Tuesday, June 06, 2006

WOM in the DJ Business


As some of you in class may be aware, I have owned my own mobile disc jockey business for give or take the last 6 years. I've been DJ'ing at dances, proms, private parties, weddings, and more since I was in high school.

Sunday night I was DJ'ing at an all-night graduation party, when I had a WOM experience with one of my colleagues in the DJ business. This afternoon, while recording the experience in the Word-of-Mouth Episode Survey (WOMES), it occured to me that almost all equipment purchase decisions made by myself and fellow DJ's were the result of WOM experiences we had with one another.

Sunday evening I had invited a colleague of mine from another DJ company (with whom I'll be teaming up with next school-year for a number of events) to come and visit my event at a local high school's all-night graduation party. The school had ordered a fairly large package and I thought it was a good opportunity for him to come and see how the Benway Entertainment guys put on a show, considering I had worked with him on his company's jobs a number of times.

With my friend expanding his business over the next few months, and myself looking to make some equipment upgrades this summer, the conversation quickly turned to a discussion of our sound equipment and sharing positive and negative experiences with particular pieces of equipment, most specifically the amplifiers. I had indicated I planned to purchase a new amp over the summer, and without skipping a beat he said, "Buy a Yamaha. Just like mine." I knew he was referring to his Yamaha P7000S, an amp of his that I had seen in action on his jobs before. We went into a detailed discussion about how he has had the amplifier for several years and has not had a single problem with it, as well as other technical highlights of the equipment. Furthermore, he offered to hook me up with the vendor that he uses if I wanted to buy one.

While reflecting on this experience earlier this afternoon, I realized that so many of the equipment purchases we make in the DJ business are based on WOM recommendations. I will probably not make any purchases for my business today without having consulted with other people in the business to see what their recommendation is on the product. These equipment purchases are serious investments on our parts, and need to be carefully analyzed before we make them. For example, when I made my first purchase of pro-grade speakers 5 years ago, the only reason I bought JBL! brand speakers was because the DJ who performed at all my middle school dances back in the day (and ultimately got me interested in this business) used them and swore by them. Today, I too swear by them and recommend them to all of my colleagues, while also passing along any criticisms I have about the particular model that I bought.

The DJ gear that myself and my colleagues purchase for our companies are not only an investment on our part, but also serve as a reflection of our professionalism as businesspeople. It doesn't take a sound engineer in the crowd to realize if the DJ you've hired is using substandard equipment. Thus, we work together to seek the recommendations (and often horror stories) of equipment purchases by our colleagues so that we can put together the best sound systems at the best prices for our businesses.

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1 comment:

NUlax17 said...

I don't know a lot about the DJ business and things, but I would have to generalize what you are saying to all musicians. In my past experiences playing guitar in various bands and just playing music in general, I bought most of my gear based off what I saw others using both - friends and more popular mainstream musicians seen in videos and magazines. The music business reflects really well what WOM can do. I think a DJ might reflect it even more with so much based around the speakers and soundsystem. I never really thought about it til now, but WOM is one of the most important aspects for purchase decisions for amateur musicians that I've come across in all my interactions with musicians and music. Thanks for elightening me.