What could be better than backpacking around Europe or spending a month on a sunny Caribbean beach? How about paying for it by playing DJ gigs along the way? The good news is, you don’t have to be an EDM superstar to play shows abroad, but it won’t be a walk in the park either. As long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort, however, you should be able to book your dream vacation and cover some (if not all) of your expenses by learning how to get DJ gigs abroad.
Plan in Advance – WAY in Advance
When you’re planning any kind of trip, it always pays off to plan well in advance, and this is even more true when thinking about how to get DJ gigs abroad. In this case, planning means more than just figuring out where you’re going to sleep every night.
If you want to secure bookings in a foreign country, you’ll have to find some way to become a part of the local scene, and thanks to the Internet, this is a lot easier to do than it used to be. No, you don’t have to “get famous” in whatever country you’re planning on spinning in, but you do have to build relationships with people in the local scene.
Music scenes are pretty similar no matter where you are in the world, and just like at home, the most important part of any foreign music scene usually comes down to who you know. So get on the blogs, the forums, Facebook, Twitter, and whatever else you can find online where people in the scene like to hang out. Then start chatting it up with local DJs and promoters; you can’t just show up and expect to play the local club if no one knows who you are. (For tips on booking gigs at home and abroad, check out our video lessons on getting gigs and promoting yourself.)
Play the Foreigner Card
One of the toughest parts of learning how to get DJ gigs abroad is figuring out how to navigate a totally different culture. However, being outsider can also work to your advantage if you learn how to play the foreigner card right.
A lot of promoters like booking foreign DJs because it allows them to promote you as a big act they flew in from overseas. Of course, they won’t actually want to pay for your flight. But if you can cover the costs upfront, then you can hopefully earn enough cash to pay for that flight by playing up the fact that you’re a DJ from another country.
Offer Something in Return
DJs are getting more and more popular these days, so no matter where you are in the world, the competition will most likely be pretty stiff. However, sometimes you can beat the competition by offering the promoter something he wants.
Maybe in exchange for booking you at his club, you can use your connections to offer him a booking for one of his local artists at one of your hometown clubs. Or if the promoter is also a DJ, you could offer to promote his stuff on your blog, on social media, or even at your local record store.
In most cases, promoters care way more about what you can do for them than how good your transitions are or what your remixes sound like.
This should give you some ideas about how to get DJ gigs abroad, and maybe when it comes time to plan your next vacation you’ll be able to offset some of your costs by using the DJ skills you’ve learned. Next time we’ll talk about what to bring with you when you’re planning to play DJ gigs abroad and what to do when you get to your destination.
It’s always a good idea to brush up on your skills before heading out on the road as well, and our online DJ school has more than enough video lessons to help you prepare for any type of gig.