The best reads for aspiring DJs

recommended by Daisy Reynolds

According to Exploding Topics, in 2024 the average listener spends over 20 hours a week listening to music. But what about turning this passion into something tangible? Emulating the DJs we see on stage is not easy, but it can be creatively, emotionally, and even financially rewarding. From truly inspiring DJ stories, to technical guides, this list of books covers everything you need to truly understand the world of DJs and become one yourself, whether you’re looking to explore a potential passion, or to become a professional.

  • 1


    Rock The Dancefloor! 2nd Edition: The proven five-step formula for DJing like a pro
    by Phil Morse

    In this updated second edition of Rock the Dancefloor!, author Phil Morse provides readers with a tried-and-tested blueprint to DJ like a pro, using his five-step formula for DJ success that has taught over 40,000 students; Gear, Music, Mixing, Performing, and Success. Covering each section in turn, from knowing the right gear to buy and building a great music collection, to the fundamentals of impressive mixing skills and defining what success looks like and knowing how to get it, Rock the Dancefloor! shows readers how to DJ to pro level using the most up to date gear and methods. Fuelled by a combination of Phil’s 30 years of experience as a professional DJ, and real insights from the Digital DJ Tips community, Rock the Dancefloor! covers topics such as coping with nerves and adapting to different audiences and venues, and answers important questions like, what shortcuts are OK to take? When are you good enough to play in public? And, how do you stand out amongst other DJs? It also delves into the important mindset, business and promotional aspects of being a DJ. For absolute beginners, amateurs wanting to go professional, or experienced DJs looking to update their digital DJing knowledge, Phil provides readers with the universal and transferable skills that will enable them to rock any dancefloor.

  • 2


    Last Night a DJ Saved My Life
    by Bill Brewster & Frank Broughton

    When someone says, 'You have to know your history...' this is it. This classic book is the whole unruly story of dance music in one volume. It recreates the dancefloors that made history, conjuring their atmosphere with loving detail and bringing you the voices of the DJs and clubbers at their heart - from grime, garage, house, hip hop and disco, to techno, soul, reggae, rock'n'roll, and EDM. Whether musical outlaw, obsessive crate-digger or overpaid superstar, the DJ has been at the spinning centre of nightlife for a century, making parties wilder, pushing clubbers harder, and driving music into completely new shapes and styles. In 1999 this was the first book to do justice to the DJ's rollercoaster ride. Twenty years later, it's fully refreshed, carefully updated and filled with even more stories, including two brand new chapters and a new foreword by James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem). If you’re looking for inspiration as to why you should become a DJ, this book is where you will find it.

  • 3


    Music Production For Beginners 2024+ Edition: How to Produce Music, The Easy to Read Guide for Music
    by Tommy Swindali

    Everything you need to know about making music in one place! 2024 & Beyond! Not so long ago music production was only available to the rich and famous. However, these days it’s now possible to produce professional sounding music from your own home. In fact, you don’t even need to know how to play an instrument or know anything about the technology or even need expensive equipment. All you need is a decent computer and some inspiration…This book will tell you the rest! If you are a first timer it will lead you in the right direction in the least amount of time. And if you have experience you will discover new insights into how to produce your best music. Here is just a tiny fraction of what you will discover inside: - Best music production, VST, DAW and software for 2024 and beyond - Music Theory explained--without needing to study for years! - Common beginner mistakes and how to avoid or fix them - The hit songwriting formula—songwriting, lyrics, melody, and construction - Proven guidelines on how to get your music signed and how to make money - Studio setup—achieve pro studio quality even at home - Motivation and mental hacks (get your mental game together and your music production skills will go through the roof!) - Step-by-step guide to mix and master your music (even if you're not a technical person) - Advances in Technology including Artificial Intelligence for music - Thriving Through Networks, Having The Right Skills and Mindset Mastery - And much, much more… Stop wasting your time on forums, YouTube, and asking the same old questions because everything you need to know is in this book. Become the music producer you've always wanted to be and make your best music with this book.

  • 4


    Welcome to the club: The life and lessons of a Black woman DJ
    by DJ Paulette & Annie Macmanus

    In Welcome to the club, Manchester legend DJ Paulette shares the highs, lows and lessons of a thirty-year music career, with help from some famous friends. One of the Haçienda’s first female DJs, Paulette has scaled the heights of the music industry, playing to crowds of thousands all around the world, and descended to the lows of being unceremoniously benched by COVID-19, with no chance of furlough and little support from the government. Here she tells her story, offering a remarkable view of the music industry from a Black woman’s perspective. Behind the core values of peace, love, unity and respect, dance music is a world of exclusion, misogyny, racism and classism. But, as Paulette reveals, it is also a space bursting at the seams with powerful women. Part personal account, part call to arms, Welcome to the club exposes the exclusivity of the music industry while seeking to do justice to the often invisible women who keep the beat going. This book is both an insightful and an inspirational read.

  • 5


    How to Be a DJ: The Complete Step by Step Guide to Getting Your First Show
    by Trevor Thomas

    How would you like to… Be your own boss? Make hundreds of $$$ for just a few hours of your time? Get into a fun, fulfilling job that is always in constant demand? Then it's time you learn how to become a DJ! In How to Be a DJ, Trevor Thomas takes your hand and guides you through the entire process of becoming a professional, highly sought after DJ. He starts out with the exact equipment and software needed to get off the ground. From there, he teaches you multiple ways to obtain shows, including one completely free method which many DJ's have no idea exists! After that, Trevor goes over how to accept payments, and the proper way to DJ the day of the event. This is THE practical guide for those looking to become a professional DJ.

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