The DJ Request

To request or not to request? That is the question… so what is the answer?

Requesting music from the DJ is always a hot topic, some DJs will take requests and some won’t, and some punters expect the DJ to be their own personal playlist.
So today we take a look at ‘the request’ and shed light on this heated topic for both punter and DJ.

DJ requests can have both positive and negative aspects, and their impact often depends on various factors, including the nature of the event, the DJ’s style, and the preferences of the audience.

Here are some potential benefits and pros of DJ requests:

  1. Audience Engagement:
    • DJ requests can enhance audience engagement by allowing people to feel more involved in the event. When attendees can request their favourite songs, they may have a more enjoyable and personalised experience.
  2. Diverse Music Selection:
    • Requests can introduce a variety of music genres and styles that the DJ might not have considered (although for experienced DJs this is more often than not unlikely). This diversity can cater to different tastes within the audience, making the overall music selection more inclusive.
  3. Surprise and Excitement:
    • Requests can add an element of surprise and excitement to the event, keeping the audience energised and interested. Hearing a favourite song unexpectedly can create memorable moments.
  4. Feedback and Interaction:
    • DJ requests provide immediate feedback on the audience’s preferences. This interaction allows the DJ to gauge the crowd’s mood and adjust their playlist accordingly, creating a dynamic and responsive atmosphere.
  5. Personalised Experience:
    • Allowing requests can contribute to a more personalised experience for attendees, making them feel like their musical preferences are being considered. This can enhance the overall enjoyment of the event.
  6. Building Rapport:
    • By accepting and playing requests, DJs can build rapport with the audience. This interaction can create a positive connection and make the DJ more approachable, enhancing the overall atmosphere of the event.

However, it’s important to note that DJ requests also have potential drawbacks:

  • Incompatible Requests: Some requests may not fit the overall theme or mood of the event, leading to a disjointed experience.
    For example different music styles create different moods and also fit different times of the night, venue and/or club promotion, the DJ is paid by the promoter / venue management to play a certain vibe / remit / criteria. For example requesting ‘Adagio’ by Tiesto in an Urban night is completely off remit, likewise asking for ‘Cotton Eyed Jo’ in a venue that strictly wants a ‘cooler’ vibe is a no no. Look around you, listen to what is going on and use some common sense, if you’re not sure then ask the DJ nicely and they’ll let you know if it’s possible or not.
  • Quality Control: Not all requested songs may have the best audio quality or be suitable for the venue’s sound system. For example that track you love that you found on Soundcloud / YouTube may not have gone through professional mixing and mastering, it also may be a low bitrate track (192kbps for example). There are also many mashups that are completely out of key which sound awful and no one should be forced to have to listen to that.
  • Overwhelming Volume: A high volume of requests can make it challenging for the DJ to manage the playlist and may result in a less cohesive musical flow. DJ sets require reading the room, thinking many songs ahead, paying attention to phrasing (see our DJ Course to find out what this means), timing, what works musically, and a whole host of other things. The more a DJ is disturbed the more it ruins his or her ‘flow’, which actually ends up creating a negative effect and ruining what could be a much better energy and vibe in the venue. Often it’s better to leave the DJ to do what they do best.

To maximise the benefits of DJ requests, clear communication and guidelines can be established, and the DJ can use their discretion to balance requests with the overall goals and atmosphere of the event. Overall, it’s about mutual respect, don’t treat the DJ like a jukebox, ask nicely and respect and trust that they know what they’re doing, after all they’re being paid to do this job.