Bambounou Is a Multimillionaire Pro DJ
a.k.a. An interview with the French artist about his unique approach to social media.
Anyone who’s a fan of electronic music knows that following artists on social media can often leave you feeling a bit... uninspired.
It’s not that DJs aren’t making an effort. (If anything, they’re posting more than ever these days.) It’s just that they’re all more or less posting the same things. The endless plane and airport photos. The in-studio video clips, preferably while collaborating with other high-profile artists and always showing as much gear as possible. The cheeky travel snaps at awe-inspiring locales all around the globe. The stone-faced shots documenting quick stops at the world’s most revered record shops. The drool-inducing pics of fabulous pre-gig meals. And of course, most important of all are the photos and videos from the gigs themselves, in which the DJ stands triumphant above an adoring (and preferably massive) crowd, with dancers absolutely losing it as soon as the drop hits.
Taken together, it all feels almost comically cliché, and after seeing the script repeated ad nauseam, it’s no stretch to say that the life of a DJ—at least as depicted on social media—often seems not just vapid, but downright boring. In fairness though, many DJs themselves likely feel the same way, but they continue doing these posts anyways. Why? Because at this point, it’s almost impossible to be a successful artist—and especially a successful new artist—without having a significant social media presence. Instagram has become the music’s industry primary promotional tool, and follower counts directly affect not only the quality and quantity of gig offers, but how much an artist ultimately gets paid.
At the same time, is there only one way for artists to effectively engage with social media? The overwhelming sameness of what DJs are posting may indicate that the answer is “yes,” but a handful of acts have approached the medium in a different way. One of those acts is Bambounou, a French producer who previously spent the bulk of his decade-plus-long career maintaining a relatively low profile, even as he dropped acclaimed records on labels such as 50Weapons, AD 93 and his own Bambe imprint. Over the past year, however, he’s followed a different path, offering up a tongue-in-cheek series of Instagram posts under the banner of Multimillionaire Pro DJ Tips, in which he assumes the titular role and doles out inspirational quotes and industry “advice” to those looking to follow in his footsteps and make it big. (Adding to the absurdity of it all, each post also includes a heavily filtered selfie.)
Although the posts initially seemed like a goofy bit of fun, as the months wore on and the Multimillionaire Pro DJ Tips increasingly dominated Bambounou’s Instagram feed, I found myself wondering what exactly he was up to. Was this just an extended gag, or was it some kind of social media strategy? Were the posts solely meant to be a joke, or were they sarcastic swipes at the excesses and inanity of DJ culture? Most importantly, how were they affecting his career? Regardless of his intentions, were these posts actually working from a promotional / marketing standpoint?
Eventually my curiosity became strong enough that I reached out to Bambounou and asked if he’d be willing to provide some answers. He agreed to an interview, and over the course of a lengthy conversation last week, we discussed the posts (i.e. what inspired them and what exactly they’re meant to communicate) and the effect they’ve had on his work, but also touched on his music, his evolving perspective about what’s really important and the larger role of social media in electronic music.