Ask anyone who love parties and they’ll tell you: DJs are the new rockstars. Armed with a laptop and a mixer, a skilled DJ can elevate a get together from a polite gathering to an unforgettable night of dancing fun. While you may not be able to hire David Guetta, Skrillex or Calvin Harris for your next party, it has become increasingly easier – and more affordable – to hire a professional DJ.
Thousands of consumers come to Thumbtack each month to find a DJ for their dance party and we always see a healthy uptick in demand around the holidays. But not every city is lucky enough to have a big supply of DJs to choose from.
To find out the best place to hire a DJ this time of year, our data scientists looked at DJ requests in all the major metro around the country, compiling data on the ratio of supply to demand, the average overall ratings for DJs in an area, and the average price consumers can expect to pay for those high-quality DJs. Using a weighted average of these three types of data, they then created the Thumbtack Dance Party Index – a definitive guide to the best cities for hiring a DJ in America.
The results at the top were like a map of coolness in the music scene. Atlanta, with its renowned hip hop and indie music scene (and therefore lots of DJs), was number one overall scoring a perfect 100 on the Index. Not far behind at was Boulder, Colorado, also home to a healthy local music scene, followed by Houston. We’re also not surprised to see party hotspots like Tampa, Las Vegas, Daytona Beach and Virginia Beach make the list – although Jacksonville, and Salt Lake City were surprise outliers in the top 10.
We also looked at the worst places to try and hire DJ in the country, either because there aren’t enough DJs in that area to meet demand or the DJs available are not highly rated. Eau Claire, Wisconsin was the absolute worst area to hire a DJ rating a zero on the DJ Index. Spokane, Washington, Lubbock, Texas and three cities in Michigan including Mishawakwa, Holland and Kalamazoo. Reno, Nevada and Madison, Wisconsin were also DJ deserts. (Aspiring party-starters, in these areas: Are you listening?!)
The average price to hire a DJ overall is $528, although prices can vary significantly depending on your specific needs. Having a short event that doesn’t require an elaborate equipment setup like professional lighting and multiple mics can keep costs low. On the other hand, events asking much of their DJ, as many weddings and bar mitzvahs do, can easily cost 4 figures, though even DJs for those events cost less than $1,000 on average.
Check out how your city rates on the DJ Index, and the average price to hire a DJ in the interactive map below. The larger the circle, the higher the cost for DJs in that metro area; the darker the circle, the higher it rates on the overall Dance Party Index.
Top image photo credit: Rockstar DJ Calvin Harris via Instagram