DJ Action Shot

Music is crucial to any event. From weddings to office parties, and everything in between, you’ll usually hear some type of music in the background. But for events that require music as a feature—how do you choose between a DJ or live band?

As with any event, you should start with your budget. Determine how much you have to spend on entertainment, and see if that makes the decision for you. If your budget still allows for either option, consider these scenarios to help you choose between a DJ or live band.

Hire a DJ if…

DJ Booth

  1. You want a variety of music

If you’re looking to dance to everything from the Cotton-Eyed Joe to today’s top 40 hits, a DJ will be able to handle that request. DJs are used to changing the song based on the mood in the room—or picking a song to change the mood in a room. So if variety if your goal, a DJ will be able to handle the shifts in tempo and genre.

Bonus Tip: If there are specific songs you want played, make sure the DJ knows ahead of time.

  1. You’re hosting indoors

Most DJs are able to control the volume of their music better. They can adjust for specific songs, and also control the background music if someone is talking. This is especially important indoors, where everything is louder to begin with. You definitely don’t want guests’ ears ringing when they leave!

How to Choose Between a DJ or Live Band

  1. You don’t want to choose the songs

On account of the number of songs at their disposal, you should be able to give your DJ a general idea of the party vibe, and let ’em go. Of course, if there are specific songs you don’t want played, let them know. But overall if you don’t care which songs are played, leave it to the DJ!

Book a band if…

  1. You have the space

A live band is going to take up more room than a DJ booth. If you have that space to spare—use it! You’ll want to make sure they’re close enough to the dance floor so they can engage with the crowd, too. Just don’t put them so close that no one can dance!

Bonus Tip: When band shopping, ask for space requirements to know if they’ll be a good fit for you—literally!

  1. They have a specialty

Live Band at Wedding

If you’re looking for a specific genre, or music from a specific artist, then you should consider a live band. Especially if the artist you want is popular, but no longer alive. These cover bands study their music; it’s all they play. So they’ll be sure to capture the vibe you want your guests to sway to.

  1.    You’re nervous about any dance routines

This, of course, applies mostly to weddings. If you or someone else is participating in a dance (think daddy-daughter dances), consider a live band. They’ll be able to accommodate the tempo or help you recover if you misstep. You may even be able to practice with them ahead of time!


There’s no wrong answer when choosing between a DJ or live band. But there are strengths to both options. Carefully—and realistically—consider the atmosphere you want and the event space you have. That will help your decision, and ensure a successful and fun event for everyone involved!