One of the industry’s well-kept secrets is that record pools often have more of an initial impact than the popular musical outlets. So what is a record pool and what makes it so important & different?
A record pool is an association of the industry’s LEADING DJS that serve as a distribution vehicle for new music Releases. They allow record companies to distribute their promotional materials to a large number of key nightclubs without the expense of tracking and mailing to hundreds of DJs in dozens of markets. Not just any DJ can be apart of a record pool. S/he must be either a current working club DJ, mixshow radio DJ, radio personality, program director, music director, or highly requested mobile DJ. Record pools started back in the days of vinyl when DJs spent hundreds of dollars per month finding & buying new music releases. Hence, the birth of record pools was designed as an outlet to bridge the gap between the DJs and labels. Record labels agreed to supply record pools with FREE new music releases in exchange for prompt feedback of their songs.
All record pools have a pool director who maintains relationships with record labels (indie, major, unsigned), and are responsible for supplying the new music these labels provide to the DJs in their record pool. These DJs are obligated to play the new music in an attempt to “break the record.”. DJs pay a monthly membership fee in order to attain the newest music first. Quite often before a song/artist reaches the radio stations and record stores, record pools get the product to distribute to the DJs. The DJs in turn, break the music in the streets, clubs, mixtapes, and radios. Because of their direct connection to the streets, DJs have the power to either make or break a project.
As a member of the record pool, each DJ is also obligated to provide feedback of the song’s response, as well as individual charts of all the songs they spin to the pool director. The pool director then compiles the charts into one big chart, which represents how good each song is doing in their entire region. These charts are not only sent to the record labels that submitted the music, but also to top industry trade magazines and commercial radio stations. In-turn, commercial radio stations use these charts as a guide to help determine what songs should be added into their rotation or not. Now, they can more positively direct their attention to individual markets, making for an efficient and more cost effective campaign. So you see now how important record pools can be to breaking a new artist in the industry!
With today’s technology, record pool’s are an even more cost-effective way to promote your music. Only a few years ago, record labels would supply record pools with Vinyls and CDs according to the DJs preference. Now with DJ software programs like Serato, more and more DJs are starting to accept high broadcast quality MP3’s. This makes the cost to supplying DJs with music almost little to nothing! Now that’s as efficient as it gets! A record pool can be judged on the following criteria: number of members, where the members spin, control of a market, reporting reliability, label servicing. All of these criteria combined equal the ability to break records. Essentially, that is what a record pool’s purpose is. If a pool cannot break a record efficiently and effectively, there is no need to even consider that pool for servicing.