Biz 101 Indie Everywhere

He’s The DJ, I’m The Artist: 4 Relationship Keys | This Week In Indie | #DJsUnitedSTL2014

Monday, April 14, 2014Ava Bella

This weekend, I had yet another valuable experience as an artist. It’s times like this when the light bulb turns on and burns - it’s like the stars line up and I feel empowered! This light bulb moment was due to my trip to the DJ’s United Conference. This year the annual conference was held in St. Louis, Missouri.

Now, pause. This was not one of those so called events that you are promised a record deal. You know, when some 'janky promoter' has flown in some dude you've never heard of, can’t google, or trace actual credentials. Nope this was not some fake, made up organization that rented a club for the night and you have to sell some unGodly amount of tickets(of which you see no profit), pay some other made up ginormous fee to sing the first 5 words of your song. No, this was none of those. This was real. Real emails. Real "government names. Real. Valuable. Empowering knowledge from industry professionals. Did I say real? Oh. okay, that's what I mean!

DJ Big AL(@BIGAL350|President - Crowd Rocka DJs/Core DJ/Derrty DJ) on +Thea Narchy's morning show Exclusive Wireless Presents...#AMAnarchy!!! with MC @JamesChristos

By day 2 of #DJsUnitedSTL2014(go on and follow the hashtag on IG, Twitter, and don't forget to seach it on Google - see for yourself), a few common themes revealed themselves. Over the next week(probably more - too much info not to share MORE), I’ll be sharing my “take away” list with you here on AvaBella's Indie Blog. Okay so here’s my first list:

He’s The DJ, I’m The Artist: 4 Key Things You Should Do In This Relationship


So here we go...

Make a Hit

Easy enough, huh?! Yeah, I'm already 2X Platinum(in my head and in my Turn on urban radio pretty much any city in America and you can hear some hits, right? Excuse my sarcasm, y'all. Seriously tho - make YOUR music. Write what speaks to YOU, first. As artists, we hear this all the time, that this is where it all starts??? Find YOUR sound. Janie Jennings(@industry_works), COO of DJ's United conference says, "Music is your marketing tool". 

If there is a first step; this is truly it. Guess who and what else is a part of this step: you guessed it; the producer & the engineer. In the coming weeks I'll shed more light on what the pros had to say about the elements of a "hit" and the creative process that lends to "hit making". What all of us as artists have to get embedded in our cypher is that if you are thinking you are about to "get on" by making your version of something that's already being done in your genre; PLEASE STOP. RIGHT NOW. Stop reading this and STOP DOING MUSIC ALL TOGETHER until you determine who it is that YOU are. We ALL thank you in advance... TAKE ALL THE TIME YOU NEED! However, if you are original, creative, and believe in individualism; move on to #2 please...

Build Relationships

  • 5 DJ's
  • 5 POETS
  • 5 GUITAR PLAYERS(leads, acoustic, etc.)
Hey! Do you get my point??!! These folks(and several others within your city) are apart of your LOCAL INDUSTRY. Yes. Even on the local level, you have an industry, and all of the aforementioned(AND MORE) are part of IT! These are the people(and EVENTS) that make's your city's industry(and night life) bubble! I know it can be difficult or I'll say challenge.

Case and point: I'm originally from Kansas City, Missouri. It's land locked. A lot of times, when you are in a small(minded) town, you can feel like ain't nobody checkin' for you, your art, your city, or anything. I have news for you - you better work what you got. Start in your city, then your region. I guarantee, if the DJ's, engineers, producers, etc. are doing as they should and creating a network, you will find some of the extremely valuable resources and key players in the industry, many of whom I was with this weekend. Get your network up(NETWORK = NET WORTH)! If you are looking to sustain your career as a monetized "musicpreneur", labels, sponsors, investors, and the like will want to know what you've done on your home turf first - so get to work!

This or That - CD's or USB's (Flash Drives)?

This weekend, I heard every panel speak on how DJ's want their media. So let me ask you this...What platform do you always hear at the end of this sentence, "Available now on..." You guessed it; iTunes! Do you personally play CD's anymore. I don't. I can't tell you how many times over the course of the conference I was handed a CD's for my indie features on AvaTheAnarchist.

By Saturday night, I finally had to tell fellow artists my computer doesn't have a disc drive(it's a netbook) and to look at the submission requirements on the site and send the media electronically. "CD's are for FANS" one Core DJ said. Meaning sell that to them! The DJ doesn't want to review your music, play your music during your set off your phone, or your scratchy azz CD! That phone ish is so unprofessional, by the way! DJ Big Al(President - Crowd Rocka DJ's) says, "...the DJ wants a USB, a few things are gonna happen: the DJ is going to put your USB in his computer, add your music to his playlists, he's gonna listen to it, and then he's going to reuse it". Think about all the info you can put on that USB with your music. Like, seriously...

Follow Up

So you've made a hit, you've networked within your city, you've given the DJ your hit music on a USB, now what? You have to FOLLOW UP. In the #DJsUnitedSTL2014 setting, it was easy to get a business card, make a personal intro, and meet your twitter/IG friends in person for the first time or reconnect! What do you do with having the personal phone number of DJ that breaks records, also works as an independent A+R, and who is looked upon by many labels as the go-to for new talent??? You definitely stay in touch!

For real, it's like this. The good people at DJ's United put together an opportunity for people to get the real deal on how to win in this industry. What you do is take the information, take the answers you were too afraid to ask(but other people did), take the business cards, take the phone numbers, and you get whatever it is you didn't have and you get what you need to WIN! Now what you don't do is be a nuisance. You do follow up with an email about 48 hours after the event(or at least within the next week) and say something like, "Hi this is Ava, the girl with the cool mohawk and crazy pants from #DJsUnitedSTL2014. I gave you the hot pink USB/flash drive with my album, #LadyGun, and I wanted to get some constructive feedback from you...". You can also send an email out, connect and engage with your new network on social media platforms(more so engage and interact on social platforms), and stay relevant in their mind. 

Continue to use these 4 keys over and over until they CUT THE EFFIN' CHECK!! It won't be long!


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