I haven’t really written anything for my site for a while. I’ve been having (and still have) a proper monthly article to knock up these days, admittedly it’s about trainers, so I’m still getting my writing juices flowing, just not on here, until now and like usual it’s off the back of another innocuous stalkbook comment.
Do DJs that receive promos take them for granted?
It’s very different these days, when a small label can just pinch your email address from some other label forgetting to BCC the email addresses and then BOOM, you’re fucked and signed up to a myriad of mailing lists you’ve never signed up for. Poor you, I hear the noobs cry, but I doubt it’s that hard for a new DJ to get on a lot of these mailing lists?
It didn’t used to be like that mind you. Getting on Defected’s vinyl promo mailing list was up there with applying to work for MI5 and even if you were lucky enough to get on there, there was the inevitable hierarchal system of who’d receive what and when, and someone like me was waaaaaaaaay down the food chain. Then if you were lucky enough to be on these lists you HAD to complete the feedback sheets or you were getting chucked off quicker than Usain Bolt nails the 100metres. Quite rightly so too. The overheads for vinyl promo mail outs were/are huge compared to the relatively miniscule costs of putting out a digital promo.
If you are on mailing lists, do you listen to everything you are sent? Or are there labels you recognise and trust and you only listen to them? I’m definitely in the latter camp. I’ve tried unsubscribing to loads and found that just hitting delete was easier to do.
I realise that this blog might come across as a bit of a whinge from someone who is fortunate enough to receive some great music, for free. I don’t take that for granted, I can assure you. The great promo lists I’m on now, like Your Army or Defected, I’ve had to ask to go on them and substantiate my inclusion. I’m not saying I deserve inclusion, but I’ve grafted over the years and feel I’m worth including (just) as I support their music. I listen to all their stufff and I respond to all the music I like, and even some of the tracks I don’t.
Which brings me to another point: Do you answer labels truthfully when filling in feedback? Sometimes I’ve been sent some right stinkers (In My Opinion) and wondered about replying honestly. What about the ‘If You’ve Got Nothing Good To Say, Don’t Say It’ premise? I got sent ‘Tsunami’ by Ministry and I actually think it’s one of the worst dance tracks to be produced in the past 5 years (although it was huge and accompanied by a dialled in performance from Tinie Tempah) and I did actually put something along the lines of “Sounds like the sort of music that would accompany your walk in to Hell” and I’ve not been chucked off their list….. yet. Ministry are big boys, they won’t care about the odd sarky (albeit honest) comment when a tune is sitting in the top ten of the national charts. Will they?
Andy Ward responded to my original FB status, which was actually asking whether DJs downloaded a whole promo package (sometimes up to 8+ mixes these days) or cherry picked their fav(s), and he pointed out that he has unsubscribed himself from every list he can and doesn’t accept tunes from pals any more. He’s only playing at his Vocal Booth events and justifies, what I think is quite a drastic move, by saying “I can get away with what I want” and playing at your own parties exclusively means you can shape them musically as you see fit. I fully respect Andy’s stance, even if he may be missing out on shit loads of new music, which is obviously out there and would be available to someone like Andy, who has had chart success himself and knows many of the label owners and promo bods.
A few responders pointed out that they preferred to just buy their music and support the artists, which is a very valid point indeed. It’s not like I don’t buy music and just sit here and cream off a load of freebies. Buying music online could spawn its own blog post tbh, so I won’t spout off too much, but I feel it’s equally great and annoying. Great when you find that little gem and annoying with the amount of crud you sometimes have to listen through to find that gem. Although there is an art to searching through the crud, which mainly includes staying off of Beatport!
If you aren’t on mailing lists, I’d say approach labels you’d care to join, be realistic, and ask politely. Be prepared to back up why you deserve to be on the list. Don’t just blag it. Funnily enough you won’t be the first person to try that. If you strike lucky and get on to a list, be a good boy/girl and respond in a timely fashion and don’t just put “Like It” in your replies, that’s just plain lazy isn’t it?
Oh don’t get me started on correct meta data from labels on promo lists as we could be here forever……………………..