An Inside Look At The DJ Shadow, SoundCloud Remix Competition

Screen shot 2012-02-07 at 2.33.57 PM(UPDATED) Guest post by Michael Fiebach (@mfiebach), founder of Fame House & DJ Shadow's Digital Marketing Manager, who coordinated this collaborative remix competition with DJ Shadow and SoundCloud.

Following the success of the DJ Shadow Remix Project in 2009 / 2010, DJ Shadow set out to up the ante with a Remix Contest to help promote his newest album, “The Less You Know, The Better”. The first “DJ Shadow Remix Project” in 2009 / 2010 allowed remixers to take any DJ Shadow track and add their own creative twist to it. There were numerous highlights, among them NiT GRiT’s rendition of “Midnight in a Perfect World” and Awkard’s version of “Halfway Home”.

The Project

The 2011 “Scale it Back” remix contest was the first time DJ Shadow had ever allowed stems from one of his songs to be released to the public. The contest was unleashed to the public in late October, and three months and 400+ submissions later, DJ Shadow unveiled the winners:

DJ Shadow – Scale It Back feat. Little Dragon (Robotaki Remix) by Robotaki

Dj Shadow – Scale It Back (Kev Willow Remix) WINNING ENTRY!!! by Kev Willow

DJ Shadow feat. Little Dragon – Scale It Back (Jonny Wanha Remix) by Jonny Wanha

DJ Shadow – Scale It Back feat Little Dragon (Party Ben Remix) by Party Ben

DJ Shadow – Scale it back (Blunt Instrument remix) by bluntinstrument

Dj Shadow "Scale it back" (The Archive's Waltz) by The Archive

DJ Shadow: “This contest was nothing short of staggering, both in terms of quantity and quality. I had never listened to 400 versions of ANYTHING before, and was amazed at the variety and creativity; it certainly made the many hours of listening go by quicker.
 To each and every person who submitted an entry, allow me to simply say: BRAVO. This was a remix contest for the ages, and you all rose to the challenge admirably. THANK YOU, one and all.”

Michael Fiebach (Fame House Founder & DJ Shadow’s Digital Marketing Manager): “We set out to engage existing fans, and reach new ones with this contest, and to say it was a success would be undermining it.  This was an incredibly successful remix contest, and the positive effects are sure to continue on for months, if not years.”

This project did wonders for the online promotion for Shadow’s new album, and it really conveyed the power of SoundCloud. This was different than doing a simple competition with one of the competing online audio sites, where the remix itself is accomplished within the parameters of software. When you open up the possibilities to any and everyone, and allow them to use whatever equipment or software they like, it really increases the level of quality. This is because more serious artists are more likely to take part if they can make the remix how they prefer, and that is one of the primary reasons why Shadow received 400+ submissions, the vast majority of which, are superb and professional pieces of music. 

The Reaction

 You only need to glance at Shadow’s Facebook to see the social effect a contest like this has on an online presence:

Screen shot 2012-02-07 at 2.54.04 PM Screen shot 2012-02-07 at 2.54.16 PM

Screen shot 2012-02-07 at 2.54.31 PM
Screen shot 2012-02-07 at 2.54.44 PM Screen shot 2012-02-07 at 2.54.56 PM Screen shot 2012-02-07 at 2.55.06 PM Screen shot 2012-02-07 at 2.55.30 PM

And the residual effect on Shadow’s SoundCloud following:

Screen shot 2012-02-07 at 2.55.43 PMAnd his Facebook followers:

Screen shot 2012-02-07 at 2.55.58 PM 

And his web traffic:

Screen shot 2012-02-07 at 2.56.11 PMAnd with remixers posting to YouTube, their own Soundcloud and other outlets, this led to thousands of plays for various remixers, and additional promotion for the song:

Screen shot 2012-02-07 at 2.56.44 PM

Screen shot 2012-02-07 at 2.56.52 PMSome of the blog / press coverage:

Screen shot 2012-02-07 at 2.57.07 PM Screen shot 2012-02-07 at 2.57.15 PM Screen shot 2012-02-07 at 2.57.33 PM The Results

DJ Shadow’s interest and traffic significantly increased due to this remix contest. Good content = interest = increase in traffic, email sign ups, and Facebook Likes. Good free content = massive sharing and data portability. Allowing people to download the stems to a new single featuring a very hot artist (Little Dragon) proved to be extremely effective. 

You can see all of the tracks and the official announcement here:

– Michael Fiebach (@mfiebach), Founder of Fame House, LLC

Disclosure: In addition to writing for Hypebot, Hisham Dahud is also employed by Fame House.

Share on:


  1. Fame House strikes again!
    Man, SoundCloud is really becoming a core part of the infrastructure of music on the web. That’s a huge accomplishment and very difficult to achieve.
    I just hope they’re making enough money to stick around.

  2. Thanks for the insight Michael. One thing that I can add is that with those 400+ producers all posting their remixes in their SoundCloud accounts you know that fans of these producers are going to come across these remixes and think. “I like that, I’ll probably like the original” and then they end up checking out DJ Shadow’s stuff.
    This post shows that it’s a win win situation with remix contests, fans get a cool track to remix with possibility of prizes and promotion and the artist get promotion of their own.

  3. Could you now do an equally inssightful case study on the Gonjasufi/WARP remix competition? It closed in November 2010 and they’ve still yet to pick a winner!
    I’m sure the hundreds of Soundcloud users who made the effort to enter it would love to get an explanation – I know I would.

Comments are closed.