Build Your Brand
Your marketable skills begin with your talent and your sound, but there’s more to this picture too–your consistency, dedication, professionalism and personality carry a lot of weight with your fans and with the people who want to hire you.
At the “superstar” level, DJs are a unique breed because they have to manage multiple aspects of their public persona. It’s not enough just to tour the world with an expensive light show, or to mix a mind-blowing set with passion and creativity. You literally have to be an arbiter of the future–attuned to emerging trends and technologies, and ahead of the curve with your selections, remixes, and productions–while still maintaining a vestige of the sound and style that got you there. That’s not easy; just ask Tiesto, BT and Richie Hawtin, or even eclectic outliers like Ellen Allien or Amon Tobin, both of whom have reinvented themselves more times than we can count, but draw packed houses consistently.
If you’re just starting out as a DJ, we know it feels great to drop a mix that really shakes up your local club. But if you’re looking to pursue this as a career, where do you go from here? Defining and curating your brand is really the key to moving forward.
Why Does Branding Matter for DJs?
Think about the most successful DJs in the world, and you’ll realize that they have several things in common besides their technical skills and talent. They each have a distinctive sound, look and personality, and they each maintain a steady media presence–all of which connects to being memorable as a brand. Tiesto is a perfect example; with his immediately recognizable logo and his dynamic presence on stage or in the booth (he’s known for dancing all night), his live shows have become ritual gatherings for his fans worldwide.
Elements like these are important in furthering your own DJ career. You need to create your own identity so you can stand out from the crowd of DJs who are available to play on any given night in any given city. Competition for residencies is always fierce, so you’ll need an edge to get ahead.
Think again about your favorite DJs. You know what to expect each time you hear Kaskade, Tiesto, Avicii, or Skrillex play a set. They have built their brand around a specific sound and image. This isn’t to say that they’re playing it safe–after all, if your fan base learns to expect you to change with every album, that too can become part of your brand–but consistency is at the core of what they do every night, whether they’re on tour or in the studio.
Creating and Curating Your Image
The way you dress and the music you play, as well as your social media presence, website, and the marketing materials you create, are all reflections of your personal brand. But don’t forget why you need it: you’re trying to get gigs so you can make a living playing music. If you’re not getting work, or if you feel stuck in a creative rut, you might want to think about retooling your brand.
The world of DJing has changed dramatically in recent years to adapt to technology. If you want people to book you, then you absolutely need to be found online. One easy way to make sure you are easy to find is by having your own website. If you’re looking for help designing your own site, go to Wix pricing for some tips on their price plans.
Sometimes, reinvention is key to surivival, even with an established online presence. Back in 2010, New York City DJ Danny Rockz made a name for himself in a flooded market by reinventing his image. After a decade of DJing on the local scene, Rockz had begun to lose interest and decided to start over with a clean slate. “I took the first two months of 2010 to think about what I wanted to do, what direction I wanted to head in,” he says. “I started with a whole new image and a new music format. I started doing parties I liked and playing music I liked, and it all just grew from there.”25
Rockz adopted a true open-format mix in his live sets to include rock and roll, indie, house, hip-hop and classics from every era. Eventually, he landed a residency at Provocateur and regular gigs at such New York hot spots as 1OAK, The Darby and Gansevoort Park. “You have to make yourself stand out in some way,” he observes. “Personality is the one thing I feel like a lot of people lack.”26
Not only do you need to decide which market you want to target (whether private events, bars and lounges, or the full-on bottle service scene at local clubs), but you need to cultivate an ability to network. “I talk to people, meet people and follow through,” Rockz says. “A lot of times you have to stay on top of people, but in the sense that you’re not overwhelming or creepy about it. You just want to be cool–just say, ‘Hey, what’s going on? How are we going to make this happen?'”27
Our Source MixedInkey.com/Build-Your-Brand-as-a-DJ