Ah yes we've reached the 3rd and final installment in the MGG2SL chronicles for Club Etiquette. Now we shall sit and explain in further detail what the DJ does for club on Second Life®.
For this article, it was very difficult to pick just ONE DJ to consult since as an SL® DJ myself I know quite a few. I decided to ask Rosie Barthlemess, the DJ Manager of Lounge of Dreams since she's been as much of an influence on me as I have upon her.
So let's talk DJing...
The first, and most obvious job for any DJ is to play live music for a location. To play that music you need 4 basic items:
3) Digital Player
Music is the easy part since most aspiring DJs already have a decent library to start with. As far as getting new songs? Most folks use Limewire since it's fast and has a very broad network, though you don't have to be limited to using that. Also, be willing to expand your musical genres. Rosie suggests, "There's a lot to be said for versatility. I think it will open some doors for you as a DJ if you're able to accommodate not only the venue in which you're playing, but the varied tastes of a crowd if you're somewhere with no specific format. And, by paying attention to different genres -- even if they aren't your favorite kind of music -- you can increase your knowledge of those other genres, and sort of keep track of what's popular." You should also have your download program open during your sets if possible so that you can get patrons' requests played as quickly as possible.
Quick requests = better tips
Oh and before I move onto the next topic...
BACK UP YOUR MUSIC!!! I've seen too many DJs who've had their hard drives crash and their hard earned libraries deleted. I hate to be a hardass about this, but you don't back up your music then you're just asking for trouble.
A microphone is also a must since you have to talk to your audience. You don't have to spend a fortune on one, however. A decent $15-30 mic should do fine as long as your voice is crystal clear when you talk. Most lower priced gaming headsets are perfect for this... and if you already are using Voice Chat, then you have a double benefit.
Now here comes the tough one... the music player. Unless you plan to be serious about it... there's no reason spend a bunch of money on a digital player, right? If you want to just 'try it out' and deal with the basics, then Winamp is your bag. In fact some DJs still use Winamp because it's just much easier to manage. If you do want to take the next step, you can download SAM (Spacial Audio MediaCast) which has many more options to make your DJ show unique. You can download a free copy to try out and tweak, but Spacial Audio did the sneaky thing of throwing in an automated voiceover every 5 minutes that "reminds" you buy the full version.. and yes it -can- be heard by everyone else hearing your stream. You're better off paying for it in the long run or *cough*finding a crack code*cough* to use instead. Be warned, though... there's a BIG difference between SAM Broadcaster... and SAM Party DJ. Learn more about SAM here.
Finally... you gotta have a stream to play your stuff on, right? Now in -most- cases a club will provide a stream for the DJ already. In some rare occasions (like for store openings or private parties) the DJ will have to provide his or her own. Which is the best? Well most folks I know use SHOUTcast, but there's dozens of stream providers out there to choose from. Prices and payment plans vary, but do shop around and look for things like bandwidth and internet security. If you plan to DJ for established clubs, then you probably don't have to worry about getting your own stream. If you're a more freelance DJ, then mentioning that you have your own stream will be a big boost to getting you gigs.
Now beyond those four things, there is some other details you should keep in mind.
Just like with Hosting and Dancing, NEVER beg for tips. You can kindly remind folks where your tipjar is ('cause tipjars on SL® can be anything from teddy bears to coffins & so often patrons get confused) "...but as soon as people feel like they're being pressured for their money, they'll leave. I think begging for tips is unbecoming, definitely," sez Rosie.
Last but certainly not least, you need to learn how to feel the crowd. Rosie suggests on the topic of how often to speak on the microphone, "...if you ask five DJs, you'll get five different answers. I vary, anywhere between every 3-5 songs, to once an hour, to every 30 minutes or so. I really find it depends on the crowd, how many 'announcements' you have to make, things like that. If I'm with a group of 3-5 people and I've just spoken on the mic, and then suddenly 10 people come in, I might break back in after one or two songs just to introduce myself and offer requests, if I don't do it in chat. But, if it's a core group of people and the dynamic of the group hasn't changed much, I won't talk as much. But I think talking on the mic adds a personal element, and I think letting people know you're live and paying attention to what they want is a benefit." Also don't forget that dressing up for the event you're DJing at shows that you care not only about the club and all the other staff members' hard work, but also helps the patrons get a better idea what the event is. After the host and the dancers, they look to YOU for information from how you look to how to talk on the microphone.
Okay this ended up being the longest of the three posts, but in truth there's a LOT to DJing that goes on behind the scenes which makes it just as tough as Hosting and Dancing. I give a great deal of thanks to Rosie B for her input and hope that this 3-part series has given you all a bigger view of what club employees on Second Life® do to keep YOU entertained.