Grahame Farmer is the founder of the website, Data Transmission & DT Radio. Data Transmission is an online music authority which covers house, techno, drum & bass and all their sub-genres.
Since the start of 2018, Grahame has been giving out his 15 years of dance music industry experience and knowledge via his personal Facebook and Instagram (@grahamefarmer for both). We asked him to give us his top 5 tips for artists trying to breakthrough in 2018.
Here are his top tips.
1. Get a job.
The biggest thing for any wannabe DJ, you will need funds / income whilst you learn your craft as you are not going to be paid for gigs for a while.
These will include:
1. Travel money to get gigs
2. Money for music (don’t steal music, you won’t like it when you are trying to sell it)
3. Money to go out and network
4. Money for production hardware and software
5. Money for advertising on Facebook / Instagram / Soundcloud reposts
2. Build your channels whilst your learning
Social media (Facebook, Instagram,Snapchat) isn’t going away and it’s now the gateway for you to make it as a DJ or a producer. Building your channels whilst your learn to DJ and/or learn to produce music is key, you are going to need numbers.
To get numbers you are going to need content. When you are learning this is going to be harder for you if you have no gigs or releases – most think. I tend to disagree if you want to be a DJ which at its very base is curating music for people to dance too and enjoy.
You can build playlists on Spotify, your followers are the future for you. Update your Spotify playlist weekly. You can include friends tracks and you can include labels you want to be on in the future. You can then share this on your social media as one of your pieces of content that week. That’s 1 of 7 for that week.
Charting on Traxsource/Beatport is a similar vibe and then becomes numbers 2 & 3. Making videos of your tracks in progress and asking for feedback online is a great piece of social media, it will have interaction as people comment and give you the feedback.
Going live on FB and DJing, shows off your skills, builds numbers and helps you build a fanbase – make sure you set a regular time each week / month so people know to tune in and it will help you build fans quicker.
Finally, learning Facebook Admanager and making your page a facebook business account will give you better reach for your £/$.
3. Hustle for Gigs and get the most of out of them
Everyone wants more gigs, but, unless you are worth more than £250 – £500 per gig then you won’t get a booking agent that will work for you. So you need to learn to ask for gigs yourself or work with a friend who can ask for you and then take a percentage of your fee.
When you first start out, not getting paid for gigs is going to happen, especially if you are only bringing yourself and your skill to the party (by the way millions have that skill and they will do it for nothing so you are going to have to). You are going to need to get more out of the gig, the promoter has socials, the other DJs that are playing have socials – interacting with them on instagram will give your small power likes.
Give the promoter loads of your content for their socials – firstly it will help them, they have a weekly need for content (especially the smaller ones), secondly it drives people back to you – so you make off the gig.
4. Build your own castle
Networking is key in any world. Fact.
You can’t just sit in your room making music and think the world is going to come to you, you need to get out there and meet people, especially promoters if you want gigs. Going to an event and understanding the vibe of the party and meeting the promoter is key to getting gigs, supporting them will help them support you.
Build your own castle of friends in the industry, DJs who like what you are doing will help you scale the ladder quicker, the bigger the castle the bigger you are.
Final one, what young DJs need to understand is no one gives a shit about your excuses, no-one cares if you can’t change a wav in to a mp3, because ‘you don’t know computers’ – Google it!!
If you turn up to a gig and can’t set-up your equipment because ‘you’re not very technical’ this is utter rubbish, as far as the organizers are concerned, you need to be able to do this. No one has time to baby you.
No one cares if no one is listening to your music or not getting back to you about signing your tracks, you need to work harder and try new methods to get your music and you out there. Be inventive with your promotion, if your dream is to be signed by a major label why not use facebook advertising and target everyone that works for those companies and only them.
Hustle and work hard if you want it, otherwise there are 100’s more who are more hungry.
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