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Leveling Up Your Music Brand

The CAB Portal blog provides articles on tricks of the trade and best practices, as well as news, interviews, artist showcases and recommended products/services, that emerging artists can utilize to take their music brand to the next level of success.

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DJ Drops vs DJ Hosting for Mixtapes - What's the Best Option For An Emerging Artist?

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Someone told me it’s not about IF your music is good, it’s about WHO says it’s good. I remember the day I sent a DM to DJ Mo Bounce with a lump in my throat. “He’s not gonna respond, he’s way too busy” I thought. To my surprise, Mo was responsive, super compassionate, and empathetic to my cause. I had purchased a mixtape slot on a mixtape that was allegedly ‘hosted’ by DJ Mo Bounce. If you’re not familiar with Mo, he’s a dope, established nationally syndicated radio host on Z100 NYC, Nickelodeon Radio, XM and iHeartRadio station and also a HUGE Hip Hop head. So naturally I was super excited to be a part of a project he was hosting but when the release date kept getting pushed back, I became alarmed especially when I saw it wasn’t even being promoted on his social media accounts. What just happened to me?

Mo took the time to explain that it was a DJ Intro/Outro. Often it’s more affordable for an indie artist to purchase a DJ Drop (a pre-recorded intro/outro) instead of paying for the DJ to host the artist’s entire mixtape (mixing and introducing each track like Bigga Rankin did on Yo Gotti’s Cocaine Muzik 5). Apparently, what this artist did was repackage Mo’s DJ Drop for HIS project as if it was a DJ Mo personally hosted mixtape for various artists for only $125/per slot. It was even endorsed by tweets from celebrity Twitter accounts like the legendary Mr. Cheeks from the Lost Boyz and the actor Marc John Jefferies from Get Rich or Die Tryin…. but those accounts? They were actually ran by the same person selling the slots - so even signed artists became victimized as they unknowingly co-signed his fraudulence.

Mo shared my frustration. I was probably targeted because I’m indie and Mo mentioned how there are thousands of new scams popping up every day to make money off indie artists who don’t have any guidance until it’s too late. Who would be the wiser when big names unknowingly endorse the ripoffs? Let’s be clear, celebrity intro/outro pre-recorded drops are 100% legit, and a great way to co-brand but they are not “Hosted” projects and really shouldn’t be marketed as such. If you can’t pay a famous DJ to personally host and promote your mixtape, then purchasing a slot on a DJ mixtape for marketing and promo purposes is the next best thing. It’s only effective if you will receive exposure from the project. Here are some things to look for:

The DJ is a Promo God!

Celeb or not, DJs promote! See if the DJ offering the slots has a history of appearing on the front pages of mymixtapes, mixcloud, datpiff, spinrilla, etc. If they aren’t promoting their mixtapes, who’s going to hear the tracks they’re cutting or the records they’re breaking? Compare the numbers across platforms; are there variations?

Mixtape streams can be purchased too! On sites like visibleprogression, socialtodo, mixtapeslots, and Zeerk to name a few, so make sure the plays, follows and downloads are REAL. How? That's my next point.

The DJ has a LISTENER based following

Are other artists being featured on the mixtape the ONLY people talking about the DJ’s project? Check the fan engagement on previous projects on different platforms. Who’s commenting on these projects and what are they saying. Are these 2 to 4 word bot exclamations like “I like this” "Oh Damn!" and “Good Job” or are these the DJ's die-hard fans critiquing and debating.

The DJ is SELECTIVE

Did the DJ hosting the mixtape reach out to you personally? Is your track going to be on a mixtape with over 15 slots? Are the artists on their previous mixtapes equal sounding in quality and skill level? Finally, can anyone pay to be on the mixtape?

I had to learn this the hard way. There is a lot of slick marketing preying on the indie soul using true sayings like "Serious artists only!" and "Invest in yourselves", yet the best way to do that is in your development.

Yes, you need marketing and having your track on DJ mixtapes that have a following in states you can't travel to is one way to introduce your music to new fans but will they like what they hear? Find your sound, love it, learn your craft and the professional standards your industry demands of it; then the DJs will come to you.