How Do DJs Become Famous?

Improving Your Chances of Success

Every musician and performer is different – but if our experience as a DJ promotion agency has taught us anything, it’s that the successful ones all share some traits. While there’s no roadmap to success or secret trick to hitting the big time, there’s a lot you can do to make your chances better.

Find out what it takes to become a famous DJ from the international publicity agency that has represented the likes of Tiësto, Paul Oakenfold and Hardwell

Electronic DJ Performing at Festival

  1. They Show Up Every Day

The first step to becoming a famous DJ is to want it. It’s got to be a long-term goal. It doesn’t really matter what stage you’re at in life or skill level – all that matters is that you’re committed and willing to put in the work every day; even if it’s just minor things like posting to Instagram or doing something to establish your personal brand.

If you’re not a famous DJ right now, you’re probably working a job – and it’s hard to balance work, life and your passions. It’s okay, don’t beat yourself up. Most of the people you aspire to be like had the same start.

Instead of feeling bad about things you haven’t done, feel good about doing more. It doesn’t have to be huge: little bits everyday inch you closer to your goal. Just keep at it, don’t stop. Keep showing up every day.

  1. They Create (and Finish) Music and Mixes

As an extension of point 1 –  in music, you learn by doing. The more tracks and mixes you create, the better your production skills become and the higher the quality of your sets get. DJs can only become famous once they’ve got some kind of portfolio, but it’s got to be good; and trust us when we say that the very first thing an artist creates is never their best.

The more you do it, the better you get: your best work is always your next work.

But with increased creativity comes a delicate balancing act. You’ve got to learn how to finish. It’s easy to fall into traps like “if I had the right vocalist on this, it’d be finished” or “I need a new plugin to get the sound I want”. It’s okay to want things a certain way – but if it’s stopping you from ever finishing a song, you’ll never be heard.

Can’t find a vocalist? Go instrumental – or sing it yourself, if you’re up to it. Can’t afford a new VST or plugin? Maybe you don’t really need it in the first place. Embrace what you have and show the world what you managed to do with less.

  1. They Release Often

Releasing music has never been easier. YouTube, Spotify and other streaming platforms have transformed the publication and release of music. Anyone can release now, with basically no budget. Some people think that’s bad and that music is somehow becoming polluted.

We think it’s great – more creativity can only be a good thing. But standing out in a noisy crowd is difficult. Nevertheless, rising stars keep on releasing videos, mixes and self-produced tracks.

Stars-to-be release content on the platforms where their audience is, and promote through the channels that work for them. This could be different for every DJ: some might have a big following for their content on YouTube, others might have some clout on Instagram where they push fans to another listening platform.

Besides performance, this is how talent gets noticed. Labels want to see content creation, fan bases and self-promotion at work. And once labels get involved, PR and promotion can be handled by a team, like Urban Rebel.

DJ and dance music PR agencies like Urban Rebel build our artists up with high profile coverage in digital, print and paid media, giving them exposure to bigger gigs, audiences and opportunities.

  1. They Perform and Network

Today’s star DJs made it by having great tracks, mixes, taste and talent – but performing in public and meeting people accelerated their careers. COVID-19 has made this harder for people coming up now. Much harder.

But you can still perform on YouTube, Twitch and social channels where you can start racking up some views. You can build your profile and network with others in the comments or to camera – whatever you’re comfortable with.

When the world’s back (and it will be), you’ll have plenty of opportunities to perform and meet people. Having the background from a digital presence will make networking much easier in post-COVID world.

  1. They Collaborate

A big part of networking is collaboration. Working with someone a level up from you is a springboard to their realm with exposure to their fans and audience. It doesn’t just have to be a musical collaboration: you could start a podcast and host guests that you admire, or offer to design artwork for singles if you’ve got that side skill.

Working with others gets your name out and builds a reputation. In your earliest days, this will be what gets you your next gig. Midway into a career, these are the relationships that can catapult you into stardom.

Urban Rebel: Expert PR for DJs and Dance Artists

For emerging talent and established names, we create flexible, unique PR strategies that cut through. Contact us and make your mark: call +44 (0) 161 298 6650 or send your message to [email protected].