DJ Service Packs & Other Alternate Mixes You Need to Know About

When getting a song mixed, your engineer will likely ask you if you want other versions, such as a radio edit, DJ service pack and performance version.

Artists are often confused by these different versions, struggling to differentiate them or even understand if they need them at all.

After working with a (good) engineer, you will receive your final mix and master of course – but what other versions of your song will you need to help promote the record and get it played?

What is a DJ service pack and why should I create one?

What does a DJ pack consist of?

Do I really need a clean radio edit of my song?

What’s in a performance or TV version?

In this article, I hope to explain the difference between each of these, and help you understand what versions of your song you may need when handling mixing and mastering.

WHAT IS A RADIO EDIT?

A radio edit is an edited version of the song that is intended to make it more suitable for radio and television by adjusting or removing things like profanity, subject matter, length, instrumentation or form.

Typically, artists create radio edits to remove profanity and explicit subject matter such as sexual or drug references. Many will also adjust the arrangement of a song in a radio edit, removing long intros, breakdowns and outros where appropriate.

WHAT IS A PERFORMANCE OR TV VERSION?

A performance version, also known as a TV version, is a version of the song that has all of the elements in with the main vocal muted, or lowered in volume.

This version is used when an artist performing live, as they will fill in the void left by the main vocal while still preserving other vocals like backgrounds, adlibs, delay throws, and more.

WHAT IS A DJ PACK?

A DJ service pack consists of several versions of your song, including the final master. Typically, when I create a DJ service pack for a client, I provide the following:

  • Explicit Master
  • Radio Edit Master (if song has explicit content)
  • Explicit Acapella
  • Radio Edit Acapella
  • Instrumental

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EACH VERSION?

Explicit Master – the mastered version of the song with all swearing and other explicit content that would otherwise need to be censored

Radio Edit Master – the mastered version of the song that has all of the swearing and other explicit content muted, or made inaudible so it can be played on radio, television, and elsewhere without issue.

Explicit Acapella – a version of just the vocals with the instrumental muted. Because a DJ pack usually contains a radio edit and an explicit edit, each version’s acapella will be rendered out individually.

Radio Edit Acapella – this is the same as above except unlike the above version, this will be the clean radio edit acapella, featuring no swearing or other explicit content.

Instrumental – the composed beat or instrumental backing track on it’s own with the vocals muted.

WHY DO I NEED A RADIO EDIT?

If you have a song that features explicit content and you want to get it played on television and radio, you will need to get a radio edit of it.

These platforms can offer mass exposure to a larger audience, as well as credibility for branding purposes. However, in order to get them to play your music, you need to provide it to them in a format that works for their platform.

Additionally, you may want to create a radio edit if your song has a long intro, outro or breakdown section that takes the focus away from the hook of the song.

WHY DO I NEED A DJ PACK?

This pack would be used to send and promote your music to DJs, who will then play your music to other people when they are performing.

Providing DJs with these files is extremely important and valuable for a number of reasons.

First – some DJs may not be able to play explicit music, such as those who play music on the radio, or at public events where children are present such as basketball games.  Providing these DJs with a radio edit enables and encourages them to play your music in their specific format.

Second – many deejays are also involved in remixing. By providing them with the instrumental and acapella of the song, you’ll enable them to create remixes, which they will blend, and share with their audience online and/or while performing. This can lead to more people discovering your song, which is a good thing.

Third – giving deejays the instrumental is important as many will use the instrumental to create transitions and what’s known as a DJ intro. A DJ intro is usually an 8 bar loop of a key instrumental section of the song with no vocals intended to transition from the previous song into your own.

Sometimes I create a DJ intro by request, but often deejays create their own based on their taste for the song and how they spin.

HOW DO I KNOW WHICH VERSIONS I WILL NEED?

In order to determine which versions you will need, you will need to decide by asking yourself key questions, such as…

For a radio edit

Is there any explicit content on this song such as swearing?

Can I see this song being played on television or radio?

Are there other places I can see this song being played that would require a clean version (ie, online content, sponsored posts, brand partnerships)?

If the answer is yes to one or more of these, you should probably create a radio edit of your song.

For a DJ pack

Can I see a DJ playing this song at a venue with people dancing to it?

Can I see a DJ playing this song at a sporting event, or other public event?

Is the song up-tempo enough to be played in these situations?

If the answer is yes to one or more of these, you should probably get a DJ pack created to service to DJs.

For a performance version

Can I see myself performing this song live to an audience?

If yes, you should probably create a performance version of your song so you’re ready when it comes time to rock the crowd.

CONCLUSION

Hopefully this article has helped clarify each of these versions you may need when getting a song mixed.

If you’re ever unclear, have a conversation with your engineer to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting, and if you even need it in the first place.

For example, you may not need a radio edit if your song contains no profanity or other explicit content. The only reason why you may need one in such a case is because you want to adjust the actual structure and arrangement of the song to make it more radio friendly.

If you’re looking for a mixing engineer for your next project, feel free to get in touch so we can talk about how I can help.

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