77% of Aspiring DJs Lack Industry Connections—Beatport and Miller's Ambitious Series Is Throwing a Lifeline

It’s easy to feel lost in a sea of aspiring DJs these days—but unrecognized doesn’t have to mean unheard.

That’s the core tenet of “Miller Mix,” a new initiative launched by the iconic Miller brewing company in collaboration with Beatport, who are working to cultivate the global electronic dance music community under an ambitious contest and event series.

“Industry connections,” that elusive phrase, seems like an insurmountable wall for countless DJs. After all, it’s 2024, a time when gifted artists toil in obscurity while major labels sign record deals with non-musician TikTok creators who have only used microphones to seek out men in finance.

77% of emerging creatives cite a “lack of industry connections” as a major barrier to entry into the music industry, according to a study from Youth Music. The stage lights are calling, but the path seems impossible.

The plight of the independent artist is embedded in the DNA of Beatport, who recently launched a first-of-its-kind playlist to spotlight promising dance music producers without access to the big-budget backing of a major label. By providing a platform for these hidden talents alongside Miller, they’re ensuring the future of EDM stays exciting, innovative and full of flavor—much like a perfectly chilled draft beer on a hot summer night.

“Empowering music producers and DJs worldwide has always been at the core of Beatport,” said Ed Hill, SVP of Beatport Media Services. “This collaboration with Miller will provide a nurturing space for talent to flourish, fostering connections and opportunities essential for success in today’s ever-evolving industry.”

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Initiatives like “Miller Mix” are vital for rave culture, disrupting the insular cycle of the same familiar acts that annually appear on the lineups of commercialized EDM festivals. A platform for the unheard to become the headliners, it’s a middle finger to the formulaic nature of the moth-eaten “DJ contest.”

For the winners of the inventive “Miller Mix” contest, it could prove a life-changing springboard for their careers. After DJs and producers submit their music, winners are selected by a panel comprising the tour’s headlining artists as well as members of the teams behind Miller Genuine Draft and Beatport’s curation arm. Votes from the community will also factor into the decision.

The winners will secure a coveted DJ set at one of six international events, joining influential electronic music acts like Giolì & Assia, Argy and Lilly Palmer. They’ll also receive a robust package, valued at €5,000, containing access to music production software and exclusive educational workshops in support of their career development.

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The “Miller Mix” tour spans six territories: Turkey, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Australia and South Africa. Following each local event, Miller will launch a bespoke cultural docuseries “telling the unique stories of local artists and city residents.”

YOZÉ, a blossoming techno producer out of Istanbul, recently came out on top of the Turkish leg of the competition, a triumph she called “an incredible milestone in [her] journey.” She ultimately threw down a momentous hometown set at the Volkswagen Arena before Palmer, who in 2023 was named one of EDM.com‘s best music producers of the year.

“Creating a unique techno track out of the interesting samples we were given was my goal and I’m super happy that it led me to win the competition,” YOZÉ tells EDM.com. “This was a wonderful opportunity that has fueled my passion even more, and I hope it inspires other young artists like myself to pursue their dreams with determination and creativity. And never stop believing!”

“We were thrilled to kick off the first event of the Miller series,” Hill added. “Staying true to our core aim of supporting music producers and DJs, it was inspiring to see YOZÉ, the competition winner from Turkey, perform alongside the iconic artist Lily Palmer.”

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Reflecting on Istanbul’s club culture, Asena Hayal, a DJ and member of the Turkish dance music collective Noh Radio, said the scene has transformed immensely through the years.

“When I look at the club culture process in Istanbul from the past to now, I see that it has undergone constant transformation due to political and economic conditions,” she explains. “In geographies like Turkey, where oppression prevails, clubs emerge as platforms of solidarity. I see Istanbul’s underground club culture as a platform for people who have come together through music, who stand in solidarity with each other, who can express themselves collectively, and who can be themselves in safe spaces.”

“I am discussing this by excluding mainstream clubs. Particularly in the Beyoğlu area, spaces are opening up safe areas for groups marginalized and ostracized by society. Among these, we can mention the projects Noh Radio and Noh Extended, in which I am also involved. It is a space that shows sensitivity to this balance, not only for LGBT+ producers and DJs but also regarding their teams and beyond. I also find the relationship Noh Radio has established with the street important. It can be interpreted as a democratic space where individuals from different classes can come together and communicate. It’s important to have the support of the Miller/Beatport docuseries to highlight the stories from these spaces.”

You can keep a pulse on “Miller Mix” here.

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