So, you’re on the dancefloor, and you feel like you really want to listen to your favorite song. You step up to the DJ, interrupt their work, and ask them to play your track. You get a cold “no”, and you get angry.
What is the work of a DJ if not playing music that people on the dancefloor want to hear?
In this article, I will break down the reasons why we DJs hate song requests – so that you understand why we just bluntly say “no” to most requests.
8 Reasons DJs Hate Song Requests
1. Planned their DJ Set in advance
When a DJ plans their set and prepares the music they would like to play in advance, it means they have put time and effort into pre-selecting music that will be suitable for the night ahead. Requests often break the flow of a set when they are unplanned and come at random.
DJs often plan their set around the dancefloor they are playing, the people who will be attending, and even the theme of the night. If a DJ isn’t planning their set in advance it means they may not have enough time to mix things in with another or create an enjoyable flow where songs blend together.
2. Breaks Their focus
A DJ needs to be completely focused on the songs they are playing and the crowd’s reaction. When a request comes in it can often break their flow or concentration which can lead to mistakes such as inaccurate beat matching and later, poor song choices. It becomes frustrating for both the DJ and those around them when someone disrupts this flow with a song request.
3. Drunk & Persistent
The majority of requests come from people who have consumed alcohol. It is not too uncommon for a DJ to receive multiple continuous requests from an individual just because they are intoxicated and want their favorite song played right away. Although it may not be the reason every time, there are times when drunk or persistent people will annoy a DJ to the point where they refuse to play requests.
4. Song Requests are not Relevant to Music Genre
Even if someone were to request a song that is within the same genre as what you are playing it would be irrelevant because people go out to listen to music they don’t have at home. It might be a good song but it isn’t relevant to the environment.
5. Against the Genre of the Label or Club Night
If you are playing an underground techno party then it is most likely that people won’t want to hear your top 40 crowd-pleasers. There are some occasions when DJs play commercial music but that would be the exception.
6. Too Left-field & Not Possible to Mix
Before you go on stage DJs will know what they can mix in and out of, if it’s an obscure track then they probably won’t play it. Requests for songs like these are often too left-field or experimental for DJ sets. This goes for recorded mixes too, if it’s not recorded by the DJ then they probably won’t play it.
7. No Internet Connection
When you are traveling to or playing at a club or festival with poor WiFi or no connection at all, there won’t be time to download songs over slow internet speeds. Although CDs can come in handy for times like these, sometimes you just won’t have the choice.
This is why some DJs just cannot play your song request.
8. Too Niche of a Song or Genre (Needs to Be a General Crowd Pleaser)
DJs need to take into account what music people want to hear and what they might dance along to, if it’s too niche then it isn’t going to work in those situations. This is why DJs will play songs that are popular or relevant to the dancefloor.
Requests for more niche music will often be turned down because there is no guarantee that people will enjoy dancing to them.