These are the questions compiled by both the American Disc Jockey Association and Music Source owner Jonathan Michael Roth. It is strongly recommended that you ask the following questions of any DJ Service that you are considering hiring for any event. Regardless of the DJ's price, if you are not satisfied with his or her answers to these questions, then you should continue searching for a highly qualified DJ... Especially if you are looking for a Wedding DJ.
Q: Have you committed yourself to follow the ADJA Code of Professional Conduct?
Any responsible business owner should be committed to living by a Code of Professional Conduct. This is just one of the commitments that legitimate entertainment companies will make to you. As a member of the ADJA, I commit myself to business excellence and I will:
Operate my business in an ethically sound manner while maintaining the highest standards of professional conduct.
Abide by all laws and regulations governing my professional activities.
Use legal forms of music and performance materials in the performance of my entertainment services.
Be honest and realistic conveying talent, abilities and level of services to my clients.
Deliver products and services to my clients, as promised, to the best of my abilities.
Use a written contract clearly stating all charges, services, products, performance expectations and other essential information.
Provide a safe work environment with adequate protection for my employees, clients and guests.
Maintain adequate and appropriate insurance coverage for all business activities.
power adapters, etc., etc. MusourceMusic Source has LOTS of pictures and videos of us in action at venues all over Central IL acting as a Wedding DJ & MC. We let you choose which physical set up you want at your event and will make recommends to best suit your venue. We've got the equipment to get it done since we know that one size does not fit all. Plus we realize that being an MC is also critically important to the success of your event and we're not ashamed of our performances. See and hear more at: http://www.facebook.com/MusicSourceProDJ
Q: Do you provide a written contract?
It is extremely important to have your booking confirmed in writing. If you don't have a contract, you don't have a DJ. Ask for a written agreement, and expect to pay an initial retainer which binds the DJ service for your event. The standard initial payment for entertainment services is 50%. If you are expecting a specific DJ, make sure you get it in writing as well. Failure to provide that specific DJ is a breach of the contract! Also be certain that the DJ cannot cancel on you just because they came across a better paying event on the same date as yours.
Music Source has a contract for each type of event, which can include additional services. Or additional services may be addressed by an addendum to the original contract if added at a later date. It also states that the DJ shall be the owner: Jonathan Michael Roth. As we never send somebody else or some other service entirely. Music Source will never cancel out on you so they can go do another event at a higher payday. Deposit is 1/3 of the original contract amount, including any additional services and/or equipment.
Q: Outside of working events, what do you do to become a better DJ?
As with most professions continuing education and advanced training is important. Experience by itself is not a criteria. Being an active member of a DJ association, attending meetings, training, conferences and hands on workshops. . . this is how one improves what they do and how they do it.
J.R. has been an active member of the American Disc Jockey Association for many years. He attends national conferences and wants to get better. Success is a journey, not a destination. He works with other DJ's to help their performance as well as help his own. In February of 2015 J.R. became the President of the Downstate Illinois Chapter of the ADJA.
Q: Are you or have you been a radio DJ?
Most radio station based DJ services are like any other multi operation DJ service where you may or may not know who you're really getting. Meet with the DJ who will actually work your event, read his reviews, look at his pictures and videos, ask him the hard questions and then decide. Don't let the fact that they're a "Radio DJ" make you think that they are the best possible DJ for your mobile event.
J.R. has never been a radio DJ and would probably just be an average 'on air' DJ, as he thrives off of the interaction with the guests and the excitement of a live crowd. When on the air Radio DJ's are told when to play music and what music to play within their format, and there's much more focus on talk. Radio stations are notoriously bad with music flow as they are not looking for a dance response as it's radio. Radio is a business, and they play music so that you will listen to their advertising. As with any profession there are those that are good, those that are average, and those that are bad. This is true with Mobile DJ's and Radio DJ's alike. There can be bad Mobile DJ's at mobile events, just as there can be good Radio DJ's at mobile events. Think about events that you have been to where a DJ was present. What did you like? What did you not like? Ultimately it's your decision who you hire so meet with any prospective DJ you are considering hiring and decide for yourself.
Q: Do you use Professional Equipment?
Ask whether your prospective Disc Jockey works with professional audio equipment. If you are not sure, ask for their equipment list and check with a local music dealer or the A.D.J.A. to verify they are using professional-grade sound gear. Remember that professional gear does not guarantee an entertainer's talent or service level, but is simply a tool for building an exceptional event. Plus if you are hiring a DJ service that employs numerous DJ's - Don't assume they all have the exact same equipment as they probably do not.
No home stereo look or sound, no beat up worn out equipment. Looks is as important and the sound and clarity. Check Out the Professional Grade Equipment We Use Here: http://musicsourcedj.com/aboutus/equipment
To See What Other Services We Can Provide For An Additional Fee, Go To The Bottom Of This Page Here: http://musicsourcedj.com/packages
Q: Do you provide backup equipment at my event?
Equipment failure does happen and do you really want your special occasion ruined because your Disc Jockey did not come prepared? Back up equipment does no good at home, it needs to be with the DJ at your event! It is also important to know if your Disc Jockey has a back-up plan in case of illness or an accident. Members of the A.D.J.A. have many resources available to them in case of an emergency. You may also reach the ADJA on their Hotline number to get a Disc Jockey when you have an emergency. Their toll-free number is 888-723-5776.
Booking a reliable Disc Jockey is a very important decision for the success of your party. Selecting a Disc Jockey who is an active member of the American Disc Jockey Association will provide you with the confidence that you have selected a trained professional. A.D.J.A. members are more likely to be involved with other Disc Jockey's who can help them out with an unexpected situation.
Music Source brings to every event back up mixers, microphones, music controllers, hard drives, speakers, cables, power adapters, etc., etc. Music Source knows numerous DJ's in Central, IL in the event of a crisis.
Q: Is a dance floor light show included in your price?
If you are having an event where dancing will be taking place, then a light show focused on the dance floor should be included. Ask to see pictures and/or videos of their physical set up to know exactly what you are actually getting and of course, get it in writing.
Music Source has always had a bigger and better looking light show then most any other DJ service in the area. This is why we have a light jockey who's job is to run the light show while your DJ can focus on the music flow. While most DJ services want to get in and get out with the least amount of equipment, Music Source is more interested in delivering the best looking show in the area. Our Back in Black and White Wedding set ups has more lights then most DJ's own, with a retail value of over $2,500. Upgrade to the BIG Dance Floor Light Show valued at over $5,000 and there's no comparison.
Q: How long have you been a DJ and how many events, like the one I'm considering hiring you for, have you successfully worked?
As with any profession, a Disc Jockey should be professionally trained and continue to network with other DJ's, attend seminars and national conferences and strive to get better at what they do. While every DJ had to be new at some point, you really don't want them making mistakes at your expense. Ask your prospective DJ what he does outside of actual events to get better at what he does. Hiring a seasoned veteran who's dedicated to the profession is always your best choice. In this day and age where your hairstylist, auto mechanic and insurance professionals must be licensed, certified and complete continuing education (possibly you have similar requirements for your occupation); doesn't it make sense that the DJ you are hiring for your important event be the most qualified?
Music Source began operation in 1982 by the founder Allen Stare. Jonathan Michael Roth (J.R.) who is the current owner/DJ/MC began working for Music Source in 1993, and liked it so much he actually bought the company from Allen in 2005. Music Source works approximately 60 events per year, predominately wedding receptions but is well versed in all types of events. Music Source is an active member of the American Disc Jockey Association who's mission is to help DJ's get better at what they do. Our local chapter meets monthly and we attend national conferences because the DJ world is much bigger then Central Illinois. Music Source is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Every business is graded by the BBB but to be accredited you must pass the BBB test.
Q: Will you be working alone or with an assistant for our event?
Depending upon the type of event you are having, it may be to YOUR benefit and that of your event, to hire a DJ that has an assistant that works along side him/her at your event. This is particularly true with wedding receptions where there are a great many activities that the Wedding DJ must attend to. This way your Wedding DJ, MC & Reception Director can focus on the wedding party and the formalities, while the assistant can attend to the minor details and focus operating the light show or sound for example. This can make for a very smooth evening so you can enjoy your event too.
Music Source works every event with one and sometimes two assistants, unless it's a very, very simple sound support only type of event. One of the jobs of the assistant is to run the light show so the DJ can focus on more important things. Plus the light show is changing and insync with the music. How much better could your event be if the DJ has an assistant?
Q: Why is your quote significantly below average prices for a professional DJ?
This is the question you ask only when you get a super low ball price compared the prices you are getting from other professional DJ's. The old saying that you get what you pay for is so true. A better questions might be: What are NOT getting for that low price? It takes nothing to compete on price. No additional time, no extra equipment, no attention to detail, no special skills or talent. Literally anybody can do it. Just because it's cheaper doesn't make it a better deal... it just makes it cheaper.
To put things into perspective, in 1993 Music Source was a multi op with 4 shows and charging $75 per hour... in 1993.
Q: Wedding Receptions – Does the DJ provide a formal reception planner in advance and act as your MC and Reception Director?
Wedding receptions can be smooth and flowing to rough and choppy with many awkward moments, depending upon how well prepared your Wedding DJ is for your event. Preplanning for you as well as your DJ is essential for a smooth and elegant event. A professional DJ is also your MC and Reception Director, who acts as your coordinator of all of your formalities with you and the other wedding vendors actually working your event that day.
Music Source will provide every bride & groom upon booking our exclusive four page Music Source Wedding Reception Planner, and two page Information & Song Request Sheet. The planner will guide a bride and groom through the entire wedding reception with tips and suggestions along the way. Here they select songs for all the formalities as well as style of background music during the cocktail and dinner hour. All of the reception details are on the reception planner form, such as who's toasting and in what order. The information sheet provides valuable information to us about the bride and groom so we can get to know them a little better, and be able to share that information with your guests who may not know both of you. The song request sheet gives us an idea of your musical taste or dis-taste (Do Not Play List), and acts as our go to list as well. We don't expect you to program the music for the entire night, but we have found it very useful to customize the dance portion of the evening around songs you actually like to dance to. These items are mailed back to us one month in advance. That gives Music Source a chance to go over it, write down any questions we have, find any special music we don't already own and then, schedule a meeting with the two of you to go over it in detail. As we want everything to run nice and smooth that night as we are not just your DJ, but also your MC and Reception Director, which means that we are your on-site day of coordinator of all of your formalities with you and all the other vendors working your reception. Music Source is your Springfield, IL Wedding DJ!
Q: Will you be willing to play requests and discuss music ahead of time?
A versatile Disc Jockey is willing to listen to your suggestions, give you feedback and play from your desired song list. A professional Disc Jockey will also accept the fact you may not want certain songs played. A professional Disc Jockey cannot know everything about your musical preferences and entertainment needs without communication. This is why meeting with the DJ prior to you event is important.
Music Source prefers to play by request the entire night. Yours and that of your guests, grouped together by genre for good music flow. If you have a Do Not Play List, that's okay! If you're tired of hearing it, J.R. is probably tired of playing it.
Q: Are you insured? Can you supply me with proof of liability?
Responsible business owners carry liability insurance to protect their businesses and the consumer. Most venues require liability insurance by any vendor working on their premises. Ask your venue about their rules and ask any DJ you are talking to if they are insured. Disc Jockey's receive a Certificate of Liability that can be used as proof. This is not a rider on some homeowners policy that only covers the equipment while in the home. This is liability insurance of $1,000,000 or more, in the name of the business, designed to protect YOU if a guest gets injured.
Music Source has liability insurance in the name of Music Source through RV Nuccio, the national provider that the ADJA makes available to it's members. The Certificate of Liability Insurance is available to be emailed to you upon request in a PDF format. Additional parties like your venue or you can be added for a single or multi day event at no charge. Plus a Certificate of Liability can then be printed showing the additional insured parties. The T
Q: Do you drink and/or take smoke breaks?
Sobriety is a necessity to perform the job and the party doesn't stop until it's over. You don't drink on your job or you wouldn't have a job. DJ's/MC's are 'NOT' a guest at the party so they need to be focused on the job at hand until it's over.
Music Source doesn't drink nor take smoke breaks. If your DJ is more concerned about drinking and smoking instead of working your event, then he/she should go do that somewhere else and allow a true professional to do the job.
Q: How much time do you allow for set-up and are we charged for that?
Punctuality is a necessity. Most Disc Jockey's arrive at least one hour prior to the start time you've given them. Your entertainer should ideally be setup and in-place before your first guest walks through the door.
Music Source generally arrives at your event 1.5 - 2 hours prior to our scheduled start time. While it may only take us an hour or so to set-up, we would rather be sitting around waiting for the event to officially begin, rather than running around at the last minute, trying to get everything done. Ideally we are 100% set up, changed into the proper attire, with background music of your choice playing when your first guest walks through the door. Set up time, regardless of how long it takes is always on us, never our client. Your time starts when the event starts.
Q: Does the Disc Jockey & Master of Ceremonies know the proper etiquette for your type of party, and be suitably dressed for the occasion?
A professional disc jockey / master of ceremonies will assist you with the planing of your event. Most professional entertainers will coordinate, emcee and provide the music that you desire. Ask if they have experience with your type of event. Ask if they have a Reception Planner for Weddings.
Specify the type of apparel that your Disc Jockey is expected to wear for your occasion. Formal attire or coat & tie are the most popular forms of attire. If you are having a "themed" event, make sure your entertainer is informed.
Music Source employees never want to be over dressed or under dressed for the type of event you are having. Ideally we want to be dressed like some of your better guests. But rarely ever in a tux at a wedding, as we feel that should be reserved for the wedding party.
Q: Do you belong to a professional organization or trade group?
Although belonging to an organization or trade group does not guarantee the talent or professionalism of a disc jockey, it does indicate the companies willingness to network, learn and grow. Disc jockeys can learn through local chapter meetings, national DJ conventions and seminars geared toward the entertainment professional. In this day and age where your auto mechanic is certified, your hair stylist is licensed, and your financial & insurance professional must complete continuing education every year, why shouldn't your DJ be held to the same standards? Who are you going to complain to if your DJ ruins your event?
Music Source is an active member of the Downstate Illinois Chapter of the American Disc Jockey Association. In February of 2015 J.R. became the President of the Downstate Illinois Chapter of the ADJA. J.R. is held accountable for his actions or inaction by the ADJA. Being a member in name only and not being active is of no use. We don't want to buy credibility, we want to earn it. Music Source is the only DJ in all of Central Illinois that is 'accredited' by the Better Business Bureau. Go to our Links page here to find out more about these two groups: http://musicsourcedj.com/helpful/links
Q: How do you obtain your new music that you will play at our event?
Your DJ should only use music acquired legally through legitimate channels. Not only is this the law, it also assures that your DJ is using only the highest quality music source for superior sound. Streaming live from You Tube, Spotify or any live streaming service is NOT LEGAL for any DJ who is being PAID.
Music Source receives their new music from Top Hits USA and has since the beginning of 1996. Downloaded weekly each song is edited for radio friendly play and is at the highest quality mp3 bit rate of 320 kbps. Go to our Links page here to find out more about Top Hits USA: http://musicsourcedj.com/helpful/links
LET'S FACE IT, THERE ARE WAY MORE BAD DJ's OUT THERE THEN GOOD DJ's. SO WHAT KIND OF PERFORMANCE SHOULD I EXPECT IF I HIRE MUSIC SOURCE PROFESSIONAL DISC JOCKEY SERVICE?
In a single word... PROFESSIONAL. There are many different types of bad disc jockeys out there that and we strive to avoid being like any of them. Maybe that's why we're still in business after 30 years? We've all seen one or more of these Bad DJ Types at some event in our lives. In no particular order...
Bad DJ Type 1: Afraid of the microphone. You didn't even know he had a microphone until you thought you heard him say: "Uh, I have a set of car keys that somebody found..." For most events the DJ is also the MC. If you do not like his vocal delivery on the phone or in person, it is not going to be any better "IF" he gets on the mic.
If you are hiring a DJ for a wedding reception, you need to realize that 50% or more of the total time at your reception is not the general dancing portion. This means your DJ is spending a great deal of time as the Master of Ceremonies on the microphone, or at least should be. And not just from 'behind' the DJ booth but out and about through out your reception venue.
Bad DJ Type 2: The opposite of #1. This guy talks way too much. He thinks the show is all about him and he's going to let you know about it too. He loves to hear the sound of his own voice. Shut up and play some music we can dance to! The more you talk, the less they listen. Stand up, speak up and shut up.
Bad DJ Type 3: Refuses to take song requests and/or has bad music flow and/or simply gives up. This is the DJ who thinks he always knows what songs to play for your guests and won't have anybody telling him otherwise. Or maybe NEVER playing a slow song or only playing one genre of music the entire night. We think this would be a lot like a waiter telling you what to eat or a bartender telling you what to drink. Or he/she has bad music flow constantly jumping from one genre to another after every single song. Disco to country to rock to hip hop, back to country, with no rhyme or reason, no speaking on the microphone to ease you into the next genre. Or because nobody is dancing early on, just gives up and does what he wants. When you hire Music Source it is our job to get people dancing, and we won't stop trying until the night is over. We love to play by request the entire night, with the songs grouped by genre for good music flow.
Bad DJ Type 4: No dance floor light show or the too few lights he does have are all on the entire night. This DJ simply doesn't understand the concept of great party atmosphere or the job of a mobile disc jockey. Can you imagine going to a concert with no light show? Can you imagine going to a concert where all the lights were on and doing their thing the entire night, non-stop? Neither can we, but we've seen it happen. This is one reason Music Source always has a light jockey working along side the disc jockey. Choose our basic package where the light show is valued at $2,500, or upgrade to the BIG Dance Floor Light Show that is valued at $5,000!! Plus we can do uplighting, monogram lighting, spot lighting, black lights, bubbles and fog too!
Bad DJ Type 5: Limited music library or plays free music off of You Tube or the like. This guy thinks that because you can only play about 15 - 20 songs in an hour, that a 1,000 song library is enough. We understand that having that unique and rare song on-hand can be the difference between an okay show and a memorable event. And new music, well it's is an absolute must have! So we now download brand new music, approximately 40 new songs, weekly from Top Hits USA / R.P.M. If the song has been released by the record label as a single, we have it. If it's available on Amazon MP3, we can download it at the event. Free music off of You Tube or the like? Really? What if the internet service or the computer goes down? Is this a hobby or a business? Do your other vendors get their supplies for free? And don't even get me started about commercials or sound quality!
Bad DJ Type 6: Shows up late or not at all. This DJ does not run his service like the business that it truly is. He doesn't care about the success of your event nor you. It's all about the money, so if can get a better paying event he takes it and leaves you high and dry. Since our founding in 1982, Music Source has never canceled, missed an event, did a no show nor showed up hours late. Sure we've had a few close calls, but we have never failed to do what we were contractually obligated to do.
Bad DJ Type 7: Expects a tip and won't leave until he gets one. His ego won't allow for payment as agreed upon. Tips are for exceptional service above and beyond what was expected. If a DJ never gets tipped, then he needs to lower his prices or raise his level of service. Music Source is NOT the least expensive DJ service out there. It is not our goal to be the cheapest, just the best. Steak costs more than hamburger and Cadillac's cost more than Chevy's... and there's a reason for that. You don't go into a fine restaurant and expect to pay McDonalds prices. Nor do you go into McDonalds and expect a fine steak dinner. If you like the job that Music Source did for you throughout the entire process, we will gladly accept a tip and thank you for it. But we will never expect it.
Bad DJ Type 8: Gets drunk and makes numerous mistakes and curses over the microphone. This guy forgets that he's not a guest at the party but is supposed to be "working" the party. You don't drink at your job so your DJ & MC should not be drinking at your event that he is working.
Bad DJ Type 9: Plays the music way too loud. This type of Bad DJ thinks he's running sound for a rock band like KISS. With Music Source you have complete control over the volume of the music at your event. Additional surround sound remote speakers may be recommended for your venue, which means more speakers that are strategically placed and therefore more 'level volume' through out the entire room.
Bad DJ Type 10: Uses substandard, non-professional "home" audio equipment. It looks bad and it sounds worse. Only professional grade audio equipment is acceptable at your event.
Bad DJ Type 11: Inappropriate dress. This guys shows up at your formal wedding reception wearing worn out jeans and a concert tee-shirt. This Wedding DJ doesn't understand the difference between band roadie and professional disc jockey/emcee. Music Source operators always dress appropriately for your event.
Bad DJ Type 12: Makes fun of your guests at their expense. This DJ thinks he's an insult comic, but he's the only one laughing. Self centered and unaware is not what you want in a DJ. A DJ who wants to please you and your guests and understands that his next customer is in the audience, now that is the DJ you want.
Bad DJ Type 13: No contract, no insurance, no backup equipment on site. This guy is cheap and doesn't want to be held accountable. It's never his fault, it's always someone else's fault. The problem is without LIABILITY insurance in the NAME OF THE BUSINESS, if someone gets injured as a result of the DJ's negligence, you and the venue are going to get sued. No contract means he can't be held accountable. And no backup equipment on site, well he probably doesn't have backup equipment. What you thought was a good deal suddenly costs you way more then hiring a true professional in the first place.
Bad DJ Type 14: Plays inappropriate music and/or plays music on the Do Not Play List and/or won't play the requests of the client who hired him. Maybe he thinks it's funny, maybe he just doesn't care, or maybe he's one of those "I'm the DJ and I'll play what I want" kind of guys. Either way it reflects badly on you as your guests are offended. Why would a DJ intentionally play a song on the Do Not Play List? I don't care if a guests requests it, play something else as it is the client who hired you. It's probably worn out anyway! And as far as not playing requests that the paying client specifically wants? Well that's just plain stoopid!
Avoid these "Bad DJs" with one call to the Music Source Professional Disc Jockey Service. But don't just take our word for it. See what our clients have said about us: http://musicsourcedj.com/entertainment/testimonies