% sure my hired DJ could offer this element to my reception I would hire in a second. unfortunately, I have yet to attend a wedding where this quality stood out. Where are these guys/girls? How do I ensure this before I sing them on? How can I be confident they’ll do a better job than me( the person who knows my friends and family’s tastes best) especially if I have never witnessed this myself?

Jasmine says:

ipod looking more attractive than wedding DJ

I think it is very obvious who supports the DJ’s and who is a ‘do it yourselfer’. As a general ruel–if you have no music knowledge or can”t see beyond your own taste in music, it’s gonna bomb (that’s a no-brainer) but that said… I am considering both options for my upcoming wedding. Currently I am leaning toward the ipod route.

For one–I have never been to a wedding (and I have been to LOTS) where I believed that the DJ was worth the $. I have noted that every reception I attended included several songs that cleared the dance floor, and some that packed it. If you’re an observant person, you can make notes of these songs and include or blacklist them. It doesn’t take a genius to realize the older crowd will like classics/hits from the 30’s, 40’s etc. and that the younger crowd (who will often be the last ones standing at the end of the night) will like the current top 40’s. I have a huge library of ‘tested’ tunes that i have compiled with minimal effort. They do not simply reflect my taste (as many DJ’s fear), in fact some are just songs that I noticed the entire senior crowd love, or my parents generation think are great. I’ve also noticed what kind of crowd hits the dance floor first (usually the crazy relative) so I’ve chosen songs that I know these people would like–just to get the party started!

Second: someone mentioned technical set-up. really, this is a poor argument for DJ’s. I am NOT tech-savvy, but this past weekend I had to organize music for a charity walk that took place in a park. With no knowledge, i was still able to connect a lap-top to an amp and speakers so that 400 ppl could enjoy music at the event. It worked perfectly, the sound was clear (even outdoors!), and many people commented on how professional it seemed. If I can do it, really anyone can–it was cheap and simple. Lighting on the dance floor is an issue at weddings, so I do agreee that this would probably require some work.

Despite all the great hings about doing it yourself the one thing that an ipod can’t supply is the flexibility and entertainment a real person –if i were 100% sure my hired DJ could offer this element to my reception I would hire in a second. unfortunately, I have yet to attend a wedding where this quality stood out. Where are these guys/girls? How do I ensure this before I sing them on? How can I be confident they’ll do a better job than me( the person who knows my friends and family’s tastes best) especially if I have never witnessed this myself?

JJ in LA says:

Laptop with illegal crappy sounding MP3s, a home amp and speakers and your set right? lol. Wrong. That’s the DJ you WANT to stay away from: the laptop guy. His HD dies, your wedding dies. For something so important as your wedding I would NEVER recommend going the home equipment route. If you can’t afford a pro DJ (like me) I have another suggestion. Rent the pro equipment and have a friend that can mix do it. With all the ‘closet’ djs, I am sure you know someone. A good experienced DJ, with pro equipment is worth the money. Trust me. A good DJ knows how to read the crowd and keep them dancing. Also, stay way from the cheesy DJs with the props. Nothing screams TACKY tha you and your bride dressd in village people headgera with inflatable guitars dancing to the macarena. So nix the ghetoo laptop setup an rent the pro DJ ear if ou cant afford a pro DJ.

myeviltwin789 says:

Automated MP3 Players May Be The Way To Go

I am a Club DJ and live sound engineer with over 17 years experience. I have DJed everything from coffee shops to large warehouse raves and have spun everything from ragtime to abstract noise. In the past few years I have cut down on the late nights, (Older, day job with health care, etc.) and my friends and their friends have been getting married. I have DJed for them at private house parties, restaurants, etc. Now they have asked me to start doing weddings. I always ask for a couple disks with their favorite music and to highlight songs that must be played. They trust me and leave it to me to make sure that everyone has a good time dancing. I already know them and know what songs get them going. Often these songs are not songs that a wedding DJ service will have in their repertoire.

I don’t charge my immediate friends any cost other than travel if it’s over two hours to drive (I am probably going anyway). Inevitably there are other people at these weddings who I don’t known and ask the bride and groom “Where did you get the DJ?” They want something hip sounding and cool a bit of indie rock, white label stuff, underground, world whatever and then they call me.

I never wanted to start doing weddings. When I start speaking with them I lay down some ground rules, I do not MC, I am not an energetic, enthusiastic person. I am a music geek. I recommend that it is nicer to just have someone from their family be the MC in order to make it more personal. If they want me to MC I recommend someone else. I do not have a lot of recent “radio hits.” In fact I counsel that if you are just going to play old and recent favorites you do not need a wedding DJ you need an MP3 player. If they say they are looking for something else, I ask them to send a me a list of songs or a couple CD comps they’d like to hear played and to highlight their must be played songs. Almost every time it is a list of recent radio hits and songs that any DJ service would have and the bride and groom already own. Why are they calling me? They are calling me because they had a lot of fun, they danced their butts off and it wasn’t “cheesy.”

“I don’t want it to be cheesy” is the number one thing I hear. No Macarena is another one. That’s good I don’t own it and I have over 6000 CDs and 60GB of music. No Macarena or Celebrate (although Earth Wind and Fire are great, the song just over played and associated with wedding cheesiness.) But they aren’t really looking for my specific services. They just want the day to be special and unique but most music weddings are a collection of the same songs that everyone knows. How many times have you heard Pachelbel’s Cannon as the processional or Unforgettable or At Last as the first wedding dance. Weddings are inevitability all about the cliché.

So many try and get away from it but always return to “tried and true” songs. That’s okay but you don’t need a DJ, especially if that’s the case. The comment about timing and crowd feel is accurate, that along with track selection is the DJ’s skill but you can estimate timing and if you have a party prone crowd then your crowd’s mood will be fine, especially after a couple drinks. Spend some good hours programming your playlist, make sure you have a back up device, though.

As for technical issues, can you hook up a home stereo? If yes, then you can hook up a basic amp, mixer and speaker PA set up. If you are looking for more than that then maybe you need a DJ. The ground loop issue someone mentioned, if that’s a problem and the equipment is in good condition then most likely the average DJ will have a similar problem in my experience. Additionally, the audiophile DJs who say how can you listen to MP3s people listen to them all the time and the average listener would be hard pressed to be able to tell the difference between WAV/CD audio and MP3. The DJ’s equipment is better? Sure but things crap out on them all the time. If you can, do a tech rehearsal at the venue before you get there. Always have a contingency plan, DJs do.

If you are a music geek, like me, and you are going the MP3 player route, when you program be considerate of what others may want to hear you may want to put some tried and true tracks on their for people who do not have your similar taste.

I am getting married soon and I am not leaving my music up to some wedding DJ outfit. Chances are they will be horrible and not own anything that we listen to or would want to dance to. Sure we will have some classic songs but is a DJ going to play NNNAAAMMM from Neubauten on or play Sigur Ros during dinner? Are they going to play Underworld, some fun obscure funk music from the 70s, some good bollywood or bhangra? No, no they aren’t.

Go the MP3 player route maybe it will make the DJ outfits rethink what they are doing.

Mr Dj says:

Bunch of crap................

You i pod cheap skates have no idea..

You think your going to invite your whole family, and friends and get away with playing “phish” and crap uncle bob never heard before?? Yeah right.

I’ve tried not playing what you cheap asses call “cheeze”
The Guests would have none of it. Just because YOU don’t want it THEY do…………

If I drove 200 miles to go to your shitty i-pod wedding, and heard crap. I’d keep the gift i bought your sorry ass to recoupe my gas money

Dig Doug says:

2 years later and we're still going strong....

As a PROFESSIONAL DJ, I honestly get a kick out of reading these lengthy blogs about how sucky this guy/gal was, and how much better it is to go iPod, Computer, whatever. I rarely respond, but here it goes….

First off, I own on of the most successful Mobile Entertainment companies in the South East. Period. Most successful means, my DJ’s, KJ’s, VJ’s, and TJ’s, are working 7 nights a week. Between the bar scene and club scene, weddings are only a SMALL item on the list. We average 8 weddings a weekend, where-as I have between 6 and 11 DJ’s spinning different venue’s throughout Atlanta and Birmingham every single night. Including myself.

Why do we charge what we charge? Well, that Sure SM58 you’re spitting all over while your drunk ass makes some random speach that only you and the groom will understand, that was 160 bucks. That one mic costs what your iPod cost. Those turn-tables, those speakers, those amps, those lights, those 122,000 songs (ALL PAID FOR) costs. My people, including myself, not only work the clubs/bars/and so on, we are all Radio scouts. I recruit from Radio Talent. Whether, previous or current. My people have to have the radio type voice. Grandma definately has a radio voice so she’s definately qualified to keep things moving.

You say we steal the music. Real companies (and this is something you should ask upon meeting the DJ’s) HAVE to have BMI and ASCAB liscensing. If BMI decides to knock on my door one day, just to “check up” on me and I have limewire or other shareware programs on my computer, thats a lawsuit even rich Uncle Jon doesn’t want. So no my friends, all 122 thousand songs my company plays, paid for.

Load a playlist you say?? I don’t understand the meaning of this, as I agree, DJ’s DO NOT use computers. Computers ruin the entire definition of being a Jock. My company DOES NOT use any form of pc in our shows. Its all vinyl and all disc.

My guess is those of you complaining about how aweful the “wedding dj” was failed to understand that just like a car, you get EXACTLY what you pay for. A DJ/DJ Company charges what they charge based on three things… experience, equipment, and just how much they think they are worth. You want a crappy night, go hire DJ Bob, who has absolutely no back up equipment. He’s in his early 40’s and knows jack about newer music. He thinks the Electric Slide is still the hottest thing around. He puts everything into a playlist and probably doesn’t have anything requested. And he charges about 300 bucks.

Oh wow… you just saved sooo much money, but added so many more headaches. Now you can afford a few bottles of grey goose instead of bartons… oh wait! Don’t do that, DJ Bob’s gonna drink it all!

You get what you pay for people.

Tim (user link) says:

Re: 2 years later and we're still going strong....

“You say we steal the music. Real companies (and this is something you should ask upon meeting the DJ’s) HAVE to have BMI and ASCAB liscensing. If BMI decides to knock on my door one day, just to “check up” on me and I have limewire or other shareware programs on my computer, thats a lawsuit even rich Uncle Jon doesn’t want. So no my friends, all 122 thousand songs my company plays, paid for.”

Ummm… BMI and ASCAP (and SESAC which you failed to mention) license LOCATIONS. Harry Fox Agency licenses mechanical reproduction rights, and the RIAA fights illegal copying but does not handle any licensing. So, out of curiosity, does this mean you are paying the licensing fees for all the venues you play at, or are you paying for the right to play music in your office? As a mobile DJ, I was unable to get any licensing from ASCAP, SESAC, or BMI (although the last time I checked was in 2004) because I couldn’t provide them with seating capacities (licensing fees are based on how many people a given venue will hold) for a random location. I was told that licensing was the responsibility of the venue owner, and that even if the venue owner lacked licensing, they would be fined, not me. I’m not sure if he still works there, but I got that advice from Shawn Glover at the RIAA.

Now, it is true that one should ensure that all their music is legally purchased, and if you’re hiring a DJ, you should make sure their music is legit too because if it isn’t and they get caught, you’ll find them quickly out of business which will require you to find a new DJ (and you probably won’t get a deposit back!).

iPodUser (user link) says:

iPod Weddings

This is the best way to do an iPod wedding. They deliver, set up then pick up the gear for your reception for only $199! http://www.youdjit.com or http://www.myspace.com/youdjit Save the money for your honeymoon. Using the iPod is becoming more popular because the Brides and Grooms of today have spent hours upon hours upon $$ refining their personality into their iPod each song a reflection of their personality. The iPod wedding is not only affordable but it allows the Bride to put a personal stamp on the reception. A New Way to Party!

Jay (user link) says:

iPod or DJ?

Yes, there are cases in which an iPod is a perfectly viable alternative to a DJ for wedding entertainment. I just wish some couples would tone down their rhetoric.

I can understand a couple not having enough money for professional entertainment. But it hurts when a couple tries to justify using a cheaper alternative by smearing all wedding DJs as cheesy and obnoxious. Professional DJ firms will be happy to put prospects in touch with real clients, to get real assessments of a DJ’s performance.

If a DJ is within your budget, stick with DJ companies that have earned the Better Business Bureau’s perfect A+ customer satisfaction rating. Just visit the BBB’s web site to find them.

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