Our guide to reading the crowd
Probably the most crucial skill of a DJ is to read the crowd. Too many amateurs turn up to a job and play the music that they want to hear. Not the music they’ve been hired to play. They get the pace of the night wrong too, and usually end up with an empty dance floor.
Here we’re going to give you a quick guide to understanding the crowd in front of you and keeping them happy.
Get the balance right
When someone approaches you to and asks you to play a song, do you have to play it? No, course you don’t. Just because one person wants to hear a certain genre doesn’t mean the whole room do. But if you’re getting a lot of requests asking for the same genre, what does that tell you?
The crowd are a collective being that you need to learn over the course of a night. And a crowd can change from night to night, even when you’re DJing the same club.
There are signals to tell you how a crowd’s reacting to the music you’re playing.
The most obvious signal to look out for is people dancing. But if you’re working a long DJ set, there might not be anyone dancing to start with. This isn’t a bad thing. It means you have some time to try different styles and gauge the audience’s reaction.
More often than not you can gauge how the audience are reacting to the set based on a gut feeling, but you can also lookout for girls dancing, the people who aren’t dancing, check if they’re smiling and a general move towards the dance floor.
If these signals aren’t visible you need to assess what’s wrong with the set so far. Is the music your playing the problem? Wrong genre, too loud, too quiet? Is it the venue? Are they charging too much for drinks?
If it is the venue, then you aren’t to blame.
Be the professional
If you want the night to be a success then it isn’t just down to the music. You need to be the complete professional. Don’t scoff when someone requests a song you think is awful. Turn up really early to gauge the crowd and speak to the other DJs, and most importantly, do your utmost to please the crowd.
That’s what you were hired to do, after all.