[#ACE_ ARTICLE] Artistes: WHY THE DJ WON’T PLAY YOUR SONG …by Wale Applause


It’s often not a part of me to break my promises, so I decided that no matter what, I’m going to drop this epistle today. I got back home from my last engagement of the day at about 2am in the morning, but still painstakingly decided to take time out to do this. It was indeed a very long day for me as I had several meetings at different locations. The first was with the Association of Nigerian Djs [DJAN] which held at Club Amnesia, Surulere for over 7 hours. Although the very popular Vice-President of the association, “DJ Jimmy Jatt” was there in absential, the meeting was well anchored by the President “Dj Larry”, another renowned but less popular Disc Jockey.

It was a large gathering of DJs and few up-coming acts, who came to solicit support of this association. A lot was said at this meeting and I came to realise why some songs do not and will not get airplay. It was reason enough to know why some up and coming acts will never reach the peak of their careers and why some already registered ones will not sustain the tempo. At my second meeting of the day with the DJs at Yaba area in Lagos, most of the things said correlated those I earlier heard at the previous meeting with DJAN.

Before I go on, for the very first time online, I wish to make a formal introduction. I’m Wale Applause,

Wale Applause | AceWorldTeam.com
Wale Applause

an obvious music lover and writer for over 30 websites and blogs. I’m the Editor of Harplus Global Communications, publishers of the periodic Applause Africa Magazine. I’m an artist and music publicist and promoter to acts like “Olamide”, “Ruggedman”, “Lineo-Elepepe Master” [US], “XL” [a New York sensational rapper], “Hakym the Dream” Lamba tour, “Demmy Blaze” and “Bucho”. I’m also the manager cum publicist of “Gee 4” the “Omo to Badt” crooner and “Jay Marcus”, the “Nigboro crooner”. I am an event and artiste tour planner and manager, [grassroot] music researcher with a strong love for humble up and coming acts who do good music, that’s the drive that joyfully make me write these epistles. I guess that’s enough about me.

Now to the business at hand which is: “Why most DJs will not play your song?” This epistle is relevant to all up and coming acts including already established ones. Amidst the Disc Jockeys, it’s an established fact that most of them have been ridiculed, embarrassed, and disgraced by several acts whom they have nurtured to growth in the music factory. At both encounters I had with the DJs, they all had this painful statement to make which really hurt them so deep. A lot was said at the meetings, but I was able to bring them together into subheadings.


It’s a known fact that before any act could and would get to the climax of his/her career, one or more DJs must have been involved, so why not respect them? No matter how small you think a Disc Jockey is, he still got his audience. Remember, songs don’t make DJs, they make songs. Don’t you ever think that if you do not make music, they got nothing to play; where were Nigerian acts when “Sisqo” ruled the globe? The first rule is “Respect” which is reciprocal.


This was a general complaint of most club and party DJs. They often time go to their places of work which is the clubs, then an artiste comes around, then either walk up to the DJ or send his manager with the message tell the DJ to play his/her song. Who do you think you are; apologies to “2face Idibia” [a humble king]. Where is the word “please”? These people are fathers and brothers; they should be approached with utmost respect. At the meetings, I gathered that when occasions like this occur, the dustbin is put to effective use.


What kind of DJ places money or familiarity over credibility? Every DJ who has got his/her own audience is careful of the kind of music being played. Once your song is listened to and doesn’t fit into his kind of play, dear artiste he’s got no reason to play your song. He’s not wicked when he bluntly tells you to get better. These people have listened to music from far and near, so when a DJ truthfully tells you that your song ain’t fit for airplay, you can only get better.


Most DJs when sampling your song do not have all the time to listen to your 4mins track. All they need is a strong connection with your introduction and beat attack. If and when this is gotten wrong, impressing most DJs become a “Herculean” task.


Dear artiste, no matter how good you think your music is, it could as well be good as dead if and when not played by DJs. You have to acknowledge this and give honour to whom it’s due. When you get your chance in the media during interviews and press conferences, do not be too big to thank them, they are humans too. Do this every chance you get and watch what you get in return.


This goes before every fall. In my private discussions with the National President of DJAN, I realised that most credible DJs had started playing music ever before most acts ever decided to pick up music as a career. These people are way older than you think they are. Sometimes, they look at a CD cover, and they say to themselves that he’s not even as old as my child. Treat them with utmost humility because more than u think, they deserve it.


I would love to begin this by saying that only lazy DJs are broke. In sincere truth, they really do not need your money to play your song, only that the hand that worketh must eat. Do not go to them flaunting the little cash you got. They’ve seen more. It reduces your credibility and sustainability. Although it ain’t bad appreciating and paying for the service rendered you, but avoid flaunting that little cash in your pocket. Where yours end, another begins, so be very careful about this.


This is a major weakness of most up and coming acts. You print a couple pieces of your promo CD to give a few DJs. When a DJ willingly asks for 20 copies of your CD, you tell him you only got 4, that’s a lot of discouragement. Your music is nowhere on the internet, yet you want him to singularly push your song. Who fills a basket? Please after your studio session and you already got a well-mixed and mastered piece, do not start promotion and publicity until you are ready. For your information, promotion could cost you a lot of money which could be as much as over #500,000 if you haven’t got the right connects. Do not think I’m blind to the fact that most up and comings have the hurdle of finance to cross [we can’t all be “Davido”], but the truth is do not start until you are ready and got the resources.


On this subheading, I wish I could give names, but that will be so unethical. Please dear upcoming artiste, before you feature any artiste on your track, research his relationship with DJs. Some artistes have totally lost it with them; therefore having them on your track will just spill oil on your garment. As hard as this is to believe, I just let you into a very big secret.


They say the way you dress is the way you get addressed. Most DJs have seen several promotional CDs, so understandable it might take a lot to impress them in terms of artworks, but why hand over a white CD to a DJ in a white A4 paper. You got no print on the back of the CD, yet you stick it into just white sheet. Take a look into their bags and CD rack; you will see compact discs with good quality artworks. Take your time to get a good graphics designer who can at least deliver a quality artwork, this is sincerely appreciated or else your disc befriends the bin. Another point of note under this subheading is the dress sense of most upcoming artistes. You walk up to a gathering of DJs in big necklaces, which is otherwise known as blings, your cap to the back, your dark shades on, and in extremely tight carrot jeans. You can bet you won’t be taken seriously. It’s understandable that as an artiste you have to look “fly”, but do not convince this with looking presentable. Any good shirt on a decent pair of trousers won’t bite. I’m not asking that you disregard all of your clothes as I understand that this is what most of you have, all I’m saying is that you save them for the shows.

All cannot be said in a single epistle, but I’m sure that I have been able to shed a ray of light to these problems as to why most songs will not and do not enjoy airplay. For more information, Wale Applause is very approachable and willing to assist up and coming artistes. I can be contacted on Twitter@waleapplause01, or send a mail via [email protected]

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I can assure it won’t be a bad start.

Now I have to lay my head as I continue my bond making with DJ which takes me to Oyo, Osun and Ondo states to meet with the DJs who you can be assured have the same things to say. Dear artiste, I really do hope to hear from you soon.


Wale Applause


  1. Thanks for this! Great post. I have to say that I'm familiar with some of the things, because my boyfriend and I talk about this quite often.

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