Not all musical styles are equal. That’s not to say there’s a hierarchy, but rather that you don’t break in by using the same means or channels of communication. Electronic music listeners aren’t found in the same places as fans of hip-hop or the Rolling Stones. Each community has its own codes and practices. So how do you break into electronic music? We’ll discuss exactly that in this article.
All musicians who embark on this journey must therefore be aware that to make their first album or their musical project, you will have to stand out among the millions of titles available online. To lighten the load and quickly become like Kraftwerk or Gotan Project, and to interest influential labels, it will be necessary to understand how your target audience behaves, how they discover music.
1. How to break into electronic music for free thanks to a strong online presence
All famous DJs started like you, from scratch. So start by telling yourself already that nothing is impossible. Take Laurent Garnier for example. When he started out, his strength was being proactive and effective in quickly building up his network (Check out Off the Record, the documentary about his life).
What’s the best way to build a network these days? A strong online presence. This is where the newest top songs are found even before they hit the clubs. From the latest album by a Norwegian electronic band to that of an electronic hybrid pop-folk singer, the internet is where you’ll find it all.
- Social media
It’s hard to talk about online music promotion without talking about social media. You already know this, but here are some tips. Don’t try to be everywhere. Record companies will spot you more easily if you do things right on one network than wrong on many.
To be the next big thing, try to identify the music influencers who focus on electronic music and try to contact them. Do it with respect for the person you have in front of you: don’t harass.
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A composer‘s first instinct is to share their sounds. Regardless of the style of music, before spending money to stream music, they will test themselves via SoundCloud. It is a great platform for ambient, deep house, experimental music and all other types of electronic music, since you can post entire mixes there.
Listeners of these genres of music are very present on SoundCloud; it is almost more important to be there than on traditional streaming platforms.
Just like SoundCloud, YouTube is very popular with electronic producers. There are many good music channels bringing together hits of the genre, for example Houseum, a French channel bringing together the best of House today. Whether you make house or other productions, the offering available on YouTube is extremely eclectic, and why not, you can even broadcast your albums in full.
Techno producers are less present on streaming platforms. That’s why you have to be there. Not only because you will be able to stand out more easily among the available titles, and perhaps reach influential playlists, but also because it pays! It’s a shame to miss it.
It is true that listeners who listen to house and other forms of electronic music are not as present on streaming platforms as those of other musical styles. But it’s worth it anyway, you have to go find your future fans wherever they hide.
Not everyone knows, but it is quite possible to distribute remixes on these platforms. All digital distributors offer the possibility.
| See also: How to Make Your Music Known on Youtube?
2. How to break into electronic music with online promo
As a musician, your talent lies in composing the perfect beat, but you maybe aren’t necessarily a born expert at online promo. Don’t panic, we’re here for you. Now that you are online, you need to find contacts, people or entities that will signal boost your music.
Today, the online space is ripe for opportunities for new music to succeed. From a niche music podcast to the largest web media outlet, there is a huge offering of sources of information. Each of these sources most likely reaches your future fans, so identify which ones and you will have found the perfect links.
- Web radios
FM radio isn’t really there for emerging artists, however, you may be able to find a web radio station that suits you. Whether you make minimal techno, chill, or groove like disco music, all types of music have their web radio.
- Live streams
Live streams are the logical evolution of web radio. Take Hotel Radio Paris for example, who has made a name for themselves by streaming the best live, both in podcast and video.
Showing the artist who produced the currently-playing track is a way to engage the listener, so when you make your first stream, highlight your artistic direction! It’s a good opportunity to gain visibility.
Electronic is often underground music, it’s true. But there are still media that relay this kind of music. In France, for example, the Dure Vie or PépitesTroniques media highlight emerging musicians.
This kind of article is the ideal time to refer readers to a streaming platform, so never forget to fill in your links.
3. Getting closer to local players
To understand how to break into electronic music, you need to know that your closest allies are those making music around you. Find ways to connect with them, and see how you can move the culture forward together. Note that you don’t have to be in a major city for this, electronic music is everywhere.
Electronic music, more than any other genre of music, is about collectives. A DJ is rarely known alone, but often surrounded by other DJs who are equally motivated. So you do house music? Find those around you who could be interested in setting up a collective and get started.
You can also try to contact existing collectives to make your music known—it’s not impossible, but more complicated, as these are often long-time friends, so you’ll have to expand your circle of friends to hope to join one.
- Local associations
At the local level, there’s nothing better than associations to succeed in making yourself known. There are a ton these days. So if you have the musical content you need to keep up with a show, set up or join an association.
It’s impossible to talk about techno music without talking about clubs. Livestream DJ sets are cool, but there’s more out there than just music on the Internet. All artists necessarily go through the club, and they come back to it.
For your music to land in the ears of a program designer, it is true that it will have to slap, but that shouldn’t be an issue for you. Plus, artistic directors are always looking for up-and-comers to play before or after big headliners.
4. How to break into electronic music with placements
Electronic sounds have their place online and in the club, but also on all other types of media. To promote your music and generate additional income, you can try to get placements. Of all styles of music, electronic is one of the most popular. Take the recent example of GENER8ION, which is a joint project between none other than DJ Surkin and director Romain Gavras. The two collaborators understood well the symbiosis of music and images, and placed their music in the film Athena, by Gavras. To understand how to break into electronic music, you have to imagine that every possibility of listening to your music is a good possibility. There is no wrong way to listen to music, so placements can be highly beneficial
5. How to break into electronic music with a good entourage
- Find or set up an electronic label
Finding a label when you are a musician just starting out can be difficult. Via Groover for example, you can contact them to get feedback on your music, and who knows, maybe join one.
Setting up a project and becoming the next Cracki Records is within reach. On the other hand, you have to do paperwork, and for more than just an afternoon. The result is that you will be totally in control of your music and your image, in short, your place on the electronic scene, is what make it for yourself.
- Find a manager
An artist is only a human after all, so they can’t always handle all the ins and outs alone. Finding a manager is essential. A manager will manage the paperwork, negotiations with the label that will recruit you, your communication, your bookings, etc. In short, find yourself a right hand, and listen to them when they give you advice.
- Find a publisher
We talked about it in the previous point, placements are an incredible vector of both income and exposure. We listen to music when we see ads, fashion shows, films, series… in short, for your work to do more than stagnate on a streaming service, you need the right publisher.
6. Getting into electronic by doing concerts
Giving concerts is essential when you’re an artist. DJs are no exception. A good mix will make the world dance and win you fans. Take out your turntables, whether you mix on vinyl or a USB stick. The electronic scene is full of free concerts and other musical events. Of all musical genres, electronic makes it the easiest to put together a musical event. You have nothing but your music to bring, no need to charter a semi-trailer and rent 10 hotel rooms for your whole group.
An electronic dance party only needs a good sound system and you. All the clubs mentioned above already have the equipment, so you just have to be spotted to join their musical programming. To contact them, it’s the same as with the media, prepare a press kit, follow up sparingly, and be patient.
That’s how to break into electronic music, or at least the essentials to make it happen. Also take into account that everyone advances at their own pace. Do not waste time comparing yourself to others; do what you can and never force it, your mental health is at stake.
– Translated by Kole Wright –