I am a music obsessive. From forcing my parents to buy me CDs for the car to playing gigs as a DJ now, I’ve always loved to experience and be around music. As a hobby, however, it is not the cheapest thing to get into. We can instantly access songs for free on our phones, pop in our headphones and it's done, but to make, play and even listen to music requires an investment of time, effort and you guessed it… money. So, how do you gather up the money to start a side-hustle like DJ’ing, especially when purchasing equipment is expensive. Let me share my experience with you:
I spend a lot of time listening to music and apart from a few piano lessons I did at school I definitely consumed more music than I produced. This is a reality for the majority but how do the not so musically-inclined of us express our love for music? Well, I found my outlet through DJing and a lot of people have as well. This is because becoming a DJ has never been easier. As time has passed, things have become more digital and access to equipment for making and playing music has been condensed into all-in-one magic technology solutions. This isn’t cheap however, so to become a DJ you need a bit of start-up capital to fund the basics. Firstly, you need to choose your medium. Will you play on CDJs or Vinyl? I will talk about Vinyl records later on, so let’s assume you want to DJ on CDJs. These are specialized digital music players for DJing which emulate playing on physical turntables. This is what the majority of DJs play on from house parties to the biggest festivals in the world. The problem is CDJs are pretty expensive and this is just the turntables. Mixers, speakers, headphones and even the music itself can cost you a lot to just start getting into the art form.
The solution to the problem of high prices is to take a community-driven mindset and is something most DJs have taken on board. The price for one set of decks is super expensive for one person but who said you have to keep it all for yourself? Shared investing is the name of the game for DJs. It’s all about sharing and making sure everyone has access to the music and equipment so they can learn and play for others. I was able to gain experience DJing because my friends agreed that we would split the cost of decks and equipment, share the equipment (each member got the decks when they needed it) and share the return we got from hosting events and playing gigs. This was a smart way for us to all get access without having to all splurge loads of money. It’s not a revolutionary idea but some people forget that investment doesn’t need to be done by yourself and that the barriers to entry are not as large as you think. There are many opportunities from clubs to online radio stations that will allow you to practice and have access to their equipment if you ask nicely. It is all about community and connections.
Vinyl is another topic all in itself and has had an unexpected revival cementing itself as the longest-running medium of audio storage. US vinyl record sales skyrocketed starting in 2010 and are constantly increasing in volume. Reason being that with the increase in access to “fast” music people realized that the actual quality and durability of the music didn’t rival what they can get with vinyl records. Not to mention the nostalgic element of vinyl! Hence the price of vinyl records has skyrocketed and people who saved their collections from their teens would have helped their kids make a bit of money if they wanted to sell them off or use them to DJ with. The caveat is that you got to have a lot of records and starting to collect now might be a bit pricey. However, you have to respect the durability and incredible shelf life of vinyl records and if things carry on to be the same, the value and popularity of vinyl records could steadily increase. This use case shows us that people do inherently respect crafts like music and would rather invest in quality over the easy fix.
If you want to be a DJ you have two routes and both routes hold good insights on how to invest. If you want to DJ digitally the best thing you can do is find like-minded people, collaborate and invest together. If you want to DJ vinyl the best thing to do is to invest and be patient as it is something that could increase in value over time and the longer you invest the more benefit you could get. Remember, if you’re doing it together, you can invest as a group using one person's Franc account and save towards the goal of buying new equipment. It doesn’t get any easier!