Nowadays promoters expect djs to participate heavily in promo unless they are headliners. And djs are complaining a lot.
If you are one of them then ask yourself a couple questions:
#1 – Are you a headliner? I’m guessing not, if you are expressing frustration at being expected to help bring a crowd. A headliner brings a crowd by definition. Most headliners had to promote themselves to become headliners though.
#2 – Have things changed in the last 20 years of your life or have they been constant? Did you even have a cell phone in 1998? If you did, isn’t your cell phone now a little more advanced? You change your cell phone every two years tops but expect the dj game to be unchanged for 20?
How many djs were there in LA in 1998? 1000? How many are there now? A million? I’m not kidding, everyone thinks they’re a dj, it’s on tv, it’s in kids toys, wake up, it’s the trendy new thing.
So you’re going to have to fight. It’s not going to be handed to you. If you want to get to where you don’t have to promote yourself you’re going to have to promote the crap out of yourself. 1 million djs in LA – wake up!
Promoting yourself includes promoting the parties you play at. How can your friends and fans go, if they don’t know? If you’re somehow embarrassed to invite people to a party you’re playing you shouldn’t be playing that party.
I’ll tell you one thing though, complaining a lot is a turn off to everyone and not likely to result in many gigs of any kind. It’s also a waste of time.
Does that mean it falls only on the djs to promote? No way! Of course it’s the organizer’s job to promote as well, and they have a pretty good incentive since it relates directly to the success of the party. Definitely don’t play for a promoter that doesn’t promote their own party – there will not be people there.
Strive to play for people who put blood, sweat and tears into their parties and be ready to do the same because the quality parties are the exception, just as the quality djs are. Be the exception! That’s how you get noticed, right?
If you don’t want to do the work, then be happy as a bedroom dj, dedicated 100% to the music, and really enjoy that music.
If you want to be known to the world it’s never going to be 100% about the music, you’ll have to find your own balance.
So rather than trying to play every damned party in your home town or showing up to parties with USB sticks hoping to jump on the decks, pull back a little and find out who you really want to play for. Don’t be too limiting but don’t try to play for people you don’t feel put some effort into their parties. Cause if you do then you are going to feel like your promotion is a wasted effort.