Work as a DJ in Dubai

If you have stumbled across this article, the chances are that DJing in Dubai or Abu Dhabi has crossed your mind!

This is my 8th year as a DJ in the UAE (I have worked in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai) and, after several google searches, I couldn’t see that anyone had taken the time to share their experience.

Here are my hints and tips if DJing in Dubai or Abu Dhabi is something that you are considering.


1 – Being able to work full-time as a DJ

If you have been a professional DJ for the last 5-10 years, you will probably have experienced the same decline that I did; A high number of venues closing down, people not having the residual cash that they had in previous years, the “Everyone Wants To Be A DJ ” effect (If you are not familiar, this is the scenario where you are happily in your Friday or Saturday night residency but, due to the factors mentioned above, revenue has decreased. Suddenly, a young lad approaches your venue and offers to be the resident DJ for 25% of the cost you are doing it for).

Here in the UAE, the above problems aren’t experienced as frequently as they are in the UK. One of the main reasons for this is that the UAE as a country is still very young, so it is still being developed. As a result of this, money is no object when bringing the best candidates from around the world to work on the large number of ongoing projects, so ex-pat workers are very well paid. Another BIG factor is the domestic wealth here. The UAE is a very rich country (due to their vast oil reserves) and the respective governments seem to look after the native people of each of the 7 Emirates very well.

As a result of the factors above, there is high demand for good DJ’s to come here and do the job that we love, in order to entertain the party hungry population.

2 – Remuneration

If you come here and work on a contract basis, the likelihood is that you will receive the following benefits:

– Outbound flight to the destination
– A competitive salary
– Full working visa
– Individual accommodation
– 3 meals per day
– Unlimited soft drinks & limited alcoholic drinks allowance
– 1 or 2 days off per week
– Return flight upon completion of the contract

3 – The weather

We have all experienced the “holiday blues” after our obligatory 14-day annual break in Majorca haven’t we? Well imagine never having to experience that again! As I sit here writing this (6pm, January 23rd 2014), the temperature gauge is reading a pleasant 21*c! Ok, in the summer months, both the heat and humidity can become unbearable, but you are only minutes from the nearest beach or swimming pool to be able to cool off!

If you have made it this far, you are probably thinking “this sounds like the perfect life for me”? Well, as you know, there are 2 sides to every story. Which brings me on nicely to:


1 – The routine

As I mentioned above, you will get 1 or, if you are lucky, 2 nights off per week. That means you are going to be working 5 or 6 nights a week in the same venue, playing the same music (I will blog about this in detail another time, but the crowds here can be very fickle), to the same people. While it is nice to have the security of 6-12 months guaranteed work, it can also become mundane and boring like any other full time job.

2 – Loneliness

You will meet people and make friends, probably more than you would if you were in your home country.

So what do I mean?

Well, a high percentage of the population of the UAE is made up of ex-pats working on short term contracts. You might meet someone or a group of people, become friendly with them, socialise on your nights off etc, then suddenly their contracts have finished and they are moving on to their next challenge. You might start to think of your family and friends back home, become homesick etc. In theory, everyone likes the idea of this life, but not everyone can live with the reality of it.

How do you get around this?

My advice would be to accept a 3 month contract initially, with the option to extend if both parties are happy. That way, you can leave with no hard feelings if things haven’t worked out for you.

3 – Inconsistency

If you are currently living in the western world, you are probably used to things being done when people say they will be done. If you have a problem with your heating, an engineer is with you within a couple of hours. If you order an item from the internet, it is with you in 24-48hrs. Here in the UAE, everything seems to be done “tomorrow” and, as we all know, tomorrow never comes!

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you were looking for general information, I hope that I have answered your questions. If you have any specific questions or are interested in DJing in the UAE, please get in touch and I will help you as best as I can. See you again soon!

EDIT: Originally posted on January 23rd 2014

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