If you ask this question to most experienced DJs, they would say ” No “. Majority thinks that a DJ should be able to choose what to play and not bothered by audience.
At some point, I agree. There are times we can not honor each and every song request we get.
I recently published an article about what a DJ does on stage and explained my readers how much limited time we get in between songs we mix. There is not really enough time for us to chat with people and listen to what they say or request from us.
The answer to ” Take a request or not ” question depends on where you play and the nature of your gig.
Let’s talk about a public gig at clubs or bars.
At most major and well-known clubs, management usually tells DJ what to play. He doesn’t have much choice.
Even sound is under control by engineers. They build the booth away from dance floor and isolated, so that you can not reach.
Don’t forget, these are money-making establishments built with huge investments. The owners are smart enough not risk their income and reputation by some DJ dropping the quality of music getting any request from customers and playing them.
On the other hand, a lot of DJs get gigs at local bars and pubs which are filled with regular, steady customers.
Now, that gig’s nature is a bit different from a giant club. You get to see the same faces all the time and may feel obligated to please them at some point.
Always keep in mind, getting requests from audience is a key sign of how good and successful your music is. If they enjoy it, they ask for more.
There is no rule for a DJ not to take any requests from audience, you may very well do it, as long as it fits the theme and flow of your set.
A friend of mine who is a long time well-known DJ in New York has the best answer to song requests, ” Let me see if I have it “. I love that line !
It means ” I don’t refuse to take requests, but I don’t guarantee I’ll play it “. Saying that also buys you a lot of time and keeps that insisting customer away.
If you DJ at a wedding or private event, honoring requests is a good idea as long as it doesn’t clash with the party owner’s “Not To Play” list.
DJ’ing is about entertaining and pleasing people after all. Like it or not, those requests are a part of our job, even foolish and non sense.