How your reputation can make or break you

I was spinning at my usual local spot through a DJ multi-op. A girl came up and introduced herself mentioning she was also a member. It was clear she was new since she completely butchered the group’s name.

She gets on to asking what hookup she’d need for her gig on St. Patty’s. It was a pair of RCA’s but she paused as if doing calculus when I told her. The jacks were visible right behind me so I turned around and showed her. Anyone who’s had a TV the past twenty years would know what those were, right?

I gave her my card and said to reach out with any questions as it sounded like the upcoming gig would be her first one ever. She sits down with her friend and has a few drinks over the next hour or so.

About a week later she hits me up on Facebook and asks what the inputs were again. Maybe she forgot. After repeating RCA’s, “Yeah but what does the other end plug in to?” Now I was about as confused as she was. She follows up and sends over a picture of the cables she had, they were XLR. Alright let’s cut through this. I reply with a picture of RCA cables including a link on Amazon, zero room for confusion there.

Ok great.

We went on chatting, asking me what kind of music I usually played, the kind of vibe of the place.

Didn’t she grab drinks over the span of three hours in person? Well if you didn’t get the vibe in person words might not help you here. The same description can also mean different things to different people.

“I’ll do you one better.”

I jump into Traktor and export my history for two separate nights.

“If you have manager X, play this kind of music. If you have manager Y, play this kind of music”

They have varying tastes and you’ll get differing feedback depending on who’s working that night.

A couple weeks after her gig I reach out to grab lunch and see how everything is going. It had gone well enough to where she had a followup gig at the venue next door. This spot had a different setup so you’d need XLR instead, and how long you’d need depended on where the manager set you up. She had 15 foot cables so I wasn’t sure they would reach. It was already Thursday so picking up extras on Amazon would be cutting it close since the gig was in two days. I had extra XLR’s on me so after I took care of the bill we head over to my car. I only had my new fifty footers but I didn’t need them for at least two weeks.

She reaches out the following week asking me if I wanted to come to a corporate gig she picked up in Manhattan. Mmmmk. It’s on a Monday a few months later so I tentatively accepted. Ultimately she’d never done something like it before and wanted someone to help out. That’s fine. I have no problem helping someone get started, we’ve all been there before.

She follows up asking how much to charge. Cost being dependent on many things, I begin firing away questions. Not answering directly it thus takes a little over 90 minutes to herd the cats and formulate a number. I also recommend she invest in some quality speakers. What she had was nowhere near adequate for a corporate event, let alone a respectable party of any size.

Another week passes. I needed my long cables to set up a satellite speaker for a brunch gig so I reach out to pick them back up. She had indeed needed them, aright cool. She wouldn’t be around but would be able to leave them at the front desk of her apartment complex. I go over to pick them up that night. The receptionist hands them to me like cupcakes.

Oh boy.

Each are wrapped up the size of softballs.

I couldn’t even figure out how she got them that way, both ends of each cable were somehow buried in the center mass of wire. I needed them for the following day so I got to uncoiling them. Sixty minutes later they look, squirrely. Though these would need a full day baking in the sun.

I reach out about how she returned the cables in such poor shape. She claimed she didn’t know how to get them back how I had them.

That much was clear.

A simple google search would have sufficed, but no matter. They were only about $35, and they did still work (at the moment). But who knows how much many years she sliced off the lifespan of something I recently purchased. As a result I was interested in replacements. That was not in the cards.

Alrighty. So the guy who’s been helping you get your feet wet also happens to be one of the first bridges you want to burn.

Now, if she ever wanted to spin that venue again she’d need to buy more cables anyway. And it turns out her gig wasn’t two days after our lunch like I had thought, it was instead over a week later. Meaning she had plenty of time to personally check out the venue and order her own cables…

Just, interesting.

The cables, I could almost care less about. I can move on over thirty five bucks. The manner in which she handled the situation did however provide a stark glimpse into her character.

You can be sure I won’t be helping her again. You can also be sure that the rest of the DJs in my community will catch wind of her character, sooner or later.

Do you think they’ll want to work with or pass gigs along to someone who doesn’t take care of other people’s stuff? Or someone who doesn’t take responsibility for their actions?

The DJ community in Fairfield County is not very large. I’m not a juggernaut by any means, but I know many respectable DJs in the area. Paramount to any degree of success you might hope to have, you reputation is very important to look after. Especially around CT. It’s not like Manhattan where you’ve got nine million people to disappear into.

I shared what happened to a friend of mine over coffee one day. Turned out he also knew her. He had his own story reconfirming of her shaky character.

What a reputation this new DJ is rapidly building!

The DJ industry reputable for its ego-heads and cut-throat personalities, but word travels faster than ever. Despite DJing’s competitive nature, my perspective is that rising tides lift all ships. If one or two want to turn around and bite the hand that fed them, that’s fine. Because in the long run I’m confident that enough folks that I’ve helped will want to turn around and return the favor. And those people are well worth the few bad apples I’d come across in the long run.

Long story short, guard your reputation like gold. Because DJing is more and more reliant on networking by the day. Screw over too many people and you’ll be cut down at the knees.