Each December, I like to publish various countdowns and lists, re-capping the past year. This post recounts the top memories and achievements (mostly good) from 2016, taking readers into the life of a mobile DJ company owner. I’ve been operating Ambient DJ Service full-time since 2010. It’s been a primarily positive experience with more highs than lows. But as with any small business, the demands of the job can be intense at times. With a larger operation comes the need to delegate responsibility and to streamline operations.
The list below is in no particular order:
1. Expanding Our Staff. In 2016, we added eight music mixologists (DJs) to our staff. Two of our DJs moved out of New Jersey during the year, leaving us with a net addition of six. The majority of the new entertainers are specialists such as DJ Nick (karaoke), DJ Jonathan (kids entertainment), DJ/Producer Cloak Dagger (high-performance, high-end retail, corporate and lounge/club), DJ Dre Ovalle (Latin Events) and DJ Linda Leigh (techno/underground electronica). Other newcomers included musician/DJ Joseph Grillo, DJ Vinny Blanc, DJ Statle and dancer Sasha Saco. It’s great to know that we at Ambient DJ likely have the right guy (or lady) for any particular party type.
2. Performing with an American Idol Star. In November, I had the pleasure of working with singer Devin Velez, a finalist American Idol Season 12. Devin was flown in from Chicago by birthday girl Marie, who threw a 70s themed birthday party for her milestone birthday. Devin’s vocal performance was incredible, and he was a true gentleman as well. For a musical recap of the party, see the mix below.
3. Ambient DJ Sponsors Logo Design Competition. Our original logo was invented in the late 1990s in the midst of the Acid House / Rave scene. Our business has grown and evolved significantly since then. Thus, we sponsored a logo design competition and selected the following winning design that pays homage to our past, present and future. The winning designer was from Indonesia!
4. The Wedding Cocktail Hour Series Spreads Its Wings. What began as a pet project with cocktail hour music playlists paired with signature drinks, we achieved critical mass on this series in 2016. As of year-end, we’ve published 79 carefully crafted playlists and over 1,600 song selections. Themes for 2016 included Boy Bands (DJ Iron Mike), Bossa Chill (DJ Dre Ovalle), Disco Love (DJ Gregg Ambient) and even a 420 “High Times” playlist. To view the playlists and selected signature drinks, see https://ambientdj.wordpress.com/2016/01/13/2016-wedding-music-master-class/ While we’re in no rush to hit 100 playlists, it’s a distinct possibility in 2017 or 2018. To my knowledge, no mobile DJ company in the world has compiled the depth of wedding music playlists as we have. Be on the lookout for our “Wedding Music Master Class 2017” to be published in January.
5. Ambient DJ is Interviewed for Debut Episode of Mobile DJ Tips Podcast. DJ Shri is a New Jersey-based DJ who has created a phenomenal educational podcast series for DJs that is available for free on i-Tunes. I was fortuitously interviewed for the debut podcast on the topics of “Scaling a DJ Business” and “Financial Forecasting for DJs.” Shri has been on a roll all year, interviewing an impressive list of A-list DJ entertainers (now up to 26 interviews) including Mitch Taylor, Marcello Pedalino, Bill Herman, DJ Magic Mike, Joe Bunn, DJ Shelly, Jack Bermeo, Scott Faver, Sean “Big Daddy” McKee and more. To connect with DJ Shri, visit http://mobiledjtips.com/ I can’t recommend this free resource enough for DJs who want to improve. Listen at home, listen in your car – just tune in!
6. You Never Know Who is Watching. Over the summer, we received an offer from an entertainment company who was interested in acquiring Ambient DJ Service. This company is perhaps one of just a handful of companies who I’d ever considering merging with. While the deal dissolved due to exogenous factors, the moral of the story is in that building a business (even in a small business environment), you never know who might be evaluating you. Understand the value drivers of your company and keep in mind that mergers & acquisitions do exist in the mobile DJ entertainment field. Want to grow your own DJ business? Then consider acquiring or merging with a synergistic DJ/company.
7. Ambient DJ Joins the Board of NACE. In 2016, Ambient DJs’ Executive Director Gregory Lambiase was appointed as a Board Member of the National Association of Catering Executives (NACE) of New Jersey. In addition to his new executive responsibilities, Greg also competed in NACE’s “Battle of the DJs’ competition held over the Summer.
8. Ambient DJ is Inducted into The Knot Best Of Weddings Hall of Fame. With our fourth win for Knot Best of Weddings – determined by reviews from real wedding couples, Ambient DJ was inducted into the Knot Best of Weddings Hall of Fame. This achievement is a testament to our consistency and quality in the wedding DJ entertainment segment – an area where the stakes are high and the degree of difficulty for performances can be lofty. Many thanks to our core wedding team of DJ Greg Nice, DJ Spinz, DJ Iron Mike, DJ Sully and DJ Marti Gras.
9. Ambient DJ Rocks The DJ Times International DJ Expo. Each August, some 4,000 DJs gather in Atlantic City NJ for the DJ Times DJ Expo. An important leg of the program is the seminar track. In 2016, myself, DJ Iron Mike, DJ Linda Leigh and DJ Dre Ovalle all participated as speakers at educational seminars, sharing our expertise to the DJ community at large. In this “talent based” business, it’s comforting to know that Ambient DJ has a huge pool of talent. My advice for DJs of all skill levels – is to check your ego at the door and never stop learning. Stay hungry to improve and refine your skills. You will benefit professionally and financially from being at the top of your field.
10. The Passing of the Queen. Ambient DJ’s official pet mascot for the past 15 years was Queeny, a fiery Bichon Frise who greeted all of my DJ visitors with a shrill bark. A true sweetheart and loyal companion for a DJ with long and irregular work hours, the Queen didn’t quite make her Sweet 16. She is sorely missed.
2016 was a year of positive experiences and growth. With a strong foundation and eagerness to improve, 2017 should be our best year ever. We are particularly optimistic with Alain Adams (DJ AQ) spearheading the launch of our new Philadelphia/Delaware operation effective January 1, 2017.
Thank you for your continued support. We look forward to partying with you in 2017 and beyond! For more information or to book Ambient DJ Service, visit us online at www.ambientdj.com