DO DJs SURVIVE ON PROMOS OR DO THEY GET THEIR CASH OUT?
Over the last two decades, dance artists have become the new rock stars with crowds of fans eager to follow in their footsteps.
Today this dream seems even easier to achieve than ever before; home studios now cost a fraction of what they used to resulting in producers popping up all over the world contributing to the global dance music industry.
It’s no surprise then, that the choice of music on the digital shelves for DJs and music fans to pick from is vast and sometimes overwhelming task to sort through. (in this recent interview with Beatport they confirm they are adding up to 25,000 new releases a week!)
But what about active DJs who play week in week out? Most of these guys are lucky enough to be on promo lists that secures them free music delivered directly to their laptop. But it this enough?
We conducted a survey with the DJs who are on our promotions company database and asked them Do DJs Buy Music For Their Sets? The results were astounding:
You read that right: 92% of DJs who play out regularly still buy music for their sets. We dug a little deeper to find out why.
Firstly, 36% of those who said they do buy music said it was to support labels and artists. Kiss Fresh Friday night host Charlie Tee said “even if I’m sent a track on promo and I love it, I still want to support the artist”.
This sentiment was also echoed by Viper Recordings Drum & Bass don Cyantific who stated “I’ll buy things to support my friends” while Jungle mainstay Marvellous Cain added “It’s nice to show some support to labels”.
Secondly, 44% of those that bought music said they buy more when they discover new artists and labels. Canadian DJ Stickybuds summed up most DJs responses: “It’s always fun finding new artists or labels that I don’t know about, plus I play lots of different genres, so it’s fun exploring what is out there and I’m happy to buy music”.
One message is clear: DJs are music lovers first and foremost… and they always will be. UK Garage DJ Norris ‘Da Boss’ Windross sums it up neatly: “I would not just play promotional music alone as I consider myself to be a music lover and like to support in all ways”.
While 36% said they buy music as they didn’t receive the promo. It’s worth pointing out here that there are a variety of reasons for this: DJs may have missed the promo, they may not have been on the list at the time or it was outside the genre they’re perceived to be associated with.
In some cases getting a promo can inspire a DJ to search out for more as Jez from Utah Saints explains: “Not everything gets picked up through promo companies. Promo companies do give me a nudge to go and check out new releases on Beatport and the charts on iTunes etc”.
Reid Speed said “I buy music because I don’t receive every song I like on promo”. Broadcasting stalwart Dave Pearce told us “there are always going to be the odd tracks you don’t have on promo” while house legend Todd Terry was clearly just keen to get the music as soon as possible:“if I like the track, I can’t wait for promo to arrive”.
These results are very encouraging. There’s a common perception that DJs lord it up by getting free music and being paid to play it. According to the DJs we spoke to, the old cliché is far from the truth.
In fact, 68% of the DJs we surveyed spend up to £10 ($15) a week on music while just over a quarter of them spend between £10-£30 ($15-$50) and 5% spend more than £30 ($50) per week.
That’s an average spend of over £1300 ($2000) per week per 100 DJs.
No surprises here – Beatport, iTunes & JunoDownload have long been leaders in dance music digital retail. Though it needs to be noted that 13% of the DJs we surveyed still invest in vinyl. Passionate about vinyl, Hypercolour said “I enjoy discovery through my own traditional methods (Vinyl). Going to record shops!”
Digital sales have been on the decline for a few years now as streaming services start to take the lead, but it’s good to see that DJ’s who every week get sent free music are still contributing financially… and for all the right reasons.
ARE YOU A DJ AND DO YOU BUY MUSIC?
IF SO WE’D LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU BELOW IN THE COMMENTS…