If you make a DJ mix in 2023 it shouldn’t be considered old-school.
At one point or another, most aspiring DJs have at least tried to make a DJ mix.
You may have been in the lucky position of someone asking you to submit one for a guest blog or licensed release. However, for most DJs, the mixtape is a means to promote their skills.
Here we are going to take a look at 5 reasons why making a DJ mix in 2021 is an essential weapon in your DJ armoury and hopefully it will inspire you to fire-up Ableton and get programming.
1. You want a DJ mix to host online
Your calling card as a DJ is your mixtape and should be used as one of your main promotional tools. If you make a DJ mix in 2021 and host it online, you have a place to send fans and promoters alike.
There are a fair few platforms for hosting DJ mixes, including Soundcloud and Youtube. However, licensing laws have seen loads of great (and not so great) mixes being pulled from the internet in recent years.
Mixcloud now seems to be the main platform to reliably host DJ mixes due to their unique licensing deals with the major labels. I head there to host all my mixes and it means that I don’t need to stress about having them taken down.
It’s worth remembering that with millions of DJ mixes cogging up the web, it’s essential that your mix stands out from the rest.
There are 2 mains schools of thought when recording a mix:
- You should record your mix live, straight from your decks so that it’s a true reflection of your DJ ability.
I feel that this school of thought is a bit outdated because the technology available now means that some of the traditional skills such as beatmatching have become a bit redundant. In a world where a growing number of DJ bookings are off the back of hit tracks and remixes, the need to grab the attention of the listener is key.
Don’t get me wrong, you need to have the skills to back it up, but the listener isn’t as concerned with how it is recorded as they are with what it sounds like.
- You should program your DJ mix so that you own the most polished, killer mixtape around.
This philosophy is key to creating a mixtape that will get you noticed and one that has been adopted by most big name DJ’s globally.
Ableton Live is really the only option if you decide to make a DJ mix in 2021 and learning the basics will give you a leg-up on those DJs who don’t have the time or patience to put in the hours.
2. You don’t have any tracks or remixes of your own and need a digital product to promote.
In the early days of the dance scene, DJs would carry vinyl to gigs and build a brand for themselves through their ability to entertain. Over the past 20 or so years there has been a shift towards booking DJs who have big tracks or remixes released. This means that it has become a lot harder to get gigs just by DJing alone.
One solution is obviously to hone your craft in the studio and get releasing hits. This is a skill that can take years of hard work and although we highly recommend putting in the studio hours necessary, its important to have another type of digital product to promote.
Most gigs are gotten from releasing tracks and remixes, but if you don’t have any to your name, then a mixtape will give you a digital product to promote online.
3. You want a gig at a club and need to give a DJ mix to a club promoter.
Getting gigs at clubs often takes persistence and the best way to succeed is to put a mix directly into a promoter’s hand. You don’t necessarily need to hand over a C.D, but a face to face meeting where you punch in your Mixcloud profile into his phone can be effective.
Here are some tips on bagging a club gig
- Make sure you know exactly what his or her club demographic is.
- Go down to the club night and see what the DJs are playing and what is working on the dance floor.
- Get to know the people that work on the door and in the venue, this way your face will be on their radar.
Once you’re familiar with the club’s brand then you are in a good position to make a mix they’ll like.
4. You want to combine your production and DJ skills.
Are you a hot producer and you want to marry those skills with your DJ sets?
If this is the case, then putting a mixtape together on Ableton is a great way to create a unique digital product to promote yourself with.
The artist mixtape has come back into fashion over the past few years and particularly in Hip Hop circles. In electronic music, DJ sets are becoming more and more hybrid in nature. The demand for bookings in this area is growing. Promoters are looking for more uniqueness and individuality with the acts they are booking. Audiences are also becoming keener to see electronic music that contains more of a performance aspect.
5. You want to make a DJ mix for a show on a radio station.
Radio has evolved dramatically over the last 15 or so years. Technology has changed the way content is created and consumed. The good news is that a boom in internet radio has resulted in an increase in the demand for radio show DJs and hosts.
Some stations still operate in traditional premises, whereby the station has various studio set-ups. However, most also offer the option for DJs to send in pre-recorded mixes or podcasts, which are slotted into the station programming. This means DJs can submit their mixes or shows remotely from anywhere in the world. Subsequently, DJs can now target stations that suit their genre rather than their locality.
For a more detailed rundown on making a DJ mix with Ableton, head here: https://www.thedjmixtape.com/how-to-make-a-dj-mix/
Below is our free guide to mixtape culture.