Since most DJs are no longer performing at packed clubs and entertainment venues, they have taken their skills to the virtual world. DJs have bounced around from one platform to the next trying to find a home that accepts them. It seems like most DJs have found a comfortable home among the many platforms available, but DJs never showed up to venues to play for free. How can you turn these virtual platforms into virtual piggy banks? It’s very possible with the right tools and dedication.
It’s no secret that people are making money as content creators for popular social sites such as YouTube and Twitch. The formula here is content + viewership = cash money. Basically, if your content is creating viewership, then that content is valuable to both the platform and 3rd party advertisers associated with the platform. This doesn’t even include the actual viewers who clearly value your content. Twitch, YouTube, Mixcloud and more recently, Facebook Gaming, allow creators to monetize their content in several ways. You can gain money from ad revenue, channel subscriptions, virtual gifts and online merchandise. The goal is to become a “Partner” on any given platform which all have their own respective checklists to achieve the aforementioned status. Partners make the big bucks.
Performing on social media outlets is one way to perform from home and make some virtual loot. You can also live stream for private functions such as birthday parties or even weddings, but if you do I would be thorough with your client to make sure they have the tools on their end to receive your stream. Check with your local sports bars and see if they are still open. Chances are they can’t have live entertainment at their venue but what is stopping them from paying you to live stream? You can use an unlisted link/account on Youtube, Twitch, Mixcloud or use a platform such as Zoom for a private stream. Don’t be afraid to leave your cashapp/venmo or whatever method you have to accept moneys in your virtual tip jar.
Now any means of making money typically requires some initial investment. If you do plan on monetizing your streams, make sure you are providing the highest quality service you can. Using your phone to stream won’t cut it, but free broadcasting systems such as OBS are powerful tools to get you started. There is some additional hardware that goes into creating clean looking streams such as webcams, lighting fixtures, audio interfaces, video capture cards and more. You should also be paying for a high speed internet connection with fast upload speeds.
I would recommend having a dedicated streaming computer. It doesn’t need to be a brand new MAC (here is why you shouldn’t purchase a new MAC in 2020) and doesn’t need the highest specs if it is only being used for streaming. Something with 8-16GBs of RAM and a decent GPU ( Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti GPU or comparable will provide a smooth frame rates in HD). Essentially, try to find a low to mid level gaming PC to hold down your streams.
These investments can pay for themselves whether you are streaming for private events or laying the people fund your artistry. If you are unsure of how to set your rates for private events, I recommend starting off with your normal “show up to DJ” rate. Although you may not be traveling to the event, you made the prior investments to ensure you can provide a high quality stream in the first place. You can also add value to your stream with visually appealing ads, polls, drink specials, QR codes for special perks and more.
Virtual DJing is here to stay and will only evolve with time. Sooner than later patrons won’t need to leave the comfort of their homes when VR headsets are a household item. DJs will put on their headsets and spin on virtual decks to guests partying with them in VR. DJs are great at adapting with the current tech and I think they will be at the forefront of entertainment for many more decades to come.