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A mobile disc jockey plays music on vinyl, CD or a computer and entertains a crowd at private events. With no fixed business location, the job is nomadic by nature. The DJ travels with a sound system, copies of recorded music, headphones and a microphone to wherever the next gig is located. Common gigs include office parties and wedding receptions. When a show is at a private club, the venue pays for a license, but at public events the DJ is responsible for licensing.
Music is copyrighted and registered with performing rights organizations like BMI and ASCAP, which pay songwriters their royalties. When a DJ plays copyrighted songs in a public setting, it's considered a performance that requires a performance license so songwriters are paid. A mobile DJ can obtain a festival and special events license from SESAC.
Digital Software License
The fee for many computer software DJ programs includes a music license to transfer tracks from vinyl, cassette and CD onto a hard drive. During performances, DJs use software to spin, scratch and mash-up electronic music files. Serato is an example of DJ software that either includes or adds on public performance licenses at the time of purchase.
Kate Stepanski has been a professional writer since 2006. Her writing has appeared in media outlets like "The Oakland Tribune," “Mun2," “Not For Tourists," “Burner Magazine” and “San Francisco Bay Guardian." She holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from San Francisco State University.