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ARTICLE
Age is just a number. Isn’t that what they say? But the higher that number gets, the harder it can be to compete with those whose number is lower than yours! We’ve done a lot over the years to change what people think of as a ‘mobile DJ’ but one thing we can’t change is our age: many of us – with exceptions of course – are now middle-aged, with our ‘club DJ’ days long behind us. And while experience is definitely a virtue in our profession, it doesn’t change the fact that a new generation of young DJs are hot on our heels.

When I refer to this new generation (including future mobile DJs), I’m thinking of the young millennials who are in school or college now but will soon be entering the job market. I’m talking about the kids who grew up using social media and YouTube rather than keeping a diary or watching TV. They’re the most computer-literate, self-aware, tech-savvy group of young people in history. And if in ten years’ time we want to call them our peers rather than our conquerors, we need to start thinking about what we can do to match their skillset.

I’d like to dub this new wave of youngsters the ‘Facebook Live’ generation. Because they’ve grown up using Facebook and other social networks, many of these kids are excellent presenters, perfectly comfortable delivering pieces to camera. In fact, their presentation skills are probably better than some of ours! And we’re supposed to be professional MCs. Due to the digital nature of their upbringing, members of the Facebook Live generation are used to ‘presenting’ themselves all of the time, marketing their unique ‘personal brand’ online, whether simply to get ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ or to create monetary revenue through YouTube views.

Once these teenaged whizz kids enter the job market, their skillsets will be highly valuable. And if older DJs (that’s us!) don’t learn to do the same, we’re going to fall by the wayside, unable to keep up or be relevant to our potential clients. In this article, I’d like to take a look at how we can adapt, improve our skills and move with the times.

What problems are we faced with?

I’m uncomfortable with speaking live to camera. There we go, I said it. I’ll happily stand up and host a wedding, present a seminar to a room full of fellow DJs, or walk into a networking session and nail my elevator pitch, but ask me to talk to camera and I freeze up like a rabbit in headlights! If we start losing our business opportunities to younger DJs who are more tech savvy and comfortable on camera than us, I’ll be just as much to blame as you. The thing is, I’m determined not to let this happen! I understand that if I don’t learn to do this kind of thing, I’m not going to be able to compete. Because these younger DJs are going to be slicker, more well-practiced, and a hell of a lot better at self-promotion and marketing than we are.

The group of young people I’m talking about are probably in their mid-teens by this point. Obviously, there are YouTube stars who are older than that, but I’m on about the kids who’ve grown up watching and reading these bloggers and vloggers on their phones and tablets. They access content differently; they’ve grown up using video, social media and touch devices; and they watch YouTube rather than actual TV.

The celebrities worshipped by the next generation don’t need to be on TV or in the newspapers to achieve fame. The Haschak Sisters and Matty B are both YouTube stars who, despite garnering millions of views on their videos, don’t actually make the official charts. Are they bothered? No, because this phenomenon is taking place outside of the old system in a completely new way. Back in 2014, Matty B surpassed one-billion views on his YouTube channel – but the only chart he’s ever been featured on is Billboard’s social chart. Another example of an unorthodox pop star is JoJo Siwa, a YouTube singer and reality TV star with an incredible 3.7 million followers! She’s only actually officially released one single, yet she has over 93-million views on YouTube – and it sounds like karaoke!

Would you or I choose to listen to any of these singers? No. Are they any good? Probably not. But the reason I’m telling you about these stars is that they exemplify everything that the next generation will be good at: self-marketing, video content, social media, audience interaction, and using online platforms and outlets over traditional ones.

These guys aren’t particularly a problem NOW, as they finish school. But after that, when they enter the job market, they’ll be unstoppable! And by the time that does happen, in about 10 years, our customers are going to be used to being sold to through video, Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, Snapchat, Periscope, and other platforms that will no doubt have appeared by that time.

So, if we want to relate to our customers, to interact with them, and to sell to them, we need to keep up. If we don’t, we’ll fall behind.
The full article can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 85, Pages 30-34.