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Money’s on the Table

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • Editorial
  • March 2019
• Created: March 14, 2019

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Valued at $421.4 million in 2018 with an expected growth rate of CAGR (compound annual growth rate) 7.6 percent by 2028 (, January, 2019), the advancement of the DJ equipment market is certainly not showing signs of slowing down.

Of course, this isn’t news to anyone who frequents clubs, listens to pop music – or to any MI retailer who’s chosen to really lean into this cultural trend. Simply put, while some dealers and industry analysts debate, say, whether the electric guitar is “dead,” or speak sadly of the “good old days,” other savvy businesspeople who embrace the DJ market are making serious bank.

While this issue of MMR’s focus is on the fretted realm – specifically electric basses and guitar & bass straps – you’d be remiss to not also check out Dan Daly’s excellent article,

“Taking DJ Sales Out for a Spin” (page 42), which explores this expanding segment of MI and how to make the most of it. When considering the development of DJ culture,

Randy White of Chuck Levin’s Washington Music notes that when he set up his region’s first dedicated DJ Department within a music retail store back in 1990, “DJ equipment was [usually] being sold out of car stereo shops. In the nearly 20 years since then, everything has changed. Now the DJs are the superstars.”

White isn’t employing hyperbole, either. Last summer, Forbes summarized the net worth of today’s top-earning DJs, including Teisto ($33 million, average nightly gross of $250,000), The Chainsmokers ($45.5 million), and Calvin Harris ($48 million). Consider that, according to a July 2018 Billboard report, that would put each of those acts ahead of pop juggernauts such as Ed Sheeran ($31.3 million), Lady Gaga ($29.7 million), and Guns N’ Roses ($27.8 million) and you begin to appreciate the true cultural scope and reach we’re talking about.

And part of the appeal for enterprising MI retailers who get on board with DJ gear is that there’s both quite a lot of equipment to stock and sell – mixers, headphones, lighting, controllers, effects, et cetera – but also that, unlike an acoustic drum kit or electric bass, the technology behind these items is constantly changing and improving, meaning that the gigging DJ who buys a mixer from you this week, will likely be back to buy a newer mixer in a year. Repeat business is never a bad thing.

So, if you’re one of those who still gives serious side-eye to the notion of DJs as actual musicians (I admit, I am guilty of having been that type) or if you have hidden behind any number of often-antiquated barriers to entry in the DJ retail market, maybe it’s time to reconsider. There’s money on the table. Someone’s going to take it if you don’t.

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