Using Open Deck Events to Increase Brand Awareness

Electronic Dance Money Episode 059 - Why Marketing Matters with Wyatt Christensen

Open deck events are a great way for edm producers and djs to build brand awareness and networking opportunities with promoters and fans.

By playing a short set, producers and djs can introduce their music to new audiences while also networking with other industry professionals.

Open deck events also give you the opportunity to start building your fanbase and engage with those fans in a more personal way.

In this episode we’re talking about why you should start looking for open deck events, or hell, even start your own.

What You’ll Learn:

  • What are open deck events?
  • How to find open deck events
  • Why you should be going to open deck events
  • How to start your own open deck events
  • How to use open deck events to grow fans

and much more!

Episode Links


Electronic Dance Money Booklist – https://enviousaudio.com/booklist

Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy

Hey, everyone. Welcome back to a brand new episode of electronic dance money. I’m your host, Christian Kasisto. Hope you guys are doing well. I definitely am my fiance and I just bought a house. So we’re super excited for that first. Big purchase really exciting. Can’t wait to get in there, but let’s get into today’s episode, which we’re going to be talking about open deck events specifically for EDM producers, or, I mean, ideally it’s for any kind of DJ, but they’re definitely more centered towards EDM DJs and we’re going to be kind of discussing.

W what the benefits are of an open deck event and why you would maybe want to seek those out. And honestly, there’s there. I think they’re starting to pop up a little bit more. They were more popular right before COVID and then since COVID they haven’t been going. As much, but I think they’re starting to come up again.

And this is going to be a great opportunity for a lot of you to either start to get yourself in the door for trying to play shows. Or maybe even if you see an opportunity and you want to take it upon yourself of starting to host your own open deck events for other producers or DJs, which I think could be an extremely beneficial thing for you to do.

, especially depending on like what you want to do in the. In the industry itself. So let’s just jump into it for those of you who don’t know what open deck events are. It’s essentially think of it as like an open mic night, like an open mic night for comedy, or even for musicians. Basically anyone can come in.

If you know what the hell you’re doing, you can go up on stage. , and you can play on whatever gear they have more than likely. It’s probably going to be some CDJs, highly doubt. It will be vinyl. So basically all you need are USB sticks and you can jump up on stage and either do like a 30 minutes. Open deck event where, you know, you just play for 30 minutes.

Maybe sometimes it’s less than that. It could be 10 to 20 minutes if it just depends on how many other DJs are there, but usually these events can range anywhere from two to four hours. And it’s, you know, sometimes it’s on slower nights, so it’s on like a Tuesday or Wednesday. I’m in the middle of the week where they don’t have a big Friday event going on Saturday events, something like that.

But yeah, basically you can go up and you can start playing and get some practicing. You could probably already expect how beneficial this can be in just a number of ways, but a lot of you guys are probably not playing shows and you want to play shows. And this is like one of the best ways for you to actually get your foot in the door at a venue or.

Just even practice in front of some people, because there’s nothing worse than if you’ve never played a show. And all of a sudden you’re playing for 50 people that are standing right in front of you. And you’re opening. It’s a very scary feeling. , it feels weird and you can get really nervous and choke a little bit and fuck up your set.

And then it just makes you look worse. So open deck. Aside from just being able to give you practice in front of some people can be a really good opportunity for you to get the foot, get your foot in the door. And I know a bunch of you are probably we’ve talked in the past. You know, what, what is beneficial about, or I should say, how can you get your foot in the door out a venue, which we talked about networking with all the people that either work at a venue or, and some of the opening DJs and whatnot, and an open deck event is a great place for you to get your foot in the door and actually play.

Like you don’t have to go to the venue every single week and go see. And in, in the middle of the week and on weekends and just make yourself a known face there. This is something you can kind of just go and do. You can go and play a little bit, get comfortable on stage, maybe practice on some gear, but then if there’s other DJs there, which there probably will be or promoters that it’s a great ice breaker.

They’re probably going to talk to you. They’re probably going to come up on stage, look at what you’re playing and maybe even buy you drink, but then afterwards they’ll definitely talk to you. And that gives you an opportunity to immediately start establishing friendships and relationships, right when you’re done.

And again, it’s going to be a quick set, 20 to 30 minutes at most. , and this is going to give you the opportunity to support some other artists. You can find out who else. Who there is playing in town, where are they playing at? Right. And now that gives you another door opened where you’re like, sweet, I’ll go to that show.

You go to that show. You see them play, you, talk to them afterwards and you see. Connecting with the people that they’re there with. And you, you could just see how the network can spread extremely fast and open deck events is like our, our, like one of the best ways for you to find other like-minded DJs or producers that are working in your local area.

Now, a lot of the times these open deck events are actually ran by other DJs, but sometimes those DJs are actually also promoters. Like they do some booking for other venues and whatnot. So. Not only are you connecting with those other DJs, but you’re also potentially connecting with the promoters and bookers that put on those events.

And if they like you, especially, if they like you, then that’s just going to, you’re going to want to maintain and nurture that relationship as much as possible because you know that they’re going to have other events going on, that you, that you’re going to want to try to be a part. Something you should think about too.

Cause I know a lot of you probably haven’t played on some professional gear gear. , or maybe you maybe you’ve seen it a couple of times or played once on some CDJs, but this also gives you the opportunity, especially if you know someone, if you have a friend that’s a DJ that, and you both go and one person knows how to play on CD.

That just gives you an opportunity to actually go practice on some of that bigger gear that you may not be so comfortable with and get yourself comfortable and especially get yourself comfortable in front of a smallish crowd. Not, you know, most of the time, there’s not like a crazy crowd out in front.

, at open deck events. I mean, think about CDJs and how expensive they are. They can be really difficult to find unless you know, the right people. So this gives you the opportunity to actually go and play on some of that stuff and get comfortable with it. , because you never know when you’re going to need to, or if there’s a show coming up and you’re like, they won’t let you bring a controller that kind of fucks you if you don’t know how to play on CDJs.

So something really important to try to get your, get your hands on and practice. So we’ve got a number of reasons for why open deck. Are are extremely valuable and let’s get a little bit more into some of the branding side of things. Now, if you do know how to play on CDJs, okay. I should say let’s talk to the people who do know apple and CDJs, who are trying to brand themselves a little bit more, not only is this going to give you the opportunity to showcase your skills, what genre you play and get your.

Face in front of other DJs and promoters and bookers, but this also gives you the opportunity to potentially test some things on some individuals that are probably going to be, they’re probably going to be listening to you, play probably dancing in the crowd. This is going to be your opportunity to test out some of your branding stuff and try to get some fans out of the audience.

So, one thing that I wanted to discuss that. I have a couple of guests ideas that I want to bring on the show, but I want to talk about how you can bring value to shows, but let’s bring this in to talk about here, because I think this. This is appropriate to bring up, especially with branding. Cause that’s kind of what we’re focusing on here is how you, how you can bring brand awareness to yourself.

Using open deck events. We’ve talked about how you can bring brand awareness through meeting other DJs, showcasing your skills, meeting other promoters and how you can immediately start networking with their network and nurturing all of those relationships. So you can, you can get your face out in front.

You can get your name in people’s ears. But let’s, let’s take it from the fan side because that’s just as important, to talking to these other DJs and networking, right. W we ideally would like to also get fans so that if they see our name later on, or they start following one of our pages or something and they see that we’re playing the show, they come to that show.

So open deck events can be a way for you to start to test some of. Your ways of bringing value value to shows. Yeah. What you’re going to need to do in this instance, now bringing value to shows again, I’m going to do a whole episode on that, but we can, we can kind of dive into that a little bit. You can throw a merchant out.

, you could do different branding stuff with, , With lighting or logos up on the screens, different, different kinds of video effects designs. It depends on if the open deck event we’ll let you do that. And they have those capabilities. It’s very possible that they don’t, but I mean, you could fucking bring a flag and like just pin it up in front of the DJ booth and see what that does throw a QR code on that flag that people can scan.

It opens up your socials, that sort of thing. And you can keep track of like the analytics that come with that. But. You playing a sack full of all of your original tracks. All of your own remixes. Those sorts of things can bring value to shows because no it’s high entertainment value. And when you’re done with testing, whatever it is that you’re testing to bring more value to a show, this is where you’re going to want to go in the crowd and actually talk to some of the people who were paying attention to what you’re doing.

That gives you the opportunity to start asking quick. Almost like a survey. Think of it as a survey. I know this is, this sounds ridiculous, but this is how you’re going to get responses back and figure out what works for you at a live show and what doesn’t, this especially works for those of you who are using characters.

Like if you have a character and you wear a mask or have an outfit, something like that, , you know, think dead mouse Rez. If you have, , if you have a hook like that, That gives you more of, you know, you can test more things out and get responses from people in the crowd and find out what works. But.

Having certain things that you’re testing at these open deck events, and then going out into the crowd and talking to those individuals is one, you’re going to get a response on what they like and what they don’t like and what you want to continue to work towards and keeping your show and whatnot. But then also.

That gives you a one-on-one connection with someone where you can actually like build a legit relationship with a fan where they will follow you. They will be more interested in you because you’re actually going out and interacting with those people. So having that fan interaction that really close personal interaction is extremely valuable for that brand.

Especially. Cause if you do talk to those people, I guarantee they’ll start following you. I guarantee you’ll see them at other shows that you play. So it’s this sort of interaction that’s going to one tell you what’s working and what’s not in your show and to how to actually connect with fans on a real basis and get new fans.

And ideally those people will become super fans, especially if you’re providing more value on your social accounts. All of that stuff, all the things we’ve talked about in the past. So how do you find these open deck events? Okay. I as simple, it’s pretty simple. I would start with, , just Googling open deck events in your local area.

, if you have any bartender friends definitely hit them up and see if they know of any, , if there, you know, if the bar they work at doesn’t open deck events, or if you have friends that were given user play at venues. , just simply Googling though, should probably bring up, , a healthy, , a lengthy list of searches of venues that either used to do them in the past and stopped because of COVID or, , in those ones you’ll want to follow.

Right. Because you never know if they’re going to do another event soon, or you could reach out to them and say, Hey, are you guys doing another open deck event soon? Like, get. To reach out to venues and find out if they’re doing this sort of thing. Ideally, I would reach out to those ones that you Google and it pops up that they have done open deck events in the past.

And you can search a sort of stuff on Facebook as well, because they usually create events for that sort of thing. Local groups, local DJ groups on Facebook. That could be a really good way of saying, Hey, does anyone know of any places that do open deck events, but they’re probably happening in your town.

That being. For those of you that are in smaller towns, there are probably other individuals that are, if you have any sort of DJ shows at all, like if you, if anyone brings anyone relatively big in the EDM space to your town, then there’s, there is an interest for that. More of that music. , there’s an interest for more of those events.

There are other DJs in your town, and there are other producers that are interested in playing shows in your town. So. And that’s not to say you need to be in a small town to do this sort of thing, because if you, no matter what town you’re in, you could start your open, your own open deck events, but more than likely if you’re in a smaller ish town, there probably aren’t open deck events going on.

There may not be if you’re searching for some and you don’t find something, this could be your opportunity, especially if you’re not connected with anyone else, any other, , producers or DJs, this could be your opportunity to actually. Start running your own open deck events. The biggest thing is going to be trying to find the venue or the bar that’s going to want to do this sort of thing.

It might be easy to convince them to do it on a slow night and be like, especially if they already have the audio and the gear set up. And I’m talking about like a small venue, really small venue, or a really small bar where they mostly play local shows, but finding that venues, ideally, you know, it’s going to be.

And number two is going to be obviously marketing that event and figuring out how to promote it. And, you know, ads are probably going to be your best thing, local ads on Facebook, you know, social media. , we’ve talked about ads just a couple of episodes ago, but one of the better ways to go about this is actually to find a local Booker promoter who throws events and get their idea, or, you know, pick their brain for a little bit and figure out what the best way to go.

Throwing your own open deck event is, and they might be able to help you. They might be interested in throwing it with you, which is going to give you a shit ton of experience with how to run shows, if you want to go into that field. And I mean the best place to be, if your dream is to be, you know, regardless of what you would like to do in life.

If you’re listening to this show, you probably want to be a big EDM producer producer of some sorts you probably want to, or you probably want to make your own music and you want to make money from all that stuff. The best way to get into that position is to also work in the industry throwing shows, right?

And this could be a great, like stepping stone where you don’t necessarily have to put any money on the line. Right. These venues are already probably going to be open during that time. Those nights are probably usually are usually a bit slower. So they’d be open to doing an event like this, especially if you’re running it to bring more heads on the door and more than likely this is going to be a free thing.

Open deck, like artists, DJs don’t get paid to come to an open deck. No, one’s really getting paid for this other than, you know, the bar. So you’re probably not going to get paid, but that’s okay. Think about what you’re getting out of this, especially if you’re in a smaller town and you’re not necessarily connected with.

Producers or DJs, you can be the person. You can be the connector that connects everyone and you get connected at every one as well. So like almost instantaneously, if these open deck events aren’t going, going on in your town currently, if you’re throwing them and the first one’s praying I can be that successful.

So it’s not like you’re overnight, things are going to change. Who knows it could, but more than likely it’s not going to, but if you’re the one doing this, then immediately you become a, an important person in the scene that you’re, that you’re running or that you’re, that you’re involved in. So. That gives you a lot more value.

People are going to be a lot more interested in wanting to be your friend and, you know, sometimes it’s not for the right reasons, but that’s okay. It doesn’t matter. That gives you more prestige that gives your, that puts more weight to your name. You can pull more strings, you can get more shows. You can, you can do more things in the industry.

Like that’s what it’s all about. You want to be able to get that leverage. So if you can start to position yourself to get more of that leverage, you’re going to be able to do that. More of the things that you’ve been wanting to do in your, and your music career. So overall, like open deck events, just whether your attending or your hosting, which I think everyone should try to host one.

I think it’s a good experience. Uh, you get an idea for what that, that side of the industry is like. , and again, just connecting with people it’s, it’s phenomenal, but regardless. Going to an open deck event or hosting your own open deck event. There’s a, the value involved in that. And I don’t see a lot of producers talking about it.

I don’t see a lot of producers doing it. You get so much out of it from every single side, whether you’re hosting or whether you’re attending. So go. Look for some open deck events, it gets you experience in front of a small crowd gets you experienced on professional gear. You can test music out, you can test value that you’re adding to shows you can connect with fans.

You can network with other DJs and producers network with promoters. Get your brand out there. Get your face out there. Get your name out. If you host it, you get experience, , doing live events and then you also get to be the person that’s connected to everyone and connect with those, those individuals.

So that’s it for today’s episode, it’s a short one, but damn, is this so valuable? Do not sit on this sort of thing. Open deck event. It could be wildly beneficial for you to just get yourself out there and start talking to the people that you need to talk to, to start getting more shows. So. Good luck guys.

That’s it. No notes, but head to envious, audio.com/episode 82. Check out the show notes. There will be some links in there. Links to the Facebook, , the Facebook group, as well as links to the Booklist. So if you’ve, if you’re looking for more marketing books, check that out. I’ll talk to you guys later. Take care.

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