By DJ Digital Dave
COVID-19 has for the foreseeable future drastically changed life as we know it, especially in the DJ arena. Event venues, nightclubs, bars and even casinos have shuttered their doors. While many states and cities imposing restrictions have set temporary time tables of 14-30 days for non-essential business closures, the unfortunate truth is that best case scenario we’re probably looking at a minimum of 6-8 weeks before beginning to return to normalcy.
This downtime presents many challenges, including lost income and a sudden abundance of time.
It’s important to not squander away your time at home. Most DJs often have a laundry list of tasks that they always wish they had time to accomplish. While the current situation is far from ideal I encourage you to use this time to position yourself and your business to come back stronger than ever once social distancing requirements are lifted. Here is a list of 10 actionable items you can work on as a DJ during the downtime.
1. Make mixes and upload them to Mix-cloud.
For the uninitiated Mixcloud is basically Soundcloud for DJ Mixes. Mixcloud has worked extensively to create a site/app that allows DJs to legally post mixes of copyrighted music with royalties being paid the artists and labels. This means your account will never be suspended for posting copyrighted music, in fact that’s the point. Mixcloud is a free service for both the DJs who post mixes as well as the listening audience. I consider Mixcloud to be my best marketing tool as it’s the most authentic way to convey my DJ style to a prospective client.
2. Make edits.
Utilize this time to make edits in Ableton, Pro Tools, Logic, Garage Band or whatever your software of choice is. Whether it be original productions, blends, transitions or just simple short edits. If you don’t currently make edits this is an excellent time to learn how to. There are countless tutorials on YouTube that can guide you through the fundamentals. I know it can be intimidating to open up production software for the first time, but once you learn the basics you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can produce basic edits that can significantly improve the quality of your sets.
3. Download new (and old) music.
Step up your music game. Take a genre that you think you’re weak in and exhaustively comb through that genre in your record pools. Research old charts and critics list to find diamonds in the rough. Google covers of songs. Go through your most played artists’ discographies and find gems you’ve forgotten about. Get lost in WhoSampled.com, a site which ties your favorite contemporary songs with the throwbacks that they sampled. This will also help you reconnect with your love of music and why you fell in love with DJing in the first place.
4. Update your social media bios.
Sure you post all of the time to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Linked In, but you’d be amazed at how infrequently you update your bios and how much out of date information appears in them.
5. Update your website/blog, EPK and/or marketing materials.
Does your website or brochure currently say you’ve won “Best Of The Knot” from 2012-2018, even though you’ve won this award the past two years as well? Does your EPK omit a major recent achievement such as a performance on Sirius XM or a major club or festival gig? We all get so busy that we frequently miss the opportunity to add new accomplishments to our marketing materials. I’m guilty of this as well. Use this opportunity to ensure that your marketing properly conveys an up to date list of your achievements. Additionally, analyze your verbiage to make sure that it is consistent with how you want to represent your brand.
6. Start a podcast.
I can affirm that I know 5 times as many DJs who “would like to start a podcast” as I know DJs who have actually started a podcast. The time is now, no excuses. You can even bank up podcasts for future release after life gets “back to normal” and you’re as busy as ever. Simplecast.com is an excellent tool that gets your podcast out to all of the major outlets including Apple & Spotify.
Reach out to others in your industry that you always want to reach out to, but never have the time. If you’re in the wedding/event industry this could mean other DJs or planners or photographers. If you’re in the nightclub/bar industry this could mean other DJs, promoters, managers or owners. I already have several post-social distancing bookings in the works that have been born out of checking in on some of my industry friends to see how they were weathering this storm. Put yourself in the best position to book gigs once the world is open for business again.
8. Organize your crates.
This is without question the number one action item that DJs perpetually say is essential but they do not have time for. Do it. Now.
9. Practice scratching or mixing.
If you don’t know how to scratch take the time to learn using the many free tutorials online. Spend time developing new routines (word play, tone play, etc.) or if you’ve never created a routine now is an excellent time to start.
10. Create a bio on a site you aren’t currently on
Maybe you’ve always wanted a Linked In profile but never had the time to create one. Wedding Wire & The Knot offer free profiles and so does PartySlate.com Party Slate is a site I was turned onto recently that I love because it gives users an opportunity to feature real events with photos and descriptions.
Stay safe, be kind to others and don’t be wasteful of your time. Let’s all come out of this stronger and smarter and prepared to achieve more success than ever.
DJ Digital Dave is known as one of the hardest working DJs, spinning spins at over 300 performances annually at nightclubs, radio stations and luxury events across the U.S. Dave also serves as the in-game DJ for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pitt Football and Pitt Men’s Basketball.
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