Starting out as a new DJ is both an exciting and discouraging process. In this article, I will show an alternative method to becoming a professional Digital DJ quickly. The following five tips will show you a new way to gain experience and build the skills necessary to begin your DJ career using Second Life.

Decide What Type of DJ You Want To Be

Deciding what type of DJ you want to be is the first, and most important, step. Everything you do following this decision is dictated by what choice you make. For easy explanation, I will use these classifications: Club DJ, Radio DJ, and Special Events DJ.

Each of these classifications represents a different type of DJ. For example, Radio DJs are the type that you hear every day on your favorite radio station. These DJs play a pre-planned set list, take requests, and speak to their audience occasionally. Special Events DJ’s are audience and events oriented while Club DJs are music and mix oriented. This means, depending on which DJ type you choose, you will learn certain skills to different degrees. Once you know what type of DJ you want to be, study other DJs in that classification. This will help you develop techniques through mimicking until you develop your own style.

The second most important step to starting your digital DJ career is to decide what type of music you want to play. You will hear some DJs state that they play, “rock, country, hip-hop, pretty much anything”. This is not a great way to start building your reputation as a professional digital DJ. Pick your genre of music, specialize in that genre. If you like Classic Rock and 80′s music, then be a Rock and/or Pop DJ. If you like techno, electro, and dance music, then specialize in that. Once you develop a reputation for being a skilled DJ in a specific genre, then you can branch out to other styles.

Organize Your Music Files

If you’ve decided that you want to have a career as a Digital DJ, the first thing you should know is that a large music collection is necessary. Trying to become a digital DJ without a proper library will create hardships right from the start. You can build your library through purchasing and downloading music a number of ways.

The best advice in building your library is to organize your files immediately tagging them using Tag Scanner. This is a semi-automatic mp3 tagger that allows you to look up a song, match the song title and artist, and then using a one-click tagging feature that will import all the primary info tags, including album images, into your mp3.

Gather Your Equipment

Becoming a Digital DJ allows you to store your music files on a laptop, or other portable device, and play them using a controller and software. So, the next step to becoming a professional digital DJ is to get the equipment you need. DJ equipment can be very expensive, but the good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get started. The most important piece of equipment you need is your computer or laptop along with all your music on a hard drive.

Secondly, you want some type of software to stream your music. Since the best way for you to develop your skills and begin your digital DJ career is to do so online, you will need software that allows you to stream to a live server. Free software can be obtained through Winamp and Shoutcast. More specialized software is SAM Broadcaster or Virtual DJ. I will go more into the different software packages in future articles. For now, searching these on Google will provide you with more information on what software package fits your needs.

If you will be doing voice-overs, then a mic is necessary. My advice to you is never to use your built in laptop mic or cheap desktop mics. There are many inexpensive dynamic and condensed mics on the market that will provide better sound quality.

A computer, DJ software, and a mic are all that is needed to begin your Digital DJ career. Other equipment can be purchased as your skills grow and expand.

Attitude and Outlook

Your attitude and outlook is everything when it comes to being a Digital DJ. How you interact with your audience is a big factor in determining your reputation. Many a DJ that has excellent skills with mixing and music are unwanted due to having an overly inflated ego or a rotten attitude towards their patrons. You can play all the music that you want, but you need people to listen to that music to have a career as a DJ. Most times, your outlook and attitude will be a factor in someone else’s business: the club that you’re working for. The club wants to keep their patrons. The DJ wants to keep his or her listeners. Having a great attitude and working well with requests and patron interaction is mutually beneficial or, in the opposite case, can ruin your career.

Finding a club in Second Life

The previous tips that I’ve given you are to help you decide if you want to pursue a career as a Digital DJ. Having an organized mp3 library, DJ software, microphone, knowing what type of DJ you are and having a winning attitude are all a must to begin learning how to be a professional DJ. Once these are determined, you then ask yourself, “How do I get started?” My alternative method to developing your skills and beginning your career as a DJ is very simple.

DJs that practice using their equipment without actual listeners are called ‘bedroom DJs’. The entire purpose of being a DJ is to play music for others and possibly mix live music. As you being your career, you are not going to be able to just jump into playing hot clubs with crowds packed between the walls. Only practice and experience will open the doors for this to happen. However, there is a way for you to still earn money while practicing.

Second Life is a virtual world where people make avatars and spend their time chatting and shopping and dancing in clubs, while meeting other people. One of the best aspects of Second Life is its monetary exchange. You can work in Second Life, making money which you can then exchange for real world currency. It won’t be a lot. In fact, the exchange rate is somewhere around 270 Linden Dollars to 1 U.S. Dollar. I work one set, a two hour period, and earn an average of 1500 Lindens each time. This is approximately $5.60 for a two hour set. Not a lot, for sure, but the advantage to using Second Life to begin your Digital DJ career is that you will be playing for live patrons. You will develop your skills, and experience, as well as your reputation as a DJ.

As you practice online and develop your skills, you will then gain the confidence to take those skills outside the home; playing for private parties and continuing to build skills in front of live people, and ultimately, into the clubs. Using Second Life as a launch pad to your Digital DJ career will greatly benefit you, both in practiced experience, and in reputation. While the money may not match the real world pay you could make, the reputation as a DJ that you gain will precede you. However, even at that $5.60 rate for a two hour set, you’re making money that can be used to buy more music, or save for better equipment as you practice your skills.