When Beatport opened up the Mixes platform to all DJs late last year, one of the goals was to give so-called “bedroom DJs” a shot at reaching new fans by making their mixes available to a larger audience. The platform provides the basic functionality—uploading a continuous mix, curating the list of songs within the mix, and selling the mix as a complete work worth more than merely the sum of its parts—but it’s DJs and how they use Beatport Mixes that really showcases its potential.
One of the early success stories is the DJ duo Deep Space House, who, despite being newcomers to the deep-house scene, have sold more mixes on the platform than many established artists. In fact, they’ve landed 10 mixes in the Top 10, some of which have climbed to #1. (Full disclosure: Matt van Ax, one half of Deep Space House along with Mark Space, is a Beatport employee, but received no special promotional support to help draw attention to his mixes.) Here’s how they did it:
Beatport Mixes allows DJs to establish a virtual residency of sorts. Just as performing DJs appear at a certain time on a certain day, so too can mixes be added to the platform, creating a degree of expectation among followers. Deep Space House prove themselves to be particularly consistent and efficient by leveraging their previously established YouTube series, which features a new installment every Friday. “Having a signature sound, being able to consistently produce high-end mixes, and discovering a way to build a fan base through a podcast or internet radio show are probably the key ingredients,” says van Ax. “If you do this on a scheduled basis, it makes it easier for your audience to follow you.”
You can’t just take an “if you build it, they will come” approach to music. You’ve got to be proactive to get people to listen to your music, which is what Deep Space House does. Whether it’s their YouTube series, or their Beatport Mixes uploads, the duo ensures links to both are widely available on their social networking profiles (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and provide a path-of-least-resistance trail back to their work at every opportunity. “We run the Deep Space House internet radio show every week to promote our mixes. We send out messages about tracks that highlight each mix, as we feel it’s part of our job as promoters of music to get people to know the names of the artists that produce all the great tracks that we utilize in our mixes,” they say.
In addition to the obvious necessity of your mix being of high quality, it also needs to be fresh, featuring new tracks each time. You can’t reuse the same songs over and over. And like any good DJ knows, the order of tracks is just as important as the tracks selected. Keeping it fresh can be challenging if submitting new mixes on a weekly basis, but creativity and quality are essential elements to success. “We’re more technical DJs and have always been on the search for perfect transitions between two tracks,” van Ax admits. “We feel that they should add value in some way. It’s easy to play one track after another, but crafting a mix as if one is composing music is quite different.”
Deep Space House created an identity and personality where the name of the mix series and the theme of music selections are very closely aligned. Just as releasing music on the same day every week creates an expectation, so does adhering to a theme and sticking to it. For fans making a purchasing decision, the closer you can meet or exceed their expectations on a regular basis, the better. “We’re a blend of all deep electronic music styles mixed into one set,” they explain. “Sometimes we include five to six different styles in a single set, but there is always a common ground: It’s deep and you’ll hear ambient-like hypnotic soundscapes, groovy and rhythmic basslines, and lots of harmonic melodies. As the name Deep Space House suggests, the sound is deep, (mostly) house music, and it sounds, for lack of a better term, spacey.”
Remember, you’re creating mixes for more than your existing fans. You’re trying to find new fans as well. These fans are out searching for music like yours, so make it easy for them by matching the description of your sets to the terms the fans you’re trying to attract are already seeking out. Take the interpretation and the guesswork out of it for them. “We use the description area in each video on YouTube to create a thematically related context,” van Ax offers. “The title and the description naturally include some of the keywords that people are searching for when looking for mixes like ours. So we do basic keyword research and then optimize our text with it.”
We’re always interested in learning how other DJs are using not only Mixes, but all of our tools. If you’ve got any tips, suggestions, or case studies to share, let us know in the comments below.