All DJs and performance artists find themselves asking the same question at some point during their career:
How can I get more gigs?
It could be that you are just getting started and have yet to secure your first high-profile bookings. It could also be that you are securing the occasional slot, but still have a predominantly empty calendar.
In all instances, the key to booking more gigs lies in one thing, the art of effective self-promotion. More specifically, there are six things all aspiring DJs should focus their efforts on if the goal is to get more gigs:
- Make Sure You’re Good Enough
You need to question honestly and objectively whether you are good enough to get the gigs you want. Ambition is all well and good, but overestimating your capabilities is a recipe for disappointment.
Your job is to think carefully about the kinds of venues and promoters that are genuinely within your league. Be realistic when it comes to the kinds of gigs you’re qualified for, even if it means swallowing a bitter pill for the time being.
- Build Your Portfolio
This is where social media can be your best friend; it is the perfect place to build an impressive portfolio. When presenting yourself to promoters, they will want to see more than just your latest demo. They’ll want to know how established you are on the scene and how seriously you take your work.
Ideally, it should be as simple as pointing them to your social channels and letting them do the talking. The stronger your online presence and the bigger the community you are a part of, the more likely they are to take you seriously.
- Stay Active
You may not have played a live show in months (or ever), but this is no excuse to sit silently on the side-lines and stagnate. All the time you have at your disposal between live shows should be invested in your craft in some way.
Expand your knowledge and skills by taking an online course, experiment with new equipment or simply get your online portfolio in order; active and engaged DJs who are committed to the cause gain points and appeal in the eyes of promoters.
- Sharing Your Music for Free
A time may come when you can get away with charging a premium for your music, until then, simply getting it out and about in the open matters far more than money. Sharing music on platforms like Mixcloud or Soundcloud can be great for reaching a huge audience of potential listeners.
More importantly, promoters and talent scouts are constantly on the lookout for the next big thing on platforms like these. Take every opportunity to showcase your best work, and do so free of charge. After all, this is the single most powerful promotional tool you have for your DJ business.
- Share the Love
One of the best ways to get yourself known is to engage, interact and support other DJs. Sharing the love on social media and getting to know your listeners on a deeper level can support your cause in two ways.
Firstly, shows of support and appreciation on social media are reciprocal. Secondly, social media algorithms always take kindly to those who take the time to interact positively with their communities. The more love and appreciation you show, the more you stand to get back in return.
- Keep Things Fresh and New
Accepting that your current mixes and routines are not hitting the right notes isn’t easy. But if your work is not blowing the minds of those hearing it, the facts need to be faced. Flogging the proverbial dead horse won’t get you anywhere, but working on bigger and better things might.
While booking gigs is proving problematic, don’t run the risk of getting stale. Try new things, stay sharp and do everything you can to push your talents as far as possible.