The purpose of this post is to discuss the “Cargo Cult” of “I Wanna be Adored” which is a dirty part of our scene.
“he adored his mother”
synonyms: love dearly, love, be devoted to, dote on, hold dear, cherish, treasure,prize, think the world of; antonyms: hate, detest
worship; venerate.“he adored the Sacred Host”
synonyms: worship, glorify, praise, revere, reverence, exalt, extol, venerate, pay homage to;
informallike (something or someone) very much.“she adores Mexican cuisine”
synonyms: like, love, be very fond of, be very keen on, be partial to, have a weakness for; antonyms: hate, detest
But here’s a serious issue. Club promoters are exploiting the talent. #NotAllPromoters. But certainly some and it only ends when you get professional A&R who endures the headache and heartbreak for you.
We’re DJ/Producers so we pretty much try to ignore it but it bitchslaps us even occasionally.
Here’s the bullshit- the ridiculous payola of promotion. Pay to play still exists. You still need to blow the doorman/gatekeeper or in most cases, the promoter themselves and you better do it well and swallow if you’re an up and coming talent, otherwise, you’ll forever be playing houseparties for beer.
You may have over 1K Soundcloud followers, 15K plays, maybe even a Beatport Discog if a Producer/DJ and you will come come across
sharks club promoters, who will give you that 9pm slot only if you sell 200 tickets at full price to your BFFs, tag 300o or more people in your 3x daily posts and spam the ever-living fuck out of social media.
Many promoters do not want to perform the work of promoters. They don’t want to do promote. They want others, especially the up and coming DJ’s to promote for them. They want to sit back, enjoy the show and make the TALENT do their job while they get adored. DJs, desperate for gigs and recognition will do this to get that 9pm slot and think that they are not harming themselves professionally or the community as a whole and DJ’s are undercutting each other. This is how DJ’s throw each other under the bus.
There’s a clusterfuck here. “I wanna be adored” is a cargo cult. Tagging, selling tickets, spamming the ever-living fuck out of your social media dilutes you, takes time away from honing your skills, keeps you from creating deliverables (your own productions), dilutes your brand, and causes people to unfollow as the promo noise ratio exceeds real signal. But DJ’s will do it- it means flyers with their name on it and a false sense of accomplishment and being adored.
This is the end result of the need to be adored- Celebrities playing Ibiza and Tomorrowland with little risk for promoters because it’s absolute pure bread and circuses and spectacle. People come for the possible trainwreck and to rubberneck and the promoter pays their bills guaranteed!
A cargo cult is a Melanesian millenarian movement encompassing a diverse range of practices and occurring in the wake of contact with the commercial networks of colonizing societies. The name derives from the belief that various ritualistic acts will lead to a bestowing of material wealth (“cargo“). DJ’s basically look to promoters to provide cargo. Sadly, it isn’t promotion and human traffic.
The Cargo Cult of “LOOK AT ME, I”M PLAYING AT ________ FRIDAY NIGHT AND THE FIRST 25 PEEPS WHO MSG ME GET A CODE FOR $5 OFF DOOR!” leads to a DJ paying to play or playing free or even not getting booked if they refuse to play this game and jump thru the promoters prereqs, which can get pretty absurd. Press “Post”- get bacon, bacon meaning booked, even if a non-paying gig, another post for another day.
Promoters are not promoting. They are not investing their time and energy in curating talent. They want a sure thing. They want it easy. They want to profit. They want bodies in the door. They want to be famous. The promoter wants to be the name brand. The DJ’s are irrelevant provided they bring in the bodies and sell drinks. If they don’t sell drinks, they don’t come get booked again even if the reason no one was at the bar was because they were on the dancefloor, especially if in an early time slot.
I have seen excellent, truly skilled, talented DJs literally publically get told on social media that they were blacklisted and would never play a venue again when a DJ stood up to them and called them out for demanding the DJ do ticket presales, meet an presale quota in order to keep a slot and promote extensively on various social media as per the ever-changing rules a promoter set and a timeslot based on how well they pushed the event in people’s faces . I’ve seen this several times. It is not an isolated incident and I live in a major metro US city, not a small Pacific Island where the promoter delivers the magic of Coca-Cola, Spam and cargo crates of lighters and clothes and other magical things.
I saw it this week where two promoters literally told multiple DJs in a FB thread that it was their job, not the promoters, to promote an event, flyer, assemble a street team and make it successful and any “worthwhile DJ” does the legwork and does their time promoting in order to get the gig instead of encouraging the DJs to be better artists and promoting and helping their booked talent. Then these promoters called into question the integrity of a DJ who was not on their knees hustling and harassing people for an event on Facebook as now those “are the dues”. In the 21st century, any “worthwhile DJ” of integrity is writing and producing their own music or worst case scenario, paying someone else to do it.
The promoters are not emphasizing DJ’s developing skills, producing and becoming better DJ’s and investing to create the next big thing. They are breeding more promoters instead. Many promoters are DJ’s who got tired, burned out, burned their bridges, and got too hungry for fame and wanting to be adored and realized running events with their name on it alone was a better way to pay for their other hobbies.
Promoters are kinda like the pizza in the image below-
This leaves the question, beyond getting the venue, PA and lights and dumping all the money in the headliner, usually a sure bet to draw people, just what exactly is the promoter doing?
Time is money and the DJ’s are paying to play.