Monday, January 12, 2009

Day 12: The why & how... Part 2.

Right, today no waffle I promise. I'll try and keep it to the point. This post is more about the how. Like I said yesterday it wont be exhaustive, for obvious reasons.

First of all, let me make it clear, the purpose of this blog is NOT to undermine the hard working DJs efforts, it's NOT to make a mockery of anyone or thing. It occurred to me recently that some people might think that my intention is to reveal how superficial, malleable or shallow the whole things is. On the contrary.

What I am trying to prove however is that hard work, dedication, and a little bit of ingenuity might go a long way. In short I hope to prove that if you really want it, it's yours for the taking, albeit possibly at a price (like blogging your heart out for a year!).

Robomlette anyone?

The basic idea is to break down what makes a successful DJ in to component parts, then via modelling those components, mixed with other intangibles such as press and such like possibly come up with a good foundation formula that will push a bit further than maybe just spamming promoters with zshare links and adding anyone with a flashy gif as a friend on myspace.

How to make it as a DJ:

We can all safely assume that what I don't need to mention is practise. This should form the very basis of everything. I wont touch on music choice either as this will be covered on it's own another time, these are more ideas in the forum of publicity and marketing yourself.

The first plan is, having just slated it, to get the mixes out there. I mean this is common sense, as after all that's what it's all about. Though there are many possible targets, here is a list of some of the first places I will target:
  • Clubs (Dur) but local, as well as selected national, and international venues.
  • Magazines
  • Blogs
  • Friends (Never underestimate word of mouth)
  • My own web-site ( what, you've not been there yet?!).
  • Players in the local scene
Yes this is all very obvious so far, but I do think there are other factors that can maximise this effort too, presentation, timing, personally addressed, and hand picking prospects, all add to the effectiveness of you efforts, and this is what I shall be doing. The blog address will be included both on the CD and in the ID3 tags too... it's the little things,

Secondly is production. I really think this is an important step, and one that many DJs skip either through lack of interest, availability to equipment, and other such obstacles. My set up is pretty skinny, but I have enough to make some home brew re-mixes, and pre-mastered party tracks. This is all good, worry about the mix down later, you'll be able to find someone to help you with that, the point here is to get decent well thought out tunes, or clever cheeky remixes on to the scene... via the blogs of course :P

The object of this exercise is to get your name on the tips of peoples tongues. 3 months down the line when your CD falls in the lap of some promoter, it's sure to get more credence when he's remembering that killa mix of that Tiga track you cheekily bootlegged.

Pretty girls make blogs better...

Thirdly, and this one is key, is promoting a club night. This point alone I would say is probably worth 5 times the first two combined. The reasons why are many, and include, but not limited to:
  • Exposure, yes, of course you put yourself on the bill
  • Getting to know other DJs. That big name you booked will might like what you're doing.
  • Practise playing live in front of an audience, invaluable really.
  • Connections. Once you host a night, see who comes out the woodwork.
  • Publicity, similar to exposure, but can come in other forms, press etc.
I know this one can seem daunting and costly, but it really is worth the effort. Some DJ careers have been built on this point alone, do it well and you're well on your way, not to mention possibly making money AND having a great time. Do it badly, and you might be a few hundred out of pocket, worst case scenario.

Fourthly is networking. I'm not sure where I stand on this one, in many ways its very important indeed, but also, if done badly, and just for the sake of it, can be a wasted effort, verging on an annoyance.

Example, adding every DJ and Club promoter under the sun on your myspace/facebook and spamming their page with your latest flyer might seem really cool, and probably does get it in front of some more eyes, but there are shrewder ways to spend your time. I'm not saying never, and you may well find me doing this to a degree, the point being quality, not quantity.

Facebook in particular, if your friends are your real friends, they'll listen to your mix, and come to your night anyway, if they're not your real mates and are DJ scene added friends, they are probably doing the same thing back... so... what have we gained, not a lot really.

Be clever with it, just posting your link in to any mildly relevant group with the same gubbins is more likely to annoy people than to endear them. This point I'm not going to elaborate on further, as I intend to try my ideas first then report back, meaning they don't get spoilt before hand.

Lastly (for now) is Any Other Means... this is the out of the box thinking stuff... Got a mate who knows someone from Krafwerks's uncle... get on that contact. Spotted a web-site asking for mixes for their web-radio... fire one in. Be creative and inventive, these simple things can often be the most rewarding.

So where do I start? Well having just made my latest cracking mix, I guess I had better start getting that about, and following my own advice. I'm looking at getting a short run made up proper perhaps, give it the professional touch. We'll see depending on cost.

For now tho,



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