For established and upcoming DJs alike, SoundCloud is the premier platform for sharing and promoting your DJ sets. What are some of the best ways for an artist to use such an important promotional tool? Native Instruments teamed up with SoundCloud to present the ten most important tips, tricks, and essentials for optimizing your DJ sets on the platform. The following is a simple checklist to make the most of your SoundCloud presence. Tick these boxes and you’ll have the essentials covered.
1. Add a tracklist for the tune spotters
Searching for an ID of that incredible track you heard in a DJ set is something everybody who loves electronic music can relate to. It’s a practice that stretches right back to when we were peering into the DJ booth to try and identify the white label the DJ just pulled out of his record bag.
Want to make sure these committed fans are catered for? Make sure you’ve added track IDs into your DJ sets. This can be done simply by listing them in the mix description field. Better yet, you can also add track IDs in the comments field at the correct timestamp. This might encourage your fans to engage even more with your DJ sets by adding their own comments.
2. Tidy up your titles
While it might seem like an obvious thing to point out, it’s important to keep your set and playlist titles clean, clear and informative. Will listeners know at a glance what they’ll be listening to, when they catch a glimpse of your DJ set in the SoundCloud ‘Recommended’ sidebar? Keeping it simple and informative is the way to go.
Looking at the following example here from Pan-Pot, all the essential details can be picked up with a quick glance at the title: it’s a live Pan-Pot DJ set recorded at Output Club in Brooklyn, in July this year.
3. Get your #hashtags in order
While the humble #hashtag might seem like a Twitter cliché, it actually offers a very useful method for allowing listeners on SoundCloud to connect with the music they like. While there are the standard genre tags like #house and #techno, make sure you also tag the mix with the collective that you’re a part of (#WomenInDanceMusic), the record label that you’re releasing your music with (#HotFlush, #Drumcode) or the event or festival that you were DJing at (#awakenings, #fabric etc).
One important point is to stick to a single genre (or perhaps two), just to keep things clear. Loading your set up with an extra #techno hashtag, when it’s really just a #deephouse DJ set, won’t help with drawing in the right kind of listeners who actually want to hear your music. Keep your hashtags accurate.
If it’s a live recording of your DJ set, the associated hashtag is even more important, as it’ll link partygoers directly with your music. For instance, if you DJed at Burning Man and recorded it for prosperity, using the #BM2018 hashtag might end up drawing hordes of fellow burners to your set.
4. Artwork matters
Alongside the title of your set, an eye-catching image is another essential checkpoint that will help make sure your content looks great when it appears in the SoundCloud feed, or elsewhere on the web. How about a shot taken at the event where you were playing? Or an artist press pic taken by a pro photographer?
5. Tweak your set description
After titles, hashtags and artwork, a snappy and informative text description is the next important consideration, and an opportunity in particular to help increase its searchability. SoundCloud says that empty descriptions, or a single line of text, are more frequent with DJ set uploads than you might think.
What’s interesting or unique about the set you’ve just uploaded? Where was the event that you played, and what made it memorable or unique? What sort of vibe were you aiming for in your set? You can even include names of supporting DJs or artists featured in the mix, and add links to their profiles. Quotes from an event review that you’ve found online? A detailed paragraph of important info will go a long way.
6. Create some playlists, and organize your sets
Are you starting to amass an impressive amount of DJ sets on your SoundCloud page? There’s the risk that it might prove overwhelming for first-time visitors to your page, and make it hard for them to track down what they want to listen to. Luckily, playlists offer an easy way to cut down on the clutter. Create a playlist that groups all of your respective DJ sets, radio mixes and podcasts together.
There are lots of opportunities to be creative with how you organize your playlists. You can collect all of your sets from 2017 into a single playlist. And why not create different playlists that group your sets into “Warmup” and “Peaktime” collections? Or otherwise put together a special “Chillout” playlist of sets?
7. Curate and collaborate
If you’re looking for innovative ways to add content to your SoundCloud page, stretching beyond just your own DJ sets, how about adding some curated playlists that explore your own musical tastes? It’s a chance to show your DJ colleagues some love, and it might even earn some support in return. You could even collaborate with fellow DJs to push your music out to each other’s audiences.
8. With your live recordings, timing is critical
Still buzzing from the incredible set you played last night that got a great crowd response? Why not harness that momentum and get the set online ASAP. Timing is the key if you’re keen to leverage the excitement still lingering after a great party. Record your set on TRAKTOR, upload it within 24 hours so people that attended your show can relive the experience. Which leads to the next point…
9. Push it properly on social media
Most important of all, don’t let your DJ set vanish into obscurity. Make sure you push it out on social media channels, and make sure it’s tagged appropriately with the event, venue or nightclub. Beyond pushing it out to your own audience, you might strike lucky and earn a reshare from the club or event where you played the set, which could result in exposure to loads more potential fans.
10. Link listeners to a “buy” link
Are you a producer, and featured one of your new tracks in your DJ set? If you have a Pro account with SoundCloud, it’s a great idea to add a link in your set that sends users to other platforms, where you can potentially be paid for your music. You can add the link in the Metadata section when you upload your set, and additionally, you can also add a link in the text description too so it’s impossible to miss (or even drop a comment in the timestamp where your track is played).