DJ’s, You’re doing it wrong. Start with why.

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    I think leadership plays a big part in your success in music. The biggest DJs around (with the biggest fan-bases) have the ability to inspire those around them. This is why they have a huge tribe of fans that follow them all over the world.

    Have you ever thought how crazy it is that fans get their favourite DJs tattooed onto their body? This is nuts, someone connects with your music so much that they’re willing to walk around with your brand printed on them for the rest of their life!

    It’s the ultimate sign of loyalty and respect, but how do you make people feel this inspired? How do you build this connection?

    I can assure you it’s not easy, but if you change the way you think (and your approach to music), you’ll have a much better chance of success. Whether you’re an already established DJ or just starting out, I think this advice can make or break your career.

    Remember – people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

    Sure, you need to make great music. But this isn’t always enough. Understanding why you’re doing it and showing people why can be huge.

    If you show ‘why’ you’re doing this, you’ll be much more likely to build meaningful, true connections with fans – which will keep them coming back.

    The concept of ‘Why’?

    ‘Start with Why’ is a concept created by marketing expert Simon Sinek, who wrote a book on the topic that I’d recommend you read. His approach is to tell people exactly why you’re doing something, this helps to build a deeper connection with your brand.

    ‘Why’ stimulates emotional decision making. It also provides a point of human connection.

    My ‘why’ is: to never let a talented DJ / producer fail due to lack of marketing skills

    Does this help you connect with what I’m doing?

    Inspiration vs Manipulation

    There are two ways to get somebody else to do something you want them to, either inspire them or manipulate. We have companies manipulate us everyday – sales, promotions, discounts, fear, peer-pressure. These tactics work. Seeing a product on sale, you might buy it – but the benefits are really only short-term, they manipulate people into buying something. You’re no more loyal to the brand you bought from.

    Focussing on the why is a big way of inspiring people to buy your products. Simon Sinek uses Apple as the best example of this. Apple are the dominators in technology, especially in the music industry. People buying an Apple computer aren’t even considering a HP or Dell, they’ve stepped above the competition. The specs on Apple machines are often worse than PC’s and you pay more, but people still buy them.

    Apple’s ‘why’ is nothing about computing itself, their belief is to “promote individuality and challenge the status quo.” They’re more about just offering technology to people, they’re a symbol of something millions of people connect with. This is why we’re willing to spend more on a lower-spec machine, because both of our beliefs are in-sync.

    Case Study: Rage Against the Machine

    Although they don’t make electronic music, look at rage against the machine. Their music is all about freedom & unity. They use their music to express their political views. I find this so much easier to connect with, it feels like you’re engaging with something deeper, more meaningful than music itself.

    Think bigger, more long-term

    I’m trying to teach my students to think BIG. You see DJs & producers all over that jump on a trend and make music to make a quick buck. Quite often, people get a lot of short term success and do make a quick buck – but how sustainable is it?

    …if you’re reading my blog then you’re better than this.

    If you want to make a lifelong, sustainable career where you’ll create a tribe of loving, loyal fans who will pay to listen to your music for YEARS then start with WHY.

    Here’s some questions you need to answer?

    What’s your purpose?
    What’s your cause?
    What’s your belief?
    Why do you get out of bed in the morning?
    Why should other people care?  

    This can be a great way of helping to define your sound. Think about more than just music itself, why would people want to pay $$$ to see you?

    If you’re struggling to get the above, then answer the following with an adjective (e.g. filthy, free, euphoric, united):

    “I make music to make people feel _________”

    Whatever the _______ is, think about how your sound & image can relate. If it was “filthy” (much like my club night I started), then maybe your sound and image can change? It could probably be darker, and more aggressive, for example.

    If starting with ‘why’ doesn’t resonate with you, then you need to re-think things. It’s OK to not know the answers to the above straight away, but once you do – the game will become a lot easier.

    – Danny Savage

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