DJs can share mixes, and tricks, and DJ sets using video online – you can just about get away with it on YouTube, for instance – but it’s getting harder, and anecdotally, lawyers do poke around as soon as you get some success. It is all a bit scary and derring-do.
Luckily, if you want to use video to promote your DJing – but would rather not run the risk of repercussions from using other people’s music – there are lots of other ways you, as a DJ, can promote what you do with video. And actually, some of these ideas may do more for getting you gigs than just sharing mixes (after all, if you think about it, people would hope you could DJ without checking for proof!).
We’re talking about:
- Video content you can make that does NOT involve copyrighted music
- Video content you can make that does not involve the actual music you were playing in the video
So let’s take a look at some other things you could do to share your DJing life with the world, help you to get your name on people’s lips, and have the gig bookings rolling in…
Day-to-day clips, often vertical, and shared as part of your strategy on platforms like YouTube Shorts, TikTok, Instagram Reels and so on, are a natural and obvious way of sharing video content – as long as you’re comfortable using one or more of those platforms, of course. That is a wider aim as you decide where on social media you want to have a presence.
Made quickly on your phone, and lasting just a few seconds, they’re a tried and tested way of entertaining your followers – and for inspiration, you need only subscribe to one of those platforms and watch what other creators are doing, whether they’re DJs or not. Some ideas:
- Stuff that happens at load-ins/outs with you and your gear
- Rants about things that have just happened to you as you go about your DJing life – “on location”
- Funny encounters with characters you come across while DJing
- Your views on cool new gear, whether you own it or not (ie clips from shops, DJ booths…)
- Short clips about the places DJing takes you (backstage at shows, hire companies when you’re fetching equipment, etc)
- SHORT videos of the crowd at gigs (if the audio is terrible, or you’re shouting over it, the copyright algorithms probably won’t pick up the music)
Longer, “landscape” video of the more traditional type absolutely has a place too, and because we’re talking about video that doesn’t contain copyrighted material, you can safely share it on YouTube, the preferred platform due to its reach. Then such videos can easily be added to your website and other social platforms.
Here are some things that work well for DJs:
- Tutorials for other DJs – Every time you solve a problem in your DJing with gear, music services, a software feature, a tech issue, even web or phone apps, share it! Talk people through it. We’ve all benefited from this kind of video (even us here at Digital DJ Tips, and we make exactly this kind of stuff ourselves…), so pay it forward
- Guidance for clients – The best wedding DJs, for instance, do this stuff really well. Help clients to do a good job of booking and conversing with DJs, by talking them through the process. How about making videos that help clients to choose “must play” or “do not play” lists to share with their wedding DJ? Or just “how to choose a DJ for your event”, or “what questions to ask DJs when booking them”. This paints you as an authority
- Testimonials – Getting your clients to talk to you or just to camera about your services produces powerful video, and is much more persuasive than you blah blah blah-ing about how great you are yourself. These can be done on a phone – they don’t need to be fancy
- Formal showreel/promotional video – If you want to make a more involved video that showcases who you are and what you do, the trick is to avoid using copyrighted music, and instead to use a single piece of music bought from a royalty-free library to stitch together the clips you want to use in your video. Even if some of the clips capture you DJing, you don’t need to use the actual music you were playing. Just make sure the video clips vary every 5-10 seconds, have one piece of music running all the way through, and dip its volume to talk over it to narrate the video (Google “royalty free music” for thousands of choices, you can buy such tracks for a few dollars)
- Vlogs – Many DJs do “gig vlogs”, which can keep your timelines busy and give you a record of what you’ve been up to, too. Vlogs really are just longer versions of the kind of thing you cover in your shorts. If you have something larger to say, or to share, a vlog can be a great place to do it. Again, recording from your phone is fine, and on location always adds interest
But I really want to share mixes and music…
Look, you still can – but go for audio only. Do it on Mixcloud, and you’re safe. Or livestream the video (currently Twitch and Mixcloud Live are the best platforms to use) and just accept that for visual DJing, this is the current best practice.
And yes, if you want to put mix videos onto YouTube, you can still try it (we’ve got a post that explains a way that kind of works), but just be aware that you are running a risk, however small, of come-back in the future from labels who see you making money as a DJ, and want their cut from you sharing their material, however right or wrong you feel this is.
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I know it’s frustrating when you see big DJs and labels sharing mixes full of huge tunes, apparently above the law, but sadly their “whitelisting” is not available to you and us. Hopefully this post has given you ideas to promote yourself with video that get around this little injustice.