10 Ways to Book Quality DJs & Artists at a bargain

“I saw them before they were famous…”

The best ways to land a cult following and be the most talked about events management brand in your town is to bring out DJs, producers and artists before they blow up. Hold a few nights featuring artists on the cusp and your events will be talked about for years to come.

To get the jump on an up and comer involves setting aside time. Time to chase up the best online and offline channels for new music consumption. The cream of these artists will have multi-channel representation. We’ve rounded up ten of the best ways to find a bargain artist that is about to hit it big.

1. Follow artists for shoutouts

Start with artists that are popular right now with your event audience. Also follow artists that have just dropped a large album or EP. You’ll want to follow them on all the basic social platforms available to you:

These artists often throw up songs and shoutouts to up and comers. Follow these links, listen and follow them if they’re any good.

2. Soundcloud

Go through all the big names that resonate with your audience’s Soundcloud following lists. Look for artists that have under 100 000 follows (50 000 if you’d like someone even lesser known) and over 5000 follows. Generally anyone with under 100 000 follows has an audience already but not a large one. Follow any good artists and do the same with their follow lists. Listen often to your Soundcloud feed as you’ll get suggestions based on all these follows and often find amazing new sounds.

3. Beatport charts

Follow the Beatport charts. Listen to the tracks not only in your regular genre but also similar genres. Also listen to tracks that are often thrown together at shows (think drum and bass with dubstep). Any good remixes, new names or collaborators take note of and add on other platforms.

4. Remixes/Collaboration

Often you’ll get bigger artists going in and doing a collaboration with an up and comer. Think Drake with I Love Makonnen on Tuesday, Flosstradamus with Troyboi on Soundclash. These artists can be picked up with a small fee and you’ll already have exposure through their collaboration. Another avenue is remixes – any remix that sounds better than the original, be sure to explore the artists other tracks.

5. Following niche music magazines

Use a feed reader aka RSS aggregator to get all your music news in the one place. The easiest feed reader to use at present is Feedly so go check it out and start adding any sites with an RSS symbol you come across that have quality content. Think the big guns:

Also add magazines specific to your area or city. Look for articles such as “Future Sounds”. Check out the latest releases and reviews.

6. Go to Gigs

It’s simple, but take time out of your schedule to go to other people’s shows. You will often come across a person or a sound you haven’t heard before. When you take holidays away check out the gigs in that town.

7. Bump up Facebook friends with music posts

Got people in the industry who are always posting new music, events or articles? Maybe you just have friends big into the scene? Bump them up to be Close Acquaintances and you’ll receive more of their content on your Facebook feed.

8. Looking at artists at smaller festivals / local stages

This is really letting some other event manager do the hard work for you. Smaller names and local stages are a wealth of talent, especially when it comes to new artists. Even if you can’t get to the festivals yourself, check out festival posters and head to the artists’ social media sites to check out their sound.

9. Niche Labels

Check out new labels with a growing stable of artists with a massive hit or two on their hands. Mad Decent and Cash Money Records started off with a big artist or two and soon the other artists down the label chain were blowing up. Getting the new signings first may pay off.

10. Music Conferences

If you can make it to the venue and have enough to stump up for registration, music conferences offer a wealth of knowledge you may not otherwise encounter. From keynotes to panels and workshops to killer networking opportunities, getting one or more of these under your belt, or even tuning into any of their streaming sessions can give you a different perspective on various aspects of the music industry. Think Winter Music Conference Miami, SXSW Texas and New Music Seminar New York, and look out for smaller conferences local to your area.

Using different avenues available to you to tune into new music gives you the opportunity to uncover diamond artists before everyone else. Successfully booking multiple up and comers will give your agency a reputation for throwing the events to get to if you don’t want to miss out on the next big thing.

Rafiq is the founder of Crowdflow.io and is on a mission to create technology to help organizers sell out great events.