Skyrocketing DJ Fees Are Killing Club Culture


Although it may feel like today’s music scene is becoming more dominated by the growth of electronic music, it’s not quite the same success story behind closed doors. Mixmag just released an intriguing piece highlighting how the exorbitant costs of booking DJs is causing major damage to the club scene.

Simply put, DJ fees are becoming the downfall of club culture.

We’re facing a crisis in club culture. But this time our antagonist isn’t the government, the media, or greedy landlords. The reasons for this crisis are many — but without reining in out-of-control DJ fees, many predict the clubbing bubble will burst, potentially crushing all but the biggest DJs, events and promoters.

– Chandler Shortlidge, Writer

The club scene that has evolved over the years, particularly as the popularity of electronic music has skyrocketed, may benefit the partygoers – but not the party-throwers. It comes down to one primary reason: the insane amounts of money requested by big-name DJs we’re looking to book. It’s become a sad world in which it’s basically impossible for clubs and promoters to make a sustainable income from throwing parties.

A Contribution To Club Closure & Beyond

DJs that ask for huge fees to play for an hour or two aren’t just affecting the booker’s budget. They’re overall contributing to the detriment of the club as a whole, as it affects numerous other parts of how they function. London-based fabric’s head of promotion Andy Blackett explains that in his eyes, the quantity of bookings are down. Drinks are more expensive. Cover at the door is incredibly high. As a result, some of the most iconic clubs across the world are closing. Look at New York’s Output, Paris’s Concrete, Berlin’s Arena and Miami’s Heart. It’s not that these high DJ fees are the only cause of their closures – there are plenty of other factors involved – but the detrimental damage to any club night’s budget when booking a DJ with a huge fee has an effect.

A culture of oversaturation, as Blackett shares, has an effect on the failings seen in the scene as well. There are numerous shows and events on any given weekend, all booking similar artists, and we’re losing a sense of uniqueness.

As we watch more clubs go out of business and see more independent promoters fold because they can’t afford to continue throwing shows, consider this. Maybe it’s that headlining DJ that asks for 80% of the club’s budget for the night – and that’s not sustainable at all.

We highly recommend diving into this piece. Read it here.

h/t Mixmag