Theres different types of DJs, bedroom DJs, mobile DJs, Club DJs so when we say professional DJ we mean someone touring the world, making tonnes of money and living the dream. Who wouldn’t want to play in places like Ibiza all the time at the biggest clubs or touring the world at some of the biggest gigs? What about working in the studio with some of the biggest and best producers and DJs out there? How about being friends with the likes of Tiesto and Pete Tong? Finally what about earning lots of money. All that there is the dream.
Now obviously you won’t go from bedroom DJ to superstar professional DJ in a weekend but you should always have something to aspire to.
It’s well known that to become a professional, world touring DJ that you need to produce your own tracks. We’ve discussed this in another article before. Making tracks is hard but fun and rewarding but even more of a challenge is promoting them and hopefully getting them signed to a record label.
Just look on myspace or beatport and you’ll see millions of other djs and musicians creating music. Record labels are swamped with music, more than they can handel so getting an AR manager to listen to your tracks is almost impossible. Just getting your track into their hands is hard enough without them choosing your track over thousands of other submissions.
If you are lucky enough to have your track picked, don’t except Ibiza Clubland Hits Volume 3 style advertising. You are an unknown and even if your track reaches #1 on Beatport, within a week it’ll be lost in between the millions of other tracks on the service. That means whilst you made a #1 selling track, it didn’t have long to make a lot of its money.
You’re now probably thinking that you’ve wasted all this time making, promoting and releasing a track and making no money off it. That’s true for now as an unknown DJ but things will change if you become known. You’ll need to carry on making more, better tracks but don’t go submitting to every label you can, stick with one label. They will release all your tracks, people will find your older stuff easier and they’ll be more interested in helping you with future releases if you have an exclusive deal with them.
The more tracks you make that are successful for them, the more they will spend on marketing, giving you both more sales and more money with your name becoming more recognised.
But with thousands of labels out there, who do you go with? A big label is the only choice. Sure small labels may offer you better rates or promote you more but they won’t have the time or money to back you in a bigger way. You want a label that can get behind its DJs and develop them further, a label that has a marketing budget to promote you to the top.
It all sounds pretty easy so far but a big label won’t be interested in some random DJ they’ve never heard of before. You need to start getting your first tracks onto other labels with similar styles of music. You need to promote yourself as a DJ and producer and make these first tracks a success. Once they are getting attention you can then approach one of the larger record labels with your tracks and show off what you have achieved so far and where you are heading towards.
Just like you, record labels are out to make money so if you take the offer for very little commission in exchange for promoting you as a DJ being signed to their label they’ll be more keen to promote you than if you were taking a much larger cut of the profits. Once you have your name out there and start getting booked to DJ gigs, thats where you’ll make most of your money and have all the fun of the lifestyle as well.
Now one last thing we missed out on. There is a way to get AR managers to listen to your tracks. Competitions. Websites, DJ stores and magazines often offer the chance to get your music heard by AR managers. Just hand your CD in at the right time and you will have saved yourself a lot of time and effort but it doesn’t mean your track will get picked, only listened to.
Good luck with your quest to become a professional DJ and don’t forget to check out our other DJing guides.