Posted on November 3rd, 2019
Remix competitions are lucrative. They offer things that every producer wants. Cool gear, cash, attention from labels, and most importantly - hope. In the back of every producer's mind is the thought that just maybe, you’ll win a remix competition, the song will go viral, you’ll get signed, and your career will take off.
Seem's easy right?
The sad reality is that this dream rarely happens. Your odds of winning any given competition are low to begin with. But even if you do win, the number of songs and artists that “blow up” from winning a remix competition are slim to none.
Sure you might pick up some cool gear and a few hundred bucks. But at the end of the day, you could have spent your time doing a lot more productive things to further your career.
In this article, we’ll discuss 5 reasons why remix competitions are a waste of time and what you should focus on instead.
Remix competitions often provide social media exposure to winners. However, most of the time this just consists of one underwhelming post that maybe a few thousand people will actually see. A few hundred, if you're lucky, will click to hear your remix. And then maybe 20-30 people will give you a follow. Let’s look at a few examples.
One of Splice’s biggest competitions in the last few months was for Hayden James’ track “Nowhere To Go”. Over 6k producers downloaded the stems. The grand prize winner got a few prizes including an official release with Hayden James. The winner was a small producer out Melbourne, Australia, Max Glyde. Hear his remix here.
His remix was released on Hayden James YouTube channel (49k subscribers) a week ago. It was also released on Spotify a part of Hayden James and Future Classic’s remix EP about a month ago. So far it’s garnered just over 450 plays on YouTube and 1,600 on Spotify. In fact, the most successful remixes were by Dom Dolla and Michael Calfan. Two decent sized artists that weren’t even a part of the competition but had more success due to having their own fanbase.
Now let’s look at one of wavo’s recent contests. Tritional does a lot of remix competitions through wavo and they are usually pretty popular. The most recent competition was for their track Medicine. The competition was won by a producer named Alpha Code, who came up with a really great remix for the track. Hear it here.
The winner received a merch bundle, a meet and greet with Tritonal, and an official release on Enhanced Recordings. However, the official release is marked “pending approval”. And by the looks of it, it wasn’t chosen to be released. The contest ended over two months ago and the track can’t be found on Enhanced Music’s website or Youtube channel. And isn’t on Spotify either. It was only released on Enhanced Music’s Soundcloud and has garnered a little over 2,500 plays. The remix was also picked up by a few small YouTube channels, each having a few hundred plays.
These types of results are very common for remix winners. Artists don't get as much exposure as they think and nearly every remix competition provides an asterisk stating that they don’t have to release it if they don’t want to. And if they do, they definitely aren’t going to put any marketing budget into it. So all your left with is one measly social media post and a few hundred extra plays…
This is the one that really should drive producers nuts. Most remix competitions aren’t in it for you. They’re in it for their own benefit. At the end of the day, labels are businesses and they’re looking to make money.
Did you know that nearly every remix competition prevents you from earning any money off your remix? Here is a snippet out of a Splice Remix Competition’s consent/conditions of entry:
By entering this Contest, you hereby assign away and transfer any and all rights in your Entry on a worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable and royalty-free basis, for any and all purposes including, but not limited to, display, public performance, posting for streaming and/or download, making of derivative works, reproduction, distribution, and all other means of exploitation of the Entries. Entrants agree that the Label, or Label’s designee, will, from inception, own all right, title and interest in each Entry (including, but not limited to, the copyrights in the sound recording) in perpetuity, free from any claims by you or any other person. You will have no ownership rights or interest whatsoever in the applicable Entry, and will not commercially use or exploit the Entry in any manner whatsoever, except as set forth in these Rules.
Therefore, they own every single remix and have the right to monetize and collect royalties from any and every entry. So if one hits, then they rake in the cash and leave the producer with nothing. Pretty good deal for them right?
We can prove this point pretty easily with one multiple choice question.
If you want to have success as an artist should you:
It’s pretty obvious when you lay it out like that. Think about it as a business plan. Let’s say you’re planning to start a soda brand. If you want to have success, you wouldn’t make a diet cola to compete with the hundreds of other diet colas. You would create a soda that’s unlike any other soda so that you will stand out. Same goes for music.
If you’ve ever submitted music to a label, blog, YouTube channel, Spotify playlist, etc. Then you may have come across this. But if not then this key is important. Most of these media outlets do not repost unofficial remixes. One, because they don’t want to risk copyright infringement and two, because they are looking for original content.
Lastly, remix competitions are just really difficult to win. Remix contests have become pretty popular over the last few years. Sites like wavo.me, splice, and skio attract thousands of artists from across the world each month to their remix competitions. For bigger sites like Splice, it’s not uncommon for competitions to get over 1,000 entrants.
Not only are there a lot of entrants, but there’s also a lot of quality entrants. If you’ve browsed through any remix competition and listened to the entrants, then you know it can be discouraging. There are tons of AMAZING producers out there. The competition is stiff and you’re not going to win without top-notch production.
But to top it all off, the winner comes down to the opinion of the judges. So even if you have what you think is the best-produced production ever, it’s up to the opinion of someone you don’t know. With all this in consideration, your odds aren’t good.
So what are the more important things for producers to focus on?
Original music is better than remixing for a variety of reasons. First, it gives you the chance to be unique. You can forge your artist brand into your music. Think of any artist. Kygo, Avicii, The Chainsmokers, etc. Each artist has their ‘sound’. Original music allows you to find your own sound that can differentiate you from others.
Secondly, you own original music. Any bit of profit you can make is yours. By consistently creating original content you can slowly build up to making money as an artist.
Many producers don’t make original music because it’s hard to find vocals and/or vocalists. That's one of the benefits of remix competitions - you often have access to quality vocals. However, these days there are multiple resources to find vocals for your own original music. One new resource for producers is voclio.com - a marketplace for vocals. Producers can license vocals and acapellas from talented artists across the world.
This may be the most overlooked aspect of finding success as a producer. There are a million producers out there and the days of posting a track on SoundCloud and having it go viral are over. You can’t get around promoting your music if you want to have success.
This includes reaching out to blogs, Spotify playlists, A&R’s, Youtube channels, etc. Connections are the lifeblood of the music industry. Start making lists of contacts that you reach out to every time you release a new track. Stay diligent and add contacts to the list every month.
Want an easy way to start? We’ve compiled a free list of 25 EDM Youtube channels along with their track submission contact info.
This article isn’t meant to bash remixing. It’s more so about knowing what the best chances of moving your career forward are. Instead of remixing tracks that 500 other producers are remixing, find popular tracks that don’t have a lot of remixes. “Song Title Remix” is a valuable search term to own if your one of the only ones.
The tricky part is getting permission and access to the stems. There are some sites like Beatport that offer stems for purchase. As well as you can do some digging on google. But you may have to reach out to artists and labels personally to get access to stems. It may take a bit more time and effort to do it this way but if you are able to remix songs that little to no one else is remixing then you have a big advantage over other producers.
You're probably not going to be able to reach out to Atlantic Records and get access to Lizzo’s latest release. But if it’s a smaller artist then you should have a decent chance.
Collaborating with other artists has a ton of benefits. Every new collaboration you have the chance to learn something, expand your producing capabilities, and create a new connection in the industry.
Collaborating is also good from a marketing perspective. Let’s say you collaborate with another producer and a vocalist. You create an amazing track and you all share it on social media. Instantly you have 3 times the reach that you would have if you were to do it on your own. Remember, you don’t have to win a remix competition to get social media mentions!
This article comes down pretty harsh on remix competitions. However, it is important to note that remix competitions have a lot of benefits. They are a great learning tool and will help you learn how to finish tracks. In addition, many competitions give you all the stems to the track. If it's a track you really like than this is a great opportunity to study how a track was made.
The main point of this article is that remix competitions should not be relied on to gain exposure. They aren't bad, but you should be diversifying your portfolio. By focusing on the items above, you will set yourself up with a much better opportunity to grow your fanbase and have success as an artist.
If you have any questions, comments, or additional thoughts feel free to message us on Instagram @VoclioOfficial. Or drop us an email at email@example.com