We’re big fans of DJ contests.

Why? They give bedroom DJs the opportunity to stand out amongst the crowd, and they’re an incredibly effective promotional tool for record labels, club promoters and brands to raise awareness about what they do.

You don’t need a big budget to run a DJ contest on Mixcloud.

Mixcloud has a growing community of passionate DJs and from the very start we’ve supported all of our members, whether they’re big time artists or small hobby DJs.

So if you’re thinking about running your very own contest on Mixcloud, here’s a handy guide explaining everything you need to know.

And remember: DJ contests come in all shapes and sizes, and the following guide is exactly that: a guide.

We encourage promoters to be imaginative and run contests as they see fit. We don’t take responsibility for the delivery and fulfilment of any third-party contests on Mixcloud, so it’s all up to you!

Where to host your contest

Your DJ contest needs a home.

There are a variety of ways you can host a contest, but the ideal solution is creating a new page on your website so you can include as much information as you want.

Alternatively, you can try to host all the information in one Facebook post or even an Instagram post. This will really depend on the complexity of your contest, but wherever you choose to home your contest, you will need to include the following:

  1. A brief introduction
  2. General details about the prize or prizes
  3. An explanation of the judging criteria
  4. Details on how to enter
  5. Terms and conditions

The introduction

This is your big sell. Firstly describe who you are i.e. a music festival, club promoter or a hardware manufacturer, so entrants know who is behind the contest.

Then explain why you’re launching this contest. Are you promoting a new release on your record label or are you trying to raise awareness about an upcoming event?

Remember, this is your opportunity to reach a new audience, so raise awareness about what it is you do, but also make sure you convince entrants they’re in safe hands.

The prize

A DJ contest will live and die by the quality of its prize(s).

So after you’ve introduced the contest, describe the prize(s) and be sure to emphasise what is so unique about them.

Are you giving someone the opportunity to DJ at your event? If so, what makes your event special? Likewise, if you’re giving away a new DJ controller, what’s so great about the gear?

Top tip: DJ equipment and production gear will always go down well. Meanwhile, prizes that generally expect a lot from a winner, such as travelling or meet-and-greets, are not as attractive and you’ll need to offer something very exclusive to attract lots of entrants.

Judging criteria

Next, it’s crucial you give entrants a clear idea of what it will take to win the DJ contest.

If the judging criteria is ambiguous or misleading, you’ll be left with lots of frustrated entrants and the quality of uploads will be low.

So state clearly what styles of music entrants should focus on when they record a mix.

Generally-speaking, the more focused the criteria, the easier it will be for entrants to gauge what type of mix they should enter. This will also make it easier for you to judge the best entries.

For example, you might want to focus on similar genres i.e. ‘house, disco and techno’ or ‘hip hop, trap and RnB’.

Likewise, if you’re suggesting genres, it’s also important to clarify what style of mix the judges will be looking out for.

Are you looking for entrants to show off their originality and knowledge of underground and alternative music? Or are you looking for mixes packed with the biggest club hits?

Maybe you’re looking for entrants to show off their technical flair behind the decks?

The judging criteria should resemble what your organisation is all about, so think carefully about what types of mixes you want entries to submit.

How to enter

OK, here’s possibly the most important bit: now you need to explain the process of entering the DJ contest.

Firstly, point out the obvious: entrants are required to upload a mix to Mixcloud. It might also be worthwhile providing a link and explaining how new users will need to sign up before they can upload to Mixcloud.

Next, clarify the deadline for entries. Make sure this stands out on the page so it’s 100% clear from the start. You don’t want to be told hundreds of people tried and failed to enter your contest because they didn’t realise the deadline had passed.

Then define what tag must be used when entrants upload a mix. This tag must be unique to the contest and ideally no more than 20 characters i.e. “Best DJ Contest 2017”.

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 13.24.43

If entrants tag their mixes incorrectly, these mixes won’t appear when you’re searching for entries, so it’s pretty important they get this right.

You also need to decide if you want entrants to use a consistent title and specific artwork when they upload a mix. This isn’t necessary, but it has huge benefits to raising awareness about what you do. Everyone who comes across the mixes entered into the contest, whether it’s on Mixcloud or promoted across social media, will see your branding.

Hundreds, even thousands, of people might decide to enter this contest. So consider providing artwork that includes your logo and any vital information, and request all entrants to use this artwork when they enter a mix.

Artwork should be designed at 400px x 400px. And don’t forget to provide a link where entrants can download the image.

If you’re going to request entrants use a consistent title, try this format: “[Name of DJ contest]: [Name of the mix]’ i.e. “Best DJ Contest 2017: Deep and Synthy”.

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 13.20.38

In summary, here’s a template you can use. Make sure you replace the details inside the square brackets:

  1. Entrants are required to upload a mix to Mixcloud
  2. The deadline to enter is [enter deadline here]
  3. Tag the mix “[enter unique tag here]”. If you fail to tag your mix correctly, your entry may be missed.
  4. Entrants must use the contest artwork when they upload a mix [link to download artwork]
  5. Title the mix “[enter name of DJ contest]: Name of your mix”

Terms

The terms and conditions for your DJ contest can be as detailed or as vague as you want. Whatever approach you choose, you should stipulate that entrants must agree to your terms, as well as the terms of using Mixcloud. The latter can be found here.

The more restrictions you impose, the fewer number of entries you can expect. Depending on the prize, consider opening up the contest to as many ages and locations as possible.

Likewise, the more details you include in the terms and conditions, the more confident entrants will be to enter the contest. And this means less mistakes during the entry process.

But, fundamentally, these restrictions will depend on what prizes are on offer.

For example, if you’re offering the winner tickets to an age-restricted event, you will need to exclude entrants who are too young to attend.

And if you’re kind enough to pay for travel expenses, then you might want to restrict entry to one country or continent and include a maximum budget.

Some DJ contests also require mixes to achieve a minimum number of plays and a minimum number of favourites to be eligible. This has the added benefit of encouraging entrants to share their mixes with friends, but it might put people off.

Last but not least, it’s crucial you define the prizes in as much detail as you can. Entrants should know exactly what they can expect to win by entering the contest.

For example, if you’re giving away a DJ mixer, specify the exact model, whether or not it includes warranty and if you’re prepared to post it internationally. Likewise, if the prize includes a DJ set at your club night, specify if you will be paying for travel and accommodation.

But don’t fret if all of this sounds a bit overwhelming. Here’s a template you can use. Simply enter the required information inside the [square brackets] and remove any terms which are not relevant to your contest.

Selecting the winner(s)

Thanks to our tagging system, it’s really easy to collect all entries under one page (see example here). This is why it’s really important to pick a unique tag for your competition – it will ensure that all the contestants using it are unique to your competition.

When you’re ready to pick a winner or winners, click on the contest tag on Mixcloud to find all the entrants’ mixes.

From the contestants you whittle down, it’s a good idea to either hand pick your winner(s) or have a panel of judges to decide (rather than just relying on number of plays/ favourites).

It’s also a good idea to keep entrants up-to-date with the competition once the deadline has passed. Consider posting updates on social media explaining when the winner(s) will be announced.

Promoting the contest

We’re here to help host the contest as a platform, but we cannot promote all the contests taking place on Mixcloud.

Think outside the box when you’re promoting the contest through your own channels. Find the time to produce fun and engaging videos and photos, which you can share on social media to capture people’s attention.

Use your imagination to cut through the noise.