Turning the Tables: DJ Market Stable, End-Users Embracing Older Tech (According to Some)…

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • Current Issue
  • July 2018
  • Survey
• Created: July 20, 2018

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There were few “universals” to be drawn from this month’s retailer survey (sent out to over 400 MI dealers), but “consistency” seems to be one of them.

Just under 40 percent (38.1%) of respondents reported that sales of DJ-related gear are “level” when compared to 2017 and opinions were almost evenly split between those who felt such items were down (33.3%) and up (28.6%) YOY.

While most characterized the “typical” DJ customer as young and relatively low income (this comes as a shock to those of you reading this who expected to find today’s DJ end-user as a multi-billionaire septuagenarian, I’m sure), plenty pointed to the universal appeal of the disc jockey experience.

As Johnny Grabowski of Sweetwater in Fort Wayne, Indiana notes: “I’m seeing the broadest range of customers I’ve ever seen, ranging from young beginners who view DJ as an entry point to music performance and creation, all the way up to established professionals and instrumentalists who are interested in adding the elements a modern DJ production rig is able to add to their music.”

Another thread that came up quite often in comments related to this survey is the renewed interest in first-generation, analog gear. “I am happy to see a resurgence in ‘old school’ gear: turntables, vinyl, and good old cartridges and needles,” enthuses Jerry Vesely of Parowan, Utah’s Vesely Music. “Margins are acceptable on these items and, as of late, that product has met our turn ratio expectations.

By displaying our lighting and effects items with our DJ gear, and incorporating both during the demo, we sell multiple systems to a decent percentage of our entry level customers, even though they just came in for DJ gear. Can I get a cha-ching?”

Of course, as with most opinions expressed in this issue’s poll, there were plenty who felt the opposite point of view with equal passion. “The most significant trend is the move away from everything but computer based controllers,” claims Mike Kay of the Ted Brown Music Company.

How would you describe the “typical” customer interested in DJ equipment (age, skill level, income bracket, et cetera)?

“Most of our customers are just exploring the DJexperience.”

Mike Kay

Ted Brown Music Company

Tacoma, Washington


“Mostly fairly young, lower to medium income bracket.”

Robert Degraaf

Sound Vibrations

Corpus Christi, Texas


“Early 20s, beginning of their career, but eager. Charging way too little for their services.”

Dwight Van Tol

Centre Music

Sioux Center, Iowa


“22 to 30 years old with some experience, $20K to $30K income.”

Steve Weinreich

Total Entertainment

Daytona Beach, Florida


“DJ customers will only shop with their local store for cables and adapters. [Since they have] the attention span of a goldfish, you will want to keep your accessories near the front door, so they can find [them] with ease!”

Anthony Mantova

Mantova’s Two Street Music

Eureka, California


“Late teens and early 20s, limited skills or absolute


Jerry Vesely

Vesely Music

Parowan, Utah


Have you been noticing any significant trends when it comes to the DJ market – either on the supplier or the consumer sides?

“The laptop-based digital DJ is now the core customer base for this category, and the trend is toward gear with features that facilitate more performance and production than before.”

Johnny Grabowski


Fort Wayne, Indiana


“It’s like selling keyboards in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Every time you take a big breath there is the new and improved and cheaper model.”

Marg Magellan

Bill’s Music Sales, Inc.

Stockton, California


“Powered speakers are becoming mini PA systems, smaller mixers are becoming feature-rich (Bluetooth, bi-directional, USB, effects, recording interfaces).”

Dan Patterson

Roger’s Music

Ft. Payne, Alabama


“Everybody is just trying to find the best product for the best buck.”

Carlos Garcia

Ingram’s Music

Merced, California

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