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Tips for choosing entertainment for your next event or celebration

Choosing your entertainment can be a difficult choice, especially if you are not local to the area where your event will be hosted.  So here are some pointers to help you select entertainment that will not only match your style but will be reliable.

Set your expectations with budget

While entertainment pricing can vary significantly, the biggest difference in price will be between a DJ or a Band.  Bands will typically cost much more than a DJ (2-4 times) so set your expectations right away if you are a candidate for a DJ or live entertainment.  There are also many different levels of DJ service so ask yourself if you are lower budget or looking for a first class experience.  You will want to consider the location of your event.  If you have already spent $X dollars to have your event at a high end location the last thing you want to do is cheap out on the entertainment.  There is a reason why entertainment is priced differently and the end result is the type of experience you will receive.  If you wonder why company A is asking much less than company B, look to see how busy they are and if they are more “quantity over quality”.  Lower budget entertainment tends to be more “cookie cutter”, while having a more realistic budget for the right venue will pay off three fold when the last song has finished.  There is a saying, “Cheap DJ’s aren’t good and good DJ’s aren’t cheap”.  While anybody can say “Yeah we do that for half the price”, that is not true.  You get what you pay for, especially when it comes to entertainment.

Talk don’t type

The best thing you can do is take the time to speak to the company you are considering, verses just email.  Getting to know the person that could potentially make or break your event is huge, whereas email will just provide factual details.  While it is important to get details in regards to pricing & available options it is just as important to make sure you like the person representing your event.  Ask to speak to the person who will be directly responsible for the outcome of your event.  After all they are the ones who will actually be there entertaining your guests and selecting the soundtrack for your event.  This is a great time to ask more about them.  What is their age?  Are they too young and inexperienced, or too old for your type of event?  Do they sound confident?  Of course, once you have that initial conversation email communication is the best avenue to see everything they offer and look more closely at details.  And most importantly make sure you are not setup for the “switch”.  This is common with multi-op companies telling you DJ “A” will be at your event, but suddenly DJ “B” shows up last minute.  It’s also called “fishing” in this industry where a company is holding out for a bigger pay day, so while you might get the owner themselves in the beginning don’t be surprised when they “break their leg” the week before and send the next in line.  With a single-op, it is one less stress you have to worry about.  Usually you are dealing directly with the source for the whole process, and it the experience is much more personal.  And ask the single-op if they have backups, most should have another DJ on board and multiple assistants.

Leave no stone unturned

Make sure you take the time to research your choices.  Any reputable company should offer content including video, pictures & actual client reviews.  This is crucial to weed out the junk, and find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  There should be nothing to hide, if a company is confident on their brand and end result there should be tons of relevant & recent content available.  Dig deep on all ends, especially social media such as Facebook & Instagram. 

Know the difference

In this industry technology is constantly evolving and the bar is always set higher.  Ask the company you are considering if they use the latest in technology and it is not outdated.  The common client doesn’t really recognize the difference when it comes to sound & lighting.  Case in point: While company A can probably purchase an up-light for $50 from China company B will spend $700 on one light.  What does that mean for you?  You are getting high quality equipment  with company B that won’t fail and will function correctly while providing a world of difference in the end result.  How about their setup?  Will there be wires laying around and will there be some guy with a laptop and some lights sitting on a table?  Once again consider the venue where you are hosting the event.  Will you want someone with professional DJ booths & cabling that customizes each setup?  Presentation is huge in this business, you only get one chance to make a first impression.  Ask the potential company what makes their setup different from the rest.  Also what will they be wearing?  Will it be a overdone tuxedo from the 80′s, or leather pants & a Mohawk?  Dressing to fit the occasion is crucial, and is something you should be concerned with.

What is your style?

This is the big question.  You want to find the right entertainment that will match your overall vision in regards to music & presentation.  Ask your potential company what their approach to entertainment is.  How do they get the party going?  The last thing you want is to be stuck with someone that doesn’t click with you or your guests.  If you are looking for a high energy DJ that doesn’t rely on cheesy & outdated techniques you need to be up front on that.  Do you want a completely original soundtrack to your event?  Make sure you ask if they play “sets”, that might not be what you want.  Do you want a microphone hog or a subtle MC?  Set your expectations up front and make sure this person can accommodate your style.  Don’t just take their word for it, check their content and make sure they are right for you.

Full time or part time

Another huge factor in your overall experience is if the person handling your entertainment does this full time.  Let’s face it, if a DJ works another full time job or is in a band they are not giving 100% to DJ entertainment craft.  Make sure you hire someone that is a full time DJ, you will be sure to get a much better experience since there is only one passion in their career.  If you want a good response to phone calls & emails, you want a full time company.  There are too many entertainers that wear multiple hats and just show up and do a job.  You might be hiring someone to provide entertainment at a 5 hour event, but the prep work and dedication can make it a 40 hour job easily.  Entertainers that don’t dedicate their full attention to each event usually fall short consistently.

Experience creates Talent

Experience comes in many forms, not only age.  You don’t have to be old to have the most experience necessarily.  You can’t buy it and you can’t get it from being a copycat.  Ask your potential company how many events they perform at per year, and how many of them are specific to yours (ie.weddings).  Experience creates talent, Michael Jackson didn’t become the #1 pop performer in history by singing in the mirror every day he got out in front of people.  Ask for their background, someone that has worked in different facets of the industry can offer much more than someone that has only done one type of gig. Are they innovative?  Do they offer an experience completely unique?

To learn how MSE can make your vision a reality contact us today at info@mseprodj.com or 239.821.2929