If you’re at a party and you’re not having a good time, you always blame it on the DJ. Why is that? If you don’t like the food do you go back in the kitchen and tell the chef? No you do not, you either don’t eat it, or you cash in on the free meal and keep your mouth shut. And if it’s so bad you feel something has to be said about it, you still don’t tell the chef, you tell the person throwing the party and let them deal with it. Why don’t you treat the music the same way? Is it because the DJ is accessible and vulnerable? Because they’re right there for you to approach, and you’ve got just enough alcohol in your system to feel okay with telling them how to do their job? Or is it because they’re DJs so they’re used to accepting requests? It’s their job, right? Wrong. This whole audience request thing is nothing new, but it’s certainly gotten out of hand in recent years. So let's learn how to do it the right way, shall we?…
There are a few ways to properly make a request, if you must. First of all, don’t assume that we take requests. Be friendly, have a conversation with the DJ before you jump into asking for something from a perfect stranger. Keep the conversation brief, we are working. And understand that we already have our set planned in our heads, so when you decide to spring the question, act like you know that. Maybe say “any chance you might have _______ on your set list tonight?” Most DJs will at least consider a good request, but don’t take offense if you don’t hear yours played. And on that note, a “yes” to your request doesn’t mean you’ll hear it next, or even in the next hour. It means, “yes, eventually, if I remember”.
There’s really only one way to make sure your request is going to be heard, and that’s with payment. Cash is the most universal currency, and fellas, opening bid is $20. If you don’t want to spend that much, then go buy the DJ a drink at least, but I can’t promise that will always work. Other acceptable forms of currency will vary from one DJ to the next, use your imagination.
We work hard at what we do. Trust us, and trust the person who’s party you’re at, for that matter. If they've invited you and you’ve decided to attend, then kick back and enjoy the ride. This goes for everything from night clubs to weddings. It’s not a choose your own adventure, it’s a special event planned by someone who has put an awful lot of thought into how to create the perfect party from start to finish, and has hired the right team to successfully execute that plan. And if that’s not the case, then perhaps you shouldn’t attend their party. Or maybe don’t go to a party just because the flyer looked cool. Good marketing doesn’t always equal good party. Do some homework on where you’re going to party and spend your evening and hard earned money, or you just might end up at a place you don’t like, or worse, a place with a great DJ that you think is a shitty one because he refuses to play your request. If you prefer the kind of party where you call the shots, then go to a karaoke bar or one with a jukebox. Or better yet, throw your own party. Pay the DJ well, and make all the requests you want. If you’re at a wedding, remember you’re there for the couple getting married, and they’ve already communicated to their DJ what to play and what not to play. They also most likely just bought you a meal and some drinks, and have invited you to help make their big day that much bigger. Don’t ruin it by making selfish song requests.
And a tip for those hiring a DJ for a special event, especially a wedding or company party: Try to get your audience requests in ahead of time, that way the DJ can work them into their set while preparing for your party (yes, pros do prepare). A good way to do this is if you have a wedding website, put a page on there where people can submit requests. If you don't have a website, send out a mass email, or send a request card with your invitations, and they can return with their RSVP. This way you can filter out the requests you don't like.
At the end of the day, know that we are at work, and we’re doing our best to do a good job and make sure everyone has a good time. That is our aim, I don’t think any DJ walks into work saying to themselves “I hope this party sucks and nobody has a good time”. Quite the contrary. And again, albeit fun, it is work for us, treat it as such. We don’t come to your job and tell you how you can do it better, so give us the same respect. Please. Thank You. See you on the dance floor.