Remixes of popular tracks are almost always preferred over originals at parties and nightclubs, and producing them can be a great way for unknown DJs to get their names out there.
Producing a great remix of a track that’s rising in popularity, a well-known track, or even an ordinary club single, can give a massive boost to the reputation of a talented producer who’s looking for exposure.
Remixing less popular tracks can make it easier to obtain stems and capellas, as the original artist will likely be actively seeking opportunities to promote their work. Ideally, the remix will bring you both increased publicity.
Odds are you’ll have similar taste in music, and both sets of fans will support the collaboration. At the risk of sounding like a hipster, remixing it before it gets popular gives you a head start in Google rankings; by the time everybody’s searching for it, you’re already there.
Entering a competition is another way to get in on the remix action. High profile competitions are very popular and attract a large number of entrants. Now that everyone’s on the bandwagon, you need to be talented, or really lucky, to get noticed.
Take a look at RemixComps and Laptop Rockers for two of the largest listings of remix competitions. In the event you don’t find anything you want to work on there, just email the artist whose work you want to remix—you could get lucky.
Successful Remixes and Social Wins for Today’s DJs
Remixing is the gift that keeps on giving; spread the love and you might just get some back. In the examples below, you’ll see how a remix can lead to a wave of good publicity.
Marcel Dettmann recently released a remix of Dillon’s “A Matter of Time.”
Dillon then published the remix to her Facebook:
Afrojack remixed 30 Seconds to Mars’ song “Do or Die” and they both received increased attention:
30 Seconds to Mars also kindly promoted Afrojack’s album release two months later:
Legalities and Financial Realities to Keep In Mind
Usually, taking samples from someone else’s work without permission isn’t a problem as long as you don’t put the results up for sale anywhere or profit from it.
If the remix does blow up, just know that you won’t be making any money off of it, though you will earn some valuable publicity and the creators of the original track might just thank you for the promotion of their work and commission an official remix from you later on.
Unless you’re an internationally-known DJ, putting your own bootleg remixes on Soundcloud and playing them at a gig is probably not going to get you in any trouble. However, definitely do not sell any remixes unless you have the rights to the samples!
If you don’t, there’s often a creative solution. Just take a leaf out of Chris Lawhorn’s book! He released an album of edits of the band Fugazi’s entire collection, with their permission, sending profits from the album sales to charity.
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