Getting Your Electronic Music Heard – Hands On With Reaktion DJ Promo
25th January 2018 Share

Getting Your Electronic Music Heard – Hands On With Reaktion DJ Promo

This month we got a look behind the scenes at Reaktion DJ Promo to checkout the system and delve into the world of tastemaker DJ promotions.

Reaktion is a highly-effective and powerful promotional service for Producers, Record Labels and music industry professionals who know and understand the value in tastemaker promotions and radio plugging. When it comes to new music, it’s vital that the correct people are aware that your release is coming. If you’re letting your music go under the radar – Reaktion can help to ensure that you are given the very best chance of success. Their targeted tastemaker promotions have been designed and tweaked over time to maximise impact and attention from the world’s most influential DJs.

Used by the likes of Todd Terry, Sean Finn, 99 Souls, Jason Rivas, Peak Hour Music, Cheat Codes and hundreds of other professional artists and labels, the tool has been established as one of the most impressive all-in-one DJ promo services in electronic music.

We sat down to talk about the system, its principals, history and how the whole thing works.

INTERVIEW

GT: What exactly is the Reaktion system and why does it exist?

RKT: Our system is a tool used by producers, record labels, managers and PR agencies that require a service to take care of delivering promos to tastemakers DJs and constructing of reports and insights to better understand the “Reaktion” that each release receives. Our customers come to us usually with a problem that their releases are not getting picked up and supported by many DJs which is of course an important part of growing any musical project in this world. It takes a hell of a lot of time and energy to properly keep on top of which DJs are playing what and where they are playing it. Most up and coming labels and DJs tend to just compile a list of e-mail addresses they find online and blast an e-mail over hoping for the best. As anyone reading that has tried this before will know, you generally don’t get very far doing this for a number of reasons. What Reaktion does is give DJs a simpler task when it comes to listening to promos. A DJ can log in to our system once a day, week or month and flick through 100 records and library the ones they want all in one easy to use tool. Because the system is designed to make life easier for DJs, we get a lot more feedback from busy DJs that are pushed for time to listen to 1000 promos a week. We also work hard to keep up to date contacts for DJs who are often changing inboxes, management and more. The hours we put into maintaining and upgrading our systems go above and beyond the efforts that 99% of labels or artists are willing to invest.

GT: No doubt that’s a lot of work! So how did this project and idea come to life?

RKT: The team behind Reaktion has been working in the electronic music industry for over a decade now so we’ve developed a pretty thorough understanding of the whole promotion process from start to finish. When we were promoting releases in the past we felt that there were loads of sites and tools available for people to manage their promos, but not a great deal of options for actual dedicated services that do the hard bit. The ones that were available were generally crazy expensive and just not an option for most people in dance music or at the other end of the spectrum you had these really sketchy looking ultra-cheap but generally useless guys that kind of just fired out promo mails everywhere with no actual software or system managing things. You were usually choosing between spending £20 on something that you just didn’t trust one bit, or spending an absolute fortune. We saw a gap there for something that was more accessible to most electronic music makers (like us) and so decided to do something about it – Reaktion was born.

GT: So you’d say Reaktion is for the many, rather than the few?

RKT: Pretty much yeah! The reality is that most people don’t have £1,000 to drop on hiring an elite level radio plugger in electronic music so why should that mean that up and coming artists and labels should have to go at it alone? Our service is available for a much broader spectrum of people in the industry.

GT: OK so talk us through a standard promotion campaign with Reaktion

RKT: Sure. So first thing we’d usually do is work out what kind of package looks right for the release or client we’re working with. We have a few different options starting with 4 week long promos and building up to our Ultimate Reaktion package which is what we feel is the optimum setup for what we do. To start things off we’ll listen to the promo and any extra versions and remixes available, make sure it’s something that our network of DJs will likely react well to and then begin setting up the system. We’ll tag things like artists, labels and most importantly genres and sub genres.

GT: What does the genre-tagging achieve?

RKT: Basically when you’ve got as many DJs on the pool as we do you have to compete with the fact that everyone has a different taste in music. Most of our Tech-House loving DJs generally aren’t to big on EDM and vice-versa so we have a system that allows us to only send promos that are relevant to each DJ. Every DJ that we send promos to has access to an online portal where they can select which genres they want to receive, make sure their contact details are up to date and add things like affiliations so that our customers can see a little bit of info about the DJs commenting on their promos. Some of the Reaktion team are DJs too and we know all about getting sent random promos that have no relevance to what we play, so this was our attempt to curve that particular issue for Reaktion customers and DJs.

 

GT: Alright, sounds good so far. So we’re ready to send it all out now?

RKT: Once the promo is loaded in and checked for issues we’re ready to start the campaign. We have a few approaches to this but usually prefer to work through VIP ranks which are hard-wired into the system. Using this method we can send promos to the biggest names first to give them some exclusivity which is usually expected. We then move through these groups throughout the course of a campaign until completion.

GT: Then we’re done?

RKT: No not yet. Once a full promotion has been completed we then go back to square one and start the feedback reminders which send secondary requests for feedback to DJs that missed the promo on our first round. As we all know DJs are a busy species so to expect that 100% of the DJs will be reached in one run would be naive, we circle back with reminders to anyone who did not log in and check the promotion already, this generally has a great effect on the overall reach and results when it comes to assessing the final reports for customers.

GT: Finished?

RKT: Nearly! Once we’ve satisfied the feedback reminder period, we’ll now go in and have a good look at the results. We don’t just ask for a comment, but also for a rating and the system will work out an average for us to relay back to the customer. These extra insights are a good way to get a rounder understanding of what people think of your promos. It’s easy to have rose-tinted glasses for your own music or even worse the opposite and for you not to believe in it so these ratings are a good way to get some perspective on what they wider world really thinks of your work. There’s no way around the fact that if you get a low rating it can hurt the ego a little, but this kind of honest feedback is hard to find these days and most people seem to understand it. Our DJs aren’t evil though and generally provide useful and honest feedback so it works both ways.

GT: That’s a bonus for sure. So what kind of DJs would you expect to find on Reaktion?

RKT: Back when we first started Reaktion, we did what a lot of artist and labels do and try to just build relationships with the top 200 DJs in the world. Whilst this went pretty well, we quickly realised that there’s more to this game that just banking on the DJ Mag Top 100 to support our promos. We started to build a concept that power in numbers was equally if not more effective. We started thinking about who we would want to play our own releases and this is where the floodgates really opened up. We asked ourselves, if a DJ that has a weekly radio show that averages 1000 listeners per show wanted to play our release, would be consider that a positive thing? An audience of a 1000 people isn’t all that big really, but we started to think about the bigger picture. How many DJs are there in the world with shows of this size? Where are they getting their music from? Who’s sending them promos? The more we thought about this, the more we began to realise what Reaktion was actually supposed to be. We come up with a concept that a DJ with 1000 weekly listeners was easy to find. So easy in-fact that we found about 10,000 of them over a 3 year search. 10,000 DJs with 1000 listeners a week each equals a weekly reach of 10,000,000 people. That’s more than any DJ in the world, by far. With this information we revamped the whole system and went down the route of strength in numbers and sure enough we noticed that our customers were getting a massive increase in plays, support, profile and feedback. We come to the conclusion that what we and so many others had been doing wrong was trying to jump from stage A to Z without working through B, C, D and everywhere else in-between. This concept was and is still to this day the heartbeat of Reaktion and is what makes us different.

GT: That makes a lot of sense and the numbers are undeniable. You do have a load of big name DJs using the system though right?

RKT: Oh absolutely. As I said when we started out that was all we were interested in so we done a pretty thorough job of making sure we had as many big hitters as possible on the system. We work in different sub-genres of dance music and have a specialist for each domain so the list is super varied and capable of wide-ranging results. I can reel some names off of DJs that we’ve seen grabbing promos on the system: Above & Beyond, Andi Durrant, Annie Mac, Anthony Pappa, ATFC, Betoko, Bobby Burns, B.Traits, CamelPhat, Cedric Gervais, Chicane, Chus+Ceballos, Claude VonStroke, Crookers, Dennis Cruz, Don Diablo, Dosem, EDX, Erick Morillo, Fedde Le Grand, Ferry Corsten, Joseph Capriati, Judge Jules, Juicy M, Kissy Sell Out, Kyau & Albert, Lissat & Voltax, Mark Knight, Markus Schulz, Mr V, Myon & Shane 54, Paco Osuna, Paul Oakenfold, Paul Van Dyk, Richie Hawtin, Robert Babicz, Roland Clark, Ron Carroll, Shiba San, Sick Individuals, Steve Lawler, The Martinez Brothers, Three Drives, Tocadisco, Torio, Tube & Berger, tyDi, Ummet Ozcan, Wade, Wehbba and thousands more.

GT: That’d make a good festival lineup! Alright thanks for the chat, where can we find you guys online and get our own promos started?

RKT: My pleasure! You can find us online at www.reaktion.net. You’ll find a whole load of info on the site. You can also mail us directly for details at info@reaktion.net. You can also find us on Facebook/Twitter etc searching for Reaktion DJ Promo.

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