DJ Red, DJ Dirtybird, Blair McDonald (Finally Famous DJ services), Doug Kool (Look Music), and Bryan Podworny (Expressions Entertainment) are some of the local DJ’s that make your evening more enjoyable. And without a doubt taking a chunk out of the business of live acts.
Today some of the top DJ’s in the world are making over 60 million dollars a year (Calvin Harris) and some guys will earn 250k to 300k a night doing bar shows in Vegas. Not bad really you show up with 2 laptops, turntable, and special effects machine and crank it up. In comparison when Metallica plays Bell MTS Centre in Winnipeg the band will earn around 600k. Keep in mind Metallica will tour with 10 semi-trailers and 5 tour buses and a crew of about 40 people.
In the 90’s back in the Encounters and Unwinder days bands like Honeymoon Suite, Helix, Kim Mitchell, Gowan, I Mother Earth, Brighton Rock, GOB, Quiet Riot, Our Lady Peace, and Tragically Hip would play live for anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 dollars. Over the last several years only a few notable live acts play the local clubs as the DJ has become the biggest draw.
Blair McDonald & Braden Orchard of Finally Famous DJ Services will go out on a Saturday night and charge on average about $1,100.00 to provide music, lights, and Emcee services. “Hey if you have a song on your phone and we don’t have it we will play it…. How many guys can say that?” Right now a big event for Finally Famous is doing shows at the Double Decker downtown and selling it out almost every time. “in the clubs we play EDM music”. EDM music is considered Electronic Dance Music.
To give you a sample of one of the biggest DJ / EDM shows click on this video from Tomorrowland 2017.
Doug Kool a local icon and legend with 42 plus years in the mobile DJ entertainment service. “The DJ market is a totally different. There are some big functions that want live acts and in the clubs, DJ’s will always be cheaper than bands”. People really have no idea of the costs to bring in a band of some notoriety into a local club. Kool states that “bands want such big money to play now and a place like Houstons are lucky to break even after all the costs are incurred…. You need to totally sell out to even attempt to break even.” On a busy night with DJ’s and providing professional sound and lights Look Music can do from 12 – 15 shows per night.
DJ Dirtybird says social media and word of mouth is how his business has increased “to be honest a lot back in the day we would do posters everyone sits on their phone for hours a day and if you promote yourself right things will work good 90 percent of my promos are Twitter and Facebook. DJ Dirtybird loves what he does “I get paid money to listen to the music I love.”
Shane Robins a local singer from a local band Just4Kicks says their talent and music selection keeps customers calling them back. “We have become the corporate band for events such AMM and they want a live band and not a DJ”. According to Robins they just don’t stick to one type of music. “We play every genre of music we don’t stick to one era”. And at the end of the day for most bands, this isn’t about money it is about having fun. “We are for sure as busy as we want to be …. We work full time and it is about having fun”. The cost to book Just4Kicks is in the range of about $1,500.00.
One thing is very certain is large local clubs like the Roadhouse and Houston’s are slowly fading off into the sunset and smaller options like The Dock, Double Decker, Prairie Firehouse, Lady of the Lake, Joe Beeverz, Huggy’s, The Keg and Wheat City Bar and Grill are on the steady increase as it appears people are looking for smaller and quieter options.
Finally Famous DJ Service
Look Music Services
Bryan Podworny / Expressions Entertainment
Just 4 Kicks
Darryl Wolski – Former DJ 92 CITI FM / KX96 / The Unwinder and Encounters