After platform heels and baby wipes, the most essential item in my work bag is my iPod. You just can’t depend on strip club DJs to have what you want to hear. Some of them are voracious consumers and producers of music with a catholic knowledge, and some of them don’t know “Bad Romance” from “Bad Reputation.” Right now I work with more of the latter than the former, so I always bring my own music.
It’s like a fun game to find new tracks, and while I’m not a very solid hit predictor (why is everyone dancing to the Black Eyed Peas when that awesome Big Boi record came out last year?), some clubs have reputations as just that—little focus groups of dancers and customers. In December, All Things Considered ran a short segment on the Atlanta practice of using strip clubs as a testing ground for tracks. Billboard found the subject worthy of a cover story back in 2006, and anecdotally, I can remember hearing musicians in Memphis and Detroit talking about this practice in the late 90s. It makes a lot of sense for the strip club to be a track’s first stop because it’s a place where you can directly observe the crowd, the ladies, and the sound on club speakers.