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Raising Your DJ-Producer Profile

Raising Your DJ-Producer Profile

It’s the question on everyone’s lips: how do I raise my profile and get people to notice and like what I’m doing? Competition for the title of professional DJ-producer is fiercer than ever, and technology is constantly making it easier for newer producers to do more with less. So how do you form a reputation for pure quality in a noisier and noisier world? 

Remix and collaborate

Collaborating with different people raises your profile. The power behind remixes is introducing work to an entirely new audience. If you’re a tech-house DJ, export the key stems of one of your tracks and offer them to a trap producer. Contact bands and offer them remixes. If you know a sax player or percussionist who might be open to performing, reach out and offer them a spot at your next gig. Find a female singer and a recording space and see what happens. If you DJ, produce and play an instrument or sing yourself, you’re a triple-threat. Keep your live set vibrant and interesting by offering something that the other DJs aren’t doing. Work with others to make yourself indispensable.

Publish often

DJing is a very competitive field, but one thing that all the top names have in common is the sheer volume of work they’ve published. Remember, it’s quite normal for a producer to publish work under different names, so chances are that the ones who inspire you are actually doing a lot of other stuff you might not have ever heard. So start getting as much of your stuff out there as possible. Don’t hang on to tracks for too long. Publish continuously, and learn how to finish work without letting perceived imperfections get in the way of release. At least one new track a month keeps you current and creates the impression that you’re not past your sell-by date. Be prolific. Social media marketing has a huge part to play in your success. 

Find your people 

Growing an audience while attending an online DJ school and living the rest of your life can be a time-consuming experience. You might only have another ten or twenty email subscribers after a year. The fewer people you’re being followed by, the more personal you have to be with them. Without turning into a stalker, start to recognize the difference between casual fans, superfans and potential influencers. Get to know as many of them personally as you can. Maybe they’re more into streaming music from home than heading out to parties. Send them tracks. Maybe they’re just into getting wild at events, but not as interested in the releases themselves. Send them comps to your shows and your friends’ shows. Unsubscribing is a simple click away, so make sure that every fan sees you and your work as a source of joy and fun. 

It’s not about you

It’s tempting to fall into the trap of thinking that the self-promotional work you do is only about raising your own profile as an artist. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? You are as valuable as the number of people who are having a good time. The art of DJing has suffered some terrible injustices at the hands of major promotion. Like the badly-behaved rock star stereotype, the image of the solo DJ has often been tarnished by the perception of amateurism brought on by technology’s lower and lower barrier to entry. Prove your real worth by listening to your audience. DJs and producers who have found their niche have done so by blending their own aims with that of the available community of fun-lovers. One last time: DJing is not about the guy or girl in the booth, it’s about the appropriateness of the atmosphere that they create based on the demands of that place and time. Be humble. 

Keep your eyes open

All producers benefit from following existing trends. Keep your eyes on the charts. Get to know where your search for new music takes you, and what it teaches you about yourself. But don’t expect to gain much lasting popularity by being a complete copycat. Part of your long-term goal should be finding your voice (which is really creating your voice). The end result should be something that people can’t find anywhere else. Being risky in your production by deviating from trends can have bigger payoffs. Some of the greatest remixes surpass their originals in popularity because of the direction the remixer took. If you’re able to remain inspired by keeping your productions, song choices and mixes originals while also keeping your eyes on what the audience wants, you’ll raise your profile as a worthwhile asset to your environment. 


Raising your profile as a DJ really comes down to educating yourself about the needs of your society. If being professional is truly what you want, keep focusing on the beautiful energy of the music itself, and keep sharing it with the people who enjoy it as much as you. This is the secret sauce of a career in creating good vibes: keep smiling. The results could just be a job in which your work doesn’t feel much like work. You know it’s what you want to do. Now find out how to do it with the learning offers from DJ Courses Online

John Bartmann is an award-winning music producer and DJ.

Throwing Your Own Party

Throwing Your Own Party

Running your own event is a good idea for upcoming DJs to establish themselves in a scene. Identifying and overcoming the challenges and risks of creating a weekly or monthly night with any staying power solidifies your reputation as a key player and creates incoming demand for your service as a vibe curator. In this post, we take a look at some of the ways you’re able to go about throwing a good party.

Find your partners

The tastemakers are the guys or girls in your scene who are pretty influential, usually quite vocal on social media and generally quite frequent in releasing or unearthing new tracks. Forming a mutually beneficial relationship with these people takes time. If they’re producing their own tracks, start by including them in your sets. Follow, subscribe, like, share and retweet whatever they’re up to. They’ll start to notice who you are. Sign up for DJ lessons online to link with like-minded people. Also link with the fellow DJs who are keen to play and (more importantly) help promote the event. It’s easy to find someone with a new set. When deciding which other DJs to approach about playing, look for the ones who can offer you skills like poster design, video editing and press contacts. Rather look for the hard-working types than people who are just going to sit back and let you shoulder all the risk. 

Be personal

Keep things narrow and as personal as possible. Sure, tag a few tastemakers in your music releases so they’re aware of who is putting stuff out there. But take the time to think it through. You ought to be sparing, exclusive and (above all) relevant when you’re reaching out. Too many upcoming DJs consider social media a free service to spray their own irrelevant self-promo all over town. Nobody likes being mass tagged with stuff that has nothing to do with them, so put some thought into what you’re doing. Remember, the goal of effective social media is real-world, personal relationships. Reply to all constructive messages. Aim for personal. 

Hit the town

Assist tastemakers and promoters by attending their events. Going to parties is hands-down the best way to throw your hat in the ring and break into a scene. If a promoter remembers seeing you on a quiet night at their party, they’re probably going to be more open to talking and hearing what you’re up to. The key here is regularity. A scene is just a collection of people who keep going to the same events. Getting to know them by face and then by name is the best way to immerse yourself in the group. When you’re ready to throw your own event, you’ll have a list of people to get in touch with who already know who you are and interested in what you do. 

Keep it light at night

When you meet a tastemaker or promoter out at night, it’s a good idea to keep the conversation away from events and work. Business talk is more effective in the day. And besides, it might be the guy’s night off! He doesn’t want to have to talk to an upcoming DJ about their event. Connecting with promoters without asking when they’ll book you is a good move. Strike up a conversation about the music or TV shows he or she likes. You can always connect with them in the week and give them a heads-up on your agenda, but don’t spoil their night by talking about yourself and your aims. Oh, and definitely don’t get too trashed if you’re out to meet promoters.

Promote your party

Promote your party heavily. Posters, flyers, social media and email are the standard ways to go, but you’re free to get creative. Email is apparently still the most precious and private of all forms of communication, and people take their inboxes way more seriously than their social media platforms. It’s also the most effective. Be aware of this when creating your following. You might get likes and follows, but your real goal of online communication is still to build a trusted email list. Be active on social and remind people that you have a mailing list. Sending an email reminder about your Facebook event is a one-two punch. Always assure people that you’re not out to spam them, but just thought they might enjoy the vibe you’re working hard to create. Make sure you’re avoiding the most common promotion mistakes


It does take tenacity to launch a successful event that lasts for more than a few weeks. The key is to create a secure party concept with a good reputation that attracts the names people want to see. The alternative is to aim for an event series that comes and goes quickly. But after enough time in the business, you’ll likely find that promoters, venues and DJs are all seeking trusted, long-term relationships with good people. These relationships take time, so bear in mind where you’re putting your energy and make sure the overall direction worth your while. Learn more about professional DJing with DJ Courses Online

John Bartmann is an award-winning music producer and DJ.

Practical DJ Tips for Performing Out

Practical DJ Tips for Performing Out

You’ve got a new set together. You’ve organized a slot at a local party and are ready to hit it.  Great! But there are always ways to be slicker, more professional and smarter when building on your reputation as a club or event DJ. Let’s break from the online DJ lessons for a minute and check out some practical tips on how to keep playing the long game.

Protect your gear

Still carrying your laptop bare naked in a backpack? Get customized and padded protective bags for your gear. Still tying cables in knots or untangling them from a snarling mess before shows? Get velcro strips and start coiling them properly every time you use them. These are the basics of handling technical equipment. Yes, it’s more time-consuming to properly pack and unpack things, so you should start factoring it into your setup and takedown time. Think about the upgrade and resell value, and don’t glamorize the idea of battle-scarred gear. You want a mixer with channels that work and CDJs or controllers without faulty buttons, pads, sliders and connections. The basics. Learning these valuable DJ lessons will save you money later. Oh, and don’t leave your stuff in the booth if you want to stick around and party or arrive early. If there’s a locked office, ask about storing your gear in there beforehand.

Have a checklist

If you’ve already got a flight case with everything waiting to go, first prize. If you’re still unpacking and wiring separate items of gear before a gig and find your RCA adapters dwindling in number, get a quick little checklist on your phone to make sure you’re leaving with everything that you came with. Less important accessories might slip your mind, so unless you have a great memory, make a note of easily forgettable stuff when packing up, such as phone charger cables, headphone adapters, iPad casings, microphone cradles and power adapters. It’s another thing to do, but it sure beats having to replace working cables that you have unintentionally donated to the underground.

Get to know the crew

Introducing yourself to security, bar staff and management on the way in is a great idea. In any nightclub, these guys generally have to deal with the nasty side of humanity more often than most, so create the impression that you’re on their side, part of the team and cooperative. Club managers would way rather work with someone positive and helpful than an arrogant or self-important figure whose demands outweigh their suggestions. Even if people aren’t being as friendly as you are, leave a lasting impression by doing on a personal level what you’re there to on a public level: create a good vibe.

When all else fails…

If technical problems can happen, they’ll happen at events. Technical failure is a disappointing reality in the trade, especially when playing on gear that belongs to the venue. Always keep a playlist or mix on your phone as a backup. Keep it plugged in and ready to play. Or if you’re bringing your own gear, have an entirely separate laptop ready. You can also bring a clone of your hard drive. Mixers can fail too, so have the necessary adapters to be able to plug directly into the front of house system. Whatever it takes, have a backup and be prepared for that moment that the sound goes down and everyone looks at you, the DJ. Be a hero, pull a solution out of the bag and get that music going again, whatever it takes!


Not only does all this advice make sense, it also makes you look good. Being able to smoothly handle unforeseen actualities is the difference between an amateur and a pro. Sure, it means more prep time, spare cables and overall work. But if you’re seriously considering upping your game, you’ll make a habit of factoring this extra time and energy into your offering and have a good time knowing that you’ve got another smooth event in the bag. Check out the learning offers from DJ Courses Online and get your pro game in the bag.

John Bartmann is an award-winning music producer and DJ.

Getting More DJ Bookings More Often

Getting More DJ Bookings More Often

As fun as it is collecting music and playing it out live, most of us who enter into online DJ schools are out to make a career of it at some level. It’s liberating to have found a niche that is supported by the entertainment demands of your society. But how do you get there? Quick answer: by acting as professional as possible, leveraging your good reputation and increasing the number of booking inquiries. Here’s how.

What is a booking contract?

A booking contract specifies the terms agreed upon by the DJ and the event promoter, club booker or agent. A standard booking contract includes the logistical details of expectations, start and end times, venue location and fee. But it also includes legally binding terms that protect both the promoter and the DJ, and aims to avoid disputes after any unexpected incidents. There are booking contract templates online that you can edit to suit the details of your event. 

Why do I need a booking contract?

Most booking contracts aim to protect you in the cases of non-payment and gear damage. It’s not feasible to complete a booking contract for every event you play. Rocking up at a house party asking the host to sign a piece of paper is a good way to appear lame. Nobody will point fingers at you if the power fails at your cousin’s sister-in-law’s birthday party. But in purely commercial situations such as public events, you stand to lose if your gear is damaged in any way. And here’s the thing: the event promoter or venue will seldom be the one to initiate this conversation, because they’re the ones most liable to pay up if something goes wrong. Every DJ worth their salt has learned this lesson in the past. Make sure a culpability clause is in the contract, and make sure a payment schedule is set. 

Payment schedule

A payment schedule is included in the contract or invoice and states when your fee is due in part or full. It’s normal to claim 50% of the total fee as a non-refundable deposit before the event date, with the remainder due on or before the day. Make sure you send an invoice to the client along with your contract, even if you use a placeholder company name. Branding these invoices and contracts is a good idea. These small preparations are what make an impression and set you apart from the type of cash-and-a-handshake deals you could end up playing forever. There are free accounting software solutions such as Wave that allow you to create invoices and reports easily. 


It’s sometimes the case that a promoter fails to pay the promised amount in full or on time. This can be the case if they booked you for a party, promising a flat fee, and then failed to bring in the ticket sales they were hoping for. As a professional, non-payment can seriously disrupt your cash flow, create troubles with your landlord and maybe even get the Yakuza on your back! Make sure there’s a clause stipulating when the fee is due. If you’re at the end of your rope and starting to feel like you’re begging for something that belongs to you, a lawyer’s letter might speed things up. But always keep your tone cordial and make sure to personally and delicately warn the promoter first. 


Insurance for your equipment is a good idea, particularly if you’re at a level where you’re being flown around to do gigs. Research insurance solutions especially for musicians, as they’ll have more in-depth cover and provide better service than general mobile household insurance options. Insurance is one of those things that you might think is totally unnecessary, but at a certain level it starts to make more and more sense to dedicate a part of your earnings to protection against theft, power surges and liquid spills. In your negotiations, ask the venues if they have an insurance policy, and if your gear would be covered under it. Another pro-sounding question for the client.

What is a tech rider?

A tech rider is a document that stipulates what gear you use and the requirements for your performance. A good tech rider includes a description of your performance, your gear list and your contact details. A tech rider also includes all and any unusual elements of a standard DJ act. Don’t automatically assume there’s space in the booth for additional live musicians or enough surface area for all your controller devices. Or any large mousehead stage props. Find out as much info beforehand as possible. It’s also a good idea to avoid using your own equipment as much as possible, to keep it from getting battered by time on the road and to make your life a little simpler and easier. 

Why do I need a tech rider?

Getting your client to agree on the tech rider beforehand helps to avoid panic situations before events. DJing is pretty technical, with an amazing array of accessories at your disposal. Just one missing cable could put a halt to the whole show, and an offhand bar owner might be quick to assume it was your responsibility to bring it. So during your negotiations, get detailed. Provide a checklist for the venue to fill out and state what’s available. Do they provide CDJs, turntables, connector cables, a mixer and all of the items required to take the signal from your flash drive to the front of house speakers? Make sure you know if you’re able to play on the gear. Is it compatible with your USB flash drives? How many channels are on the mixer? Are they all working? Make a list of all the problems you’ve ever had with gear in the past, and include it in your inquiry. Make sure you’re aware of what’s waiting for you on the other side of town, down to the cable types. 


Being very specific with your client has the effect of demonstrating that you’re experienced and professional. A club booker or agent should worry if they approach a DJ who agrees to perform before entering into a conversation. Don’t get hung up on waiting for emails. A phone call is still the best way to show you’re serious and get the info you require quickly. Most often, you’ll probably feel like you’re going way overboard with the invoices, tech riders, contracts and phone calls. But always remember to play for the gig you want, not just the gig you have. Find out more about how to enter the world of professional DJing with online DJ lessons from DJ Courses Online.

John Bartmann is an award-winning music producer and DJ.

DJing Music That’s New To You

DJing Music That’s New To You

The more established you are as a DJ, the more inquiries you’ll receive. These can range from one-line Facebook messages like ‘what do you charge?’ to full proposals with a budget and logistics already outlined. Oftentimes, the sender will have no idea what your preference or personal taste is, and might assume you operate a simple music playback service or PA speaker hire business. So what do you do when you get a booking request for a type of music or event that you’ve never done before? 

Turning it down

You might still feel like a student of DJing, but it’s your responsibility to educate the client about what you do and don’t do. It’s also worth having a response prepared for inquiries that don’t suit your taste. If you aim to turn it down because you can’t realistically see yourself playing a toddler birthday in a clown suit, it’s always a good idea to have someone else to whom you can refer the client. That way, they remember you as being helpful rather than a dead end, and are more likely to get in touch with more suitable events in the future. 

Charge realistically

So let’s assume that you’re able to accommodate the client, even though you might not have actually played mariachi music at a themed taco night in the past. Your first question should be: is the fee substantially higher than your normal event fee? If you aren’t very familiar or don’t like playing the type of music you’re asked for, you should be charging more. As you might know, a truckload of preparation, research and track acquisition goes into an entirely new set. Don’t be afraid to aim high if the target is really niche. You might be down in a list of others who have already turned it down because it’s too much work for the payoff. Learning to DJ professionally means being realistic with your time estimates and charging accordingly.

Know what you’re doing

So, you’ve decided to go ahead with it and the client is happy with the rate. Now it’s up to you to make sure you have the gems in the required genre. In every style, there’s a Top 20 or Top 100 that are guaranteed crowd-pleasers. Find out what they are and get a hold of them. Listen to every track at least once before the time. Definitely practice mixing them beforehand. Hip hop is harder to beat-match than house because there are fewer beats per minute and therefore fewer chances to match up the snare and kicks. Along with online DJ lessons, beat-matching and practicing transitions in new genres is a great way to grow as a DJ. 

Hit the scene

If you have time, go to an event featuring the type of music you’re booked to play. This is a quick way to see what effect certain tracks have on the people and the floor. Install Shazam (if you haven’t already!) and use it to discover selections that might not have made the list. And don’t let yourself be fooled by lists or charts online. The best way to find out what’s banging is to go out yourself. Talk to people about the music. It’s one of the ultimate conversation topics, and you can learn a lot in a few minutes. You never know, you might find a new love for it!

Refusing for good reason

Refusing to play because you’re unprepared might be a good move. If the idea of playing the gig makes you feel a bit queasy, rather turn it down than agree and make a poor job of it. The client will generally respect honesty and consider you again for more suitable events in the future. The long game as a music businessperson all relies heavily on your reputation as a negotiator. If clients can trust that you can deliver on what you promise and your rates are reasonable, you’ll find yourself in ever-higher circles.  


There isn’t a successful DJ on the planet that has not played an event outside of their comfort zone at some point. Putting together mixes and DJing house parties is a cool hobby, but if you’re serious about performing professionally, you’ll need to play more events which require new and unfamiliar material. Don’t roll your eyes next time someone offers you a spot at a bluegrass event. Get researching and find out what works. The best marketing is performing at an event in front of a crowd of happy people. Do what it takes to make it happen. Learn more on how to go pro with the courses DJ Courses Online has to offer.

John Bartmann is an award-winning music producer and DJ.