IS SOCIAL MEDIA THE SAVIOUR?
When looking at the development of house music and the rise of superstar DJs such as Calvin Harris, Tiesto and David Guetta to the forefront of the music industry, you could predict that the demand for London-based DJs would be increasing. However, even though many DJs may have the skills, talent and equipment, they have the risk of falling into the pitfalls of under-promotion and underselling themselves. Such financial risks only increase with the rising prices of DJ equipment and gear. DJs get trapped into a vicious cycle in which they lack a substantial number of gigs to turn DJing from a fun hobby into a full-time career. In this article TEJ Music with the help of Series 60 Ltd analyses the risks that 2015 holds for a rising DJ in London on both the club scene and for private functions. This article predicts that DJs in 2015 will face the challenge of differentiating themselves without driving down their hourly rate.
This scenario does not have to be the case with the right approach. The gigs are there, the sessions are there and so are the potential excited clubbers wanting a great DJ to create a memorable night. The rules, however, have changed and so has DJ promotion. So how can this done? As this article will demonstrate social media provides the answer to securing regular gigs..
1. Cost Of The Kit To Do The Job
In order for DJs to truly compete at the top flight of the club scene or even for the best private functions, they need to have the latest gear. The overall increase in the cost for such essential items such as the CDJs is a central problem to this. DJs want the quality, performance and robust interface that the CDJs offer but in order to invest such a costly sum, a return on investment is crucial. Otherwise, it is just an expensive toy for enjoyment, not an asset, which generates money year on year. The risk of the kit getting out of date, damaged or even the occurance of faulty technology down the line only places higher stress on having a full season of bookings.
How can this be done?
Many DJs believe the only answer is having a great website which they can promote themselves to potential clients and followers. Whereas, a website is a crucial asset to the success of a London-based DJ, it is also a costly expense which can take time for it to provide a fast return for the modern day DJ. Today, the development of social media might be faster and a more effective marketing tool than you at first might think. Signed DJs to labels such as Spinnin, Ultra and Armada are the most active users on applications such as Instagram interacting with their fans and club venues on a daily basis. Just check this out for yourself.
DJs like Sam Feldt, Michael Calfan or Prettypink are great examples. These DJs are also the professionals who are touring Europe and the World with nothing but DJing putting mega money into their back pocket.
Is this a coincidence?
No, it is not, they know what they are doing. The most successful DJs of today employ social media managers who have the skills and understanding of how best to promote the DJ on social media. These social media experts also know most importantly how to secure gigs fast and in the most effective way.
(Spinnin’ Records, Michael Calfan interacting with one of Series60’s manage d profiles on instagram)
2. Suffer The (Low Rates) For DJ Art
At the same time DJs are battling, not on the turntables, but with the clubs or private gigs in order to get recognised for their skills. Only resulting in the DJs having to ‘suffer for their art’ by reducing their hourly rate to secure a club night. Often this is below a rate that makes being a DJ a viable career.
For nightclubs in London they face falling door numbers compared to live music venues for private functions such as weddings or special events. Meaning these nightclubs have less cash to invest in having a DJ for the night. For the DJ this only means a downward pressure on the value of their art form.
Series60 helps and manages DJs on how to promote themselves well on social media to establish large numbers of local followers on their profile quickly. When done in the right way, such practice can demonstrate to the nightclubs that not only does the DJ have a good reputation and presence but the DJ is also a worthy investment. The booking of such a DJ will fulfill the clubs’ financial objective of ultimately bringing people through the door.
3. OK, So Back To The Day Job
Many valuable and talented DJs can fall by the wayside as rising costs of their profession creates an imbalance in ‘paying the bills’. DJs resort instead with doing the ‘day job’ to make ends meet, no matter how talented or skilled they are. This result is a far cry from the ‘Club Days’ of the late 90’s.
The booking agent is trying to meet the constraints and costs of the recession, whilst trying to attract customers to maximize the door price and register of the tills. If you look at this scenario from the booking agent’s perspective, would you rather choose a DJ that has all the gear and gives you his word that he is a great DJ or a DJ that has a considerable social media presence, has marketed his sound in unique way and has followers ready for the announcement of his next gig? The second option is definitely a less risky investment and the winner here.
4. Self Promotion Like A Needle in a Haystack
In the midst of the development of social media, there is the complexity and time consuming effort which self promotion takes….. rarely is this done with a cohesive strategy and with marketing expertise. This results in the DJ simply giving up as the process takes up valuable time which he believes could be better spent on the phone to book venues for the next gig, if only to receive a Dutch auction to secure the set. Why slave at this process on your own? Why not ask an expert who has the knowledge, expertise and skillset to deliver your goals through social media?
5. The ‘Wedding DJ’
It is not a pretty image but one that you may have seen is ‘Mr Mobile Disco’ mumbling over an incoherent speaker system dousing the dreams of the newlyweds or another memorable moment like a 21st Birthday Party. They still get bookings, but this is not what people want to remember, recommend or pay good value for. This gig may become the last resort for a DJ but if you promote yourself well on social media, you could instead have a club full of people vibing off you, who not only value you but respect you as a true artist and DJ.
Can you afford as an artist and as DJ to let these pitfalls take over your career or are you ready to take it all to a new level?
Being a full time DJ is of course a business and the rewards can be yours with a bit of assistance and directional help.
1. Compete On Your Own Terms
Avoid competing on a price basis, doing this just affirms that you don’t believe in your ability. Instead market and compete with other DJs on your uniqueness and social presence. Be precise on what your sound is and what you can offer to a club that other DJs don’t, essentially market your USP. You have to treat your online profile and web presence as a marketable brand which has to be tuned in and presented correctly to your suited audience and booking agents. Once you have tuned your profile correctly, the whole process of securing bookings becomes an efficient system with minimal effort. The whole game changes when you have your foot through the door at the potential clubs. You can, with your performance, demonstrate your ability to the club owners in generating more door and bar sales. In demonstrating your talent, the club owner will be more likely to offer you a premium slot and an opportunity to play regularly at this venue. Don’t attempt creating your social profile with a half-hearted attempt. Recognize your weaknesses and allow the experts to help you in their area of understanding and the results will shortly follow.
2. Your Clients Are Buying You
For private venues DJs demonstrating a high level of quality is critical but hard to achieve without the customer ‘experiencing’ you, your set up or quality of mixing unless you can show them a growing social media presence and reputation. This is another reason why making a small investment in a company with this skillset can create such a valuable asset for your DJing career. With a considerable social media presence you can either promote high quality short videos of real events where you’ve played, requesting online feedback from customers and even offering a ‘taster session’ for potential clients. These all provide a way for customers to confidently make their decision to hire you.
3. Invest In The Future Now
You may have just bought the newest decks and sub woofers but this equipment depreciates over time and with its use. It is now time to start investing in your career as a professional DJ. Customer expectations for high quality sound are part of an ongoing technological movement. Therefore, planning finances towards getting a regular season of bookings has never been more crucial to secure your next season’s equipment.
4. Don’t Try & Do It All Yourself
With the development of websites, online marketing and most importantly social media, it is possible to target customers that you want to attract and build your reputation as a DJ and future bookings. This management is an area that Series60 continues to assist DJs with and 2015 is no exception. We do all the hard grind for you, leaving you more time to get paid to doing what you love and more time to continue spinning those great tunes!