My 5 predictions for music trends in 2015

1) Youtube’s top 100 and view counts are now a more accurate representation of what people are actually listening to over the billboard top 40 and record sales. I only see this trend continuing to grow

2) With the fall of pirate bay, the largest pirating website ever people will search for alternatives. Pirating’s main strength has always been in numbers by creating more people to share with and faster download speeds, thus pirating will become less popular in 2015 as people are divided among thousands of wannabe piratebays with less to offer and more kinda sketchiness to it, similarly to Napster falling and people searching for alternative sites but with less real emerging leaders as an alternative. I think more people will switch to cheap/free some with advertisements some not but definitely virus/spyware free alternatives like netflix soundcloud and youtube and other emerging streaming services such as google, amazon, crackle ecetera.

3) Fast tempo tracks will become less popular than slower based tracks. Similar to the 90’s where slower tempo tracks reined, as record labels produce more and more slower based hits. Such hits lead the way such as fancy, turn down for what, pitbull’s new fireball and of course bruno mars new uptown.

4) Vinyl will continue to be the largest growing segment of hardcopy music media sources sold as cd’s become less popular and vinyl being increasingly more and more hipster.

5) With the baby boomers aging and the growing trend of more liberal youth music will continue to progress towards a more abstract view with such artists as skrillex, tiesto, martin garrix, laidback luke and deadmau5 leading the way.

 

These are my 5 predictions for music trends for 2015, have a safe and happy new year everyone!

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Ten party guidelines

Ten party guidelines

10) Don’t worry be happy…remember this is supposed to be a party don’t stress too much about it…

9) Respect your elders…this can actually be applied to regular life too, I would make a mental note of this one.

8) Be sure to save room for cake…the extra brisket at the buffet is tempting but remember where there’s a party somebody was wise enough to bring cake.

7) Whose there is more important than what’s there… 🙂

6) When you enter the party it’s only awkward till you see and talk to your friends…then eventually you become part of the group.  This is key to crashers to at least pretend to know someone otherwise you will never become part of the group.

5) Be weird… but mostly in a good way…nobody likes somebody boring, but nobody also likes somebody too weird…actually second thought just be yourself I just happen to be weird but mostly in a good way…

4) Talk to someone you didn’t know, they will be pleased to meet you…and if not well that’s just bad luck…nobody is probably talking to them or wanting to talk to them anyway….

3) Everything can be awesome…Can you put the can in awesome??? I think you can!

2) Party like you didn’t Pre-party, after- party like there was no party…then when the sun rises it’s probably a good idea to maybe get some breakfast.

1) Life only happens once…unless of course your a Jedi…in which case as Yoda put it…, “party… you must!”

I ❤ u all from DJ Universe

Ipod VS a DJ…”Is a DJ worth the extra based upon my personal preferences.”

To be honest…I don’t even know why I address this question.  People who are going to insist a ipod is better are simply going to have an ipod at their event order from the McDeals menu their whole life, and shop at the .99 cent or less store.  If they don’t value your services is it even worth talking to them about…not really but for some reason I felt compelled to.  Some people its not for them and that’s OK…but that doesn’t make it better its simply a different preference.  Also cheaper doesn’t make something better either.  I’m sure if the mcdeals menu and the regular menu were the same price you would choose the regular menu or at least most people would.   Or if the steak and lobster were the same price as a hamburger you would choose the steak and lobster or at least most people would.  The honest or more literal question should be, “Is a DJ worth the extra based upon my personal preferences.”  Well here are some things from my experience to consider:

10)  I provide better service than an ipod.  I am able to setup all the audio equipment required for a successful event.  It’s hard work loading audio equipment into your car, getting it into the venue, setting it up on time then taking it all down at midnight or later, loading it into your car and driving home with it.

9)  I am more customizable than an ipod.  An Ipod can only play the tracks in it and can’t deter from it.  In the moment you may decide to change the songs playing at the given time which means you must reprogram the ipod to do so.

8)  My audio quality is superior to that of an ipod.  A ipod’s headphone jack is the poorest and cheapest audio output created in this day and age of audio.  The headphone jack can only output an audio signal of about 20 percent of what a professional DJ mixer is capable of.  This means that if you have 200 watt speakers you are actually only utilizing 40 of those watts.  As well RCA is kind of similar to watching VHS video where as professional XLR outputs are similar to watching via HDMI quality.

7)  Nostalgia, nobody looks back at a wedding and is like and then you guys…the Ipod randomly shuffled.  You only get married once, live a little.

6)  The ipod cannot make announcements, nor does it know what a wireless microphone is.  Nothing is tackier than a cord while giving a speech.

5)  The ipod doesn’t blend music or know how to beat-match.  May not seem like a big deal but nothing kills a party more than silence.  Some ipads these days know how to blend music but not beat match…

4)  The Ipod doesn’t know how to troubleshoot nor does your dad or uncle john even though I’m sure their super cool.

3)  The ipod can’t setup dance lights or atmospheric lights.  Whether you want to create a lounge effect or a party effect an ipod doesn’t do that.

2)  The ipod doesn’t know what cue points, scratching and breaking, loops, samples or effects are.  Once again doesn’t seem like a big deal but it makes a big difference if people want an “experience.”  Often the creativity of a DJ in the mobile game is limited to the crowd he/she is DJing too so not everyone is into an experience and that’s ok, they may just want the mobile services provided such as setup, take down, music customization/blending and equipment rental.  Often a DJ at one event may be very different than at another event…

1)  An ipod doesn’t have any experience with parties and party music.  I get this a lot from requests; people often have good ideas for tracks but not enough of them to keep a party going all night.  Some crowds don’t go all night which is ok, but it takes experience to know what makes it go all night.  As well there are lots of great tracks and music out there, but what makes a good dance track isn’t exactly obvious which is where experience comes into play.  You also get access to a DJ’s library which chances are is probably better than yours.  I’m sure you have some super cool tracks and ideas but chances are it’s not as good.  Once again though sometimes this is based upon the crowd the DJ is given.

Anyway, with that said I would just like to thank all of my clients who have booked me…you are awesome and it’s been such a good year with you all, I can’t wait for 2015 🙂

 

 

 

Why I Charge a Lower Rate than Other DJ Companies?

I will say it before and I will say it again, how I price my product will determine the questions that arise from clients.  If I charge a lower rate they will demand why and if I charge more they will demand a lower rate.  I wrote this article to help explain it because it’s happened on a few occasions where it’s difficult to explain put on the spot.

Now before I say anything I don’t speak for any other DJ companies I can only really assume and give reasons to those assumptions.  They may have different reasons.

Lets start with why I personally choose to charge less with pro’s and cons.

Pro’s

–  Less Advertising Expense.  By charging less I don’t have to go to every wedding show or pay lots of websites to advertise and promote my business.  My theory is in the summer I will get booked anyway, just because there is higher demand and the less popular season is full of bargain hunters who will shop around anyway and will probably find me so excessive amounts of advertising isn’t really needed.

Saves Time – By spending less time advertising I have less time time doing administrative work.  It may not seem like a lot of time but 50 events per year at a higher rate means at least 150 more inquiries, which means like hundreds and hundreds of more emails, meetings and phone calls.  This also saves clients time and money in that I can focus on my actual clients and not as much on perspective clients.

You sell more packages – Simple supply and demand, a lower price increases demand.

Clients are happier with end product.  If someone gets a good product at a good price they are more likely to tell friends and family about it.  I also like to call this an advertising surplus, in that an impressive setup is kinda like advertising through referrals.  Personally if I don’t feel comfortable with the price at the end of the day I feel ripped off, so I work hard to try and avoid it.

Clients are more likely to buy an add on.  If someone buys a DJ package and has shopped around and gotten a good price, they are more likely if they need or would like an add on to buy it.  This is one way to give clients a lower price and collect the same revenue in the end as long as a certain percentage upgrade.  As well by giving more and having the same price clients will be happy because they got better value when they upgrade.

Less Stress.  Everybody knows stress is one of those things that makes things less enjoyable.  Let’s be honest nobody is a DJ simply for the money, it’s because they must love what they do.  A client is kinda like your boss, for the night and a bad boss can make or break a situation.  By charging less people won’t expect as much and my goal is to have them pleasantly surprised, it also means they are probably more easy going.  Everyone has had an uptight boss vs a casual boss and the work is always more enjoyable with someone who is casual.  Ok, so he’s not perfect (nobody is) but he had a great set-up was professional and everyone had a really good time.

You still get to be your own boss  There are some companies out there that will do the administrative work for you but it comes at a steep price.  It ranges but can be anywhere from 90 to 50 percent of revenue.  I have never seen a middle man DJ company who takes less.  So if they are billing me out for a $1000 the most I would ever get is $500 so essentially I make the same or more and I get to be my own boss and make my own decisions.  I get why the companies do it and it is somewhat fair, cause what company doesn’t mark up their employees work by 50%.  If I were a carpenter working at a large carpentry company they would mark up the same labour I could do on my own at 50% or more.

Your efforts go towards building something  – Kinda similar to being your own boss but if you work on your own, do a good job you are building your company not someone else’s.  It’s similar to buying your own home versus just renting.  Every gig you do for another company is like a rent payment where as every event you do on your own is like a mortgage payment.  You are building a brand and a reputation, and at first most of those payments are interest but as the company grows it becomes more established through each event and becomes paying principle (equity).

Cons to charging a lower rate

Less possible revenue.  By charging less you have forgone the opportunity to possibly get more.   It’s a choice I have made and accepted as I am still making a profit and a living so it’s a deal, just not a big deal.

– Trust Barrier  – Charging a lower rate will immediately pop into a consumers mind as to why it is lower and likely they will have concerns regarding it.  Overcoming the trust barrier is a hassle but necessary to make a sale and although it never feels good to not be trusted this is a barrier you must overcome if you have chosen to charge a lower rate in any industry.

Lets move on to why Other DJ Companies Charge more?  I can only assume…not a mind reader lol!

Because they can.  They have a more established business, people know who they are more and more willing to pay extra.  People eat at mcdonalds cause they know mcdonalds.

Because they have to.  With larger advertising costs means you must charge more to make up for it with higher prices.

Retail Prices.  They hire a DJ for $350 an event then with 50 percent minimum mark up you are now at $700.  More hands in the cookie jar means you need more cookies.  On a side note don’t hire a cookie monster :-S

More experienced people expect more – Think of any line of work if you are more experienced it is assumed you should get more.  I think even at simple jobs like Safeway and Costco work the same way.  DJing is no different.

–  Older people have older responsibilities – As you get older you need more income to keep up with your older responsibilities.  Such as wives, kids, health and retirement expenses.  No place is truer than Vancouver in that regard.

Technology givith and technology has takith away.  DJing is a technology industry and as such profit margins change.  Think Virgin music makes as much after napster?  Think Sony makes as much after the ipod?  Think Dj’s make as much after Serato…another topic all together don’t want to get into it lol!!!

Anyway I hope this article will help inspire trust in me and to help me explain cause it is hard to explain when put on the spot about it without talking for an hour.  Lots of great DJ’s out there with lots of great choices.  Be sure to pick the right one for you for your big day or event!

All the best,

Clodion aka DJ Universe

Advice on Buying used CDJ’s

If you are thinking about buying some CDJ’s used because you like turntablism or like their reliability and extra tools this is my experiences from me to you.

1)  This one may seem obvious but pick the CDJ up and look under it.  Scratches are ok and normal a lot of scratches means that probably has seen a lot of use.  If you see any large dents it may not be a good idea to purchase the CDJ.  Dents means that at some point someone probably dropped it and although it may be working when you show up, it may have trouble calibrating or keeping in sync later…as well if the CDJ’s come with travel cases typically they have been better taken care of but not always the case.

2)  Take a look under and pioneer lists the year the CDJ was manufactured above the serial number.  Obviously the later the year the better and you can ask the owner when he got the CDJ’s and you can have something to talk about and you will gain more information on the purchase.

3)  Are there any stains or sticky parts…this one may seem obvious but it’s important to note.  Any spills is a bad idea…

4)  If you are buying a Pioneer cdj 800 mk2, put a mp3 cd into the disk drive.  if it can play the mp3 CD then that means it must be the mk2 version and not the mk1 version.  This is important if you plan on using CD’s as a backup system should your laptop fail as mp3 cd’s can hold around 100 tracks vs an audio cd’s 80 minutes.  The mk2’s also have a better display which doesn’t seem like much till you start playing in the dark.

5)  It may not be the best idea to purchase pioneer 1000’s because of their heavy club use in the 2000’s.  However, if it’s in great shape why not.  The Pioneer 800’s are very similar but were more commonly used by DJ’s in the bedroom before going to shows because of their lower price but still high quality.

6)  If you are thinking about being a club DJ then start taking a look at what equipment is in the DJ booths in your area, chances are they are the 2000’s.  Because of their huge price tag and huge risk of buying used it might be better to get them under warranty.  

7)  Last, be sure to get flight cases if you plan on moving them anywhere.  A damaged asset in the DJ game is a worthless one.

I hope these pointers will help you out but for the most part though people are pretty honest about their DJ equipment… 🙂

Best Advice to New DJ’s that New DJ’s will never take…

I got a couple word of advice to anyone fresh but you won’t end up taking it for a variety of reasons…

1)  Your music library should consist of Quality not Quantity…Just because there is a lot of music out there doesn’t mean you have to have all of it.  Remember you are only going to play 20 tracks an hour so keep only the best.

2)   Whatever you think will be suitable for wattage, triple it.  The lesser known features are always the most important.  There are no short cuts to speakers…literally the more expensive the better they will be.  Do you need the most expensive not really but they will cost a lot.

3)  Quit your day job if you want to be serious.  If you don’t you will always be only good never great.

4)   The road to the top is not through undercutting.  Undercutting may get you a gig or too, but at the end of the day it’ll get old real fast and you won’t make any friends that way.  Connections, producing, and branding are key.  Djing for a living is cool, DJing for fun eventually becomes a chore and your gear will eventually gather dust with an empty wallet.

5)  Professionals use professional equipment.  I think I will leave this one at that.  This one New DJ’s will never understand until they decide to switch.

6)   Pushing buttons is easy, entertaining people for hours by pushing buttons is not.  What works in theory probably won’t work in real life.  Remember you are selling people an experience make sure it’s awesome.

7)  Doing too much.  New DJ’s will do more than what people will enjoy.  Keep it simple, sometimes you just gotta play a track out.  I know it’s weird when there’s that creepy dude watching your every move…I will prove once and for all this man is a phony!

8)  Play to the crowd not what you like.  What you like and what others like are totally different.  Yeah radiohead is cool, but that doesn’t mean you should play it to a packed dance floor.  Yeah your new daft punk remix is da bomb, but most people fear the unknown, they want to hear what they are familiar with.

9)  Always go to gigs with an open mind.  If you go into a gig thinking it will suck, it’s gonna suck.  You should always be thinking, “What comes now, what comes next…”

10)  Don’t be too shy.  Talk to people and remember everybody is there to have a good time.  People will naturally give you a hard time, just remember to laugh it off.

All of these rules are contradictory to the New DJ.  Follow these rules and you may make something outta it.  I broke every rule above, because it does seem counter intuitive at first.  Save some time, save some money but I guess the best way to learn is to make mistakes.

 

2014 The Year of the Solid State Drive

I had an interesting experience the other day.  My girlfriend was shopping for a new computer.  My girlfriend unlike I is a Mac user so we decided to head into the mac store to look at new computers there for her.  Being a DJ I have always been interested in Mac but have never actually owned one mostly because I was more familiar with PC and didn’t like mac’s prices even if they run Ableton.  After talking to a friendly sales person I had to ask the question, why are Mac’s so much faster than PC?  Originally my thought was the operating system which was simply more stable and efficient but his answer puzzled me.  He replied that the solid state drive was responsible for the Mac’s being more expensive and faster.

 

After doing some research online, I quickly realized that in the last 5 years all PC’s ever produced are obsolete.  It wasn’t because their processor was not fast enough, or because the mother board sucked.  No the only reason was because of the hard drive.  When you click to open an application or media file you are not waiting on the processor, no 9 times outta 10 you are waiting on the hard drive to access the information.  As well over this time period as HDD’s increased in size from 128 GB to 1 or even 2 TB it makes it increasingly more and more difficult for users to complete the upgrade themselves or dramatically increases the cost in the upgrade.  Another major issue with all notebooks is that of heat.  With the moving parts on a HDD compared to no moving parts on a SSD the issue of heat is dramatically minimized as well as the issue of transporting a laptop without having to worry as much because of no moving parts.  The list of benefits go on and on, energy savings too which means longer battery life.  Everybody will go out and get a new computer because they don’t want to be bothered with the upgrade which has increased in difficulty or will have their hdd overheat one day as dust or whatever gets in the vents or forget about it on ecetera.  Talk about a mass consumption economy eh???  You can see it online already now, SSD computers 128 GB starting at $1000 lol, next year I hear 250 gb SSD computers will start at 1000…I think this has happened before 5 years ago…

 

Anyway if your like me and don’t want to pay that or have to deal with Windows 8 (roll over and puke)… or pay like 300 bucks extra for a decent sized screen on your mac book pro, or start over again installing new programs on a new computer here are the real steps to upgrade if your hard drive is larger than the SSD you can or would want to pay for (believe me a lot of junk out there, here’s the real deal).

1)  Check to see if your computer supports an upgrade.  Call your manufacturer and just ask.  I called Sony, and they informed me that yes my vaio could be upgraded.  I wouldn’t recommend the internet, I have been burned on that notion before…

2)  Install ease us partition manager.  This well give you an idea of how much you can compress your current hard drive and how large a ssd you will need to buy.  Basically the more free space the better.  As well you may want to transfer your media files(music, video, pictures) to a external hard drive temporarily to save on space.  Make sure that your hard drive in your laptop is a 2.5 inch and make sure you can easily access it.  It might not be a good idea to take the entire computer apart most notebooks bought in the last 5 years have 2 easy little boxes you can unscrew on the back that will access one for the ram and one for the HDD.  You can download the software here, http://www.partition-tool.com/landing/home-download.htm

3)  Get as well a SATA to USB.  I would recommend the enclosure (around 10 bucks) and this way you can have a secure case for a back up hd after everything is done or you can erase everything and have a external hard drive.

3)  Optional step but could save you a lot of time in the long run.  Run the chkdsk application on your windows.  This will fix any corrupt files.  I had to start all over because there were corrupt files on my HDD.  Here’s a great clip on how to do it, I also love the accent, I will thank them for the good karma. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnGACUIysVk

4)  Partition the hard drive. Your computer may not see the new drive when you plug it in via sata to usb.  Just open file manager, right click on computer (where the drives are listed), and click manager.   From there you can get the new drive listed.   Your computer will have to restart during the partition process, and I would recommend keeping it plugged in during the whole processes including the clone below.  This varies in length it took me maybe like 3ish hours.  I recommend a movie or a hockey game.  Don’t let your computer go to sleep….You can still browse the internet but this will slow the process down.

5)  After the hard drive has partitioned, you need to clone the new SSD.  Another software required, Plug it into the SATA to USB and within maybe like 5 hours you will have the cloned drive.  You can get the software I used here and is the same brand above, http://www.easeus.com/disk-copy/ but there are lots out there.   Make sure to check the SSD optimized box.  After the process is complete the SSD has all the files and programs as the old hard disk drive had at the time of the clone.

6)  Now physically take out the old hard drive and screw in the new one in it’s place.  Make sure to take out the battery and unplug the power cord from the laptop during this process.

7)  Turn computer on.  To access the SSD new features you may have to turn the trim function on.  On my Vaio, it does it automatically (making it the easiest brand of computer to upgrade), but it’s pretty simple on start up you need to press the key that gets you into the bios(f1 or f2 or f3 or delete) and turn the AHCI function on.  Lots of clips on how to do it.  Just google and right it down.  Videos typically are the best cause you can see what they are actually doing to make the change.  Include your brand or model to be more specific.

8)  Enjoy your new top of the line computer.  From just the weekend I can already see it has easily has added at least $500 in value to my computer for less than $200 with taxes and I got a free backup hd outta it.  Not bad in a days work watching mostly movies and sports 🙂