You pay a photographer not to ‘press a button on a camera’, but to capture little moments in the best light and exposure. You pay a baker not to mix some batter from Kroger and put it in the oven but to craft a great-tasting, custom-decorated cake. The same goes for a DJ. You’re not paying them to ‘play songs on an iPod’, but rather to:
Emcee and lead an event, acting almost like a second coordinator Set up a quality sound system, make it sound good, and use it to create a buzz and contagious energy in a room to make sure you and your guests have a great time and dance all night long. Put together a song list that will create peaks and valleys during an event and keep the dance floor full.
So while it’s true that anyone can perform the general ‘action’ of DJ’ing, being able to lead a party and not just randomly pick songs and hope for the best is something that takes experience, trial-and-error, and experimentation. All of which your college buddy Schwarz with the ‘fire mixtapes’ probably doesn’t have!