This whole idea started when I was djing at a huge school homecoming. I’m talking like 1500 kids. The problem was, 20-30 kids hang around the dj booth shouting request throughout the night. I began thinking, “I wish there was a way I could take 1 song request from each kid in here”. I’d like to hear from the kids that are too shy to ask or simply can’t get through these other kids to let me know what they want to hear. I felt like I was catering to just a small section of the party that was outspoken.
I already owned a digital sign. I would hang it on my lighting truss and program it to say, “Happy Birthday” or “Merry Christmas” or whatever the occasion was. Suddenly it hit me if I could get my phone number out there (using this digital sign), shy people could text request anonymously. Also I could analyze the requests and when I saw duplicates or songs requested multiple times I would be sure that song would be a hit. Also I could play one to two songs from each unique number to avoid a small group controlling the music selections for the whole night.
This whole idea has been a huge success, and why not? I used to get so excited when my favorite song would play on the radio after I called the “request line”. Don’t get me wrong, its quite a challenge to manage. I’ve gotten over 350 request in a four hour period. A time period at best you play about 75-80 songs. You can’t please everyone. I have been both heckled and praised through my text request line. I have found a way to connect my phone to my computer. Therefore my phone post the request right there on one of my laptop screens. I peruse the list and use my experience to select appropriate songs at the appropriate time. Communication flows both ways. I can respond to the texter requesting additional information about the song such as artist etc. All numbers are purged after the show and are not stored on my phone or computer.
It’s a great tool to get your crowd involved. I use it now at just about every show. If you are thinking of allowing me to take requests at your event this is something I would use. Of course, I welcome walkup request as well. But I’ve learned this method increase your request numbers by about 400%.
I should mention I have about 11000 songs I carry around on my laptops to all shows. Additionally, I use 4G cell phone technology to gain Internet access at all shows to download any song request that I do not currently own.