The Media Nanny, PR-advisor to (ao.) Garrix and Guetta, hands out some crucial advice.
José Woldring is one of the most important PR-managers in today’s electronic music industry. Her company The Media Nanny is representing many of the world’s leading DJs and brands. From EDM superstars Martin Garrix (No. 1 in the DJ Mag 100) and David Guetta (no. 6) to techno dons Dubfire and Joris Voorn—they’ve all entrusted her their social media and all of their PR matters. If anyone knows how to play the media game, it has to be her. The School of House caught up with José to ask her for some inside information about DJs and the media. She gave us 5 golden tips.
Written by Aron Friedman
1. Craft your image carefully from the start
If you’re planning to be a professional artist ( DJ ) in electronic music, you’d better make sure your image is crafted carefully. If all you’re doing is DJ-ing at birthday parties or the occasional warm-up slot at your local dancing dive, a name like DJ Pancake may suffice. But once serious bookings start coming in, you might want to reconsider.
What does the professionalist say?
José: “Think about your DJ-profile from the very beginning. First of all, you need a good name. It can be your own name, something cool, or even something completely outrageous. Just as long as you don’t have to change your socials later on. Before you’re actually releasing music, you have plenty of spare time to craft your image. But who knows what will happen once you break through; you might be gigging every night, even touring the world… And you might be stuck with a dumb name.
“Many people make the mistake of building up social accounts under a crappy name, and just throwing all of their tracks online for free. That’s such a shame. It will only hold you back later on. If you want to make it big in the electronic music industry, you need to go at it professionally: start looking at your DJ-carreer as a business. I mean, Martin Garrix, Inc. now has sixty employees. In many ways, it’s run just like a regular company.”
2. Make sure your press pics represent you and your music
Let’s face it… not all DJs look like supermodels. But there are other ways to look cool on your press pic. Just make sure it’s a picture you feel comfortable with, and one that represents you and your music.
Just be you!
José: “We all know posing for pictures sucks. Well, most of us hate it, anyway. But if you want to be a successful DJ, presenting your persona in a proper press pic is half the battle.
The most important thing is that YOU are SUPER happy with the picture. Because it will “haunt” you for the rest of your career. With the internet, pictures will remain visible for ever.”
“It also can’t be just like a school pic, you have to emit something exclusive, and something that’s really you. Yellow Claw or Seth Troxler’s press pics are perfect because you immediately understand what kind of artists you’re dealing with. But even if you’re not such an outspoken character, you should still try to stand out somehow. Take the guys from Moksi. In real life, they might just be regular guys. But they’ve decided to put on Kangol hats and track-suits for their press pics and performances, and it works for them: they have a very recognizable image and a remarkable stage appearance.”
3. Always approach blogs with something newsworthy
Once your socials are in check, your profile pics are looking good, and you’re starting to release music, some blog love surely won’t hurt. But beware: choose your contact moments wisely. Don’t think a blog is going to publish something about the new plug-in you just bought, or repost some poorly recorded video of a track you haven’t even finished yet. Always approach them with something newsworthy; you might not get a second chance.
Surprise yourself. Surprise the audience!
José: “A renowned blog having your back can really help kickstart your career. In the beginning, Kygo was immensely hyped by the dance music editor of Billboard. That really cemented his name as electronic music’s hottest new rising star. Back when we started representing Martin Garrix, we made sure there was a constant flow of newsworthiness. In a rule, good new music is always newsworthy. A great new track if you’re a producer—or a great mixtape if you’re a DJ—is bound to get a listening ear.
“If you’re going to contact a blog for something else, make sure it’s something you can picture them writing about. Don’t just bluntly send out emails for every fart you’ve recorded. Do some research about the blog and about the journalist you’re addressing. Most people don’t realize that emailing someone is also asking their time. If you pointlessly take up too much of their time, your next email will probably end up in their spam box.”
4. Stay humble, don’t be a dick
Ever heard of the expression ‘opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one’? Well, you might want to keep yours to yourself, especially if you’re just online to bash your colleagues. You may think DJ such and such shouldn’t be getting the respect he’s getting, or that his new record sucks. But who are you to judge? It’s better to stay humble. The music business is about helping each other out. You need the support of those who were there before you. And you won’t get it by talking trash about others, or constantly telling everybody how cool you are.
Stay humble and play…
José: “If you feel the need to express your opinion about others, do it on your private page. Your DJ page isn’t the place for that, especially in the beginning. First of all, you never know who might be following you. Whatever you’re saying might unnecessarily insult them or piss them off. And second: as soon as you post something online, it’s like starting a discussion with the entire world. You might spend the rest of your week reacting to trolls, and that’s just keeping you from the matters at hand: making new music, and connecting with your fans in a positive way.
“In general, staying humble is a good rule to live by as an artist—also in mailouts, and interviews. Don’t go around boasting about yourself. No journalist is interested in hearing how fantastic you are, that’s for them to decide. Always remember, they’re donating their precious time to you, and they’re trying to help you out. Show some interest. Know who you’re dealing with, and treat them with respect. This will always come back to you in the end.”
5. Work, work, work, work, work
The most common mistake DJs make when they’re breaking through is to kick back and relax. The moment you think you’re ‘there’ is the beginning of the end for your career. That’s exactly the moment when you should probably shift into a higher gear.
Do not be complacent
José: “People need to understand, this business offers no guarantees. One day you can be touring the globe, the next you can be back behind the counter of the supermarket. That seriously happens more often than you’d like to think. There are actually very few DJs who have a breakthrough, and even fewer who stay relevant longer than a couple of years. If you’re snoozing on the job, there are hundreds of other kids eager to take your place.
“People sometimes ask me what is it that made Martin Garrix the no. 1 most popular DJ in the world. I always tell them, he’s where he’s at because he never stops working. He’s Martin Garrix 24/7. Every waking hour goes into his DJ life. And that’s the only way you’re going to make it in this industry. It may look like a dream from the outside, and of course it’s an amazing life to lead. But being a superstar DJ is a lot of hard work. You have to be totally devoted, or else you’re never going to make it in the big league.”
Want to learn about music production and the art of DJ-ing from notable people in the electronic music industry? Find out more about our courses.