Over the last 12 months, TikTok has garnered huge success. And I’m sure many of you have participated in at least one of those viral dances during the quarantine.
But the phenomenon of TikTok is that it’s become a funnel for niche creative communities. In music, everything from live violin solos to DJ videos has a space on TikTok, and in many ways, this platform has shaken up the music industry. It’s not only reviving the era of the remix but also becoming a powerful algorithmic tool for artists to leverage their releases (Megan The Stallion did it. )
Admittedly there’s plenty of junk-food content on TikTok, but the educational content is as engaging. In this community especially, there are Creators sharing DJ tips, sample histories, gear reviews, artist recommendations, and much more. Also, the fact that it’s a short-form video platform has pushed music Creators to innovate with how they create “music adjacent” video content.
So here’s a list of DJs experimenting on TikTok:
Lil Ma is a German DJ that spins hip hop, R&B, reggaeton, afrobeats and more. She’s garnered over 40k followers on TikTok for a variety of content strands like song challenges, club throwbacks, and song recommendations. What’s unique about her channel is her visuals; her background is club-reminiscent with the right lighting, and she’s subtly showing us how she uses those visual cues around her fingers!
2. DJ Habibeats
DjHabibeats is known as TikTok’s sample expert. We rarely see him do anything other than sample breakdowns — meaning he shows us the history of a particular sample through different artist examples. His content is easy, digestible, and accessible. And since he refers to songs that are recognizable to both mainstream and niche audiences, he reaches more people #ForYou page.
Jyoty’s content emphasizes playlisting and DJ tips. She takes the time to share song recommendations, or break down how to record a radio show at home, she even has a video explaining how to get verified. Similar to Dj Habibeats, her content is super accessible. What’s more, it doesn’t need to be highly produced visually because her personality drives the brand. My favorite video of hers are those nostalgic montages of club moments pre-pandemic, everyone missed that energy, and Jyoty tapped into that.
Shoutout to Jyoty, who’s also a Mixcloud Alumni!
Fred Sargolini, a.k.a The1FS, is one of the most unique and niche Creators on this list. He’s a producer, composer, and DJ who samples videos for Tik Tok. By sampling videos, I literally mean he’s using the audio of different TV or cartoon moments and mixing or scratching them with his turntables. We have yet to see his face, but we are pulled into his complex home-studio setup. I wouldn’t necessarily describe his content as accessible, only music nerds will understand the sheer coolness of these videos. But those fans are very loyal. Note, if you’re a camera-shy gear head this is the kind of content you could consider.
5. DJ Snake
Dj Snake is a Paris-based Dj with over 1M followers on TikTok. His content ranges from comedy to sampling videos for beats. So, he selects samples that most of us recognize from socials, rearranges them live, and walks us through to the final results. Unlike _The1FS, Dj Snake is already a public figure with mainstream fame, so his personality is at the forefront of his brand, but it’s not to the extent of Jyoty or Dj Habibeats.
6. DJ Kloud
DJ Kloud shares a variety of content including remixes, sample breakdowns, and song challenges. He resembles DJ Habibeats in style but emphasizes MENA (Middle East and North African) culture in his sample breakdowns. If anything, DJ Kloud capitalizes on his community’s interests and creates very targeted content. What’s more, his setup has the same feel as Lil Ma — with the club lighting and front-facing camera that adds a level of professionalism to his TikToks.
7. Dj Karaba
The first word that comes to mind scrolling through Dj Karaba’s TikTok is lit.
Her videos are all about fun, vibe, and sharing that energy with her followers. She’s most popular for spinning afrobeats, soca, reggae, and remixing within those genres as well. She also combines the popularity of TikTok’s dancing format with her DJing. What’s more, she records herself both outdoors with a DJ stand, and indoors in a very aesthetically pleasing, and very recognizable backdrop (that is, a white wall covered with vinyl records). DJ Karaba has driven her DJ brand home; her visuals are familiar, her sound is specific and consistent, and she has an infectious personality.
8. Alex Chapman
Known for his remixes, club mashups, and all-around upbeat energy, Alex Chapman is one of #Gaytok’s favorite DJs. Like DjHabibeats, Alex is consistent with his choice of content and tends to stay within that niche. But this isn’t at all a criticism. Because he recycles his content strands, his fans know what to look forward to. He becomes part of their daily/weekly “TikTok” routine.
Clearly, there’s no shortage of inspiration on TikTok, especially if you’re a DJ or producer. And remember, DJs that create content outside of mixes — that is, “music adjacent” content — strengthen their brand, voice, and how they engage their following.
If you’re a DJ and just getting started with content creation, check out our three tips for success.
Written by Noor Kalouti