Build Your DJ Brand Part 7: Riders
Now that you have all of your essential branding pieces in place, and you’re booking more gigs, it’s time to put together your rider. A rider is a simple document that covers all of the equipment you need for any given performance. It should be very clear about the equipment that you will bring versus what the venue or event will provide. A rider can also include a hospitality section that covers things like transportation and meals for certain situations. No matter what level DJ you are, having a rider will help to ensure your gigs run as smooth as possible for you and everyone involved.
A technical rider is a simple list of the equipment that you expect the venue or event site to provide. Be sure to include power supplies, monitors, CDJs or turntables, and minimum space needed on a table or in the booth. If the equipment you have listed is not available, most likely the venue or event organizer will reach out to you and discuss the alternative options. Make it clear that if there needs to be substitutions, they should be approved and make it easy to contact you or your manager for approvals.
A diagram is a great way to clearly show how you’d like your set-up to look. Below is an example diagram with images downloaded from the brand websites, but you can also simply take a picture of your set-up the next time you’re in a well-lit area.
Creating a technical rider will help you to avoid miscommunications and even disasters. It helps to manage both your expectations, and those of in-house engineers and venue staff. Discussing expectations ahead of time is not only smart, but will show you’re serious about putting on a professional performance.
Use good judgment when asking for specific hospitality requirements and also consider where the gig is located. The last thing you want to do is ask for excessive or even ridiculous hospitality items if the gig is five minutes from your house. Think about the event or venue you’re playing and tailor your rider if necessary.
Typical/acceptable items to include on your hospitality rider are:
- Beverages (usually includes water, soda or juice, but again, use reasonable judgment when making requests for specific alcohol or drink tickets)
- Food (snacks for the green room or if you’re traveling for a gig, it’s reasonable to ask for one meal to be provided)
- Comp/guest list tickets for your manager/tour manager, friends or family to attend
- Access to a green room/private restroom
- Fresh glasses, ice and ice bucket
- Hand towels
If you’ve been booked out of town and the venue or event host has offered to cover your travel expenses, you should include these requirements in your rider. It makes it easier for everyone when you are clear about your expectations and present yourself as a serious artist. Consider the following questions and include anything that is important to you when traveling:
- What is your preferred mode of transportation? Is the gig close enough to request car service, or will plane/train tickets need to be purchased?
- Do you have certain seating preferences for flights or train rides? Do you have a preferred airline or frequent flyer numbers?
- How much luggage will you bring and will the venue cover any baggage fees?
- Do you need a hotel room and what are your hotel room preferences?
- How will you get to and from the airport, as well as to and from the gig?
Before you play any gig, you should make sure the following things have been taken care. This is called advancing a show, and just helps you to gather all gig-related details before the day of the show:
- Has artwork been approved with your press photos and logo?
- Did you receive artwork in various sizes so you can promote the event?
- If travel is necessary, has transportation and hotel been booked? Do you have the confirmation numbers?
- Is the technical rider fulfilled?
- Is the hospitality rider fulfilled?
- Do you have all important contact phone numbers?
- Is there a balance or check to collect – make sure you get paid!
Your rider will become an important document that helps you play like a pro at every single gig. It can also be a piece of your press kit that makes you look polished and organized when sending everything in one neat package.
Let us know if you’re currently using a technical or hospitality rider. We want to know what works best for you and any suggestions you have!