A DJ (disc jockey) plays an important role in setting the mood of a party or a function. If you are an organizer, you have to make sure that the DJ understands the setting and plays accordingly. Apart from that, you also have to see to it that there is no ambiguity about payment and other aspects of hiring a DJ. On the other hand, if you are a DJ, you have to make sure that your client pays you on time and is clear about your conditions of work. Both parties have to be protected in the arrangement. This is achieved through a DJ contract. Also known as a contract for DJ services, it is a contract between the DJ and his client that lays down the terms such as payment to be made to the DJ, equipment to be given by the organizer and liabilities of both parties. Since it is a contract, it becomes legally binding after the parties have signed it.
Who Takes the DJ Contract?
Whenever you hire a DJ for an event, it is advisable to get a DJ contract. It is used by event organizers and DJs alike to establish the conditions of work. Owners of clubs use this contract when they call DJs to perform at their club. It is also used by DJs, whether they work independently or in a business setup. It tells their clients about their obligations and operating conditions of the DJ. If you are hiring a DJ for a wedding, you can use a wedding DJ contract. You can customize it according to your needs.
Purpose of a DJ Contract
This contract protects the DJ as well as his client. It puts their agreement into writing. This ensures that there is no misunderstanding between them. It serves as a reference for both parties. If anyone has a doubt, they can refer to the contract and resolve it. Since the terms are in writing, both parties are aware of what is expected of them. It helps in smooth functioning of the event. For example, if there is a cancellation by either party, the contract will cover what happens in such a case. If there is a legal dispute, the court will also look at the contract as the first point of reference. It will interpret its terms as the parties intended them to be and then pass judgment.
Contents of a Sample DJ Contract
A DJ contract is a fairly simple document. It usually includes the following terms:
- Names and contact details of the parties
- Details of the event
- Duration for which the DJ is being booked
- Overtime charges-If you are a professional DJ, include a clause that states that if you are made to play beyond the time contracted for, there will be extra charges.
- Payment details- includes deposits, balance and the due date
- Details of the equipment
- Additional support items that may be required
- Liability for damage
- Cancellation policy
- Provision for modifying the agreement
- Governing law of the agreement
- Signature of both parties
You can include other terms that suit your purpose. But they should not violate any applicable laws or regulations.
How to Draft a DJ Contract
A DJ contract will be governed by contract law. It should comply with all the relevant federal and state rules and regulations. There are some points that one should keep in mind when drafting it.
- For the names of parties, mention their legal names. State their contact details such as correspondence address, phone number and email address. If the DJ will be accompanied by other people, mention their names and contact details as well.
- State the details of the event: the date and type of event, address of the venue, time when the event will commence. All these should be checked for accuracy. Any mistake in the address or time can cause the DJ to miss the event.
- An important clause in the agreement is the duration of the DJ’s booking. He cannot be expected to play all night long at the event. Therefore, this clause should state what time the contract begins and ends. It should include the time required to set up the equipment.
- Payment details: This term has to be drafted very carefully. It should include the amount charged by the DJ. Some DJs charge per hour while some charge per event. It depends on the individual. It should also include the mode and time of payment. If the DJ requires a deposit to be made, it should be stated clearly. The deposit can be a percentage of the total amount. It can be refundable or non-refundable. The DJ can decide the time of payment. Some may want the entire payment to be made before the event.
- Details of Equipment and Additional Support Items: This clause lists the equipment that the DJ will bring for the event. Additionally, it should clearly mention the items that the client has to provide. These include extra tables, power outlets for the DJ’s kit and tents if the venue is outdoors. All these should be stated in clear terms so that the client is aware of what he needs to provide. This avoids last-minute hassles and refusals by the client.
- Liability: The DJ equipment is expensive and delicate. To protect it, there should be a clause stating that the liability for any damage to the equipment shall be borne by the client. For example, if an unruly guest damages the equipment, the DJ should have the right to remove him from his area and recover the loss from the client. For a more careful approach, mention the people who are allowed to enter the DJ’s area. These may be the client himself or people who are scheduled to give a speech and will need access to microphones.
- Cancellation Policy: This term should be fair to both parties. It states the events when the contract can be canceled. It should be drafted in such a way that genuine cases are not penalized whereas unfair cases are. For instance, if a client cancels at the last moment because he found a better deal, that is unfair. To protect against such instances, mention that the contract can only be cancelled when agreed upon by both parties. You can also mention a cut-off date (say, one month before the event) till which the client can cancel without paying the entire amount. You may choose to forfeit only the deposit. This is one of the reasons to ask for a deposit before the event. If a party has a genuine reason (such as an accident), then they should mutually agree to cancel the contract.
- In case the DJ is the one cancelling, you can include a term that obligates him to find an alternative for the event. This is also a common practice followed in the business.
- Mention which state’s law will govern the agreement. This avoids disputes about jurisdiction in case of a lawsuit.
- Ensure that both parties have signed the contract and the date is mentioned. Without signatures, the contract has no validity.
If you are a DJ going to negotiate a contract, be clear about certain things. You should know your position in the industry. If you are a beginner, you cannot charge a rate equivalent to that of a professional. Similarly, as a professional, you should know your worth and not undercharge. It is advisable to charge a flat rate, depending on the event and location. Customers usually do not pay the entire amount upfront. You can negotiate for part payment- a portion before and after the event. To protect your interests, ensure that the time of payment after the event is not too long. If the event is local, you cannot charge for travel expenses. If you are carrying your own equipment, consider its costs. You should also ensure that you negotiate for adequate protection around your equipment since it is generally very expensive. However, you should not appear too demanding otherwise a potential client may not make a deal with you.
DJ Contract- Examples
Here are some examples of the clauses in this contract.
Event Details: The DJ agrees to perform at the event mentioned in this contract. The details of the event are as under:
Type: (Wedding/Corporate/ School function)
Venue: This should include the complete address (with area code).
Cancellation: This contract shall not be cancelled without the agreement of both parties. Any cancellation has to be done in writing. In the event of a cancellation by the Client made less than one month before the event, the Client shall have to make full payment of the agreed amount to the DJ and forfeit the deposit.
If the DJ is unable to perform, he shall find a replacement to perform in his place. If he fails to find a replacement, he shall refund the deposit in full to the Client.
These provisions can be found in a DJ contract template. The parties are free to modify them according to their requirements.
Benefits of a DJ Contract
Having a contract in place protects both the client and the DJ. Some of the benefits that each of them gets are:
- The DJ has to perform for them and cannot take up another event at that time.
- They can include indemnification provisions to recover any loss that they may suffer.
- The cancellation policy allows them to recover their money.
- Since the payment details are clearly stated, the DJ is protected from non-payment of dues by the client.
- It lends a professional touch to the DJ’s services.
- The cancellation policy protects them from unjust cancellations by the client.
Even though hiring a DJ seems a simple task, it can lead to unnecessary disputes. A DJ contract clarifies the conditions of service and each party is made aware of them. This protects them and prevents disputes. It also adds a touch of professionalism to the arrangement. It is recommended to have this contract for a smooth organization of the event. You may draw it up yourself by referring to a DJ contract template or consult a lawyer to ensure that nothing is missing.
[Also Read: Music Contracts ]