Yes DJs are very busy, and yes they get sent lots of promos – but that doesn’t excuse DJs leaving a ‘downloading for…’ response. Attack Magazine’s Harold Heath takes on the issue of DJ promos and the “downloading for…” phenomenon.
Imagine a producer. She’s in her studio, working on her craft, creating art. She thinks about how to communicate emotions through her chosen medium – sound – how to produce something that is authentic, real and the very best she can do. She’s practised her craft for years and is confident she can produce something great this week, so she works dedicatedly, doggedly, until it is done: a completed piece of art, a product of human creativity – a banging techno track has been created.
She finds a label who like her music, they offer to sell it for her. They send it out free to some of the top names in the biz to try and generate some interest in the larger marketplace. This is where it gets weird. Having been gifted a piece of unique audio art, many of those who receive it choose to respond not with thanks. Not with observations about how good the piece of work is. Not even with a critique of why this piece of work is not for them.
No. Today, the world is upside down and when you get sent a piece of unique art, the produce of someone’s soul, it is now de rigueur to merely confirm that a transaction has taken place: to get some poor intern to cut-and-paste a standard “downloaded for [insert DJ name]” response. That, apparently is how we are conducting ourselves in the music industry today.
It begs the questions, does your tour manager plug your USB in for you as well? Perhaps you have a dedicated headphone nanny, a sleeve-tat valet, or a vinyl under-butler? Can we really not find time to feedback properly?
I get it – some DJs get sent a lot of promos. And I get it – some DJs do post their playlists to promote the music they play – but only some. And it appears to be a depressingly small quantity of DJs who return their setlists to royalty collection agencies that might channel some funds to the producers down the line too. There are even rumours of DJs who download the tunes they’re sent but pretend that it was their ‘staff’ who actually did it, presumably to try and bask in the truly infinitesimally small amount of kudos that could arise from being believed to have an unpaid intern open your emails.