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FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM APRIL 2007
“Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.” – Dale Carnegie
There is a malaise being created by skeptics. It is as if, the empowerment of discerning between right from wrong is being vilified as an attack on civil liberty. Upon the very conventions that our nation was founded, there are those that wish to create uncertainty and turmoil to impede a progress that they don’t believe in…or wish to ignore.
Who are the “they”? “They” say. “They” attempt to trump example and anecdotes by demanding a black and white line that outlines the “they” in an attempt to avoid or invalidate the larger message at hand. Where does “they” begin and end? Curious thought… Imagine trying to draft the dictionary today, without the use of antecedent knowledge to reference. Somewhere…somehow…general communication became acknowledged and written down. Essentially created from thin air with nothing more than a commonly held reference of accepted communication.
Society had progressed over thousands of years to bring us to a point of instant communication laced with skepticism in want of citable evidence. Therein lays the dilemma. How does a common observation become citable evidence without the obligatory nod from the skeptics?
Skepticism: An attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object or idea. A doctrine that true knowledge or knowledge in a particular area is uncertain.
Skepticism is a willful act of ignorance. Suspending judgment by creating systematic doubt through criticizing a lack of citable evidence as nothing more than an opinion. Ironically, skeptics can formulate an opinion which is a belief stronger than an impression and less stronger than positive knowledge. Hmmm…if skeptics are seeking and demanding certain and absolute knowledge….wouldn’t forming an opinion ultimately be hypocritical?
The MDJ industry involves many target areas of clientele. However, it is generally accepted that wedding related events account for the largest number of performances and the greater bottom line. Keep in mind, there are skeptics that would disagree.
The population of MDJs has steadily increased to a point of market saturation for most. Keep in mind, there are skeptics that would disagree. They may argue since there are no previous registered census numbers to reference that any comparison would be invalid. Hmmm…If we apply the skeptics need for certain knowledge…the MDJ industry didn’t exist prior to 2002. The first year that the US Census Bureau assigned a NAICS code to 15,862 Disc Jockeys. See for yourself : < http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/epcd/srchnaics02ind >
In 1995 there were approximately 8,500 MDJs listed in major and minor phone books across the USA. In 2006 there were approximately 17,500 MDJs listed in major and minor phone books across the USA. Keep in mind, there are skeptics that would disagree. They may argue that some MDJs listed are no longer in business, therefore the data would be compromised.
It is generally accepted that there are more MDJs than are listed within the major and minor phone books across the USA. There are roughly 4 MDJ entities that exist to every listed MDJ entity. Keep in mind, this is where skeptics really start to unravel. Statistics! Producing the “best information” possible from available data to create a reasonable probability that is quantifiable.
In 1995 a conservative listing yielded approximately 8,500 MDJs, whereas a more probable number of approximately 34,000 existed.
In 2006 a conservative listing yielded approximately 17,500 MDJs, whereas a more probable number of approximately 70,000 existed.
So how does an apparent increase in MDJ population affect the bottom line for a MDJ? Keep in mind, there are skeptics that would disagree with the notion that competition can exert any affect on any given company.
I, however, disagree…
Based on 2,446,608 weddings in 1995 (if equally divided):
8,500 MDJs would have the potential for 288 events each, whereas 34,000 MDJs would only have the potential for 72 events each.
Based on 2,171,000 weddings in 2006 (if equally divided):
17,500 MDJs would have the potential for 124 events each, whereas 70,000 MDJs would only have the potential for 31 events each.
Both the conservative and probable sides indicate a 56.21 percent decline since 1995 in wedding share for MDJ entertainment overall, which does not factor in any other form of entertainment.
Despite what MDJs may share as their embellished yearly performance numbers. Each MDJ has a finite number of dates in a year that are being dictated by a fairly finite group of potential clients. There will always be an exception to MDJs having a down year with some MDJ having a banner year. However, these isolated banner year cases will not last forever. If a single-op MDJ claims to have experienced a 100% increase in bookings from the previous year…“congratulations“! I’d also bet good money the run of “good fortune” wouldn’t last more than 5 years.
These are the real facts: From 2001-2006, USA wedding numbers declined by 402,643. In 2006 there were 29 states that indicated wedding numbers below a seven year average. Which accounts for a wedding entertainment shortfall in the neighborhood of $220 million dollars. Which is coincidentally, around 25% of the total revenue generated by MDJ wedding entertainment.
NV experienced ONE of the last SIX years with a decline in wedding numbers. AZ, FL, ID, IN, KY, ME, MD & OK all experienced TWO of the last SIX years with a decline in wedding numbers. AK, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, GA, HI, IA, KS, MA, MN, MO, MT, NE, ND, OR, PA, WA, WY all experienced THREE of the last SIX years with a decline in wedding numbers. IL, LA, MS, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, RI, SC, TX, UT, VA & WV all experienced FOUR of the last SIX years with a decline in wedding numbers. MI, WI, AL, OH, SD, TN & VT all experienced FIVE of the last SIX years with a decline in wedding numbers. Arkansas experienced SIX of the last SIX years with a decline in wedding numbers.
GA, NV, FL, ID, KY, ME & OK are the ONLY states that HAVE NOT experienced consecutive declining years in weddings over the past 6 years.
On average MDJs across the nation are doing less wedding events annually. Largely due to fewer potential events and increased market competition. This is where MDJs need to wake up and smell the coffee. Less events requires more in event fees to maintain a current year end gross. Yet, there are increasing reports from all over the country of MDJs going soft on price to fill their calendars. MDJs are flinching and the brides are cashing in.
Anyone can explain why their service is worth less than a competitors…
Few can explain why they are worth more…
In an ever tightening wedding market, controlling costs becomes vital to survival. However, there are entities that take it a bit further and under-produce shows to improve their bottom lines at the expense, in many cases, to what little credibility is given to the MDJ industry.
There is nothing wrong with admitting when a down year takes place. I tend to find more respect for people willing to face adversity openly, honestly and head on than those that would whitewash ignorance as a success story. When you can clearly define what a problem is and where it exists, it can be dealt with more effectively.
So what is the major problem facing the MDJ industry? Is it unregistered MDJs flooding the marketplace. Is it the serial duplication and use of illegal music libraries creating a perpetual drain on future events? Is it the hobbyist mentality that fosters a non-businesslike perception of MDJs. Is it MDJs willing to steal website content for their business? Is it MDJs willing to under-report or cheat on taxes? Is it MDJs willing to NOT honor their contract? Is it MDJs willing to NOT enforce their contract? Is it MDJs willing to place their clients at risk? Is it MDJs willing to NOT be a responsible economic citizen? Willfully ignorant skeptics work themselves into frenzied debate over contributing causality to complex issues of monumental proportion in attempt to create uncertainty that any problem exists. After-all, it’s easier to bury one’s head in the sand.
Generally speaking everything increases in price. According to: “http://inflationdata.com/inflation/consumer_price_index/HistoricalCPI.aspx”
Inflation has risen 49.2% over the past 10 years, 94% over the past 20 years. Why then, are there MDJs still charging equivalent rates to 20 years ago? Ignoring inflation effects and any need for a subsequent Cost Of Living adjustment creates the problem. This is precisely where willfully ignorant skeptics lack clarity and confidence. The absolute fear of the commanding a livable wage. DJs sell themselves short by offering a lower price as their best attribute.
You cannot produce a show cheaper today, than 20 years ago. Focusing on only ONE of many production areas…the increased cost of living and the wages it takes to maintain that living, imparts a need for higher rates than 20 years ago. Skeptics disagree and that is what makes them both ignorant and self-destructive.
You, as a business owner, deserve a climate that is conducive to prosperity. We cannot get there if we continue to allow skeptics to create uncertainty in defining the problems we face. Skeptics defend the right to be ignorant. Leaders defend everyone’s right to be equitably valued by their best talents, skills and moments.
Dude Walker can be reached at dudewalker@discjockeynews.com.


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