Disc jockeys, also known as DJs, can find employment across a spectrum of jobs. As such, their salaries are dependent on the kind of work they do. DJs can operate independently as freelance employees or work for companies.
Average Salary of Disc Jockeys:
DJs can find work in the wedding industry, clubs and bars, modern or upscale restaurants and lounges, and on the radio. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage of disc jockeys was $26,850 in May 2010. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $16,590, and the top 10 percent earned more than $72,500. Wedding and club DJs can earn more than the median annual wage, which includes radio announcers. Although some disc jockeys work full time, many work part time.
Radio Disc Jockeys:
Jobs as radio disc jockeys are hard to obtain. Classes in broadcast journalism at a college or technical school, as well as classes in English, public speaking, music and drama, can give the applicant a competitive edge. Radio disc jockeys make more money in larger cities than smaller ones. According to money.si, a money and financial website, the starting salary for a radio disc jockey in 2012 was about $25,000, and most disc jockeys in this field could make between $38,000 to $60,000 per year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for radio DJs is expected to decline through 2018 because of the dwindling number of new radio stations. As would be expected, there is stiff competition for these jobs.
Wedding Disc Jockeys:
The average nightly wage for a wedding DJ ranged from $800 to $2,000 in 2012, according to weddingdjprices.org. This would normally include between four and six hours of announcing and playing, as well as time before and after the event to set up and tear down. Wedding disc jockeys also spend time with their customers to plan the event and create the desired playlist. These positions can be found in wedding DJ companies, although often DJs become freelance artists, who then must buy their own sound equipment, as well as some optional equipment like lighting and fog machines. Although the nightly wage for wedding DJs is high, most work part-time and have to find additional employment.
Club Disc Jockeys:
The average hourly wage for a club, lounge or restaurant DJ varies depending on the location and venue. An average salary for a club DJ for a nightly set, depending on experience and reputation, ranged from $500 to $1,000 in 2012, according to money. Some clubs and lounges pay disc jockeys a commission per night, based on the amount of liquor and/or door fees earned by the establishment that night. These positions are usually held by freelance DJs. Normally the club or lounge supplies the sound equipment needed.