Mobile Me

A lot of my readers only know me from the different gigs that I do. Some may only know me as a battle or competition DJ while others may be familiar with my work in the club/bar scene. An often overlooked aspect of DJing is that of the mobile entertainer. This strikes me as odd since I got my start in the game as a mobile DJ and I have always done mobile DJ events as long I have been a DJ. Most of my mobile gigs are for weddings and receptions but I can also do house parties, corporate events and any type of event that requires quality and dependable sound.

Lately, I’ve been trying to refocus primarily on mobile gigs.  I had forgotten how much I enjoy setting up at a location and providing the kind of entertainment that makes an event a success. Clubs and bars are fun and easy gigs, but I like the challenge of showing a diverse group of people a good time.  My weddings have always been top notch performances and I take pride in that. My corporate events are always professional and clean and I leave the audiences entertained and satisfied. With all of that considered, I decided that 2015 will be focused on continuing that tradition of excellent events.

This year I’ve totally revamped my sound system.  I’ve gotten rid of all of my older equipment and replaced it with newer, more powerful gear that reflects my commitment to quality. Everything was swapped out down to the wires. Lights were also upgraded and I’m looking to add a video element to my show over the course of the next 6 months. One thing I felt I was lacking was a uniform look to my sound system. No more mismatched gear, or worn out looking cases and accessories. While I’ve never been one to half do a job or use poor equipment, I always knew I could do better, look better, and sound better.  I think I’ve finally managed to achieve that.

Along with the new look and equipment comes some other changes to my business model as well. From now on I am using contracts for ALL booking engagements. I used to be a lot less formal with my bookings and only used contracts for weddings and corporate events. Now I’ll be using some form of written agreement for all engagements. I’ve taken the steps to have the documents stored on my phone so I can readily send a prospective client the necessary paperwork to finalize a booking right there on the spot. I also now take Credit Cards and Debit cards. I’ve signed up with square and have the app on my phone which allows me to email or text receipts and invoices to customers. I’m also using companies like GigSalad to book events as well. Gig Salad has been very helpful in generating leads from people looking for a mobile entertainer.

The final change in my business model is pricing. Often, the first question people ask me is how much I charge. I usually try to explain the cost as I quote my prices in an effort to soften the blow or to avoid sticker shock. This would sometimes have me under bidding for my services or just giving an inaccurate price. I’ve had to take a lo hard look at my goals for my company and the amount of time and effort that it takes for me to do an event. This had led to some changes in my prices and it gives me a more realistic price that I can confidently give to my customers without wondering if I am bidding too low or if I am too expensive. With all of that considered, here are my basic rates for services. Keep in mind that these are basic rates for the service listed. I understand that not all events are the same so there is some flexibility and customization for the different packages I offer.

Ceremony Sound System rental (1 speaker on a stand with 1 wireless microphone and mixer)……………………100.00

Small Sound System Rental (2 speakers on stands with a mixer and 1 wireless microphone)………………………150.00

Medium Sound System Rental (2 speakers on stands with a Subwoofer, mixer, 2 wireless microphones)……..200.00

DJ Performance …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..75.00 pr/hr

These are the basic services that I provide and their costs.  While this means I can no longer do the $200 wedding anymore , it also means that I am able to stay competitive and in line with what other professionals are charging for similar services. If you would compare my pricing with other professional DJs you will find that I am actually very reasonably priced. I won’t empty your pockets with my prices. As I mentioned earlier, these are just the basic prices and the package you decide on can be a hybrid of these services and can also be expanded upon with lights and other services.

With all of the above said, I look forward to a very busy new year and hope to hear from anyone that is looking to book a talented DJ for their events!

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The future is here and it’s dope.

See that ^^?  That’s a link to my DJ profile on www.Thefuture.fm.  What is www.Thefuture.fm? It’s a website for DJs to post up their mixes legally.  It used to be known as Dubset.com but they recently relaunched as Thefuture.fm  They use an interesting bit of technology called Mixscan that actually scans the mixes we DJs upload and tags the songs. It’s pretty accurate, although I’ve had to correct it a few times.  From what I’ve read on the website, they actually report the spins to Performance Rights organizations such as ASCAP, and BMI.  So far, this site seems to be the most legitimate way for DJs to upload mixes without having to constantly worry about having a mix taken down off of Soundcloud, or YouTube due to copyright restrictions.  The site seems to still be under some construction as certain elements are not always working the way you’d expect but for the most part it is pretty functional.  The website allows DJs to track the listens and it also gives listeners the opportunity to purchase the songs you use in the mix.  It seems like someone actually sat back and thought about what is really happening when DJs make and distribute mixes. DJs are the original promotions department for music labels and people listen to our mixes because they trust our taste in music. Until now there has always been a gray area concerning the legality of DJ mixes.  Now with Thefuture.fm all of that seems to be cleared up. Thefuture.fm seems to tie up all of the loose ends concerning DJ mixes.  Artists are getting the promotion that they need through the DJ’s mix and the music executives can keep track of what’s being played.  Fans are getting exposed to great new music and DJs can create and distribute mixes without fear of legal action from the industry.

I highly recommend that DJs use this service for uploading mixes, and I would also recommend this site to music lovers that want to check out new DJs.  Lot’s of major DJs are already on the service and the range of music that is posted up is very diverse, so please believe that there is something for everyone on this site. Also while you are on the site check out my mixes and follow me.

Licensing music…

As I have mentioned in my introduction and in a previous post, I create music and get it licensed for use on TV shows. It can be a lucrative hobby or profession depending on how you approach it. I try to work the business from both angles. Because I have a day job I am not pressured to churn out tunes to get paid therefore, I’m able to move at a slower pace than a full-time musician. However, because I understand the importance of having your paperwork in order and can appreciate the efficiency of a well run business, I try to operate as professionally as possible. This includes doing research and taking the time out to learn how things work in this industry. Taking this approach is what gives me the advantage in the industry. In this post, and future posts I hope to drop a few gems of wisdom for getting your music out there.

I‘ve been a ‘beat maker’ or ‘producer’ way before I sold or licensed my first beat. For almost as long as I’ve been a DJ I’ve been experimenting with various pieces of equipment with the goal of making my own music. I started out with a Tascam 4 track cassette deck and a Gemini sampler, then gradually progressed up to gear like the MPC 2000XL. All of this time I was making beats and getting people to rap on them, but we could never gain any traction or see any real results from our hours of hard work in the studio. At this point, even though I was spending full time working hours in the studio I was still just doing the music thing as a hobby. There was no professionalism about what we were doing. We were using professional grade equipment and software but we were still on the amateur level. Something was missing or holding us back from reaching the next level.

It wasn’t until I was selected to attend the Red Bull Music Labs here in Atlanta that I found the missing link. Paul Anthony, the owner of Rumblefish, was a guest speaker at the music lab and he introduced me to music licensing. His speech on becoming working-class musicians really struck a chord with me. Until this time I had only sold one beat to an ad agency and that was done through the help of a friend of a friend. I didn’t have any direct contacts or connections in the industry. Rumblefish would eventually become that contact for me. Rumblefish is a company that licenses music made by independent artist such as myself to music coordinators for TV shows, movies, commercials, and other uses. At first I was slow to gather my beats. It was a chore for me to organize them and fill out the paperwork, but gradually I got it all together. This for some reason seems to be the biggest hurdle for the hobbyist producers that I meet. Every time I try to teach someone about getting music licensed we always hit a brick wall when it comes time to gather, organize, catalog, and mail off beats. These same beat makers that claim to have hundreds of songs can’t come up with a CD of 10 songs to send to the licensing companies. They always say they have to sort through their beats and then I don’t hear from them again for another year or so. The sad part is once you get past this stage everything else is much easier. Rumblefish handles the rest of the process for you. They shop the beats and make the deals. They also make sure to handle your Performance Rights Organization credits as well.

There are other companies out there like Rumblefish such as Pump Audio, Jungle Punks, and Splother. They all operate similarly with slight changes in the payouts and the results. So far I’ve found Rumblefish and Pump Audio to be the most effective when it comes to music licensing. I highly recommend signing up with as many of these companies as possible. You can even send them the same songs. It‘s like having multiple agents out there shopping your material. You can’t lose!

The best part about licensing your music is the residual royalties that keep coming years after you initially license the beat. Sure you get scheduled payouts from the music licensing companies for the initial sale, but you also get recurring royalties from your Performance Rights Organization. I’m registered with BMI, so I get quarterly payments from BMI for music that was licensed way back in 2007 even today in 2012. These TV shows get broadcast and rebroadcast all over the world all the while earning you money for the performance of your material. Once I realized how this part of the system worked I became even more motivated to create and send out new material.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are more things you can do with those same tracks that you licensed to generate more money from your work. I’ll be going further in depth on these topics which include getting your music on internet radio and getting into films. Until the next post, please check out www.musiclicensingstore.com, and www.pumpaudio.com . Gather your beats and songs. Organize your music and start sending out your tunes. There’s money to be made in the music industry and it isn’t coming from selling CDs.

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