.. are still approachable. Whether major or independent, they still need product to release. The days of the pro-active A&R man do however seem to be long gone, most these days expect a fully recorded, mixed, mastered and already promoted/buzzing track to land in their lap, but hey-ho. It figures though, especially for the DJ/Producer fraternity, that targeting a label dealing with ‘like’ product as their own makes sense.
Such established and respected labels like ‘Defected’ in the UK tend to attract a certain style of music, as would a specialist Techno label in Europe too for example. It’s good for DJ’s to establish relationships with these labels by buying and supporting their product anyway (plays, chart returns, props on a Blog etc) and if said DJ makes a track the label may be interested in, there is a dialogue already open and present.
Of course, one of the main advantages of this digital world is the possibility that a DJ/Producer, band or artist can [and relatively] easily set up their own label. If you have product that you feel is worthy of release, smaller and higher profile download sites can either be approached direct to form a release agreement, or as is the case with the mighty iTunes, ‘aggregators’ (who act as sort of digital middle-men) can place your music onto the platform on your behalf. The legalities, administration and other related topics to do with own label ownership and running don’t fall within the scope of this small feature, but Google is your friend and info is available.
Strength in Numbers
If you haven’t already done so, consider adding ‘collaboration’ to your musical life. Working with other creatively like minded people not only expands musical production, song writing and live performance boundaries but (even temporary) teaming up can provide live and studio alter-ego’s, AKA’s etc and lead to gigs, deals and again, other bountiful networking opportunities.
Target The Big Boys
Many ‘A’ list DJs are on Twitter and Facebook. Their Facebook presence tends to be generic and often run by someone ‘on staff’, but Twitter does tend to offer a direct plug-in to many a previously unattainable superjock. Established icons such as the UK’s, Judge Jules also tend to invite communication from fans and other DJs, so take advantage of this. If you have a hot digi-promo, send him and others in your target musical area a link to your Dropbox, Soundcloud or whatever storage space and let ‘em have it!
Use Down-Time Productively
Going back to part one of this feature, the first point made is that your product, fundamentally needs to be ‘right’ and of good quality, content and production ethic. An efficient use of time for anyone engaged in music production, recording, writing and performing is to get to know their gear inside out. When gigs are quiet, rehearsals non-existent, paid studio sessions dry, then apart from the above mentioned collaboration advice, it makes sense to adopt a geek style mentality and engage in R&D (research and development) sessions.
Just as the amount of music available out there stands at over-saturation level, so too is the huge amount of software, hardware and music-tech options we can invest in. But go limited – really. Don’t fall into the trap of blindly acquiring every plug-in, DAW, controller and other such hardware – be a master of a few well chosen tools. When engaged in the producing, programming and writing process, visiting and efficiently using your ‘well understood’ sonic armory will have nothing but positive effects on any finished product.
When you know that you can launch (for example) a plug-in instrument, and use it to its maximum capability without breaking a sweat, pausing to check the manual or blindly pressing buttons and switches, you know you’ve got it right. And while you’re engaged in this down-time R&D, consider using your audio doodling to print some original sounds you’ve created in the process and add to your bespoke library. Once you’re at this stage, then it’s quite probably time to confidently invest in new gear.