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I Went To An Ipod Wedding (as A Guest)


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#1 milhouse

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 03:32 PM

Hello fellow DJs!

For those who don't know me Im a fulltime DJ. I started around 10 years ago as a fairly standard function DJ, performing at weddings, birthday parties and corporates; both in upmarket hotels like The Hilton, to back street B&Bs in Blackpool. I moved into being a bar and nightclub resident several years ago and now work most nights of the week.

Last Saturday was a rare night off, and I was invited to a friends wedding, in a fairly expensive hotel.

I'll get straight to how the night went.

We arrived about an hour after the time on the invitation said, not wanting to be the first ones there. The room layout was pretty standard to a normal hotel wedding function. 10 tables with approx. 10 chairs around each, a dancefloor at the front and a full DJ setup.

The DJ setup from the front was first class. Two moving heads, two barrels, two scanners, and two colour changers. These were on a large goalpost which was tidy, no sign of any cables. In the middle is what appeared to be a mixer and laptop setup on a table.

For the first hour of being there, background music was playing out : fairly standard. It came to "first dance" time. The best man went behind the DJ setup and dipped the music himself. He shouted (without a mic) to everybody in the room to announce the first dance. Everybody applauded. It suddenly became apparent to me that there was no DJ. I had simply thought they were hiding somewhere during the background music / buffet period.

The best man faffed about on the laptop for a few seconds and on came the first dance. This went smoothly. The first dance ended, everyone applauded and there was a 5 second gap of dead-air. On came "Black eyed peas - I gotta feeling" and the dancefloor filled up.

I decided to have a quick nip behind the DJ setup to see what software was being used to playout songs. The laptop was running standard "Itunes" software, with a pre-loaded playlist. There was a bog standard Numark mixer system without a mic. I assume this was all dry hire and the laptop belonged to the couple.

When it came to song 3, the dancelfoor was empty. "I gotta feeling" ended and the gap in the segue seemed to go on forever. This went on for about an hour. Songs ended and there would be a big gap. The odd track however did get people up, and to be quite honest nobody commented on the fact there was no DJ, and I think everyone just accepted what was happening.

The bride would occasionally go to the laptop and choose a song from Itunes.

My first video Video 1

A lot of the night looked like this Video 2

Another example of a gap Video 3

However! After about an hour... everybody had had a couple of sherry's and the song selection seemed to improve. The gaps in the songs did not seem to be a problem, and the dancefloor was packed. In fact, if I had been DJing this function I would have been over the moon at the atmosphere and crowd reaction.

A video: Video 4

Another video: Video 5

The song selection was often totally random, and it really did not blend together well - and it was due to the great nature of the couple, friends, family, and the pints of stella, that everybody had a superb night.

I for one would defend to the death the need for a DJ at any function - Im a fulltime DJ myself! But this gave me a slightly different persepctive. I would think had everybody not been so close and enjoyed being there, a DJ would most certainly have been needed to keep the night together. I think out of the 100 or so people there everyboy had a dance at some point (including me!)

Hope you enjoyed this little review of my night, any comments are welcome.

Edited by JonWhittaker, 15 September 2010 - 03:33 PM.


#2 stoke53

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 04:28 PM

Well thanks for sharing it with us . Its with this and the fact people just dont want to pay the fees anymore that i reluctantly decided to cease trading after over 35yrs in the business. I found that i was just not earning the sort of money i needed to sustain the business. The fees are getting lower the parties are getting smaller and the work is getting harder to entertain them . I have now done my last booking the van has been sold and now all the equipment is for sale.


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#3 vokf

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 09:35 PM

I think this add's weight to the idea that the guests really make the night. If you get a good crowd up for a night of fun, then most DJ's would then have a great night.


I must admit -I read you post whilst parked up in the car, and half expected another "why ipod weddings are pooh.gif ", so interesting to read that its not!
I'd say that dry-hiring the gear, creating the playlist, and set-up/pack-up, risk of damage is probably false economy - but I guess they have 100% control of the night, and knew the DJ wouldn't turn up late, play bad music or want extra if the bar was able to continue for an extra hour.

I don't see this as a large threat to the wedding market, this is similar to couples doing the catering themselves.
Most couples have enough to worry about, and knowing what gear to hire, and "playing DJ" for the night probably isn't at the top of their list!

If this does become a problem for anyone... consider dry-hiring your back-up gear?
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#4 DJMickeyk

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 09:12 AM

I can't see it catching on, I however would be happy to rent out my spare system and create a playlist that mixes properly by setting cue points etc, the problem then is timing the first dance etc, because nights never follow a defined timeline. I have a residency that tried this for a while and they weren't long giving up on it as they didn't know enough about music to do a decent playlist and they started to lose customers. I think Dan posted some links to some machines aimed at the pub trade that will DJ for the night, these will probably catch on more.

Jon I'm really astounded at the setup there for an IPod wedding, normally you would expect it to be a few speaakers thrown on top of chairs and a really messy setup, surely a DJ woudln't have cost that much more? Each to their own I guess.
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#5 disco4hire

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 09:01 PM

QUOTE(DJMickeyk @ Sep 16 2010, 10:11 AM) View Post

Jon I'm really astounded at the setup there for an IPod wedding, normally you would expect it to be a few speaakers thrown on top of chairs and a really messy setup, surely a DJ woudln't have cost that much more? Each to their own I guess.


If you hired a car, you would expect a 1 - 2 year old car in good condition, wouldn't you? Not some rusty wreck that's past its best and ready for the scrap yard. So why would the dry hire of disco equipment be any different? My basic PA hire kit starts with Mackie 450 V2s and stands, playout systems start with iCD Mix2s, up to Pioneer CDJ Mk3s. The hire charges for quality kit can easily be more than a DJ could be found for, it's not always about saving money, it's usually about retaining control, and not being at the mercy of an unknown DJ, who may, or may not be OK, or even turn up.
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#6 DJMickeyk

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 10:26 PM

QUOTE(disco4hire @ Sep 16 2010, 10:00 PM) View Post

If you hired a car, you would expect a 1 - 2 year old car in good condition, wouldn't you? Not some rusty wreck that's past its best and ready for the scrap yard. So why would the dry hire of disco equipment be any different? My basic PA hire kit starts with Mackie 450 V2s and stands, playout systems start with iCD Mix2s, up to Pioneer CDJ Mk3s. The hire charges for quality kit can easily be more than a DJ could be found for, it's not always about saving money, it's usually about retaining control, and not being at the mercy of an unknown DJ, who may, or may not be OK, or even turn up.

Fair comment, wasn't trying to slate the hire business and looking back at what I wrote it does seem like I did. It's not very common over here and any hire systems I have seen have not been up to the standard that yours clearly are. Given it is a totally unregulated industry it is open season for cowboy operators with substandard equipment. You obviously hire out top notch kit, no offence intended.
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#7 Dan allanthemsdisco

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 11:00 PM

My feeling from watching the first few videos was embarresment - i could hardly keep watching..
I must say i was expecting it to be more bad news, but i was glad to see it improved, although im sure a decent dj would have done a much better job - power to the customer i guess, its their choice!
Personally i wouldnt consider a Ipod system in case there was a problem or if i decided i wanted to crossfade songs - even worse my mates hijacking the playlist..

Anyway if its cool ill probably point customers to those vids should anyone ask me for an ipod wedding!


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#8 superstardeejay

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 07:49 PM

The organiser probably had a nice sense of acheivement by the 'DIY' job and the crowd seemed to be ok; after all a reception is about the company, the food/drink , conversation, atmosphere and general sense of occasion; the need to include what is sometimes ostensibly a mobile nightclub was probably far from their minds!

Edited by superstardeejay, 17 September 2010 - 07:49 PM.

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#9 Norfolk DJ

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 08:05 AM


An interesting read.

Really it would be interesting to know why the B&G went for this set up. It might be that they didn't like the resident DJ or they and their friends just fancied a DIY attempt which they saw as a bit of fun as they had total control of the music.

It looks as if they were 'lucky' with the response as the function could have died by 9.30 otherwise.

The actual lighting set-up is impressive for a DIY function, and would be reasoanbly expensive to hire. It sounds as if they forget to ask for a mic sad.gif

I can't see this catching on, as most peole don't want the hassel factor.

#10 Tommo55

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 11:01 AM

Although it seemed to work well enough......You can almost picture the senario

Hair ok........check!

Dress ok.........check!

Best Man speech........check!

Rings........check!

Gifts for bridesmaides/ushers etc......check!

Ipod......... signdammit.gif I knew there was something sadwalk.gif

You could have almost asked if anyone had any cd's in their cars parked outside to bring them in!

Hey now there's a thought save carrying your own kid.gif



#11 Dukesy

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 01:06 PM

The way that things are heading these days, it won't be long before clients are quibbling and playing dutch auctions with hire / ipod companies. If it isn't already, it will happen soon as more and more come onboard.

I suppose the only thing currently in the favour of Ipod Wedding companies, is that they aren't saturated with DJ style 'comparison' type directories, whereby the client can enter one set of details and immediately get several quotes back from DJ's in the same area. No doubt a lot of clients are then tempted to shop on price (even if they weren't before) when they see the vast diversity of prices which could be as much as 150 or 200 different between the lowest quote and the highest they may opt to play one off against the other - human nature after all.

With no such dedicated sites existing for the Hire / Ipod side, and with fewer of them operating per area, its down to the client doing the legwork and so most are probably likely to accept the first or second quote rather than throw hours of their time at it. Points which, are wholly in the favour of the companies in question.

I wouldn't be surprised to find that those who operate a multi faceted business i.e offering DJ, Hire, Ipod type services report that the hire side is rapidly overtaking the DJ side or at least becoming equally profitable.

As an experiment, I recently sent off enquiries to a 'slient disco' type business which had recently sprung up. I gave them a choice of 5 possible dates between Jan and April 2011. 4 of the possible 5 were already fully booked, so like it or not somebody is booking the alternatives.

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#12 Raymilkybarkid

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 02:03 PM

Interesting views.

I can't see it catching on really but I can see the attraction towards it.
There could be more people in the bar than on the dance floor.

Interesting that Dan mentioned the silent Disco boys and girls.....
Did you enquire to the price and did that include the DJ(s) just a thought as a local venue has just held such an event which was a great success but cost them more than double to what they normally pay for their monthly disco.


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#13 flash911

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 02:15 PM

did i miss something ? SILENT DISCO ?

#14 Dukesy

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 02:28 PM

QUOTE
Interesting that Dan mentioned the silent Disco boys and girls.....
Did you enquire to the price and did that include the DJ(s)


I didn't unfortunately. I was more interested just in seeing just how busy they were to gauge the demand, so I picked some dates where I myself wasn't out nor where i'd had any enquiries (to rule out popular client dates) and see if they happened to also be available. On 4 out of 5 of the possibilities they weren't, and so they seem to be booked much farther in advance of myself.

QUOTE
as a local venue has just held such an event which was a great success but cost them more than double to what they normally pay for their monthly disco.


No mention of price was made. I wouldn't imagine that it would be a cheap affair to start, given the type and cost of the equipment needed, not to mention the ongoing maintenance costs (headphones etc). I remember in the hospital radio environment just how [badly] the h/phones were treated both by presenters and studio guests and by patients and the regular frequency and endless need to replace. I can't imagine given the technology that these headphones are cheap to buy or replace, so ultimately the cost of the service will probably reflect those start up and ongoing costs.

Besides, everything is priced on novelty and unique value when its new and original. I remember what the Karaoke lads used to charge in the city centres back in 1990 when it was becoming the rage but wasn't saturated and it was almost a 'charge what you like' envious position to be in. What do Karaoke Jocks earn these days in comparison.

The same with chocolate fountains, bar fly jumping, bungee jumping etc, great if you invest and get in there right at the beginning, but not so good when competition is multiplied ten times over and you are just another face in a crowd and all competing for the same slice of the pie.

QUOTE
did i miss something ? SILENT DISCO ?


http://en.wikipedia....ki/Silent_disco

They've been around for a while, usually as part of gatherings or festivals but the tend is turning to more domestic and private function environments now, with a new breed of businesses targeting the smaller niche markets (ours! kid.gif )

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#15 Robster

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 02:35 PM

I thought the light show was quite good .

I think the problem of silences is an easy fix with even just hiring windows media player installed on a basic laptop.

I can see this as a good way of setting a base price , hire of gear is x hire of gear with a experienced DJ is x most people will take the DJ option in my opinion.

Dukesy your on about Silent discos where you hand out wireless headphones to the guests ?
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