13 Tips on How to Deal With DJ Requests

So you've made it this far, DJing at a party, and you notice everything is going well, until you get that special person who requests a song that you don't have. Here are thirteen tips on how to deal with DJ requests.

1) Requests are rude... plain and simple. Unless you are a wedding DJ, or at a school dance, or at a radio station... requests are rude. It's like saying "I don't tell you how to do your job, so don't tell me how to do mine." Most clueless morons don't understand this concept because they think the DJ is a jukebox for their own leisure.

2) All requests aren't all that bad... Especially when the song request fits in the genre that you are playing. It does give you an idea of what the crowd wants and as a DJ, you should also play off the crowd, but in your style.

3) You have their song. If you do have the song they request, then think about playing it later.Perhaps when it best fits in your DJ set. Don't drop it immediately as your next song because you don't want them to think that you'll do anything they'll say.

4) You don't have their song. If you don't have that song, politely reply that "you don't have it." or "you have it, but just not with you."

5) Don't take it personally if you don't have their song. Cause no one wants a stuck up, hissy-fit DJ. That one clueless person that requested a song could be the owner of the club or someone of importance, so you might want to keep a good composure.

6) Idiots that just wont give up. If they keep hassling you, still be polite. Yes, you will encounter different levels of request idiots. (I remember this one drunk dude who kept going on and on about me playing a mainstream metal-pop song, which I didn't have and when I was obviously playing house music. I still kept denying his requests as politely as possible even though I wanted to punch him in the face. Eventually he went away.) (I might actually write a full blog on that situation because there is a lot more to that story... And here it is... Click Here for the 5 Idiots that request songs)

7) Can you play something that I can dance too? This one is a trick request. Especially, since you see the dance floor bangin, and it's just this one person who can't get into the groove. I'd say ignore this person, but also be polite about it. Unless of course, this person specifically requests a song you have and it would fit the vibe of the dance floor. However, in the case of a vague request like this, I'd say there will be no pleasing this person and move on.

8) Can you give a Happy Birthday shout out to me! Say, "I don't have a mic, sorry." You could bring a mic if it's your set up, and in case the person who threw the party actually needs to use it, but no one else. So keep it hidden. Besides, most of these idiots don't know that most high end headphones have a mic in them, anyway.

9) Blatantly advertise "no requests." You could wear a shirt that says "no requests" or have a sign that says "I don't take requests." Haven't tried this one yet, however.

10) Get a middle man. Yeah, get a bouncer, or manager, or a tough skinned friend that stands between you and the people. This is especially good since it keeps you focused on what you're doing and not on trivial futile requests.

11) Accept the fact that you won't please everyone. No matter where you are, there is going to be that one individual that doesn't like the songs you are playing and wants something else.

12) Play what you're booked for. You're booked to play this certain type of music, that's why you're playing it. Seriously, don't stray to far away from music you've been booked to play. Even when some douche wants you to play a song from a completely opposite genre.

13) Acceptable Requests. The only real acceptable time for requests is beforehand. Like if you're playing at a someone's birthday party and that person requests a certain song to be played that night. This way you can buy that song beforehand and get it ready for the party in case you don't have it. If it's a long list, then make sure you are definitely getting paid.

5 Types of Idiots that Request Songs
8 Things to Remember When DJing A Party
8 Ways to make you DJ set STAND OUT
9 Beat Matching Tips for the Newbie DJ
10 Tips to Become a Superstar DJ
10 Tips to become a FAMOUS DJ


Anonymous said...

on #11 it's accept, not except.

Anonymous said...

Right on. Especially the obvious (apparently not to many people, to say the least) point that requests are rude. Not only are requests insulting by the implicit questioning of the DJs taste, but also just as an interruption. One would not think to walk up to a musician while he's playing, keep tapping his shoulder and shouting for him or her to play something different; somehow DJs are assumed to be available for conversation. When I'm DJing, it's a continuous effort of selecting tracks, beatmatching, "live" mashing of tracks, looping, adding effects, etc. There's really no time to chat. I'm hired to create a musical flow, mood, atmosphere, for the entire venue, not to socialize or cater to the whims of one individual.

The best response is simply to keep one's composure, smile, and say as politely as possible that "Sorry, I don't take requests" then get back to work.

Anonymous said...

Requests do get quite rude after awhile.
I've DJed at another event a few years ago and one person walked by and said something like "Play something else" I'm like, "Whatever"

Yesterday I was djing at my church for a carnival, and I cannot do my job right when I have 3 annoying kids in my booth.
I had to ban one kid for messing with my mic.
Finally they went away.

Anonymous said...

I am a up and coming virtual dj,if I am doing a wedding,how do I download a song and play it back later? I can download the song but it want play.

Anonymous said...

I just tell 'em: No Breasts, No Requests!


Anonymous said...

From years of experiance in dj-ing and clubing I notice when the club first opens people will ask the dj to play a certain song for about 2to3 hours, around this time most people are tipsy or drunk and will dance to any thing that sound good and will leave you alone. For those few hours of request just lie to them or tell them you're going to play it eventually. For begginer Djs I would recommend going out to a club on special events(4th July,New Years etc.(When most people come out), not to drink or dance but to take note on how people are being entertained, take note on the kind of music that was played,the kind of environment,the kind of people that showed up etc., its like being back in high school but theres a lot of alcohol around. The most valuable tip I can give any begginer Dj is to dj the night as if where a 8hr. movie.....start of with moderate speed music, work your speed up slowly, when your crowd is begging for more this is when you give it to them, play the latest and upbeat/fast music then around when its time for the club to close
play some slow music as if it where the ending credits of a movie. Good luck, Happy Djing......
-Dj Hollywood-