What Is a DJ Residency?
Jan 18, 2023
3 min read
A term used widely within the electronic music industry, a DJ residency is a series of consecutive shows, similar to a concert tour, but only performed at one location.
A residency aims to create a relationship between the artist and the venue, which should be symbiotic and mutually beneficial, as a way of attracting crowds in the masses.
In places like Ibiza during the summer season, it’s renowned for clubs to have multiple DJ residencies most days of the week. Only one small island with a ton of high-caliber electronic music clubs means there’s a lot of competition to sell tickets and boast a packed-out dancefloor.
By putting a residency in place, the statement is bold, insinuating “if you want to see this DJ play, then buy a ticket to our club.” Proven a successful concept for over five decades, there have been many famous residencies around the world since the late 1970s.
Frankie Knuckles at The Warehouse (Chicago)
It’s only right to start with the man that defined what it means to be a resident DJ - Mr. Frankie Knuckles.
More than a DJ, he was an architect of sound, who added a new dimension to the art of mixing, through his disco and soul-infused house sounds, as well as innovative use of the Roland 909 drum machine under original, old-school tracks.
It all began in 1977 when Knuckles became the first musical director of The Warehouse or "The House", a nightclub in Chicago, Illinois. It is today most famous for being what many consider to be the birthplace of “house music.”
The venue was largely patronized by a Black, Latino, and primarily gay crowd. Knuckles began to gain a loyal following, with people flooding in every week to dance to his impeccable selection of underground 4/4 tracks, for which he is so fabled.
Arguably one of the most significant figures in electronic music, Knuckles's residency at The Warehouse paved the way for the art of DJing and house music's significance today.
Carl Cox at Space (Ibiza)
One of the most renowned residencies in the electronic music world can be devoted to Carl Cox and his 15-year-long collaboration with Space Ibiza, from 2001 to 2016.
When Space came into his life in the mid-90s, Cox was already a success, however, Ibiza gave the pioneer the stability that many DJs aspire to have but never receive. Playing every week during the summer season on the island, thousands would fly into the Balearica to see Coxy upon the decks in the megaclub.
After the club changed hands in 2016, Cox’s residency came to an end and was celebrated with a mammoth closing party where he played an iconic 9-hour set. This set went down in musical history and added to the legendary status of himself and the Space Ibiza enterprise.
He still continues to play on the white isle each summer across various venues. He remains synonymous with the party island, with his residency at the mega club an integral part of Ibiza’s musical heritage.
Other notable residencies include:
Joris Voorn Trouw (Amsterdam)
Ben Klock and Marcel Dettmann from Berghain (Berlin).
Craig Richards at Fabric (London)
Danny Tenaglia in Tunnel (New York)
Larry Levan at Paradise Garage (New York)
Ron Hardy at Music Box (Chicago)
Craig Richards @ Fabric (London)