There is more strategy to handling music request then you would think. To start there are a few rules/ standards you need to have in place before you event starts.
Our rules/standards are:
- No songs that reference Drugs, Sex or promote Violence
- The DJ can only play music that came with him
- The participant must provide the lyrics of the song from a credible website prior to requesting a song listed as unclean or not on the list
- The Host of the event is the only person who can override the rules/standards within reason
That last one is important, so I will start there. When providing an event, you have to remember that you are a part of the event . not the event. It is a wedding, it is not a DJing. The bride and groom did not gather all of their family and friends for you. This is likewise for any other event. Therefore, if the bride or groom or host requests you to do something that is within reason, you do it. Try to talk them out of Karaoke, request that they don’t ask for that song, but it is their event and they undoubtedly override.
With that said, before the event starts, identify who is writing the check or is in charge. That person becomes the overriding power. This will come into play in a moment.
Setup a table on the side of you (so the participants are not between you and the dance floor). On the table, present a list of pre-approved songs for participants to request from. Have an 8.5×11 piece of paper to write down request (no post-it notes). Have extra pens/pencils on hand. You will get a flood in the beginning of the event for songs. I have two pages with lines drawn for name, artist, dance style and name of the person requesting the song. When a participant comes to me and starts into what they want to hear, I point to the paper and say if you don’t write it down, I’ll forget.
I do this for several reasons.
- Provides an event request history
- Provides a pool for songs to pull from
- Identifies who is requesting multiple songs
- Keeps they participants away from talking to me
- Reduces duplicate requests
Don’t get me wrong, I like interacting with the group. But I have to manage my time at an event. From setup to tear down, I am working non-stop to keep each part of the event moving. By occupying the participants in this way, you get the information you need and they get to play a role.
When a person is pushing for a song, which is not clean, or not on the list, I ask that they provide the lyrics on their smartphone. At a moment that is convenient to me, I review the lyrics with the person, one on one. I like to do this to show that I care and pay attention. I have found, at times, I mess up. The song really is clean. Most often, it is not and the bad lyrics are found in the third verse.
During the event you will hear I have the CD in the car and can you play it off of YouTube. My response has always been we only play music that we came with. When they push, ask them to write it down and you will review it for purchase for the next event. Most often, the participant will try to leverage the event or people at the event with it’s our song and the Bride would love it. This is where the override comes into play. Do not state there is an override person. You go to that person and make the request. Their job is not to take your job as the music filter; however, if it is true, that the host will remember the event forever because you let the host choose, you win either way, because they made the choice.
Close the request table 30 minutes before the event ends. Change the paper on the table and leave the pens/pencils. As a former teenager who needed the pen for a phone number, I can attest to the need to have those out, that may be your next wedding you loaned that pen for.
Understanding your strategy for taking requests will help your event to feel under control while allowing the participants to take part in the way the night develops. Leave a comment or share with a friend.