Show Tips: Should I Book a DJ or a Band? (Part 1 of 2)

talent network show tips
By David Sedelmeier
Owner/Operator of talent network, inc.
Offering 30 years of insight and knowledge
We are constantly asked which is better for an event: a DJ or a Band. I sat down with talent network owner, David Sedelmeier, to ask some questions to help shed some light on the dilemma. We broke this Q&A edition of Show Tips down into two segments because some of the questions led us into other areas we felt were good to cover. We hope it helps and please send us any follow-up questions you may have…

To start off, in general, what entertainment (a DJ or a Band) usually fits what sort of event?

Obviously, I’m an advocate and enthusiast of live music and live performances, but I know there’s a place. And in some instances, a DJ might be the better choice, and I know there are some really talented DJs out there that can make a party. So, it really depends on what you’re looking to do and your budget. DJs, obviously, offer the ability to play a wide spectrum of music and inspire dancing, too.

If a buyer goes with a DJ – how much control do they have over what the DJ plays?

They can have a lot of control, depending upon the DJ. They can certainly guide the DJ away from certain songs or certain styles of music. We often get that request when we’re doing colleges where they don’t want it to be too much music with inappropriate lyrics that go against what the school is trying to convey. The buyer can definitely guide them, but you do want to give the DJ some free hand.

Could you hand a list of songs to a DJ and say you want them all to be played?

Yes, you could. In another lifetime, I sold wedding entertainment and people would sometimes do that. I had one girl actually do it minute by minute; she laid down every song. So, you could do that if you wanted to, but if you’re going to do that, theoretically, why not just do it on an iPod? Why have a DJ? A good DJ knows music; they know all kinds of music and how to mix it; they read crowds; they see people responding to different things. You have to let a DJ do their job – watch a crowd and play music that moves people onto that dance floor.

So when would you say a DJ is preferable?

I like DJs at a variety of events…Often if the event is themed in a way in which the music can be conveyed easier or more realistically: if it’s a high school reunion and they want a certain era of music, and then be able to transition over to contemporary, a DJ can do that easily. If there was, let’s say, an all-Sinatra theme and then, again, transition into contemporary dance music – DJs can do that more easily than a band can.

And what’s the best way to pick the right DJ?

I think you have to go through a service. I think you need to go through a reputable place that screens a lot of those things out. I think it can be a little dangerous to go and find a guy who does it on his own because if something would happen and he can’t do your date, you’re stuck without a backup. We screen all of our people and are particular about who we’re going to use and suggest.

Next week’s Show Tips will continue the DJ and Band Q&A! Let us know of any questions or suggestions you may have and see the entertainment that talent network has to offer on

Utilizing our 30 years in the industry, covering shows and events across the world, “Show Tips” is our way of sharing what we’ve learned – and continue to learn – with every event we do. We divulge our behind-the-scenes experiences of working and producing live shows – so you know how to create the best show possible. Let us be your sounding board for your next event! Have questions? Concerns? We are always on-hand – just call and/or email and let us know how we can help. You can also read more about the artists and events in our area on talent network news.

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