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DJ JESS’S TOP TEN REASONS YOU SHOULD ATTEND A CONFERENCE

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Flashback to last year at this time: I was setting up my DJ equipment in my kitchen, and instructing my kids to throw broccoli and laffy taffy at each other while I transitioned between Migos and D4L.

This year is incredibly different (thank goodness). Instead of attempting to transform my kitchen into a DJ studio for humorous video post purposes, I’m cleaning my kitchen and meal prepping for next week, when I will be out of town for MidWest DJs Live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

            It is my firm belief that conferences wake you up from the monotonous day to day of being a DJ and owning a business. It’s like a slap in the face that you wanted,  or a swift pat on the butt from your high school coach as they yell “GO GET ‘EM, McKelvey!” At first you might be startled, but you realize quickly it’s what needed to happen. For the record, neither has ever happened to me, but it sounds good, right?

            Maybe I’m biased, because I’ve had the honor of performing at a few conferences. No wait, there was that one conference I attended and didn’t perform, actually I ended up in the ER for numerous reasons I won’t reveal, (think antibiotics mixed with lack of sleep, travel fatigue, altitude change, and a girl who does NOT drink enough water) but I still walked away feeling full of passion and pursuit.

Basically what I’m saying is get your ass to a DJ conference, like, now

Humans need connection. As DJs, we often crave that. Even if you’re an introvert, I promise it’s good for your soul.

Here’s why you should plan to attend a DJ conference, in a top ten list style.

10. There’s a DJ Toy Store at your fingertips

All of the latest gear, planning apps, and more, are right there on the expo floor. Get your hands on what you typically google and talk to the reps. Plus, MEGA deals!

9. Fill Your Cup .

No, I’m not talking about your party glass, although that’s there for you if it is your thing. In order to provide at your highest good for others, you need to make sure you are full. The energy of a conference fuels you up and promotes mental health.

8. Professional Development

Learn ,learn, and then learn some more. You pick and choose what seminars to attend, where your brain is saturated with content relevant to the times and industry.

7. No New Friends

If you’re like me, you have industry friends across the nation. Social media is great, but there’s nothing like catching up in person. Nurture your existing relationships!

6. Yes New Friends

This is by far one of my favorite points. I’ve met some of my best friends and closest colleagues at conferences. The networking in between seminars and at the evening activities is invaluable.

5. Because traveling is fun

Enough said.

4. An excuse not to cook

Another perk of traveling, am I right?

3. Get back to the classroom

I know I already mentioned Professional Development, but this is different. Growing up, learning was our job. But as adults, that’s changed. We must remain in the mindset that education is power and continue with industry related education. 

2. Raise your rates

Every time I attend a conference, I become better at what I do, so I give myself a raise.

  1. Because you need human interaction

Let’s face it. 2020 was HARD. And finally, life is coming back around to what we (sort of) knew before. WE NEED CONNECTION! Awake your soul with a DJ conference and I promise you, it will be worth the investment and planning.

There it is, my lovely readers- my reasons you should attend a conference, like, now.

Now what are your options?

Check it out!

DJ Conferences happening this year, and every year:

1. Midwest DJs Live

https://www.midwestdjslive.com/

April 25th-April 28th  Milwaukee, WI

In person tickets sold out, but virtual is available.

2. The Marquee Show

https://marqueeshow.com/

June 22nd-24th Chicago, IL

3. The DJ Expo

August 9th-11th Atlantic City, NJ

4. MWE-OKC Wedding Pro Conference  (NEW to the industry!)

https://www.facebook.com/mweokc/

August 17th-18th Oklahoma City, OK

5. The DJ Collective

https://www.thedjcollectiveofficial.com/

November 16th-18th Scottsdale, Arizona

Sold out, waitlist open

6. ArmDJs

https://www.armdjs.com/

November 2nd-5th Greeneville, TN

Mobile Entertaiment Expo (formally Mobile Beat)

https://www.facebook.com/groups/mobileentertainmentexpo

February 21st-24th, 2022

(Also happening along with The Photo Booth Expo)

Now that I’ve ripped all this music what do I do?

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Let’s say you have a 200 Gigabyte hard drive and and it is 90% full thats 180 Gig and about 45,000 songs (ripped at 128 to 192 kbs avg). Hopefully You already have used a good MP3-RIPPER like Audio Grabber but if you didn’t you might have to do some of the following.
You need to do a few things to make sure your music collection is pristine. The FIRST MOST Important thing is to BACK UP your entire music collection at LEAST ONCE if not more. You should also rip your music at 320kbs or better. This backup should happen monthly or each time you change or update your music collection.



Second is you should get an MP3 id3v TAG analyzer/editor. Run this program on your entire library to correct spelling and/or missing information. it should also update your tags automatically in a mass grouping.Try DR. Tag (I use it. FREE to try) – AVS Audio editor is similar to Audacity but it has more functions.

Third is NORMALIZATION. Grab an MP3 normalizing program that will set all of your mp3s volume levels at the same default level. MP3 Gain is great software and it is FREE! Keep in mind that normalizing your audio levels can have an affect on the way they sound.

After all this is done you can go deeper with the ID3v tag editor and really categorize all of your music (Manually of course) You can also use editing programs like audacity or Cool Edit to change or edit your music ( taking out bad words for ex.)

You can als get an mp3 BPM (Beats Per Minute) analyzer/editor to extract the BPM information form your entire library. Mixmeister offers a Very Cool Free BPM Analyzer. Note that the new DJ software on the market automatically BPMs each song when played live at a gig. and other programs can extract BPM and normalize as well as individually being able to edit mp3s id3v tag.

REMEMBER…..
BACK UP YOUR MUSIC AFTER EACH OF THESE STAGES.

Greg Curran

QSC KS Series Subwoofers: A Review

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                I have used a variety of equipment in my history as a mobile DJ and audio technician.  I will say out of all the subwoofers I have used with my equipment QSC has some of the best.  In this article I will be going over the KS Series of subwoofers, the pros, cons, as well as the sizes to use in different situations.  These subwoofers are highly configurable, as well as user friendly. 

Construction and Features

                There are three different models of the KS series subwoofers.  The first is the KS112 which has a single 12-inch driver as well as a 2000-watt class-d amplifier.  It features an ultra-compact design that gives a professional appearance as well as the ability to use in a horizontal or vertical configuration.  The second is the KS212 which is the first in its class single box active cardioid subwoofer.  This unit features a 3600-watt class-d amplifier as well as dual 12-inch drivers.  It also features the same compact design as the KS112 and can be deployed in a horizontal or vertical configuration.  The KS118 is the largest option in the KS Series.  It has a great low frequency performance as well as an 18-inch driver and 3600-watt class-d amplifier.  The driver is set up in a direct radiating configuration whereas the smaller models use a 6th order bandpass design.  All the models feature dual M20 speaker pole fittings to mount a speaker pole above the sub box. 

                All in all, these subs are well built and durable.  The design of the boxes stands up to the rigorous lifestyle of a mobile entertainer.  The digital amplifier offers an amazing crossover performance that, while designed to operate with the K.2 and CP series and other QSC speakers, is compatible with any top cabinets you have.  You have a large range of gain levels to adjust your output for the room you are in.  When paired with my Electro-Voice ZLX-15P speakers it sounds AMAZING, but the best sound was when I paired them with a pair of QSC CP10 speakers.  This shows that they are specifically designed to operate the most efficiently with other QSC equipment. 

Real World Usage

                I used these speakers in many different situations that my DJ business had encountered during 2020.  Unfortunately, COVID-19 put a damper on how many events I was able to test these at.  I do believe that the testing I was able to do was sufficient to give my honest opinion of them.  These subs took a beating, and it did not even phase them.  I had many events that ended up taking them to their limits and there was no clipping or even excessive heat coming from the amplifier.  They also took a lot of hits during load ins and load outs.  The covers helped minimize any damage that may occur due to this, but the well-designed box does not get damaged easy even if you do not have the covers on.  The sound out of these was great.  You can really tell a difference between using just a pair of speakers and pairing them with a quality sub.  They are also priced reasonably so any DJ business that budgets their business properly can afford them. 

Conclusion

                All in all, I believe these subs are a great buy for any mobile DJ.  QSC really amazes me with every product I review for them as the quality is some of the best I have seen in the industry.  I encourage other DJs and entertainers out there to pick up a set of these and try them out.  Do not take my word for it, but these subs would be an amazing investment for any DJ to use at events.  Employing a three-way setup is the best way to not only provide the best quality sound but also prolong the life of your equipment.  You can find these speakers at all your major equipment retailers but I recommend NLFX Professional.  Follow the links below to find them.

The KS112

https://www.nlfxpro.com/ks112-12-inch-subwoofer/

The KS212C

https://www.nlfxpro.com/kc212c-cardioid-subwoofer/

The KS118

https://www.nlfxpro.com/ks118-18-inch-subwoofer/

All images are copyright of QSC.com and NLFXProfessional.com

The Power You Possess (and probably don’t even know it)

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By Jessica McKelvey

Have you ever caught someone looking at you? Or, has someone caught you looking at them?

I’m referring to that time you were at a red light, looked at the car next to you, only to have the person look back. Maybe you were in the checkout line, bored, and looking around at people. Situation aside, the result was the same: one person started it, the other person felt it and looked back.

The reason this happens is the same for all of us- but more powerful in some versus others.

It’s energy.

Think I’m crazy? I promise you I’m not. Everything around us is constructed of energy. Think about it- scientifically all matter is made of atoms, biologically with living organisms, and so much more.

Some humans are more in tune with energy than others. It’s called being an empath, which is different than empathy. Empathy is putting yourself in someone’s shoes, whereas being an empath is another level of giving and receiving energy. You have a stronger connection to either people, places, or things.

I’m learning that a lot of DJs are empaths. It makes sense; we are in the business of energy. We create positive vibes at events through music and interactions.

There are different types of empaths. We won’t be diving deeply into that, and you can independently explore to find out which area you are the strongest in. Use this knowledge to your advantage and elevate your brand and performance. I’ve found myself attracting  clients with the same empathic vibes, which creates such a harmonious working relationship.

If you do identify as an empath, I strongly encourage you to educate yourself. For now, follow these suggestions to capitalize on your new-found superpower:

  • Separate energy- Be aware that you are sensitive to energies. Not everything you feel is technically your own. I used to get anxious for no good reason, and finally realized I was picking up on something else that was happening. An example of this may be if the parents of a wedding couple do not get along. I make sure to ask about family dynamics before an event now.
  • Overwhelm- Picking up on so many energies and emotions can be overwhelming. If you feel overwhelmed, take a moment and reset. Music affects empaths differently by triggering a response in the reward part of your brain. Put on your headphones, drown out your surroundings for just a moment, and get into the music.
  • Look at small groups in the crowd. This way, you can hone in on their energy and what will make them move. Looking at the entire group can overstimulate you.
  • Trust your instincts. They are STRONG.

Realizing that I am an empath has brought my world into focus. Experiences I had in school now make sense to me. Social interactions are less daunting and I understand why I sometimes felt like I was on the outside.

I’m not saying that people who aren’t empaths are less than those that are; that is NOT my message. We’ve all been gifted superpowers. But, for those of us that are, recognizing that this is your superpower will elevate your personal and professional life. What’s even more astonishing  is that when you realize you’re an empath and begin to educate yourself, the connection gets stronger and efficacious.

Follow this link, and find out if you are indeed an empath-and please reach out to me if you’d like to talk further!

https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-an-empath

GET THIS BOOK NOW-Empath: A Complete Guide for Developing Your Gift and Finding Your Sense of Self by Judy Dyer

Having Great Parties Outside in the Summertime

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Summer is just around the corner. In the summertime, use the opportunity to make a difference between a good time and a great time at any and every outdoor party… Weddings, picnics or pool parties. To approach each outdoor party with confidence, be prepared for anything and everything Mother Nature main part. The lower few guidelines to help in mind to keep the good times rolling at your outdoor parties.

  • Summarize your car and make sure that the radiator is full of antifreeze and you have extra on hand.
  • Always make sure it’s written in your contract and when you speak to your client before the event that if you are outside you are under some type of a tent or cover to protect you and your equipment from the Sun and any outdoor elements.
  • Since you can’t always count on a client to have a tent it would be a good idea to have an extra pop up handy just in case you need it. Tarps and or blankets are also a good idea to help cover your equipment in case it rains or to protect your equipment from the Sun. These tarps or blankets can also help cover your equipment to hide it when it’s carried in your vehicle.
  • If you are using vinyl and you are outside, never have your turntables and or the vinyl in direct sunlight it only takes a few minutes in 80-plus degree heat to melt and warp your vinyl.
  • Watch the wind outside if using a turntable which can blow your turn arms or any other type of paper for business cards that are on your table.
  • Bring an extra shirt or change of clothes when you begin to feel the effects of the heat and you may sweat a lot. A towel or Sports towel that becomes cold when you wet it is also a good idea to help keep you cool. It is also a great idea to carry a small fan that you can point at yourself to keep you cool.
  • Rain or pool water should be regarded with special care and of course, never stand in water while using your microphone or touching your equipment. The minute it starts to rain you should immediately shut down and unplug everything and get to safety.

The Post-COVID World: DJ Recovery

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In my previous article (“Post-Pandemic Rebuilding”), our beloved DJ industry is in recovery mode.  Many have chosen to retire; many were forced to close.  It’s been tough for the economy overall, with some 100,000 businesses shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is estimated that more than 60% will remain closed.  If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a survivor.  You’ve managed to hang on, maybe even found creative ways to earn a bit of cash via virtual performances, etc., but as we DJs and the world at large re-emerge from our quarantine and the economic gears slowly begin to turn, all of us may find that we have a whole lot of work to do and a lot less resources (a.k.a. “cashflow”) with which to get the job done.

GETTING THE WORD OUT

My last piece focused on rebuilding your business and how our post-pandemic world might change the way we do things.  I’m going to assume that you are either ready or close to being ready to once again enter the fray of public performance, but after more than a year of being inactive, referrals – usually the most effective promotion we have – aren’t what they used to be.  Reviews have gotten stale.  Even social media isn’t garnering the interest that it once did.  (For most of us, it’s less a client-building platform and more of a self-entertainment, idea sharing pursuit.)  What’s needed is a jumpstart for the promising season ahead of us.

New clients are going to have to be generated the “old-fashioned way,” via ad campaigns.  We’ve all been here before and, like me, you may have thought that we were done with buying ads.  Your next thought may be, “How in the heck, after months of little-to-no income can I afford a new campaign”?  The simplest answer should be the most obvious: EVERYONE is hurting.  This means we all need each other, now more than ever.  We can take a tip from our radio brethren and turn this seemingly dire situation into an opportunity.  It’s called…..

THE CO-OP

Co-op advertising is old… to the point of ancient.  The big companies do it constantly.  Simply put, businesses who offer different things to the same pool of buyers can combine their advertising budgets to push both (or more) businesses forward for less money.  Who can ever forget that McDonald’s serves Coca-Cola?  These two juggernauts have been leveraging the power of co-op advertising long before it was a necessity for them!  In fact, when your business co-ops with another, you can also benefit from any public perception of quality that they have cultivated (and vice-versa).

Wedding DJs may already have an extensive referral list, which may include photographers, videographers, photo booth suppliers (if you don’t do this yourself), caterers, venues and on and on.  Remember: these businesses have also been mostly shut down!  An offer to co-op is likely to be welcomed as a lifeline.  The first thing to do, then, is to make a list of what type of campaign you’d like to mount; which bridal shows, guides, public events, direct mail, online, podcasts/broadcasts and other advertising areas you’ve always wanted to see your business represented.  It also couldn’t hurt to get some quotes, just to have hard numbers at the ready.

Next, approach your potential partner(s) and pitch the idea of a unified ad campaign featuring both (or all three…. four?) of your businesses.  Maybe you’re great at ad layouts and copywriting.  If not, perhaps these partners are!  Maybe they have access to professionals they’ve used in the past.  In any case, propose that you combine your budgets and your reach to mutually maximize your sales.

This type of partnership can also maximize a resource you both already have: your mailing lists.  The email and snail mail lists of all partners, sending the same ads, multiply your reach exponentially.  All parties are spending less and getting more.  Not only is this good for getting the word out, but you’ll build on your relationship with the vendor(s) within your co-op that could last a lifetime!

JUST ONE MORE THING….

There have been countless articles and online arguments about DJs featuring their gear when clients don’t know or care what you use.  And this is true… normally.  But things have changed here just a bit, too.  The brands and dealers of equipment and music production software have also taken a big hit and want all of the exposure they can get!  If you have a line of gear you use that you love to rave about, why not get paid for it?  Like the Coke/McDonald’s union, a photo of you using your [fill in the blank] gear might just be enough for them to sponsor you… in cash.  If you’re a high-profile DJ who also gives seminars, coaches or is an author (ahem!), use those credentials to “sell” the idea; let them know that your industry colleagues will see their logo whenever they see your face.

So what are you waiting for?  Get those contracts together and get in touch before your competition does.  If we all pull together, we can all rise from the ashes of COVID even stronger than before.  Until next time, safe spinnin’!