Promos – what are they all about?

Promos are free copies of a track that DJs get before general release. The DJ is supposed to check out the tune and then supply some feedback to the label that they then might use in their marketing. Unless the DJ is Richie Hawtin, in which case a lonely intern cut-and-pastes the four magic words “downloading for Richie Hawtin’ into a hundred promo campaigns a day. If the intern ever falls below a hundred campaigns a day they are instantly dismissed from Hawtin’s service, after having their tech house bootees permanently removed.

Then, the DJ then goes on to play the tune on their mixes, podcasts and online radio shows. Some DJs even play their promos at actual DJ gigs in nightclubs in front of a live audience.

Promo is short for Promoscatopolis, from the ancient Greek, which roughly translated means:

to screw up one’s face in disgust and say “shit, next.”

They are a central part of a DJs life, and although you’ll find them useful when playing your DJ set, their main function is as an indicator of how successful a DJ you are, with the DJs who receive the most promos being, obviously the best, and all other DJs in a descending list of best to worst.

Obviously, it’s not much good receiving loads of promos if you don’t tell anyone about it. Advertising the quantity of promos you receive is all part of the music game, particularly if you go off for a few days and play a gig (don’t forget to take a photo of anywhere that isn’t an office and post it with the caption “today’s office”). This gives you an opportunity to tell everyone how many promos have built up in the small time you’ve been away from your inbox, because as we all know, what with wi/fi, data roaming, 4g, unlimited data and so on, travelling anywhere instantly makes listening to promos utterly unachievable.

So here are a few tips to help you when going through promos:

  • Prepare yourself – do some warm ups: get on SoundCloud and prepare yourself for the trials and tribulations that lie ahead by listening to some unsigned Tech House.
  • Ensure that you stay hydrated.
  • Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, so manage your energy levels carefully.
  • If you find yourself panicking take some deep breaths and try to visualise yourself in your safe space.
  • Don’t give in to peer pressure. If you’re not ready to listen to 8 different remixes of the same tune, then don’t do it just because your friends did.



If you would like to read more made up stuff about music promotion, check out our other guides:

What Font to Use For Your DJ Brand

Prinks Guides To Using YouTube