Never Been Paid Support Group thread

Tips and techniques of the trade

Moderators: Mr Awesomer, JesseMiner, CafeSavoy

Message
Author
julius
Posts: 818
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2003 11:30 am
Location: los angeles

#16 Post by julius » Tue Jan 06, 2004 1:19 pm

Greg's post brings to mind the question: does paying/compensating DJs improve the overall quality of all DJs?

I don't think it does. I agree that in some instances DJs definitely deserve compensation, but I don't think DJs always need to be compensated. As with any situation where there is a semi-free market, there will always be someone willing to work for free for the experience or exposure. And "you get what you pay for" is an adage that I don't believe applies to lindy hop DJing.

KevinSchaper
Posts: 277
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2002 4:29 pm
Location: Eugene, OR
Contact:

#17 Post by KevinSchaper » Tue Jan 06, 2004 3:35 pm

It probably depends on the situation - the quality of DJing went way up when they started paying DJs to do band breaks at the Viscount..

User avatar
GemZombie
Posts: 772
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2002 2:46 pm
Location: Alpharetta, GA (Formerly SLO, CA)
Contact:

#18 Post by GemZombie » Tue Jan 06, 2004 4:24 pm

I think the only thing that improves the quality of DJ'd music is the quality of the DJ and the audience he's DJing to.

I always had this idealistic view that people who loved this music would have such a pure love for the music that they always do it for free, or at least with minimul compensation.

Silly me huh?

(Of course I'm a hypocrite: I've DJ'd a few times and got paid for it... not well usually... except once in LA, but you get what you pay for, as they say).

User avatar
djstarr
Posts: 1043
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2003 2:09 pm
Location: Seattle

#19 Post by djstarr » Tue Jan 06, 2004 7:41 pm

I think it's nice to pay the DJ something - just as an appreciation for taking the time to come out and play at the venue.

Both the dances in Tacoma and Olympia pay their dj's; I think because they realize how much effort it takes to keep a successful venue going and they appreciate folks driving down to offer a new sound once in a while.

One dance that a lot of us in Seattle DJ for just decided to pay the DJ's $10/hr once they cover the costs for the evening --- it's a very nice gesture.

User avatar
Lawrence
Posts: 1213
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2002 2:08 pm
Location: Austin, Texas
Contact:

#20 Post by Lawrence » Wed Jan 07, 2004 12:52 pm

julius wrote:Greg's post brings to mind the question: does paying/compensating DJs improve the overall quality of all DJs?
In the short term, not necessarily, especially when you have volunteer DJs who just love to dance. In the long term, it definitely does. It gives the venue owners more control over the set, and give the DJ some money to help expand his collection.

It also depends on how successful the venue is. If it is unsuccessful, then a rotation of free DJs can't make it less successful. :) If successful, paying the DJ avoids the DJ eventually realizing that he is being taken advantage of if the venue is successful, thereby losing a DJ that is a part of the successful formula.

It also depends on whether you have other good DJs willing to do it for free or not.
Lawrence Page
Austin Lindy Hop
http://www.AustinLindy.com

Toon Town Dave
Posts: 661
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2002 2:52 pm
Location: Saskatoon, Canada

#21 Post by Toon Town Dave » Wed Jan 07, 2004 7:09 pm

On a note related to the whole idea of playing music in public and copying CDs, if anyone is DJ'ing off anything but original CDs then they should have a licence. At the very least a venue (particular when the DJ is the house DJ) should compensate the DJ for his/her expenses.

julius
Posts: 818
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2003 11:30 am
Location: los angeles

#22 Post by julius » Thu Jan 08, 2004 12:38 pm

In the US, even if you're DJing with original CDs, the venue operator needs a license from ASCAP/BMI. That is, it isn't the DJ's expense to have a license. So to rationalize that a DJ needs to be paid in order to cover his license (if that is what you meant) makes no sense.

User avatar
Greg Avakian
Posts: 382
Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2002 10:27 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Contact:

#23 Post by Greg Avakian » Thu Jan 08, 2004 12:54 pm

julius wrote:Greg's post brings to mind the question: does paying/compensating DJs improve the overall quality of all DJs?

I don't think it does. I agree that in some instances DJs definitely deserve compensation, but I don't think DJs always need to be compensated. As with any situation where there is a semi-free market, there will always be someone willing to work for free for the experience or exposure. And "you get what you pay for" is an adage that I don't believe applies to lindy hop DJing.
Agree on the first point; unless a well paid DJ is more motivated to be a better DJ. Plus -given everything else is equal- maybe a paid DJ expands his/her collection more quickly. There's really no correlation between money and raw talent, but money can motivate one to learn more/work harder.

On your last point, I definitely agree in terms of raw talent. However, there's a reason someone like Jesse or Rayned get paid well by promoters who want to run a good event. Besides having raw talent, they work REALLY hard (I have seen this), they are well equipt (so Laurie tells me!!!), and they are probably the most experienced competition DJs of our generation.

User avatar
Lawrence
Posts: 1213
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2002 2:08 pm
Location: Austin, Texas
Contact:

#24 Post by Lawrence » Thu Jan 08, 2004 2:33 pm

Greg Avakian wrote:money can motivate one to learn more/work harder.
...and feel somewhat obligated/inspired to do the best job possible out of appreciation instead of just take the gig for granted and bide their time up there. Not that all free DJs merely piddle around, and not that there aren't any "wedding" DJs who just punch a time clock, but that it can work as a motivating or inspirational factor... especially in a climate where volunteer Lindy DJs are so freely taken for granted.
Lawrence Page
Austin Lindy Hop
http://www.AustinLindy.com

User avatar
gatorgal
Posts: 538
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 7:45 pm
Location: Austin, Texas
Contact:

#25 Post by gatorgal » Thu Jan 08, 2004 2:44 pm

I would like to think that payment doesn't necessarily lure good DJs to the booth so much as it keeps them there.

From my standpoint, I'm the type of person who's gonna put her all into something like this, no matter the compensation. I play for free now, but have had a steady, paying gig. My dedication to both situations were/are the same. For me it's a matter of personal pride, ethics and the like. But I realize that not everyone shares my attitude or my work ethic. So those dedicated individuals who DJ because of the true love and inspiration of it, may not be able to do it because of a matter of expense. Losing those people would really be a sad state, so payment might be mitgating factor of whether they stay or they go.

Did that make sense?

Tina 8)

User avatar
Lawrence
Posts: 1213
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2002 2:08 pm
Location: Austin, Texas
Contact:

#26 Post by Lawrence » Thu Jan 08, 2004 3:18 pm

gatorgal wrote:I would like to think that payment doesn't necessarily lure good DJs to the booth so much as it keeps them there.

From my standpoint, I'm the type of person who's gonna put her all into something like this, no matter the compensation. I play for free now, but have had a steady, paying gig. My dedication to both situations were/are the same. For me it's a matter of personal pride, ethics and the like. But I realize that not everyone shares my attitude or my work ethic. So those dedicated individuals who DJ because of the true love and inspiration of it, may not be able to do it because of a matter of expense. Losing those people would really be a sad state, so payment might be mitgating factor of whether they stay or they go.
I agree completely. I do know some good DJs who stopped DJing simply because they felt unappreciated and taken for granted, not merely because they couldn't afford it.
Lawrence Page
Austin Lindy Hop
http://www.AustinLindy.com

User avatar
caab
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun May 02, 2004 8:40 am
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

#27 Post by caab » Wed Jun 16, 2004 9:47 am

I've gotten paid twice, once in another town and once when a local communnity group hosted a salsa/swing night and I split the bill with the salsa DJ. I keep getting put in a position where I don't get paid, or I feel greedy asking for money because I really want to scene to grow and I know they need every cent they take in at the door. I will say, when I was DJing for other people and getting paid, I put a lot of time and thought into my set.

It makes me feel better to know I'm not the only one out there working for free....*group hug*

User avatar
Platypus
Posts: 261
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2002 6:17 pm
Location: Houston, TX

#28 Post by Platypus » Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:11 am

As I mentioned in another thread: bartering has worked well for me. When I DJ at our local swing society, I get in free to the dance and the night's lessons (2 hours of lessons for one hour of DJing). Another friend, who is a dance teacher, has bartered dance lessons for professional massages.

User avatar
LindyChef
Posts: 228
Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2003 7:52 pm
Location: Houston and Seattle (bi-coastal wanna-be)
Contact:

#29 Post by LindyChef » Wed Jun 16, 2004 12:36 pm

Greg Avakian wrote:But as long as we provide free DJs the event directors will only pay a very few of us.
They're only paying what the market will bear.

For someone like me, I don't really care about getting paid that much. I only dabble in DJing and whenever I go to an event I want it to succeed. For example, at a local event here in Houston, Numbers, I would pay for entry even though I would be DJing that night. I knew that the event wasn't making money and I wasn't going to take that money out of the owner's hands when I was going to show up anyways for dancing.

But since I only dabble, I never have had any expectations about getting paid for an event. If I get free admission, that's great ... par for the course. If I get something extra, I'm a little dumstruck, i.e. "You're paying little ol' me?"

Yes I do spend money on music, but I usually end up buying my CDs used so it's not that big of an impact on how much I spend. If I actually made the effort to become a "name" DJ, then maybe I would feel differently because I would be a professional. But I'm not. I'm an amateur.

To me an amateur asking for money is somewhat slimy, more about that person's ego than about the actual compensation. Don't get me wrong, even amateur DJs should get some form of compensation for spinning, but it's a delicate situation to approach. I would hope that all organizers would view their DJs as service providers, people that should be paid for those services.

But as long as there are people willing to provide cut-rate DJing, then be used to getting little to nothing for your time.

Besides, it's not about the money, right? It's about seeing a bunch of smiling faces on a floor full of dancers.

Locked