No Requests: The DJ Booth Is Not Your Personal Jukebox

Contrary to popular opinion, it's not your God given right to hear your favourite track on a night out.
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Contrary to popular opinion, it's not your God given right to hear your favourite track on a night out.

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When I first started going clubbing, I used to look forward to hearing new music on a sound system, alongside the tunes I already knew and could expect to hear (depending on the type of night). Maybe it's because I've always been interested in seeking out new music. Even if I wanted to hear a certain song, there is no way that I would tell the DJ to play it, i.e. tell him/her how to do their job.

Requests are one of those things that unfortunately rears its ugly head at any nightclub or bar, and have sadly become part of the job ever since someone had the bravado or dutch courage to go up to the DJ and ask for a particular song back in the late 20th Century.

Given that nightclubs and bars are an establishment where music will be played, I understand that people will want to listen to certain songs whilst they are out clubbing; some people will ask politely and wait patiently, and if told no, will accept the DJ's decision. Sometimes the request fits with the theme of the night, sometimes it doesn't.

However, I've noticed recently that more and more people are starting to think it is their God-given right to demand a track on the spot, and expect the DJ to play it there and then as if he or she is their own personal jukebox. If you don't play their song immediately, or have it in your crate, they start to moan, and sometimes resort to insulting you, purely because you haven't made them centre of your world, even if the tune they have requested doesn't fit with the music policy of the night, or if it's an inappropriate time to play their song.

I'm aware it comes with the job, but as a result of putting up with this for too long, I've decided to no longer take requests whilst DJ-ing.

I think one of the main reasons why I've stopped taking them is due to the sheer lack of manners that today's generation possess. Most of the younger generation seem to have no knowledge of the words "please" or thank you", and think it's okay to shout "oi!" instead of say "excuse me". I've been brought up to mind my p's and q's, so being rude to me will only result in you being ignored, or me returning the favour. Someone even had the cheek to complain the other day because I told them where to go after being insulted, but I digress...

Thanks to the iPhone, people can listen to their entire music collection on the go and listen to their favourite tunes over and over again….not to mention they also think it's acceptable to pass us their iPhone and tell us to play a song on there, if we don't have it in our crates.

Because a lot people like to listen to their favourite songs on repeat at home, they also think they can do the same in a nightclub too. I've never understood this. Why demand to hear "N***as In Paris" every 20 minutes, when I can hit you with a whole bunch of new (and classic) tunes that are on par, if not better?

To all the smart-asses reading, yes I know it got played it up to 12 times consecutively at the WTT concert, but I'm not exactly Jigga or Yeezy, and this isn't the fucking O2 Arena; It's just a normal nightclub.

Think about it as well. You may want to hear the same song every 20 minutes, but the rest of the club probably won't want to. If I'm to play a song up to 4 times in one night, a lot of people are going to think my selection is limited as well. If you arrived at the club late and I've already played your song, that's tough luck. I'm not going to run the risk of losing a dancefloor by catering to your individual needs.

Not only is it annoying having some drunk girl shout in your face for David Guetta, Rihanna, "Deep House", or other things like "something new" or "something good", trying to deal with multiple requests and trying to decipher your drunken speech can be pretty distracting. I mix between songs pretty quickly, and really don't have time to engage in a conversation (read: argument) with you about why you reckon "everyone will dance to this song" if I play it.

I get it though. We pretty much live in an entitlement society - today's youths (and young adults) have this flawed attitude of "I deserve this", "I'm owed this" or "I want this to happen my way because I said so".

Well kids, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but paying to get into a nightclub does not buy you the right to treat DJs or bar staff as your personal servants. You are not entitled to anything. You do not own me, nor do you have the right to tell me how to do my job. I sure as hell wouldn't turn up to your place of work, and give you advice on how to flip burgers, sell shoes, file reports, handle hedge funds, or perform something complex such as a root canal or heart bypass.

I appreciate that most punters are inebriated either from alcohol or other substances, but it still does not give them the right to treat the DJ (or any other member of staff in the club) poorly.

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Probably the worst people are those who think they can command what the DJ plays, as it is their birthday. Not only is it a lame and desperate excuse for attention, it also reinforces my previous statement about today's entitlement society - everybody wants/thinks they deserve their five fucking minutes of fame. To the people who use this as an excuse to get their song played - there are probably at least 5 to 10 other people in the club who share the same birthday as you, so what makes you so special, really? Are you Jesus? Are you my mother? Are you my girlfriend? Are you even part of my DJ crew? No, so please scuttle back over to the corner and celebrate it by popping bottles with your friends and leave me the fuck alone. 50 Cent may have told you to party like it's your birthday, but please do it in a way that doesn't disturb me from doing my job, you spoilt little trollop.

Overall, I know that we cannot please everyone in the club. Like art, music is subjective, and some tracks or genres will not be to everyone's taste. I totally understand that. However please be aware that I am there to provide music to entertain the crowd as a whole, not specific individuals. Just because you want to hear a certain song right now, doesn't reflect the opinion of the whole club. It might be a hard pill to swallow, but please be aware that the universe does not revolve around you, no matter how much you've paid to get in, no matter how good you may look, or many bottles you've ordered on table service.

Until the majority of modern society grasps the concept of being polite, or understanding the concept that a DJ is not a human jukebox, the only person that can actually request a song is the person that's paying me to DJ.

Don't like it? You have two options - go home and cradle your iPod, or man up, stop whinging and just concentrate on dancing and having a good time….Regardless of whether I've just played "N***as In Paris" 20 minutes ago.

Read more on The Frustrated DJ's blog here or follow @TheFrustratedDJ