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PRODUCTION MENTORING FROM A DANCE MUSIC INDUSTRY VETERAN
Getting A DJ to Play Your Track
Top Ten Reasons Why DJs Won’t Play Your Track

I’ve been a DJ since I was 15, so that’s over thirty years. And I know what works and what doesn’t work. I still get booked for regular high paid gigs and spend a vast amount of time still looking for tracks. If I don’t know what works and doesn’t, I have no idea who does. Here we go ...

1. YOUR SONG HAS NO SOUL

You will not be loved if you're trying too hard. This is the same with your music. DJs can sense if the track is contrived. You have to be yourself, not the person you think the DJ wants you to be. Only make tracks that are you and not someone else.
2. IT IS AS DULL AS EVERYONE ELSE'S DISHWATER

A DJ will go through new tracks quickly and if you have the same dull patterns, generic sounds and uninspired feel then they will simply skip to the next track. Wallpaper never cuts it. Find a new sound that makes you stand out.
3. THERE IS NO EDGE

A DJ always wants a secret weapon in their arsenal. The odd edgy track is always the song that eventually becomes the crowd-pleaser. And the popular song. As long as it makes your feet tap, be as crazy as you want.
4. IT ONLY HAS ONE INFECTIOUS SECTION

Beautiful drop. Shame about the rest of it, mate. A DJ likes lots of nice places in your tracks to play with. What a disappointment. Make sure all the sections of your track are great, before releasing it into the world.
5. YOUR SONG IS A WANKFEST

It's too musical and too noodly. DJs need space to work with. An overly musical track, in a club environment, doesn't make people dance. Minimal drops and subtle build-up are a must.
6. YOUR TRACK DOESN'T WALK THE LINE

There is a perfect balance between originality and pedestrian. DJs need to have useable tracks to keep the crowd engaged. There are more than just build-ups and drops to pull the rug away from under a listener's feet, find them.
7. YOU'RE NOT VALUING YOURSELF, WHY SHOULD THE DJ

When you try and push your unknown track for free, because you have no name, it's off-putting for DJs. They only see value when you value yourself. Get on Bandcamp. Charge for tracks that are properly finished.
8. A TRACK IS FOR LIFE, NOT JUST FOR XMAS

DJs reject tracks they know will only be popular for five seconds because it's on trend. They look for tracks that push that genre forward but have a classic timeless feel. A dozen tracks that all sound like the popular song of moment are as useful as a sack of drowned puppies. Have at least one genre-defying or unexpected element in your song.
9. NOT ENOUGH LENGTH TO THE SECTION THEY'VE FALLEN IN LOVE WITH

Nothing annoys a DJ more than an amazing four or eight bar section that dips off quickly. Make mutiple versions of your track: with Vocals, without Vocals, vocal only, super long intros, stripped-down versions, breakdown mix, radio mix, extended play mix, plus seventeen others. Okay I kid, but at least an extended mix which would make a DJ's life easier.
10. YOU HAVE FIVE SECONDS TO IMPRESS, SHAME YOU DIDN'T

In the digital world we live in these days, DJs preview a track by listening to the intro, and then maybe skip forward to a few sections for a few seconds. That's it. So you have to grab them by the nads with something to make them stop and go, "oh, this is different". You didn't. Oops. Simple solution: make something that does.
Funk D'Void is a DJ and producer veteran with over 30 years experience. He has released records on Soma Quality Recordings, Outpost Recordings, ON IT Recordings, and Lost & Found. And has DJed around the world over the last thirty years. He now lives in Barcelona, where he plays table tennis and is here to out the next generation of talent.

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