Niagara Disc Jockey Association
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This is where NDJA members provide insight on what's going on in the DJ industry.
iPod Weddings: Part 1
By Ted Chamberlain
Ted's Tunes DJ Service
iPod Weddings: Part 2
The Pros and Cons of Using an iPod
Thanks to DJ Ron Michaels at Ron Michaels Weddings for the Pros and Cons
The whole issue of I-Pod weddings is a thorny one and few people understand it properly but here it is in a nutshell. I've taken my info from the AVLA website and they have authority over the music copyrights and they issue DJ's with their licenses.

1) I-Pod weddings are legal if the wedding couple buy a one time license for the reception. We know that the chance of that happening is very slim. An I-Pod wedding could be legal if the reception was at a private place like a backyard tent or home.

2) An unlicensed I-Pod wedding is illegal in a hall or hotel that rents their premises for events. It's important that halls and hotels understand this because they also could be liable in a lawsuit.

The AVLA license is good for one event and any copied CD's or music on the I-Pod that was used for the reception must be destroyed or erased after the vent and we know that the chance of that happening is also very slim. The AVLA has authority to litigate any unlicensed event and that goes for unlicensed DJ's copying music or using unlicensed hard drives.

I've also added an article taken from another Professional DJ Service in the US re: I-Pod weddings. It's real interesting and insightful.
Much has been written about the advantages of using an iPod or other MP3 playback device for wedding ceremonies and receptions. One obvious advantage is that you can save quite a bit of money not hiring a DJ for your wedding music. You can also have absolute control of each and every selection of music and the order in which it's played throughout the entire event.

However, the harsh reality is that in most cases, these may not be advantages at all. Just ask anyone who has been to a wedding where an iPod was used without the guidance of a professional wedding disc jockey. True, you may save hundreds of dollars, but at what cost to the quality of your wedding reception?

Keep these facts in mind:

An iPod can't "read the crowd", but that's a professional wedding DJ's 'specialty'. A pro can change the tempo if your guests want a slow song next or a faster song played. Working with a professional wedding DJ who has a vast knowledge of all styles of music will, in most cases, make your wedding reception 'an affair to remember'. Filling your iPod with songs that YOU like doesn't guarantee that all your guests will like them as well.
An iPod can't mix the music like a professional DJ. You'll have a 2 or 3-second 'dead-air' gap between songs that can kill the energy on the dance floor. On the other hand, a professional wedding DJ can mix almost seamlessly from song to song, keeping the guests dancing until the very end.

An iPod can't act as a Master of Ceremonies. Hiring someone who does weddings on a regular basis and knows all the formalities associated with such events is priceless. If you think a friend can do the same job as a professional, think again. Be very careful and sure of the friend or relative you ask to do this for your wedding. Unfortunately, too many friends have 'frozen' at too many weddings, and there are no "do-overs" when it comes to weddings.

There's a reason we use the words "professional wedding DJ" and not just "DJ". There is a huge difference between the occasional wedding DJ (the 'weekend warrior' that has given the industry a bad name) and the full-time professional who customizes and personalizes every wedding s/he does. I urge you to seek out a professional who can help you plan the wedding of your dreams. A professional wedding DJ will go beyond just playing the music like an iPod or hobbyist DJ. They will act as Master of Ceremonies and keep the flow of the reception going through his or her coordination and directing skills.

DJ's Walk a Fine Line
By Ted Chamberlain
Ted's Tunes DJ Service
While it may seem fairly simple to spin discs at an event; I can tell you from my 30 years of experience that there's more to it than meets the eye. All DJ's have their favourite formulae and combinations of songs that will encourage people to get up and dance. That's what we're paid to do. Our very survival and reputation as a DJ service depends on how successful our efforts are at filling the dance floor. We can have all the right music at our disposal but if, for some reason, we don't play it; or we're asked not to play it ; we're in for a long night. DJ's feel the pulse of the party and react to the response on the dance floor and therefore we play music that promotes that party atmosphere. Guests often make requests that the brides or event organizers have already requested us not to play. This is explained to the guests but sometimes it doesn't go over well. DJ's have to be diplomatic when this situation arises and even more so as the night progresses due to the effects of fatigue and alcohol on some guests. Sometimes we're caught between what we know will work and what we were directed to play. This is absolutely the toughest part of the business because we know from experience what works. Music is truly a subjective thing with every person liking or disliking songs, artists or genres for different reasons. DJ's are no different but we can't simply play what we like; unless we know it'll fire up the dance floor. Brides often ask me if I take requests and I respond by saying that it's no problem and that they should also consider how their requests will affect the dance floor. Request lists of nearly 200 songs are not necessary because it's only possible to play 50-60 songs in any given evening. Your DJ needs some flexibility to interweave requests into the evening's music without being tied to a play list like a radio station. They need to be able to utilize their experience for the benefit of all the people attending your event. This will ensure a party where your guests leave with sore feet having had a good time that they can talk about for years to come.

More to come...

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