5 things to remember about being a DIY dance music producer

We were at the Brighton Music Conference (BMC) to learn what it takes to be a dance music producer in 2015. Dig into some of the words of wisdom...

Jim Ottewill
  • By Jim Ottewill
  • 18 Jun 2015
  • min read
Many of dance music’s key players were at the second edition of the Brighton Music Conference (BMC) earlier in June to get underneath the hood of the scene and explore what’s going on.

From Ableton to Spotify, PRS for Music, DJs such as Dave Clarke and Justin Robertson, all made the journey to the seaside town to pick over key topics including music streaming, DIY labels, collecting societies and how to get your first break in the music industry.

We were on hand to find out some key learnings for new and aspiring dance music artists to take home…

Know your songwriting splits - and register your works

Andy Ellis, PRS for Music : You need to have the conversation as soon as possible about your songwriting splits, preferably as soon as you finish the track. Lock the studio door and have the discussion.

Ash Howard, Hospital Records/Songs in the Key of Knife: Arrange your writer splits and make sure your song is registered with PRS before it’s had any exploitation.

Email addresses are the currency in which DIY exists

Jake Shillingford, BIMM: Try and find out the people who are listening to you are online. Various websites where you can listen to music change and can go away. But what won’t are the email addresses of your audience. You need to remember that email addresses are the currency in which DIY exists. I have a map of the world showing where I’ve played and where I’ve got email addresses. It helps me grow my business.

Personalise your contacts

Gennaro Castaldo, BPI: Build relationships with journos and labels is important. Just randomly bombarding people with the media with music won’t work. Remember that less can often be more. Intrigue people as they like to know something secret and have the inside track first whether that be as a journo or fan. If you make it too broad, then it won’t be special.

Trevor McNamee, Jalapeno Records: The personal touch works when you’re looking to make contact. People who get responses are the ones showing they have done a little research on you and your label. Blanket mailing does not work.

Nuture your superfans

JS: Superfans can be key to survival. They’ve sponsored me, financed me, almost like investor angels. I reward them with various things, meet and greets after shows, provide them with work in progress demos, exclusive demos.

Keir Tyrer, Shogun Audio: Direct-to-fan sales is one of the growing areas and allows us to connect with superfans. We offer various things - coloured vinyl, signed, limited editions, opportunities to win a day in the studio with… we spend a lot of time of thinking up new and interesting ways of connecting with the fan.

GC: They can excite and monetise other fans. No one can promote your music netter than someone who is obsessed by it.

Remember to be nice … to everyone

Stuart Knight, Toolroom Records: We get 1,000 demos a week so we can’t listen to every single record. It kills me but there isn’t a solution to that. The way to stand out is that we’re all very approachable people. It’s not rocket science. It’s about being nice. It’s not that complex. Being nice will get you a long way.

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