To say I’m obsessed with music might be a strong statement, but it’s pretty accurate. From playing records on my Strawberry Shortcake record player, to discovering my first Rap Traxx cassette tape, to creating all the warm up mix CD’s for my high school basketball team, to now – where I still get asked to make the playlists when we have house gatherings and holiday get togethers, I love music. That being said, I am not a DJ (although, back in high school and college I reallllly wanted to learn how to DJ, and even had DJ Drapes picked out as my DJ name).
As much as I love music, follow music, and put a great playlist together for a road trip and house party, I am not a DJ. DJ’s are trained professionals in their field and bring a world of experience to the events that they work. When I have clients let me know that they are considering using an iPod and creating playlists for their events to just play on its own, it sends me into minor Event Planner heart failure. The list of the things that could go wrong starts whirling through my head immediately! Thankfully, I’ve always been able to work with my clients and they have ended up hiring a DJ (or band) after discussing the risks involved in an iPod event.
Music can make or break your reception (or any event that has a dance aspect to it). Think back to an event you’ve attended where the dance floor has been empty for part of/most of the event. That is something you don’t forget, and it’s definitely not something you want people to remember about your wedding or special event. A full dance floor creates a night of memories and an amazing experience for your guests. Even guests that don’t dance still like to enjoy a great set list while they mingle about.
To weigh in on this topic, I consulted with one of the best! DJ Anchor of Armed With Harmony. I’ve worked with Trystan and his crew in the past, and it’s been nothing short of a perfect experience. They are trained, professional, super knowledgable, and able to read a crowd like nobody’s business! I’ve never seen an empty dance floor at a function that they have DJ’d. To top it off – DJ Anchor is also your Saskatchewan Rush official DJ!
Tell us a bit about your company and the things that make you unique:
We aren’t the traditional mobile DJ company. Yes, we do many of the traditional events like weddings, school grads & Christmas parties, but we also provide services to many bars, pubs, and lounges – meaning we have lots of experience for all kinds of events, are always working, and staying up with trends! All of our DJ’s actually DJ & Mix. We do not just push play and say we are a DJ. We are also a 1 Stop shop for all your needs. We provide DJ’s, Sound Systems, Lighting, Special Effects, Photo Booths and full event design. We love social media and have a FREE App for requests and events!
What are the risks you take when you opt to play an iPod for your event?
The biggest risk is who controls the iPod. Is it somebody who wants to heart their perfect playlist? A teenager? How are requests dealt with? What about popular songs with swears in it – do they have clean versions? Who is supplying the sound system? Is it Uncle Bob and his 1956 vintage stereo? Who has to pick it up, control it the night of the event, and return it? Who pays for the legal rights to play music? A Connect Music Licence is required to play music in a public setting as well as Socan fee per event. Do you want to be worrying about what and who is playing the music or be busy having fun dancing?
What are the biggest advantages to having an experienced DJ in your corner for your function?
Event Experience and Organization! Most people have not planned an event for a birthday of 15, let alone a wedding, staff party for 150+, etc. We sit down and chat about all the aspects of the event. Set Up/Take Down Times, Event Music Likes/Dislikes. We are a live DJ able to read the room and play more of what people want and less/none of what they don’t want. A great DJ does all of this while keeping a constant beat/tempo going so you never lose energy in the room and keep on dancing! Nothing kills a party like dead air.
What are some recommendations you can give to people when shopping around for a DJ?
Ask your DJ for 3 things before proceeding:
1) Saskatoon Business Licence
2) Connect Music Licence
3) Canadian DJ Association Licence (which includes 2 Million Dollars Liability Insurance)
Then you can ask all the other questions about planning and music etc.
The DJ should offer a free, in person, sit down meeting. This will show their experience or lack there-of, and then you can choose if you want to work with them or not.
Thanks so much to DJ Anchor for his feedback on this topic.
If you think a professional DJ may be out of your budget, talk to your wedding planner! We can help you get creative with cutting costs in other aspects of your wedding day to free up room in the budget for your DJ. We also may have arrangements as a preferred vendor with your DJ or other vendors that will save you the money you need to hire a professional. In addition to the points that Trystan recommended, always check for references! It’s important to not only go with what your potential DJ tells you, but what others have said. Your planner may have also worked with many of the DJ’s you’re considering and can give feedback as well.
To summarize, a playlist on an iPod is great for a house party as background music, the gym, or a road trip – but for weddings and special events, I absolutely recommend hiring a professional. Even if you have access to a professional sound system, without someone to monitor your iPod, as Trystan mentioned, you run the risk of dead air in between songs, a list no one is dancing to, and even songs that play at different volume levels depending on how you downloaded them. Always trust a professional to take care of you.
I’ll be doing a post soon on Bands vs. DJ’s as well for those that are having trouble deciding between the two – so stay tuned!
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