How can DJs use the web to buy our gear?

Most new DJs know they need advice. They know they don’t know what they need to buy to get a great sound at an affordable price!

Some people are outgoing enough to be able to hang around successful DJs, or even approach them specifically, and ask for advice.

If that’s you: great! Do it. You have nothing to lose and LOTS to gain from such an approach.

Earl Nightingale said “Everything in the world we want to do or get done, we must do with and through people”.

Of course some DJs might be reluctant to take that step. Anyway, there’s a practical issue. What if the DJs you have access to are playing very different music, in very different sorts of locations, to very different types of audience than you intend to?

You would need to be clear, though, that you were getting advice that was in your best interests and that took into account the musical styles and audiences you were planning to work with?

Perhaps many startup DJs don’t think this as plainly as I’m setting it out here, but I believe this is a big factor behind many new DJs’ decision to use local or regional retailers instead of web retailers.

Now I’m not going to knock the stores!

I’ve bought equipment from them in the past, and many people who work in them have great integrity.

But, compared to the internet retailers, their cost base is high and (because some DJ gear is large and expensive) only the most successful physical stores can offer a truly wide selection of equipment.

And that could be your downfall.

In “The Long Tail” Chris Anderson – who uses many references to the music and wider entertainment industry – calls this “the tyranny of locality”. “..retailers will carry only content that can generate sufficient demand to earn its keep. However, each can pull from only a limited local population.” This means that only products that achieve a certain degree of popularity – mass-market appeal – can make it into most physical stores.

And I don’t know about you, but I have views about how I want my performances to sound – and I want to be memorable in part for the way my gear transmits the music.

Mass market limitations on the equipment I use would have held me back.

Now, web retailing has taken off the way it has – I mean, look at Amazon now! – because of the innate power of “the long tail” phenomenon.

You know the idea even if you haven’t read the book: one of the examples he focuses on is one you (as a music lover) will probably know really well – the Rhapsody music service.

The numbers are probably even more extreme now than they were when he wrote the book, but in my edition, he says that whereas Wal-Mart carries 4,500 CD titles, Rhapsody carried 1.5 million tracks. That’s Rhapsody’s long tail…

You don’t need me to go on in order to get the point, do you?

The web retailers – you can find some great ones listed in the book at – can provide a breadth of range that few physical outlets can match.

It doesn’t really matter to them if they only sell a particular turntable once a year. Does that matter to a physical store? You bet it does! These are items that are costing them money: rent, heating, lighting, and wages. But if they only sell once in a blue moon, that’s a very poor investment for such a store.

Web retailers also provide excellent customer service – they can do this very affordably.

And their costs are low, so their prices are competitive.

Of course, you need to know what to buy, and which items work together effectively.

Which is where insider knowledge becomes so important, and can cut years off your learning curve.

Reflecting on my own progress, I can tell you that when I was experienced and knowledgeable enough to make reliable buying decisions, I didn’t hesitate to switch my loyalty to the web retailers. I’ve saved hundreds if not thousands of dollars, and been able to exercise much more powerful choices than if I’d had to shop locally.