3 Things To Do If Your DJ Mix Gets No Listens

Phil Morse | Read time: 4 mins
DJ mixtapes Pro Mixtape Formula Promoting mixes
Last updated 1 June, 2021

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You’ve worked hard on producing a DJ mix. You’ve carefully chosen your tunes, practised your transitions, hit “record” – and after a few tries, you’re happy with the result. You’ve figured out how to get it online, and hit “publish”. And… nothing.

Nobody listens to it, likes it, comments on it, or feeds back to you.

Why? What have you done wrong? What can you do to fix it? And what should you do differently next time?

That’s what I’m going to look at in this article. By the end of it, you’ll have a different view of what your mixtape can (and can’t) do for you, and be ready to improve to hopefully start growing your “fanbase” and listeners.

So here are the three things you should consider when assessing how well you’re doing with sharing your DJ mixes:

1. Don’t chase numbers as your only measure of success

The first mistake is defining success as a high number of listeners. Sure, that’d be nice, but it’s a trap. You should realise that “listens” and “listeners” don’t actually mean that much.

What’s more important is how long people are listening for, why they’re listening, and whether they’re turning into fans (and turning other people on to you, too).

Remember that it only takes one listen by the right person to change your DJing life (a promoter who wants to book you, a client who hires you) – and that could happen at any time!

Learn to make perfect DJ mixes every time: Pro Mixtape Formula course

Understand that DJ mixes don’t get you “discovered” as a DJ, and don’t usually go “viral” – so don’t expect them to. They’re only one part of the work you do as a DJ, and so on their own, their “success” or otherwise doesn’t indicate that you’ve succeeded or failed.

Instead of chasing listens, why not treat your new DJ mix as a personal snapshot of where you are at in your DJing, right now? If you use DJ mixes to document your music over time, guess what? Every time you hit “publish”, you succeed!

2. Realise it’s a game of constant improvement

Listen back to your own mix. What do you like and not like about it, with hindsight? Next time you make a mix, try and improve on those things.

Bear in mind that nobody produces huge, world-changing DJ mixes on their first or even their 10th mixtape. They keep doing it, slowly getting better.

(If you’re still getting absolutely nowhere at 100 mixes, maybe that’s the time to decide if you’re still enjoying doing this – but hopefully if you’ve adjusted how you measure success, you will still be having fun with it.)

Also, think about what you did to try to get people to listen to your mix. Is there a way you can try something different next time? Again, it’s a question of slow improvement over time, and sticking the course as much as anything. Here are some ideas:

  • Improve the artwork
  • Namecheck the biggest artists in the title (this can throw your mix up when people are searching online for those artists)
  • Share your DJ mix with the artists on social media
  • Have a link to your mix(es) on your email signatures, forum signatures, and on all your social channels
  • Have a link to your DJ mixes on your business card

3. Understand that building a fan base is about interaction

Throwing your mixtapes out there and expecting the world to drop everything and listen is unrealistic.

Nowadays, people want to feel close to the creators they admire. So if you want to get more listens, fans and feedback, it pays to engage your fan base, whether that’s one person or a thousand.

Little things like introducing the mix yourself with a microphone and thanking your listeners at the end can really make people feel closer to you. Also, it’s a no-brainer to answer every single comment, and to think hard about any suggestions people give you about your mix, or things they say they like and don’t like.

It’s also worth encouraging people to sign up / subscribe / follow / like (building your own email list of fans is the best), and then make sure you inform your list whenever you make a new mix.

Learn to make perfect DJ mixes every time: Pro Mixtape Formula course

Another way of engaging people and making a bit of an “event” of your DJ mix is to “perform” it (ie livestream it), linking back to the recording and telling people about the recording at the time. You could even add the video of the “live” version to YouTube, with a link back to your mix.

Or, you could write a “behind the scenes” post for each mix you make – give people the “why” and a peek into your process, as well as just sharing the end result.

Finally, it pays to try to be part of a scene or community. So find like-minded creators and support them by listening to and commenting on their mixes. In other words, if you want to receive, give first.

One way to be part of a community is to chat with like-minded DJs in a Facebook group. For example, every week we post a “Feedback Friday” in The Global DJ Network, where DJs can support each other’s mixes.

Finally…

Throwing your DJ mixes out there and expecting the world to drop everything and listen is unrealistic.

But if you realise all the reasons why making and sharing these is valuable with or without lots of listens, if you engage your audience properly as it slowly grows, and if you are always looking for small improvements, you’ll get there.

Earlier on I said it may take 100 mixes shared to start getting real progress – but wouldn’t it be sad to give up at 99? So the most important thing is to enjoy the process, and congratulate yourself every time you finish one.

Most so-called “DJs” don’t even get that far. You’re already ahead.

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