Finding DJ + Production Contests (And How To Win Them)

Whether you’re a DJ, producer, or something in between, one of the best ways to get better and get noticed is by entering competitions. Not only can you win a bunch of awesome DJ gear, but you often get the chance at a release on a notable label, or a new gig that could mean big things. Artists like James Zabiela and Doorly got their start doing remix contests, and countless others are catching their own breaks right now. Here’s our guide to finding and entering online contests, as well as some great tips from contest winners, including Madeon!

WHERE TO FIND DJ + REMIX CONTESTS

Contests for DJs and producers are tracked very keenly around the web by people just like yourself. The best ways to find the perfect contest for you to enter is by consulting an aggregator that contest organizers submit to, or by checking out notable sites that are known for hosting their own.

Protip: Instead of visiting all of these sites every few weeks, try adding them to an RSS reader like Feedly to automatically know when there’s a new contest listed. The more time you’ve got to work on your entry, the bigger of an advantage you’ll have against the competition!

CONTEST AGGREGATORS:

Kreasound is collector and host of many remix contests from record labels all over the world. The site is laid out with an easy to use interface and numerous pages of remix contests. (A great place to host a remix contest for free too.)

Talenthouse is a repository for “upper-echelon” remix work: they typically host “collaborative” work, meaning that not all of their entries are remix contests, but many are interesting opportunities to collaborate or produce for interesting artists.

RemixComps will have just about any contest you’re looking for, but you’ll have to go into it knowing what you’re looking for. It aggregates a huge amount of content, so it’s easy to get lost. (No longer active)

FindRemix is a straightforward blog-like aggregator that finds remixes but does not categorize. The remixes themselves are interesting and of a decent quality, but the site design does unfortunately leave something to be desired. (No longer active)

Womstreet is a great site that lists not only major remix contests, but more performance-based opportunities, like opening for DJs in your local town. (No longer active)

INDIVIDUAL SITES + CONTESTS:

Beatport Play is of course the mammoth subdivision of Beatport that handles remix competitions for artists of varying electronic genres. In the last year, their number of users has skyrocketed, making these contests some of the most competitive in the industry.

Indaba is a remix contest website that typically handles non-electronic music fare, and the remixes are much more varied. The voting system on Indaba is also less closed, so an element of spamming typically gets involved quickly.

Mixcloud regularly hosts a number of competitions that focus (naturally) on a longer mix or mixtape format. This is a must-stop site for DJs who aren’t in the production game.

The DMC World Championship is one of the most well-known DJ championships out there – and while it’s too late to enter this year’s competition, they host an online video-based element of their famous DJ championships each year. Check out some of the entrants and previous winners and start planning your routine for next year’s competition now!

MAKING YOUR ENTRY STAND OUT

We decided for this article it would be clutch to check in with Madeon, who prior to his Pop Culture video saw success winning an Image Line FL Studio contest to remix a David Latour song, as well as winning Pendulum’s “The Island” remix competition. He had four “general but genuine”  points of advice to share on making your remix entry stand out:

• Find a competition featuring a song you’re really excited about working on.
• Make sure the competition is fairly judging music and skill, not promotion techniques.
• Try to write something in a unique style, disregard the trend.
• Avoid being too close to the original song, don’t use all of the stems.

We also asked Singularity, the winner of both the Beatport “In Time” contest and the EDC Insomniac Discovery project, to give those entering remix competitions some advice – here’s what he had to say:

“If you’re remixing a vocal track, try and only use the acapella. Don’t try to make a ‘remix,’ per se. Instead, your goal should be to create a whole new song around the acapella that’s hopefully better than the original. […] If the sound quality isn’t there, you won’t win. You could have the greatest ideas and chords, but if it’s not clean, it won’t matter.”

Some more tips from the DJTT Staff:

  • Try to match your style and genre to contests of the same style and genre. This isn’t necessarily to say that if you work outside the box you won’t get noticed or appreciated. However, remember that the label that will be releasing your winning remix has a brand to stick to. While your liquid DnB track may be immaculately crafted, if you’re entering into a competition for a release on a trip-hop-electronica-deep-house label, it’s unlikely that they’ll end up wanting your remix.
  • If the competition involves mixing a set, remember that song selection is key: you’re not just trying to play good music, like you might ordinarily, you want to play the right music. Create a sonic soundscape with your mix; think carefully about the arc of the mix, the climaxes, where effects can spruce it up and where they should be left alone.
  • If you don’t have something of a fan base, it’s advisable to work briefly on building one up before you enter a remix contest. While most contests have numerous safeguards against the winning remix simply being the most popular, it helps immensely to have a strong fan base behind you that can be mobilized to listen and vote for your track.

Read More: How To Make a Great DJ Performance Video

CONTEST WINS THAT HAVE LAUNCHED CAREERS

For just a bit more inspiration we decided to include some of our favorite entries that have won big and helped to launch a major career for the winner:

Candyland got their big break by winning back-to-back Beatport remix contests – here’s their winning mix of Skrillex’s Make it Bun Dem from last year:

Madeon‘s big contest win was in for a contest to remix Pendulum’s “The Island”. Here’s the finished piece:

Doorly won a competition in 2007 to open for Fatboy Slim and Armand Van Helden at the Southern Fried Records party in Brighton, England by putting together this mix:

ONCE YOU’VE SUBMITTED

The best thing to do once your track is submitted – let it be! Put a posting out there to your fans and friends, but leave it at that. Even a cursory look at any of the remix contests online reveals that they’re completely saturated with anonymous users spamming links to their tracks – or in many cases, buying plays, likes, and traffic to the entry. As Madeon mentioned in his advice above, find contests that aren’t judged on promotional skill, but instead skill at the actual art of DJing or producing itself – and let your entry do the talking.

This article written in collaboration with our editorial intern, Nick, who happened to just win a DJ contest last week

  • Daniel

    RemixComps and FindRemix are dead. You should add https://remixcomps.io/ they seem to be posting daily.

  • Skum

    RemixComps and FindRemix is no longer updated. You should add http://www.reremix.com to your list instead.

    • hrflikk

      Bullsh.t

  • RogueDJ

    can you make a new article with an updated list? these sites don’t work anymore

  • DJiDevil

    Maybe it’s late but I know what to do now…

  • Marc Landish

    Cool piece this. 2 years ago I won the Creamfields & Mixmag DJ Comp and this year I came runner up in The Rockness DJ comp. Off the back of this the number of booking I have taken has doubled and through doing well in these competitons I feel as though I have gained more respect as a DJ so I can play a few more of the tracks that I want to. DJin at Creamfields was terrifying but it was the best weekend of my life, nothing compares to walking back stage at a festival wearing an Artist wrist band and meeting your hero’s! I feel as though making you DJ comp entries stand out shouldn’t really be all that difficult.

    1 Play a variety of music but stick to a theme.

    2 Play an acapella or 2.

    3 Edit most of your tracks.

    4 Play some oldies.

    5 Make sure your gains are perfect.

    6 End to end mixing just won’t cut it.

    7 Film your entry and get busy!

    8 Do a 3 deck mix.

    Here’s a link to my winning entry, you’ll see a midifighter!

    Also please check out my entry for this years comp and vote for me if you like it!

    http://www.mixmagdj.com/marc-landish

    Good luck! 🙂

  • Jefra

    don’t forget zedd, he became famous with remix competitions too!

  • David De Garie-Lamanque

    this is quite the interesting article.

    i’ve participated in a bunch or remix contests and won second place in a contest organised by FXpansion last year. Of course when entering such a contest like the huge ones on beatport, it’s a good idea to take time in crafting the best remix you can!

    Even then, originality and skill won’t get you far if you work outside of the genre of the original track, as mentioned in the article, especially in the Beatport contests…
    In those it just seems like the labels want either really commercial remixes or tracks in their preferred genre, despite their quality or originality…

    my point being, if you’re like me and you try to make a DnB remix of an electro track in a Beatport competition, you will most likely be overlooked… i think the contests on site like Talenthouse are probably better if you’re into slightly different stuff than the top-40 electro dance fare.

  • Martin Gaffney

    This is an amazing article, it’s a great way for producers/DJs alike to stay motivated and create awesome routines and remixes. Thank you for this, I will definitely be entering!

  • Anonymous

    http://www.djforums.com regularly has DJ battles and contests

  • Lylax

    cool article!