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Published 05.07.2121
What is an Open Format DJ?

What is an Open Format DJ?

What Does it Mean to be an Open Format DJ?

At JW DJ Agency, we pride ourselves on being able to provide our clients the best Open Format DJs in the business, and because of this our recruitment process is especially rigorous, to ensure that we offer our clients a five-star service.

Our agency receives over 500 applications a year from candidates who want to join our agency. Most don’t reach the first stage of our recruitment process as they are only skilled in one or two genres, or they fail to read what our application criteria is.

Our recruitment manager will be looking for the following attributes in your application:

The correct response to the adverts requirement’s

Correct musical phrasing

Mixing in key

A solid range of music

Great mixing


What follows is what we consider what an Open Format DJ should be, and the standards we are looking for.

Open Format - Club DJ

As an Open Format DJ, you should know be able to play many musical genres. From Rnb to Hip Hop, House music to Disco, Afrobeat’s to 70’s, 80’s and 90’s music to name a few. You also need to have a great knowledge of the latest charts and hits. You should be able to adapt your set to the crowd and adjust your music to suit the dancefloor or the client you are playing for. The key thing to remember is you are being hired by a client to play the music that suits their brand, and that they want to hear, NOT what you want to play. As an agency, we do our best to match the best DJ for the right venues, but all our DJs should be able to play anything, and at any venue. If you’re a DJ and you don’t enjoy playing the various genres of music, then JW DJ Agency is probably not for you. It’s important to us that our DJS are happy and there is no point in pretending because it will show in your DJ sets and reflect poorly on us.

An Open Format DJ should be able to adapt to any event.

A lot of DJs tend to be typecast into being able to play at a specific genre or event. At JW DJ we have a multitude of different types of clients, all of whom promote and run different styles of event. As an Open Format DJ, you should be able to play any style of gig, wherever it is held. Our clients range from cocktail bars and restaurants to nightclubs and hotels. We host club nights and festivals and play at weddings and corporate events. Each of these requires a different style music, and may require you, as the DJ, to be present yourself correctly, in the appropriate attire. For example, we would expect that you look, act and play a certain way at a club night, which would completely contrast what we and our clients would expect at a wedding or corporate Christmas party. If you are one of our DJs, you are not only representing yourself, but you are also our reputation and agency but most importantly the rest of the DJ team.  We except everyone to be 100% professional.

An Open Format DJ can mix different genres seamlessly and control the energy of a crowd.

As stated earlier an Open Format DJ should have the knowledge and skill to be able to mix one genre of music into another, but they should also know how to read a crowd. As a DJ it is important that you understand how your music effects the people listening to it. You might be asked to ensure that music levels are kept in the background so that people can eat or drink, or you might need to up the tempo if the dance floor is emptying. If, on the rare occasion, things are getting heated you should know how to calm things down, and vice versa if the client wants a real party atmosphere. You also need to understand the levels of your music and the overall volume, as some venues, especially those in a residential area, will have a sound restriction as part of their licence. Some music styles might not be appropriate for certain crowds, and you should be able to adapt to what feels right at the time. Once again, this is not about you as a DJ, but what the client wants for their event or venue.

An Open Format DJ should be skilled in the use of all equipment.

A lot of DJs tend to just use their equipment and feel comfortable using only what they utilise on a daily basis, however sometimes a venue will already have the equipment in place. A good Open Format DJ should have a solid working knowledge across a wide range equipment, from different controllers to club standard CDJs. Working with vinyl turntables is not necessary these days, but vinyl DJs should be respected as this is a special skill all on its own, and is no way outdated. In fact, certain venues require DJs skilled in vinyl turntablism, so if you are an Open Format DJ it is great skill to have in your arsenal.

Open Format DJ - Private Events

A great Open Format DJ will have an extensive library of music at their disposal. They should have music from every genre available to play at gigs, no matter what the request (if it fits in with the music policy of the event that is). They should have all the current chart music to hand and also a back catalogue brimming with cheesy favourites and club classics, along with remixes, mashups and more. A DJ's music library should in no way be limited to their personal preference of music, as they will need to tailor their sets to match the event they are playing. For private events our JW DJ managers will ensure that our DJs are briefed with any any specific tracks or music preferences that are required to be played on the day. Sometimes there will be obscure requests or music genres, including specific international or traditional tracks, that will require the DJ to research and download.

When playing at a private gig, you should be able to take requested songs and seamlessly insert them into your set, without compromising the enjoyment of the crowd and able to beautifully mix any music genre into another.

Not all our JW open format DJs use the microphone but if you do, it can be a plus. As an Open Format DJ, you will be playing in lots of different styles of venue and events. At a wedding you may have to act as the master of ceremonies and announce key parts of the days program to the guests, from the cake cutting to the first dance. At a corporate party you might be the one announcing the winner of awards or simply that food is being served. You should be confident enough in your manner and be able to speak and present yourself clearly and comfortably when addressing the crowd or room. If you do use a microphone, please let our recruitment department know in your application but if you don’t, please don’t let that put you off applying.

An Open Format DJ will have exceptional people skills.

You cannot please everyone all the time, and no doubt there will be occasion when a requested song does not fit into the music policy of a venue or event. On these occasions a skilled Open Format DJ knows how refuse the request politely whilst encouraging and steering the person towards what they think fits best with the gig. They should also be able to diplomatically diffuse situations where members of the crowd attempt to approach and or tamper with equipment and have the interpersonal skills to work with venue staff, ensuring that the gig is both safe and successful.

Not only does JW DJ Agency look for awesome DJs we also look for applicants with good hearts and positive attitude. We also offer training and development for the less experienced DJS who want to make their mark in the industry (please mention this in your application).

If all of the above applies to you, our books are currently open. A full breakdown of what you need, and our recruitment process can be found here.