Everything is cyclical. Years ago everyone wanted to see our “playlist.” Maybe it was to just reassure that we had a good selection or their favorite songs. It was almost crippling when we had no idea what they wanted, or had chosen more than we possibly could play. One client even had dictated the hours in which to play certain songs, a script in a sense. No planning or too much, effects the same result, no spontaneity.
In the late 1990’s and early on in the new millennium, people’s desire to peruse our entire library, making sure we have the “right” music, was not as great as it was when the whole industry was “new.” It was naturally assumed that “pre-requests” could be made and without too much effort, everything would be there. Maybe it was my length of experience, continued referrals or just the evolution of disc jockeys in general that led to a more relaxed feeling about content. Music was almost secondary to what we did.
With everyone downloading songs and making their own CD compilations or souvenirs for all the guests, it is becoming more assumed that a DJ has “everything” and can fit it “all” in, when there still is the same reality of time. I could put it all on an MP3 player, hit start, and stand back, but that still loses the reason for having me there. My reading of the crowd and throwing little curves to keep them guessing is the “One Moment in Time” scenario. Otherwise a “technician” with access to iTunes or satellite radio could simply be there to switch the content when the crowd lost interest.
We have the ability to rise and fall with the energy of the crowd, leading them as much as they lead us. This way the whole group can be together and have it as our own. You can’t broadcast to the masses nor can a totally planned event happen, without some flexibility. I usually can fit about 15 songs per hour. With pre-selected events, first dance, bouquet and garter, bride’s dance with her father, special group dances and cutting the cake, sometimes we have less than three hours after dinner. Maybe 40 songs to dance to, beyond the two-plus hours of background music. We never want to induce dancing until the meal has been cleared, the dance floor has had tables removed and the service staff is well out of the views of the cameras.
In my experience, nothing starts on time, but your contract with the hall will end promptly, unless arrangements are made prior. We stay and play until the lights go up. Hopefully this is after we have announced and played our “last dance.” With any luck, this happens very naturally. Communication with all parties, being the key.
Our library has well over 20,000 titles. If you desire a specific song, simply make the request. I encourage your input, in fact, please let us know your Top 10. Then, plus the other obvious requirements, we will then have about a third of the selections necessary. Your guests, no doubt, will contribute enough to shape the evening. Rounding out the balance will be the bridge-gaps from our experience. Sort of being the “B” in the link between your “A” and a “C” from the guests.
This allows for a smooth transition from song to song. Again your help is vital; just don’t overtax yourselves trying to think for others. They will speak up because we will invite them at the commencement of the dancing. The bold ones do so during cocktail hour, trying to get things going. We note their desires and will play them at the appropriate time. Usually there are always crossovers that are on all 3 lists. We find that the key to program the balance of the night.
Lastly, if you have music, in just about any form, we do not currently have or can not acquire, we will be happy to play your CD, MP3 file or record from your source to insure that special selection(s) are there for you. Currently we have no way to record from 8-tracks. I haven’t found the right garage sale or ventured on to Ebay.com with desperation, just yet!
Going back to my original statement; everything is cyclical… I wish to see more people planning rather than over planning. It seems to be heading around again.
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