A DJ, or disc jockey, is a person who plays musical recordings for a living. This may take place in a variety of venues. Therefore, the person's exact role may vary, depending on the setting or the purpose of the music.
One career path for a DJ is to work for a radio station. In this capacity, he or she is responsible for playing musical selections from a playlist that has been provided by the management of the station. This playlist is developed to reach the target audience of the station. Generally, the target audience is determined by the genre of music the station chooses to play, or vice versa.
Common genres of music played by a DJ include heavy metal, classic rock, light rock, adult contemporary, hip hop, gangsta rap, rhythm & blues, jazz, and country western. Most radio stations do not cross over into different genres, though genres that are similar may enjoy some cross over play. For example, the DJ of an adult contemporary station may play some country western songs and light rock songs. In addition to playing music in accordance with the playlist, the DJ for a radio station may also be responsible for answering calls from listeners, conducting interviews with musicians, and announcing commercials as directed by the radio station. Typically, he or she has little authority over what music is played.
A DJ may also provide music at a wedding reception. In this case, he or she may receive a playlist form the bride and groom. Alternatively, the bride and groom may select a particular genre and leave it up to the DJ to select the songs to be played. Often, this person also takes requests from those in attendance. The wedding DJ may also be called upon to act as an emcee at the wedding and announce when special events are about to take place, such as the throwing of the bouquet. In addition, he or she generally interacts with the audience in order to encourage guests to dance and have fun.
Another type of DJ is one who plays music at a bar or a club. This person often has duties similar to someone who works a wedding. A club DJ, however, may not take musical requests. In addition, many mix tracks beforehand in order to create recognizable songs with fun beats that encourage dancing.