What A Modern Artist/Band Needs To Be: Learning From Deadmau5

deadmau5.jpgWhether you like dance music or not you have to admire the wave that has crashed over the scene, that is Deadmau5. It is by no coincidence that he has become one of the hugest artists in this genre. He has embraced many of the modern ideas of what a band should be in the modern age and it has paid off. After the jump we will go over what you can learn from him no matter what type of music you play.


1. Use YouTube to show the world you are a real human being and let your fans see how you do things.
Below we have some videos Deadmau5 has uploaded to YouTube, the first one is a tour of his home studio setup and office, showing some of the equipment that goes into his sound.

Here he shows off some of his live performance skills, showing that he is not another DJ just popping on a CD and faking twisting knobs. YouTube is one of the best ways to fight any rumours and make fun of them, as well as showing your fans you are an actual human!

Now we have him showing off how much fun it is to see him live. As we discussed previously, You MUST record your live performances! Not only, do you need to record them to get better, but also to show people how awesome your live shows are.

2. Control Your Music
Deadmau5 has started his own label Mau5trap Recordings. Whether your are a Dance Artist, or a Heavy Metal Band, you are going to probably want to do some songs outside of the big releases your label puts out (if you even have a label). For example, Metal Band, August Burns Red recently put up a cover of Brittany Spears “Hit Me Baby One More Time” on their Myspace. It is easy to monetize these covers by becoming a YouTube partner, or adding them to iTunes if you have the Label/Imprint/means to do so. You are going to need to do releases just for fun, not just whenever the album cycle comes up. Whether its Covers, Acoustic Versions, Live Bootlegs, Remixes or Outtakes you need to have a place where you can put these things, and sell them or use them to promote your band.

3. Know your Niche Market
Earlier we discussed some niche stores you can get your band into. Deadmau5 is one of the biggest artists on Beatport, a music download site that specializes in Dance Music. He sold 30,000 downloads in 2008 alone. If you get past the tipping point on Beatport you can see big things happening for you in the dance world. To see just how big Deadmau5 is take a look at what happens when you google Beatport:

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5. Stay Modern
Who was one of the first Artists to have an iPhone App on an Indie Label? You guessed it, Deadmau5! Brining the world an iPhone App loaded with loops from his songs that you can mix and manipulate into your own! How cool is that? How impressed are all of his fans? Check it out:

If the iPhone App, weren’t enough he also has a forthcoming Loop DVD coming out. This is tapping into the increasing EASY ways a artist can connect with musicians today. Whether its offering up stems for remixes ala NIN and Radiohead etc. or YouTubes, lessons, etc.

6. Make The Live Show Interesting!
Let’s be honest going to Dance Shows is fun to dance and get wasted, but anyone who actually sits and watches the person behind the decks has to be very easily entertained to get through an average set. With this being the case, Deadmau5 takes a lemon of a situation and makes lemonade. No matter how much you think this costume is cheesy you need to remember the kids who go to these shows look even cheesier. There is a way to do things like this in every situation, it does not need to be as much of gimmick as he does it. You need to just challenge yourself to come up with something more interesting then asking everyone ‘how they are doing tonight’.

In the videos below you can see he is using much more then the average DJ to make his live sets above average and interesting. Not being content with the attention the mouse costume gets him, he still incorperates cutting edge technology to have more of an improvisational creative palette then the average DJ.

In this video you see him showing off his live setup as well as some of the awesome programability of the Lemur Controller:

Next, he talks about the pains of syncing numerous computers live:

7. Branding
Wow! Big Shock a Music Business blog talking about branding! A strong testament to his brand; I was walking down the Promenade in Santa Monica and from 20 feet away I could spot a Deadmau5 logo. No matter what your genre, if you can build a identifiable brand this strong it will help your band immensely.

photo by flickr user saba♫dija

Jesse Cannon is the editor of Musformation. He produces records at his studio Cannon Found Soundation. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseCannonMusF. For more info please visit his website.

  • Chica

    Believe it or not, the first time I heard about Deadmau5 was on Minecraft. The next time I joined his Minecraft Server Mau5ville, where he was giving a live show, the people was freaking out, dancing and jumping, his character of course had Deadmau5 ears.