OK – I don’t moan much and I try to do everything I can to keep a customer happy.


Recently there has been a trend for people to wave a mobile phone in my face during the evening expecting me to a) see and recognise the song they’re showing me and, b) play it immediately.

This isn’t just me this happens to by the way….it’s something that my colleagues up and down the county are experiencing on a nightly basis as well.

Note that neither of the two actions above usually include any conversation….not even a please or a thank you. It’s normally a case of said phone being waved in front of my face and me be able to read and act on whatever’s on the screen.

There’s a couple of problems here. It’s not the lack of manners, that’s just society today unfortunately. No, the problem is much worse than that…..

A mobile phone screen is glossy. When somebody points one in my direction, it’s normally also pointing directly at my lighting effects. There is no way in the world I’m going to be able to see what’s on there, let alone read the tiny text from a couple of feet away unfortunately.

The bigger problem though is the legality of the request.

If I have a copy of the track on my laptops, I’ll of course try to fit it in when the time is right (i.e. when I’m playing that genre of music and the track will mix in with other tracks). That’s not a problem at all and it’s all part of the service.

I carry around 35,000 tracks with me to every party with music spanning from the 1940s to the current releases, and it’s updated daily from various licensed sources. It costs a LOT of money to do this, but it’s what I have to do as a business.

Nine times out of ten though, what I’m being asked to play is a specific mix which is only available from online sources such as YouTube and Spotify (other streaming music services are of course, available).

As a commercial business charging for my services, I can’t use these services. UK copyright law makes it illegal for me to do so and if caught I face the risk of massive fines and also a lot of damage to a reputation I’ve taken years to build up.

It really is far too big a risk for me to take.

Plus, by reputable DJs buying their music from sources licensed for public performance, we’re supporting the recording artist, the composer and a whole host of other people involved in making that track in the first place. They earn their living from creating the music we play and it’s only fair that they’re paid for it.

Add into this the fact that the disco laptops never touch the internet due to the risk of something getting into them and stopping the party….playing from a streaming service just isn’t going to happen I’m afraid.

Then comes the question….”can’t you just plug my phone in and play from that?”. 

The simple answer unfortunately is no. Not only do I run the risk of potentially importing something to my play-out laptops which could corrupt them, I also run the risk of damaging your mobile phone, another risk I’m not prepared to take. Add in the multiple different connection leads I’d need to carry and the fact that for most phones I’d need to install software just to see the playlist on there and I’m sorry….it’s just not possible I’m afraid.

So next time you’re at a party, why not be friendly and come and say hello…you know, actually talk to the DJ and tell them what you’d like to hear? Most of us are actually friendly and don’t bite, and it’s good to talk to guests during the evening 🙂