The DJ/Producer hustle is at an all time high and with literally 1000's of new DJs/artists heading down to Winter Music Conference to network and hustle it can be a bit daunting if you are trying to make any kind of meaningful impact.
As many of you start down the path of the professional DJ/producer you will immediately notice that it's almost impossible to get noticed in this extremely saturated ecosystem.
"How can I stand out amongst all these DJs?"
Here are three tips to help you cut through down in the Miami craziness, get noticed and with any luck come back with some business on the books, not just a huge hangover and bags under your eyes.
Push your original music! When I say original music I mean really, truly, original music. So many young producers start making tunes that are carbon copies of other tracks creating a surplus of "sameness." The only way to get truly noticed and develop your own brand is to make music that is different.
This is of course more easily said than done and for many younger producers getting a refined and unique sound is really difficult. So how do you hustle a DJ career and still keep momentum in the studio?
The most important thing is that you start to sketch out ideas that have unique sounds, lyrics, vocals, etc. The next step is to find some help bringing the vision to a polished reality, that's where a company like DCC Studios comes in.
A production house that helps you get that perfect sound that not only sounds fresh but is produced well.
It's ok to produce tunes that have a similar vibe to what's going on in the genre, just bring something unique to every production to make it really stand out.
DCC Studios is a great place to start refining your sound.
This is just as important as having great music these days, if you don't develop a great brand for yourself you just won't stand out. We will cover all the essentials of creating a great DJ brand in our next post, so keep an eye out for that.
During Miami Music Week, how can you make an impression on someone in the industry like a publicist, etc.?
Here are some simple ideas:
1. Put your EPK (Electronic Press Kit), music, DJ mixes, images, etc. on a USB stick to hand out. This looks impressive and makes you look like you have your act together. The USB is small enough to put in your pocket and people like them because they are useful, get one with at least 4 Gigs of memory on it.
Get Weird: Make xerox copies of a 100 dollar bill and wrap up your USB sticks in the that if you want to get clever (yes it's kind of a drug reference, but it's also weird enough to cut through).
2. Go buy tons of old vinyl (the weirder the records the better) and put your info inside the sleeve. Get creative and glue on your own record label, put a USB stick inside, etc. People will hold on to something weird and cool.
3. Stickers. Yes this sounds pretty simple but it's all about the execution. Create a really strong statement on a square sticker, kind of like Barbra Kruger artwork, and make sure your name/logo is at the bottom of it. People notice statements much more then just logos - "The Underground Is Overground, Go Back Under" - DJ XX
Black and white stickers are cheap, if you get up all over South Beach, in club bathrooms and downtown people are going to notice.
4. Social Media - Use this to amplify your message and make sure you use key hash tags like #WMC2015 #MiamiMusicWeek. Instagram and Twitter are the strongest platforms for Miami, so focus on those. Just make sure that you are using this along with what you are doing, ie. if you are doing stickers take pictures of those out on the street, etc.
There is an art to networking, here are some tips to avoid the typical pit falls of "over hustling."
Don't be too aggressive. Industry people are not going to dig you if you are name dropping too much or being pushy. Be cool, it's not that hard. If you start to look/feel like a bullshitter people will disengage with you fast.
Find the right parties - Most industry people are not going to be accessible at the bigger events, they are back stage. Find the industry focused events, hotel events or pool parties, industry people will usually be by the stage or in VIP type areas. Chill around those areas and make friends.
Get them a drink - This small gesture still goes a long way and it will give you that five minute window you need to break the ice.
Have a good elevator pitch - This is essentially a short and concise sales pitch that simply lets people know what you are all about. Can you break down your selling points as a producer/DJ in 60 seconds or less? Sometimes you might only have 30 seconds, so practice this before you go out and hustle. Get your friends feedback, etc.
Have your music on hand - You should always roll with a pair of new headphones (on ears, not buds) and an iPod. If you engage with someone chances are they will take a quick listen to your music.
So good luck out there, keep an eye out for our next installment of career advice coming soon.
Check out this article on DCC Studios as well to dive deeper on why original music is so important.