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How much does it cost to hire a DJ? 2024

The average price of a DJ is
$265 - $550

per set, depending on the type of gig and the DJ's experience.

How much does a DJ cost? Before you get the party started, set your budget with our DJ price guide for 2024

When it's time to crank up the fun at your event, wedding, or party, your DJ sets the mood, the vibe, and the tempo. From choosing the perfect playlist to reading the room and keeping the dance floor packed, a good DJ is worth their weight in gold. But with an array of prices on offer, not to mention the costs associated with your location, the DJ-hiring landscape is as intricate as a well-mixed track. In this in-depth guide, we'll break down the costs of hiring a DJ in the US in 2024, explore the factors that affect these numbers, and offer savvy tips to make sure you get the best beat for your buck.

(Ready to get hiring? Find brilliant local DJs and get free quotes now.)

Should I Hire a DJ for My Event?

woman DJ

Having a DJ can turn your party from a strained event to the biggest success. Sure, you can play your own music from a speaker, but how are you going to make sure that your music choice works for the crowd? A DJ will be able to read the audience, ensure that each song is a hit, take requests, schedule for speeches, and provide more entertainment. For those planning a party or an event, a DJ can be a great investment, especially as it takes another task off your plate (and reduces the chances of your playlist going rogue).

How Much Does a DJ cost in 2024?

Parties come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s difficult to know the exact cost of hiring a DJ without breaking it down a little. To give you a rough idea, here's a breakdown of the average cost of hiring a DJ for a one-off set:

Average cost (in total)$265 - $550
Minimum cost (in total) $225
Maximum cost (in total) $550+

The hourly rate of a DJ can vary greatly depending on location, personal experience, and the size and type of your event (which we'll get into below). On a national level, here's what to expect in terms of DJ pricing:

Average DJ Hourly Rates

  • Typical DJ:

    A run-of-the-mill DJ with decent experience will cost you between $50 and $100 per hour.

  • Mid-range DJ:

    Looking for a more seasoned or perhaps specialized DJ? Plan on a range between $100 and $200 per hour.

  • High-end DJ:

    For well-known, top-tier, or highly experienced professionals, the price may rise above $200 per hour.

Let's say you're planning an anniversary bash. You might pay $500 to hire a DJ for five hours using their hourly rate, but it's worth talking to them to ask about discounts for longer sets.

In general, the vast discrepancy in DJ rates comes down to equipment quality, experience, and the scale of the event.

What Changes the Cost of Hiring a DJ? 

DJ wedding

The cost of a professional DJ can vary depending on several factors. These include: 

  • Type of event

  • Your DJ’s experience 

  • Additional equipment

  • Timeframe

Type of Event 

One of the biggest price factors is the type of event. If you have a large wedding with over 200 guests, your DJ will charge more than a small children’s party of fewer than 30 people, as they will need more preparation time to create the perfect playlist and ensure the equipment works well in the venue.

Here’s a rough guide of how much DJs charge for different events in the US: 

Type of event Average cost (in total)
Birthday party$265
Corporate event $300
Wedding DJ$500-$1,000

Wedding DJs tend to be more expensive, for a variety of reasons. Check out our in-depth wedding DJ price guide for more information.

DJ’s Experience 

If you want the best DJ for your party, then you need to consider their experience. A DJ with years of experience will be much better at working the crowd than someone new to the world of music. An experienced DJ will also know how to handle technical disasters that could crop up during an event, which may well make them more expensive, but probably worth the price. Here is a rough idea of average DJ costs based on experience: 

DJ’s experience Average cost (in total)
Junior level$200 - $300
Experienced$250 - $400
Highly experienced$500+

DJ Hire Packages

Most DJs can provide additional equipment to accompany their music set, like sound systems or lighting effects. This either comes as part of a package deal, or as an extra fee. It’s always worth asking your DJ how much the additional cost is at the outset to avoid any nasty surprises later down the line.

Timeframe 

DJs tend to charge by the hour, so the price will change depending on how long you need them for. 

The average amount of time for DJ hire is around 5 hours, but you can book them for an entire day if you need to! 

If you want to hire your DJ for your entire wedding day, prices could creep up considerably, so make sure you discuss this with your DJ at the outset. 

Location 

If you live in a big city like Los Angeles or New York, expect to pay more. DJs charge a higher price in these cities simply because the cost of living is greater. You’re also more likely to find a more experienced DJ in New York or Los Angeles, as they’re renowned for their music scene, which is another factor affecting price. 

Here are three examples of DJ prices across different states:

  • California:

    Rising above the national average, California's DJ market is competitive but expensive, ranging from $100 to $250 per hour for an average DJ.

  • Texas:

    The Lone Star state offers some variety, from $75 to $150 per hour, although major cities command the higher ends of this scale.

  • New York:

    Unsurprisingly, New York's bustling entertainment scene leads to DJ costs that start at $150 per hour and can easily exceed $300 for in-demand professionals.

How to Keep Costs Down When Hiring a DJ

DJ deck

Hiring a DJ doesn’t have to cost a fortune! Here are some tips and tricks for keeping costs down:

  • Go off-peak - Planning your event during the off-season means that the price of hiring a DJ will usually be lower as the demand will decrease. 

  • Reduce the number of hours - Most of the time you won’t need a DJ for the entire event, so reducing the number of hours is an easy way to cut costs. 

  • Don’t be afraid to haggle! - Some DJs may be willing to negotiate when it comes to pricing. Don’t be afraid to ask for a different package option for a lower price if their rate is higher than your budget. 

Why DJs Are Worth Their Price

What drives the cost of hiring a DJ beyond just an hourly wage? Here are some key factors:

What You're Paying For

  • Professionalism:

    A good DJ isn't just someone who plays music, but someone who understands event flow and can act as an informal emcee.

  • Equipment:

    From turntables to the speakers, a DJ must maintain and upgrade their equipment to keep up with modern standards.

  • Musical Knowledge:

    The curation of a playlist that speaks to your guests and keeps the party moving is no small feat.

  • Insurance and Licenses:

    Reputable DJs carry liability insurance and music performance licenses.

Types of DJs and Price Variation

DJ setup

Specialty DJs can offer unique experiences that justify a higher cost:

Specialty DJ Price Spectrum

  • Wedding DJ:

    With the added responsibility of coordinating highlights of the night, wedding DJs often hover around the mid-to-high end of the spectrum. Here's the lowdown on wedding DJ prices.

  • Club DJ:

    Club and bar DJs, accustomed to late-night hours and larger crowds, command a similar price range as their high-energy events can be more demanding and competitive to secure.

  • Private Event DJ:

    DJs who specialize in corporate or private events are typically on the more affordable side, as their setlists and engagement are often less complex.

How to Save Money on Your DJ Experience

Spending a bit less doesn't have to mean a compromise in quality:

  • Off-Peak Pricing:

    Non-peak days or times can bring significant discounts.

  • DIY Setup:

    Opting for a DJ who doesn't bring elaborate lighting or equipment can shave off costs.

  • Local Talent:

    A local DJ with a growing reputation can offer a discount compared to a top-tier name.

Choose Your DJ Based on Your Budget

wedding dj

How much you pay for DJ hire doesn't just depend on your budget - it's also how much you should pay. For example, it's worth splashing out for a wedding - if you can afford it - but for a birthday party, you might be happy to rein the spending in a bit:

  • Informal Gatherings:

    A budget DJ can be perfect for a casual gathering where the main goal is simple background music.

  • Milestone Celebrations:

    For a significant event like a 50th birthday or anniversary, a more experienced DJ might be a worthwhile investment.

  • High-Energy Functions:

    When the dance floor is the main focus, paying for a broad, up-to-the-minute music knowledge is invaluable.

Are You Ready to Get Dancing?

When it comes to hiring a DJ in 2024, knowing the factors that play into price, understanding the type of DJ you need, and seeking out smart ways to save can ensure that you host a memorable event without breaking the bank. Whether it's a a corporate bash or an intimate party at home, the music is what people remember, so make sure the person behind the beats is just as stellar as the tunes themselves!

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