Entering the new year 2024 * How business has changed over the years
DJ Idea Sharing by Mike Fernino
2023 is in the books and I have thoughts about where we are and where we came from just a few years ago.
There is no doubt that some things have returned to the status quo, and yet other things are very different from what they used to be.
Let’s start with the obvious. Holiday parties have come back from the 2020 disaster. Well, sort of. It seems the fear of Covid community spread and a room full of masked employees is over. The office holiday party is back, but maybe not as robust as in the past. You see, employers have learned that they can get away with giving minimum rewards as the employees are simply happy to have their job these days. And with the changes in the office place along with working from home is there even an office to have a party in anymore? Many of the holiday parties seem to be a bit understated and on the smaller side. There will always be exceptions to the norm but all in all I am seeing smaller events and many parties electing to play a Spotify list on a bluetooth speaker vs the professional DJ entertainer coming in with a huge set up and all the extras. Whether or not we see the return of gigantic Christmas parties is still up in the air but at least I’m thankful they are back after a non-existent 2020-2021.
Weddings are certainly back from being cancelled or micro-sized with masks and social distance. But the pandemic has made a profound impact on our industry and that is how we interact with our couples. Before 2020 I had a really fancy office space and would host meetings with all of our couples in that professional environment. Now with the revelation of ZOOM and other online communication programs it feels as if couples all want to meet their DJ from the comfort of home while in their PJs. Call it the “amazon effect” but it really feels as if couples would rather stay at home after work vs drag over to my office and sit down for a 60 minute session. Rather, they use the technology afforded to them on programs like DJ Event Planner to plan and prep for their wedding. Final meetings to review details have become shorter as well while weddings continue to simplify. People just are less social these days and use technology to meet virtually vs face to face. I closed my office space in 2020 and have not looked back. Something tells me I’m not alone.
How simple have weddings become? Well, let’s use 2010 as a direct comparison. In 2010 for example it would be expected for the DJ to introduce a large wedding party along with parents while using everyone’s full formal names. Now these days we get first names only and often don’t even bring in wedding party attendees as couples. It’s one intro for the entire group.
” Would you all please welcome the wedding party! ”
A first dance in 2010 might be full length with special effects like fog or confetti or even snow. Guests would be invited to join in along with wedding party. In other words there was a lot of substance. Now in 2023 I have had so many bride and groom ONLY first dances with a request to cut the song after only 60-90 seconds. Very understated indeed!
Speaking of cutting time down in 2010 we would play the entire song and maybe even offer up a extended remix. Now in 2023 people seem to get bored of a song after 2 minutes. Maybe even less! Call that one the “TikTok effect”! It’s a real thing too! People discovered TikTok during the pandemic and seem to have become very used to watching 30 second videos and as result their attention span has been cut down to that of a salamander. Seems that quick mixes are the IN-THING currently so let’s hope DJs really embrace their mixing skills!
In 2010 you would see a huge wedding cake and the bride and groom would feed each other and maybe do some cake smashing. In 2023, “Less Is More” now more than ever! For example I see less and less actual cake cutting ceremonies. The bride and groom either have a private cutting session with their photographer or skip the whole thing completely. And this also goes for the grand Venetian table of desserts. Maybe the lack of sweets is because Millennials and Gen Z are into health as we see a explosion nationwide of health clubs and gyms? In fact, many health clubs have taken over the Malls, which is great because no other stores are in the malls anymore!
In 2010 there were many typical wedding venues (Wedding factories) with grand ceilings, marble floors, fancy outdoor gardens with waterfalls and over-the-top amenities. Now in 2023 the growing trend of barn “country style weddings” have really expanded. Yes, the BIG venues are still pumping out the weddings but the older and not so up to date venues that once prospered in the 80s and 90s are all closing down. While this is happening more folks are having backyard weddings with pizza, barbecue and bar trucks. Barns are still a big deal but the trend may be losing a bit of steam. I believe that in 2024 the backyard or park will be the new Barn!
In 2010 a typical DJ might be setting up a full light show with movers, lasers and trussing. Now in 2023 the LED All-In-One cross bar with 6 different effects dominates the DJ world. Dare I say that people in general have lowered expectations and the DJ has responded by giving less as well. You don’t see as many subwoofer/top speaker combinations but instead way more column systems that take 5 minutes to set up. DJs even will push a column speaker system hard that can really only handle 100 guests for a event of 250 and say it sounded great!
In general people have lowered ALL their expectations and over-kill is DEAD!“You get just enough and you will like it!”
In 2010 DJs would be wheeling in huge racks with gear mounted inside. Front facades were the “In-Look” and a set up was highly complicated. Now in 2023 with DJ furniture all the craze simple and sleek is the thing. A clean and efficient DJ table with all connections and cables out of sight from the audience is certainly a hot look along with the ALL-WHITE DJ set up complete with matching white lighting. Simple is the word, BIG is a nerd in 2023.
In 2010 if people needed a DJ for their event they would go to a venue preferred vendor guide or just hop on their lap top and Google. Now in 2023 58% of people are using Voice Recognition services such as Siri and Alexa so getting found in that platform is the new SEO.
My final point of comparison is most unfortunate. In 2010 a professional DJ was raising rates after a disaster from the Great Recession of 2008. We are were on a comeback. In 2023 I see our industry going the wrong way! Inflation has made everything go up but DJs are either staying the same rate or going down. It seems like a race to the bottom as we have thrown our skill, talent and experience right out the door and compete based on lowest price. A recipe proven to kill any industry. Where we end up eventually is yet to be seen but I can tell you that something has to give. We have so much more upside as a industry than downside. And until artificial intelligence can read a crowd, set up all the gear and be a fun and engaging Master of Ceremonies I’ll put my money on the DJ.
We have emerged from the pandemic forever changed indeed. Some for the good, and some for the bad. But one thing is a certainty. Change is inevitable.