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The Value of the Resident DJ

Resident DJs are as critical to a venue and their image as the club's name and marketing concept.
Resident DJs are as critical to a venue and their image as the club's name and marketing concept.

Everyone has their definition of what they think a resident DJ is and what they should supposedly do. Cities on the forefront of the electronic music scene understand the true value of this position. The resident DJ is at a club on a regular basis, whether that be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or sometimes even on a quarterly basis. Regardless, there is a schedule to when they appear at their particular location.

Venues, the great places, with worldwide reputations, use the resident DJ with style and precision. Their residents are a marketing tool that often times becomes synonymous with the trademark for that particular venue’s sound and mystique. Places such as; the world famous Supperclub, Buddha Bar, Pacha, Space, and Amnesia, market their residents as meticulously as they promote their own names and concepts. These DJs truly are part of the club’s branding and treated as a valuable asset. The resident DJs at these locations are the opening DJs for more famous headliners and often times, these resident DJs become famous headliners themselves. To these established venues, the resident DJ is a commodity to be treasured and cultivated.

This is a concept that clubs in smaller market cities struggle to accept. In these cities, including Atlanta, the concept of selecting several resident DJs and utilizing them as a way to build a location’s signature sound and identity, is not the norm. The clubs in these cities follow the idea that rotating the DJs keeps the nights fresh and continuously brings new people in the door, but this is not necessarily the case. More detrimental is that the club owners show no true sense of loyalty to the DJs because the people that are rotated in to play are not necessarily the best DJs for the venue, and are not picked with objectivity. The owners are not thinking of the DJ as something to be cultivated, but instead simply basing DJ selection on name recognition and past residencies, while ignoring the fact that often times, these same DJs are using past residencies to monopolize all the best new opportunities that arise, despite the fact their previous residencies have not been that successful.

Certain locations in Atlanta, such as; Lava Lounge on Thursdays, Beleza on Friday & Saturday nights, and MJQ (no website, finding out by word of mouth is the best way, Wednesday is a great night though) have recognized the need to select a core of resident DJs and cultivate their various nights in an attempt to establish a more uniquely loyal following and experience for their guests. How successful this is remains to be seen, as they are competing with a different mindset from many of the other establishments. So if you are looking for a new sound and a different vibe from the norm, it is definitely there, you just may need to do a little selective listening in order to find it.