About a week ago I finished making the simple website for the now codified aspect of my audio offerings – the best wedding sound. Presumptuous? I sure hope so.
A Long Time Coming
Early on in my audio career when my first friend to be married asked me to do sound for their wedding, I thought, “Sure, no big deal.” And it wasn’t. When my next friend had a super expensive wedding for which I was merely a guest, I had to think, “Why is this such an ordeal?” The DJ was flashy, the music was loud, but the experience was crap. But it wasn’t until I learned that my friend from this blog post about crappy employers was being taken advantage of, that I had the fire under my butt to do something about it.
The Value of Ranting… ranting over value?
I am very into the idea of paying for the value of a product or service – because often times the cheaper version is a whole order of functionality lower, even though you can’t really decipher that from the specifications. Sure you can save 20% on the cheaper product, but they probably didn’t do the research and design of the original patent holder, and maybe they missed some things in the re-creation. (Ask me how many of my Behringer products I still take out on the road. Answer: none, they all broke or sucked.)
What about professional services? The tattoo parlor who’s minimum is well below everyone else in town may be compensating for bad (and permanent) work. The auto shop that charges only $80/hr may not have a holistic understanding of vehicles, and cause problems that they didn’t foresee.
On the other hand, in an industry where there are only good reviews, and blurbs and bios that don’t really describe what kind of service or value you’re getting (at least in the wedding DJ/sound sector), it can be impossible to make the right choice.
The Right Choice
is me of course! Give me all of your money.
Kidding aside, I did a lot of copy writing, and revision, and revision, and revision, in the pursuit of making it clear what value I am trying to provide to my potential clients: couples who want their music curated and their audio production to be absolutely fantastic, while not needing to stress about anything.
The right choice is to be clever in figuring out the value that will be delivered to you. A wedding DJ working for a large company and earning sub-$20/hr doesn’t have the capacity or resources to craft your experience. They’re waiting for the free food and hoping to go home early to catch up on homework.
What IS it that we do?
It is the once-in-a-life celebration of a couple, with the experience of music that means everything to them, through the final touch of super-optimized audio reproduction. (Hopefully I’ll write a future blog post about how the integrity of audio does make or break an experience, though most listeners [some DJ’s included] will never know it).
The wedding ceremony is perfectly heard by all guests, while music playback is executed with the integrity of a Broadway musical. No hiccups, no dropouts, no feedback, no obtrusive mic/stand, and no technician standing beside a lame battery-powered speaker with an iPad on an aux cable.
The rest of the evening’s audio goes just as completely unnoticed as the ceremony, because it’s absolutely perfect and never once gets in the way or detracts from anyone’s experience on this special day. Uncle Toddfrey’s drunken compliments during cocktail hour are easily heard, for better or worse, without anyone having to yell, “put the mic closer to your stupid face.” Guests on the dance floor feel enveloped by the music, while guests still eating dinner can comfortably hold a conversation. When it’s time for the Father/Daughter dance, the MC’s announcement is oddly clear and intelligible – in stark contrast to every wedding I’ve attended.
I hope it is presumptuous of me to point out the repeat failings I’ve personally observed and heard about from many others. For what wedding DJ services cost, there should be a much higher standard. It’s offensive to take people’s money and under-deliver just because they expect to pay a lot for weddings. It’s like being on a road trip where you desperately need gas, and the only cluster of gas stations in the middle of nowhere all charge $1.20 more than the average. I’m charging a similar rate as the competition, but dedicated to producing the best wedding sound while paying those who work with me a rate that makes them want to do this forever. Going back to the gas station analogy: I’m the one delivering 2 gallons of gas for the price of 1, and the station attendant can afford a Porsche. So even if we do get booked full-up, I’ll only be recouping startup costs for quite some time, in order to charge a fair rate for the service and pay my talent properly. And that’s how I believe it should be.
Special thanks to Heidi (my sister), Janine (my DJ/MC and “music specialist”) and Kat (my general crime partner) for their enormous help with the website copy. I could only do so much, and they made it as solid as it is.
Here’s the groovy RW Music logo that my brother Tristan created.