Why The Size of Your DJ's Music Library Doesn't Matter

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I've been asked the same question a few times lately: 

How big is your music library? How many songs will you bring to our event?

This is a question you'll find in many lists of 'what to ask your DJ' suggestions. It's not a bad question - it definitely seems important - but with today's technology, it's simply no longer relevant. 

Most wedding DJs aren't lugging 1000 LPs in milk crates all over Edmonton anymore - and that's a good thing! Besides the fact that they're weightless, using digital music files means that we have access to a practically infinite music library.

Look at it this way - how many songs does iTunes have? According to Wikipedia - 26 million. This means that every DJ with a computer and internet access (and an iTunes account) has access to 26 million songs, and that is just a starting point. So if a DJ is boasting 15000 songs, perhaps they need to get with the times.

Sure, most DJs don't keep more than 15000 songs on their laptop - we at least have an external hard drive - but there's good reason for that. The reason? At a typical 8-hour event, we'll play a maximum of 160 songs. Yep - just 160 three-minute songs fills eight hours.

That said, a good DJ doesn't play the same 160 songs at every wedding - not only should they have gathered some information from you to see what your tastes are, they should also be paying attention to your crowd, and selecting music that keeps your friends and family on the dance floor - if they do that, they will be guaranteed to play different songs at every event. 

What you're looking for in a DJ is much more than a sum of their available resources. Thousands of songs are useless unless your DJ knows what song works at what exact moment, and knows how to read your crowd to make that decision. Here are some alternative questions that might help you get a better idea of your DJ's abilities rather than their song count:

- How do you keep both young guests and older guests on the dance floor?
- What do you do to get people dancing if people seem to be too shy to get up and dance?
- Half of my family likes (insert genre here) music, and the other half likes (insert drastically different genre here), how will you bridge the gaps?

Questions like this will give you an indication of your DJs ability to use the music they have to create a memorable dance floor for everyone present. Also - ask your DJ for music suggestions. After giving them an idea of your personality and the 'mood' you are hoping for, the suggestions they come up with will give you a good idea if you're on the same page.