The Differences Between Bootlegs, Remixes and Mashups

The terms bootlegs, remix and mashups are very familiar to DJs. But not everyone understands the slight differences between them. In this post, we are going to attempt to distinguish between these terms.

Bootleg

In simple terms, a bootleg is an unofficial mashup or remix. The original copyright owners do not authorize it. It could be a teaser or a full song mixed from the original.

There are different types of bootlegs. It could involve taking vocals of a song and playing on top of an instrumental from another song. It may also include playing two sounds together to produce a new song. Of course, it takes a fantastic pair of ears to create something spectacular from mixing two different songs.

It is important to note that most bootlegs lack real production qualities. Most bootlegs are not put together in studios. Sometimes the artist can use their laptop to create something quick and different. They are then distributed online for promo or as a teaser.

Remix

A remix is a piece of media. In our case, music or song that has been changed from the original version. This change could be by adding, removing or changing specific items of the song such as vocal, beats, verses, chorus etc. The unique thing about remixes is that something has been changed from the original version. Of course, there are several reasons why an artist may want to remix a song. Here are a few:

    To create a unique version of the song for a particular event or audience such as clubs, parties, weddings.

    A producer may create a mix to improve the fidelity of an old song, especially if the master is lost or damaged.

    Sometimes it could just be to create another artistic vision of the song. It could be the case for a hit song.

The truth is there are so many reasons why an artist might want to create remixes from simply experimenting to improving the original version. However, do not confuse a remix to edit, which is a change in the music, no matter how small or insignificant. But usually, it is a shorter fine stereo master that could be used for marketing or podcasting.

Mashups

Mashups are blends from two or more songs. It usually involves placing vocals of one of the songs over the instrumentals of another to create a unique sound.

It is a trend that has been around for a very long time and is only gaining popularity. Artists like Niki Romero, who is massive in the EDM arena as well as others like White Panda, Hardwell have seen incredible success in mashups and bootlegs.

(Video : White Panda )

I’m not a legal professional, but you might want to tread carefully when it comes to creating bootlegs, remixes, and Mashups. There could be copyright issues to deal with. Hence, always make sure you have permission from the copyright owners before using their materials. It is better safe than sorry – as they say.

How can I get a promoter to listen to my mix?

There are so many things you may be tempted to do to get a promoter to listen to your mixed tapes. But the reality is some promoters are just too busy to listen to your mixed tapes. Plus they already have a network of DJs they book for their events. But you can still get their attention, and I will share some tips.

Attend their events

You must understand promoters want success just like you. The one thing they live and breathe is the number of event attendees. Hence, nothing will please them more to know you’ve invested your time and money to attend their event. It means you are promoting their business. They will reciprocate the gesture. 

Find a good time when they are not too stressed or busy. Introduce yourself; make sure you create an impression. Then you can follow up on this the next day and so on. Once there’s been a genuine connection, you can send your mixed tapes for the promoter to listen. 

This is very normal. As humans, we are interested in people who are interested in us. So if you want a promoter to be interested in your mixtapes and potentially book you, then you must show a genuine interest in them. This will also give you an idea of the event style and sound, the crowd enjoys.

Pick your set wisely.

If you are starting, you will likely be a warm-up DJ for the event. It would be hard to be the main event when you are just beginning. So bear this in mind. Every big DJ started from somewhere, so there’s nothing wrong with it. Hence, produce your mix to warm up the crowd.

Pick your name accordingly.

Ideally, you want to organise your mixes according to different events. For instance, if someone loved one of your mashups from a particular event and wanted to have a copy of your mix, it will be easy to go to the archives and grab it if it was labelled correctly. An example can be “warm-up mix – fanatics party”. This could be the name of your mix for the fanatic party. 

Do your research

This should be the first thing you do. It is that important. Know the club or event you are to play for. What is their sound? What does the audience like? Is there a particular theme to master? These are all things to know before even preparing your mixtapes. 

Imagine a scenario you spent your time preparing hardcore mixtapes only to find out later that it is an EDM club. This would be a disaster. It is essential to do your homework well beforehand. If you do your homework well, the promoter will quickly give you the gig. 

Attend their events, follow them on social media, keep up to date with their latest activities, and get feedback from them. A sure way to secure a gig is by asking for honest feedback. Don’t come off needy. Nobody likes neediness. 

Instead, ask for an honest opinion regardless of whether they give you a gig or not. Unless they are swamped, most will spend time to listen to your mixtapes and may even book you. 

Most of this is common sense. It all boils down to doing your research and creating banging mixtapes. Then, taking your opportunity when it presents itself.

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