It's no secret that getting support from bigger DJs on your music is one of the easiest ways to jumpstart your DJ career.
Here are 3 concepts I have used over the years to make sure my music always gets into the sets of DJs.
1. Make the arrangement EASY to play. You wouldn't believe how many times I get a promo and I have to drag it into Ableton and cut out stuff and move parts around so it can fit in a live set. The more you think about reducing this friction point for a DJ, the more your odds will increase. Often times it really is just trimming the fat and getting to the point more effectively. Also providing an easy way to mix out helps too. When you test songs out, how easy did the tune go into the break/build from the intro drums? I always make sure I keep the energy going there somehow and the song doesn't lose the crowd.
2. What's the X factor? DJs often like to play new songs that have an X factor and "holy shit" moment about it. That's the easiest way to grab the attention of a bigger DJ that gets 1000 promos a week. Before you send your song out ask yourself what the 'holy shit' moment is. I used this concept in the breakdown of my song 'Rave Tool'. I tempo change the synth stabs from like 150bpm past 200 and then put a drop fake out. It was a bit ridiculous, but provided a high energy 'holy shit' moment that Skrillex and DJ Snake liked to rinse out for years. Often times when we sit down in the studio we keep working in our familiar template, try to sit down one day and say to yourself "ok, I'm making something ridiculous and over the top today". There's no rules in this game!
3. The unreleased appeal. Again no surprise that bigger DJs like to play stuff thats exclusive and unreleased. My least favorite way to promote music is the typical label rollout: Promo in email 2 weeks before, then post the artwork 1 week etc. This really doesn't help tunes get that organic DJ hype.
Take things into your own hands. Before you even have a label or release plan just take some chances and get your boots on the ground and try to send out to select DJs. Sometimes unreleased music can circulate between the bigger DJs and word can spread slowly once they see other DJs rinsing an unreleased tune. Social content and social proof of DJs playing the song out live works wonders. DJs are the same as any human with psychological behavior, we look to our peers to see what they are doing... so if they see a song someone is playing they're more likely to jump on the train. Once you get one onboard, make the message clear. Building this unreleased underground hype is crucial in getting more DJ play.