We’ve seen some pretty amazing publicity gimmicks from DJs over the years. There’s something about this form of music that just seems to make it easy for talented artists to inspire enthusiasm no matter where they might be – almost like rock ‘n’ roll some 40 years ago. Think about the legends you’ve probably heard from your older relatives about Woodstock. If anything similar happened today, it would probably be highlighted by DJs, right?
Massive concerts aside, though, it’s the publicity gimmicks that are often memorable over the years. Just this month we wrote about DJ Snake scaling the Arc de Triomphe to debut a new track. This almost sounds ordinary in the world of mixes and electronic music, but it’s freaking insane! And DJ Snake isn’t alone. There have been a lot of occasions when DJs went to pretty serious extremes to get their sound out there.
But if you’re an up-and-coming DJ or a young artist in general, you probably can’t get away with most of these antics. You can’t hold a massive rave all on your own, and if you tried to scale the Arc de Triomphe in Paris you’d probably be arrested before you could play a single note. Young artists have to be, if not necessarily more creative, a little bit different in how they think. But there are still some tips and tricks that can be learned from classic artists.
This is actually a very recent lesson that can be learned from U2, perhaps the most enduring rock group of all time. This summer, the group apparently sent a bizarre letter to fans. The letter was turning up in mailboxes featuring a page of text partially blacked out by two silhouetted figures, leaving just a few words within themselves. The words spelled out the cryptic message “Blackout. I’ts clear who you are will appear. U2.com” How can you not be intrigued by something like this? Granted it works better and reaches a wider audience if you’re U2. But even if you’re a young artist with a local following, a similar gimmick – a bit of mystery to build intrigue for a show, a new track, or an album – can often generate a lot more interest than a straightforward announcement.
Get On A Game
This is another trick that classic rockers are teaching us, in some cases even after their deaths. Internet slot gaming in particular has become an interesting space to watch in this regard, as hosts are welcoming games based on pop culture giants, which include a Jimi Hendrix slot, complete with recognizable imagery and authentic music. Other classic rockers have similar games these days as well. Meanwhile, currently popular artists are lending tracks to games by Smule that play like mobile versions of the Guitar Hero concept, and Steve Aoki has designed his own mobile game! Not all of these options are available to a young artist, just as you can’t reach millions with a cryptic piece of mail. But you never know if you might be able to put your tracks out there on one game or another – you may as well contact some game makers.
Do Mixes & Samples
Whenever possible (regarding licensing and copyright issues, which artists need to be careful about), it’s also a good idea for a DJ to make the most of existing classic material in a direct way. Check out YouTube channels like Chill Masters and others that make remixes with established artists and reach millions and millions of viewers in the process. In the case of that specific channel, the likes of Notorious B.I.G., 50 Cent, and Ice Cube are all used in distinctly modern-sounding tracks that do more to promote the mixers and DJs than the original artists themselves. If you’re a young DJ, don’t lose sight of the fact that this is a genre in which it’s generally acceptable, if not applauded, to build your sounds on the shoulders of great artists who came before you.