Creating content is arguably the most important aspect of DJing. The legacy and reputation of a DJ depends on the content that they create for their fan base. Though “content” refers to mixes, remixes, and original tracks, it also includes the DJ’s public persona, social media presence, the nature and quality of promotional material (artist pictures, and even their logo). It is here that trends are set and followed. It is easy to see how these elements have an effect on how a DJ is perceived and received within the electronic music community.
It is important that original DJs, with original ideas, should make every effort to set trends, evolve genres, and generally move the industry forward. Trend-following acts, although they can find success, are more likely to strengthen the following of the artists that they are emulating. Therefore, it is recommended that a DJ becomes a creator, i.e. find a niche and expand it by creating content and sounds that are new and unique, content that’s likely to expand the fan base.
When a new style is developed, it’s not long before 50 different DJs are recreating that style in their own work, a thing we might call “reactionary evolution”. Though this may lead to success, such success is seldom sustainable without original content. Great examples of this in the electronic music space include acts like Deadmau5, Skrillex and Oliver Heldens. If a DJ drops a new style or sound, for example – Skrillex making the “formant” bass incredibly popular – before long it was used across multiple genres in hundreds of different ways. But at the end of the day, it’s often referred to as “the Skrillex style” or “Skrillex-sounding”.
As much as it is useful to learn the techniques used by your peers, there’s nothing more important than developing and creating your own sound and style.
So how does one create original content? Well, it’s a lot easier than you think and it can be summed up in one word: Experimentation. That is: Play, have fun. Try new things, and use the techniques you learn in new ways. Be original, be unpredictable, and do your best to constantly evolve from one project to the next.
Ok, so maybe it’s easier said than done, but like anything in life, consistency is key and practice makes perfect. It is also important to pay close attention to your audience – the sounds that they prefer and react positively to. Look at what other successful DJs in your genre are doing, then use this information to fine-tune your style and create a niche that attracts a wider audience.
There are other incredibly important facets to becoming a successful content creator. Being prolific, consistent and remaining active are just a few of them. Some ways to do this successfully are scheduling these tasks and create a sense of accountability for yourself. Make sure you post on each of your social media accounts on a consistent, if not daily, basis. There’s nothing more important than actively maintaining your online presence. Put in the work, and the rewards will surely follow.
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