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Sunday, May 04, 2008
Event Promoters: Read This and Get a Clue
5:14 PM
Shiva, my friend and an excellent dj, recently posted this blog entry on her myspace. I feel as if i should repost it here.

So a few continual issues on the part of event/club promoters have been plaguing me, so I thought I would share my thoughts (whether you want to hear them or not). There are a few things that promoters should think about that it seems lately, they rarely do, so I thought I would enlighten those who just don't seem to get it. While I could probably go on and on for days, I will keep this as succinct as possible (mostly because my couch is calling me). Let's just take it point by point, shall we?

1. As a promoter, YOU are responsible for making sure that the necessary equipment is available for the artists you book. Unless you want every dj on the planet to start sending you performance riders in their contract (which would actually require some reading on your part), you should probably pay attention to this.

Number one, when you book someone, you should take the time to ask them what they require to perform. That means, do they need room for a laptop for Serato/FS/Ableton, an effects unit, a MIDI controller? Do they need channels on the mixer to plug into with said interfaces? Do they need an extra table?

Let's face it, things have changed and DJing has evolved, and you might as well be proactive and find out EXACTLY what they need to perform. Once you know this, you should make sure that these requirements are met before they even walk through the door of your venue. If they need an extra table, it should be there, and they should not have to wait for you to remember it and then have to mess with it in the middle of someone else's performance.

You should also not sneer, sigh, denigrate or question the tools that they have chosen to use to perform. It just makes you look like an asshole. Really. If you value their talents and their musical taste, then you have to let them express themselves however they see fit. After all, they are the performers. Let them perform.

Also, you are responsible for making sure that the equipment provided by you is in TOP working condition. That means new (or at least not completely shit) needles, tonearms that are not bent, mixers that actually work and have all the faders/knobs still attached, monitors and speakers that are not blown, tables that don't shake with every move the DJ makes, and in this new age of DJing, decks that work with Serato/FS. If your equipment is shoddy, don't be surprised if people get frustrated with you, or refuse to play for you. It's your fault in that case, so don't cry about it. If your gear isn't working, ask someone if you can borrow theirs (and also, for Pete's sake, offer them some money or at least free drinks for the wear and tear).

Whatever you do, remember, excuses don't wash. Get it done, and don't sit there and explain your laundry list of excuses. None of us wants to hear it. We show up with working gear to do your show, now offer us the same professionalism.

2. It's NOT 1995!!!! GAS COSTS A SHIT TON NOW!!!! If you are paying transportation costs for DJs who are driving out-of-town for your event, for Christ's sake don't hand them some pittance and expect that to be enough. FOUR DOLLARS A GALLON. Do I really need to repeat myself? That means that transportation costs have doubled in the last decade, so quite frankly, what you give for gas money should follow suit. Tell your DJs to get receipts for their fuel costs (different cars=different mileage) and then double that. If you do not like this reality that the DJs that are travelling regionally are costing you more, either book less DJs in a night, or don't be a promoter. Times have changed, costs are up, so you need to figure that into your budget and act accordingly. We don't like it any more than you do, but that's reality and it's not changing anytime soon.

But it's high time that DJs stop having to take a financial loss because you are a cheapskate. Get with the program, please.

3. Everyone deserves to get paid for the work they do. Would you work your job for the sheer joy of it, just because your boss told you "It's great experience and exposure!"? No. So stop expecting DJs to do it. That doesn't mean you have to pay some exorbitant amount of money; it just means that no DJ should take a loss for your cheap ass. Even if they are a local, make sure their drinks are free. If it's a regional DJ who doesn't mind coming to your event for next to nothing, take them out to a nice dinner, buy 'em a few packs of smokes, make sure they have a nice drink tab, whatever. Just make sure they are not going home with less money in their wallet than they left with. It's disrespectful, rude, and totally unprofessional. I know we are not all rolling in money in the electronic scene, especially in the US, but don't treat your talent like they owe you for playing. Show them a good time and some basic respect, and they will make sure to work hard to promote your events and send some other talent your way.

Oh and as a subpoint, don't act all indignant if they want you to sign a contract. That is a basic professionalism that is meant to make sure all parties are protected, and also to give you any information you need (such as affiliations, info for flyers, performance riders, etc.). If you get all bent out of shape if asked to sign a contract, it's a sure sign to that artist that you are not interested in doing things professionally, and a big fat warning sign that they should avoid playing for you at all costs.

4. Oh yeah, don't forget to PROMOTE YOUR SHOW. No one wants to play for an empty dancefloor. Myspackle is great, but it's NOT the only promotional tool available. Get creative and get people through the door. And if you don't promote, NO ONE wants to hear about how you don't have the money to pay them. You should have the money BEFORE the show, not rely on cover to pay them.

5. If you are getting a hotel for your talent, make sure that the room is PAID for, not just reserved. There isn't a travelling DJ that I know that HASN'T dealt with this particular madness, and it's just ridiculous. I have watched big name DJs and small time talent alike have to shell out their own money at the hotel counter because a promoter didn't sort this shit out ahead of time. I have even had to sit in a hotel lobby for hours while I waited for a room to be paid for. It's inexcusable and easily avoided. Check and double check. Dig?

That's all I can really think of at this late hour, but those are some key points promoters need to focus on. If you think I am out of line with any of these points...tough shit. I have been in the game for 13 years, I have seen every fuckup imaginable in that time, and I am sick of people getting in the game that don't know how to treat the people who make the music happen. Without the DJs and the live performers, it just doesn't work. Stop taking advantage of your talent.

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