Music Industry

Ben Billion$ Talks All Things Production on ‘Pensado’s Place’

Ben Billion$
Ben Billion$ (Source: Instagram)

Multi-platinum producer Ben Billion$ recently sat down with the Pensado’s Place YouTube show.

Based in Miami, Ben is best known for producing hits like Future‘s “Low Life,” Yo Gotti‘s “Down in the DM,” Maroon 5‘s “What Lovers Do,” and The Weeknd‘s “Often.” Most recently, Ben scored placements on DJ Khaled‘s new album Father of Asahd, including “You Stay,” which was one of DJcity’s most downloaded tracks of May.

Ben discussed a number of topics in the interview, such as starting out as an engineer, his signature “low end” sound, his definition of “strip club drums,” using live instrumentation, the importance of being humble, and more.

Watch the interview below.

Related Post: D.A. Doman: One of Hip-Hop’s Most In-Demand Producers

L.A. Leakers on Banning Kodak Black From Power 106

Nipsey Hussle

Nipsey Hussle
L.A. Leakers hosts Justin Credible and DJ Sourmilk with Nipsey Hussle (Source: Instagram)

The L.A. Leakers have spoken on Power 106‘s decision to ban Kodak Black from the station.

The move came in response to Kodak’s comments about Nipsey Hussle‘s fiancee Lauren London following the rapper’s death. The comments were widely condemned, including by rappers like The Game and T.I.

Speaking with the Reflections of a DJ podcast, Leakers members Justin Credible and DJ Sourmilk discussed how the ban came about and how long it will last. They also shared some memories of Nipsey, among other topics.

Watch an excerpt below and listen to the full interview here.

Follow the R.O.A.D. Podcast on Facebook, Instagram, SoundCloud, Twitter, and YouTube.

Related: L.A. Leakers Team With Problem and IamSu for New Single, ‘Yesterday’

Watch the ‘Beyond the Music Retreat’ Documentary


Beyond the Music Retreat

In March, DJcity and DJ/producer Vice joined forces to host the inaugural Beyond the Music Retreat in Black Hawk, Colorado.

The event, which took place over two days, featured some of the industry’s brightest minds. The panelists included A-Trak, Chuckie, Z-Trip, Justin Credible, and Miles Medina.

The retreat made an impact on the attendees, including A-Trak, who took to Twitter to reflect on the experience.

Watch the mini-documentary below and check out the photos of the attendees at

Related: Watch DJ Vice’s ‘MikiDz Show’ Set

D.A. Doman: One of Hip-Hop’s Most In-Demand Producers

D.A. Doman

D.A. Doman
D.A. Doman (Source: D.A. Doman)

After a breakout year in 2018, D.A. Doman has become one of hip-hop’s most in-demand producers. The Chicago native has helped lead the resurgence of 100 BPM tracks with his signature sound.

He also played a key role in Tyga’s comeback, producing two Billboard Hot 100 singles for the rapper (“Taste” and “Dip“). Doman also produced “SWISH,” which was one of DJcity’s most-downloaded tracks of the year (along with “Taste” and “Dip”).

To cap off a successful 2018, the 34-year-old produced Kodak Black’s “ZEZE,” which peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100, and Kid Ink’s “YUSO,” which reached No. 26 on Billboard’s Rhythmic Songs chart.

Continuing the momentum in 2019, Doman has lent his signature sound to Bhad Bhabie (“Bestie“) and Tyga (“Floss in the Bank“). Both tracks appeared on DJcity’s monthly Top 50 chart. Most recently, Doman produced two tracks on Rich The Kid’s new album (“Save That” and “The World is Yours 2 – Intro”).

We spoke with Doman to learn more about his background and sound.

Most of your previous work is slower and trap-influenced, but in 2018 you started producing more 100 BPM tracks. Why did you transition?

I produced Chris Brown‘s single “Privacy” in 2017, and that did well. That was uptempo, and I wanted to do something different than the rest of hip-hop. Everyone was doing slow beats, so I said to myself, “let me make some uptempo ones.” I wanted to be unique and have my own sound. It was influential ’cause now there’s a lot of people doing uptempo music again. “Taste” and “ZEZE” definitely made an impact. I’ve had several big hip-hop producers [direct message] me and thank me for changing things up and keeping things fresh.

Yeah, 100 BPM tracks have made a comeback. How long do you think it will last?

Everything goes in trends, so this sound that I got hot will eventually die off. Hip-hop is so versatile though; you can have a bunch of different vibes going at once. For instance, trap tempo stuff is still super popular now, but so is this uptempo wave that I brought in.

Download on DJcity

You had a very successful 2018 and are continuing to see success. Do you feel pressure to keep up the momentum?

You know honestly, I love music so much, it never feels like work when I’m doing it. And the only way to keep up the momentum is to keep making music all the time. So no, I don’t feel pressure.

Have you produced any tracks that you think got overlooked?

I think the best things don’t get overlooked. “Taste” could of easily gotten overlooked, but it didn’t, there’s a reason for that. [laughs]

Download on DJcity

You’ve produced a lot of tracks for Tyga. What’s your relationship with him like?

It’s a good relationship. He trusts my ear.

The majority of your work has been in hip-hop and R&B. Do you have any desire to work in other genres?

Yup, I have some music coming in other genres. Rap and R&B are my first loves though, after my wife and daughter. [laughs]

Download on DJcity

Do you have any upcoming tracks that you can tell us about?

I got a bunch of stuff coming up. I have a big record with Ty Dolla $ign coming. He’s not only a great singer but a great writer too. And I got more, but it hasn’t been officially announced yet so I can’t speak on it. The two songs I produced on Rich The Kid’s album, “Save That” and “The World is Yours 2 – Intro,” are out now. You can check those out. “Save That” is my signature uptempo sound and is club ready.

Thanks much for the interview and thank you to all the DJs, PDs, and MDs who have my records in rotation. You guys make the world spin.

Follow D.A. Doman on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. You can also listen to a playlist of tracks he’s produced on Apple Music, Spotify, and Tidal.

Related: Watch Kid Ink’s ‘YUSO’ Music Video

Watch: DJ Jazzy Jeff, A-Trak, and Craze Talk DJing on ‘Drink Champs’ Podcast

Jazzy Jeff, A-Trak, and Craze
From left to right: Craze, DJ EFN, DJ Jazzy Jeff, N.O.R.E., A-Trak (Source: Instagram)

DJ Jazzy Jeff recently sat down with the Drink Champs podcast for a casual yet insightful interview. The Philly legend discussed a variety of topics related to DJing and hip-hop.

Later in the interview, co-host DJ EFN spotted A-Trak and Craze in the audience and invited them to join in. It was a rare discussion with three of the most influential figures in DJing.

Watch the full show below. (A-Trak and Craze come on at the 52-minute mark.)

Related: Watch: DJ Jazzy Jeff’s Q&A at Red Bull Music 3Style IX World Finals

J Balvin, Bad Bunny, Ozuna Announce Las Vegas Residencies

J. Balvin (Source: Facebook)

Latin superstars J Balvin, Bad Bunny, and Ozuna are bringing their flavor to Las Vegas with newly announced residencies at Palms Casino’s KAOS club.

Other newly announced residents include dance and electronic artists deadmau5, Eric Prydz, Armin van Buuren, Cheat Codes, Louis The Child, Gorgon City, Brooks, and Breathe Carolina, along with open-format DJs Vice and Politik.

Previously announced residents include Cardi B, G-Eazy, Marshmello, Skrillex, Jauz, Kaskade, Slushii, and Southside.

“We are incredibly proud to present the next generation of the Las Vegas nightclub and day club experience with programming that transcends so many genres of music,” said Jon Gray, manager of the Palms Casino Resort, in a press release. “Every performance at KAOS will be unique to each artist with next-level production and unique technology that we cannot wait to share with our guests.”

KAOS’ opening weekend will take place on April, 5, 6, and 7 with special performances by Travis Scott and Alicia Keys.

Check out the full list of dates from the newly announced residents below.

J Balvin
Nightclub: April 6, 26

Bad Bunny
Nightclub: April 25

Dayclub: April 28

Dayclub: April 14
Nightclub: April 20

Eric Prydz
Dayclub: April 26
Nightclub: April 13, May 11

Armin van Buuren
Dayclub: May 17, 26
Nightclub: May 16

Cheat Codes
Dayclub: April 19, May 12

Louis The Child
Nightclub: May 31

Dayclub: April 12

Dayclub: April 7, May 10

DJ Politik
Nightclub: April 5, 6

Related: Sean Paul and J Balvin Connect for New Single, ‘Contra La Pared’

Marshmello’s Manager Moe Shalizi Shares Insights, Gives Advice to Artists and Managers

Marshmello and Moe Shalizi

Marshmello and Moe Shalizi
Marshmello and Moe Shalizi (Source: Instagram)

Marshmello‘s manager Moe Shalizi recently spoke with Music Business Worldwide as part of its “Greatest Managers” series.

The 28-year-old, who left Red Light Management to launch his own company in December, also represents Jauz, Ookay, Slushii, among others. He’s regarded as one of the brightest “next generation” managers in the industry (hence MBW’s feature).

Shalizi spoke with MBW about a variety of topics, including Marshmello’s groundbreaking concert on the hugely popular game, Fortnite.

His advice to independent artists:

“Play it slow. A lot of people get excited and go sign a label deal, but all of my guys [signed to Shalizi Group] are independent. That gives us the freedom to do what we want to do. What affects a lot of artists is that point when they start making a little bit of money. Everything changes, they go sign a deal and now they have a bunch of A&Rs telling them how their music should sound, following trends. Some artists need a label, they need that infrastructure, and some artists don’t. And for the artists that don’t, if you’re starting to bubble, you did that yourself, you know? So keep doing it.”

On Marshmello’s Fortnite performance:

“We were really nervous when it happened just ’cause we were just praying it would go successfully, especially with the voice of [‘mello] talking into the game for everybody to hear. But, in the end, it was amazing. [Mello] was in this room, geared up head-to-toe with a body-motion suit and everything, with maybe 30 or 40 people [surrounding him]. It was a crazy thing to be a part of. We’d worked on [it] for six months with [Epic Games]; those guys were and are completely ahead of the curve, big time. I think what they’re doing is going to be revolutionary for music.”

On building a core audience:

“The mistake people often make is they go way too quick into the commercial space. And once you’re there, you can’t really jump back. We look at other artists, other DJs that are now tied to corny pop single after corny pop single to keep them relevant, which is like, just whack. It’s easy to go and get a big feature [with a pop star], but we stay away from them. Everyone we’ve worked with – like Anne-Marie, Bastille or CHVRCHES – aren’t [pop megastars]. We’ve taken the position, even with the hip-hop stuff we do, to leverage our audience with the core audiences of these artists who are crazy loyal. That helps keep the [‘mello] brand cool, you know? To some people, Marshmello is as far from cool as possible, but it’s not like we ever went and did an obvious record with the biggest pop stars. That helps set us apart.”

On the traditional record label model:

“To me, the idea of owning other people’s music is weird. It’s like, if you were a painter and I was like, ‘Hey, paint a masterpiece for me, then I’m gonna own everything and give you 18%.’ You’d be like, ‘Where does the rest of the money go? Where does the 82% go?’ I mean, there is a lot of value that labels can add. But for artists, owning your masters is so important right now, ‘cause that’s your money in perpetuity. You can make money forever on those masters thanks to streaming. Streaming’s just growing, so not owning your own sh#t is crazy; just for an advance, you’re giving away everything. But then I’ve sat with artists [who signed major label deals] and they’re like, dude, I was at a place in my life where the $150,000 advance I signed allowed me to make the music I make now. I’m like, fair enough. We were lucky never to be in that position. But yeah, I get it; for some people, they need that peace of mind of having some money in the bank and being able to focus. But at what cost? A five album deal? That’s a lot of f#cking music.”

His advice to new managers:

“… the biggest thing for managers is that you have to really believe in what you’re doing. Management involves a lot of luck, and good management is really about what you do when that luck finally hits. If you have acts that are popping off but then they’re mismanaged, a week later, nobody’s talking about your act again. So have a strategy to build, for the next six months at least. ‘Cause it’s not easy when something big happens. And that fact gets forgotten.”

Related: A-Trak and Roctakon Address Twitter Debate on ‘R.O.A.D. Podcast’

A-Trak and Roctakon Address Twitter Debate on ‘R.O.A.D. Podcast’

R.O.A.D. Podcast

Last Friday, A-Trak took to Twitter to share his thoughts about the struggles of open-format DJs in today’s industry. Inspired by his experience at DJcity and DJ Vice’s Beyond the Music Retreat, he commented on the lack of infrastructure in the open-format DJ community.

A-Trak’s tweets received praise from a lot of DJs, however veteran New York club DJ, Roctakon, was not one of them. Roctakon responded with his own series of tweets, starting by saying that A-Trak “should not speak on the issues modern open format DJs face” because “he’s never been one of us.” He went on to explain why he believes A-Trak’s commentary is wrong.

Roctakon’s criticism drew a lot of attention, including none other than Craze, who defended his long-time ally.

The back and forth has sparked a larger discussion in the DJ community, and on Wednesday, A-Trak and Roctakon addressed the exchange during separate interviews on Reflections of a DJ a.k.a. R.O.A.D. Podcast.

To help facilitate the interviews, R.O.A.D. recruited guest co-host Shecky Green, co-founder of the Source Magazine and former talent director at Las Vegas’ XS Nightclub.

Watch excerpts of both interviews below and listen to the entire episode here. A-Trak and Roctakon’s original Twitter threads are also below.

A-Trak’s tweets:

Roctakon’s tweets:

Related: Laidback Luke and A-Trak Talk Heart Hands, Jumping on DJ Booth

SoundCloud Adds Distribution Feature to Premier Program



SoundCloud announced on Tuesday that it has added a distribution feature to its SoundCloud Premier monetization program. The feature enables participants to distribute their music on all major music streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and YouTube Music.

Launched in 2018, SoundCloud Premier enables artists to earn money from their original music on SoundCloud. The program’s new distribution feature takes it a step further by opening up outside revenue streams. It means that SoundCloud is now a distributor in addition to a streaming service.

According to the company’s press release:

“Creators using the SoundCloud Premier distribution feature keep 100% of their rights, keep 100% of their distribution royalties from third-party services, and at no additional cost.”

SoundCloud is now the second major streaming service to enable artists to distribute their original music on other platforms. In October, Spotify announced that it had teamed up with DistroKid to offer distribution as part of its Spotify for Artists program.

SoundCloud’s distribution feature is currently in beta. Learn more about it here.

Related: SoundCloud Streaming Now Available in Serato DJ Pro

2019 Grammy Winners

Childish Gambino

Childish Gambino
Childish Gambino. (Source: Facebook)

The 61st annual Grammy Awards went down at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday. The night belonged to Childish Gambino, who walked away with four awards for his smash hit “This Is America.” The track made history by winning both Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year, becoming the first hip-hop song to win either category.

Below are the winners of the categories most relevant to DJs. Check out the full list on the Grammys website.


Record Of The Year

I Like It – Cardi B ft. Bad Bunny & J Balvin
The Joke – Brandi Carlile
This Is America – Childish Gambino – WINNER
God’s Plan – Drake
Shallow – Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
All The Stars – Kendrick Lamar & SZA
rockstar – Post Malone ft. 21 Savage
The Middle – Zedd, Maren Morris, & Grey

Song Of The Year (songwriter award)

All The Stars – Kendrick Duckworth, Solána Rowe, Al Shuckburgh, Mark Spears, & Anthony Tiffith, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar & SZA)

Boo’d Up – Larrance Dopson, Joelle James, Ella Mai, & Dijon McFarlane, songwriters (Ella Mai)

God’s Plan – Aubrey Graham, Daveon Jackson, Brock Korsan, Ron LaTour, Matthew Samuels & Noah Shebib, songwriters (Drake)

In My Blood – Teddy Geiger, Scott Harris, Shawn Mendes & Geoffrey Warburton, songwriters (Shawn Mendes)

The Joke – Brandi Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth & Tim Hanseroth, songwriters (Brandi Carlile)

The Middle – Sarah Aarons, Jordan K. Johnson, Stefan Johnson, Marcus Lomax, Kyle Trewartha, Michael Trewartha, & Anton Zaslavski, songwriters (Zedd, Maren Morris, & Grey)

Shallow – Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, & Andrew Wyatt, songwriters (Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper)

This Is America – Donald Glover & Ludwig Goransson, songwriters (Childish Gambino) – WINNER

Best New Artist

Chloe x Halle
Luke Combs
Greta Van Fleet
Dua Lipa – WINNER
Margo Price
Bebe Rexha
Jorja Smith


Best Pop Solo Performance

Colors – Beck
Havana (Live) – Camila Cabello
God Is A Woman – Ariana Grande
Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?) – Lady Gaga – WINNER
Better Now – Post Malone

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

Fall In Line – Christina Aguilera ft. Demi Lovato
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart – Backstreet Boys
‘S Wonderful – Tony Bennett & Diana Krall
Shallow – Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper – WINNER
Girls Like You – Maroon 5 ft. Cardi B
Say Something – Justin Timberlake ft. Chris Stapleton
The Middle – Zedd, Maren Morris, & Grey


Best Rap Performance

Be Careful – Cardi B
Nice For What – Drake
King’s Dead – Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future, & James Blake – WINNER (TIE)
Bubblin – Anderson Paak – WINNER (TIE)
SICKO MODE – Travis Scott ft. Drake, Juicy J, & Swae Lee

Best Rap/Sung Performance

Like I Do – Christina Aguilera ft. GoldLink
Pretty Little Fears – 6LACK ft. J. Cole
This Is America – Childish Gambino – WINNER
All The Stars – Kendrick Lamar & SZA
rockstar – Post Malone ft. 21 Savage

Best Rap Song (songwriter award)

God’s Plan – Aubrey Graham, Daveon Jackson, Brock Korsan, Ron LaTour, Matthew Samuels, & Noah Shebib, songwriters (Drake) – WINNER

King’s Dead – Kendrick Duckworth, Samuel Gloade, James Litherland, Johnny McKinzie, Mark Spears, Travis Walton, Nayvadius Wilburn, & Michael Williams II, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future, & James Blake)

Lucky You – R. Fraser, G. Lucas, M. Mathers, M. Samuels, & J. Sweet, songwriters (Eminem ft. Joyner Lucas)

SICKO MODE – Khalif Brown, Rogét Chahayed, BryTavious Chambers, Mike Dean, Mirsad Dervic, Kevin Gomringer, Tim Gomringer, Aubrey Graham, John Edward Hawkins, Chauncey Hollis, Jacques Webster, Ozan Yildirim, & Cydel Young, songwriters (Travis Scott, Drake, Juicy J, & Swae Lee)

Win – K. Duckworth, A. Hernandez, J. McKinzie, M. Samuels, & C. Thompson, songwriters (Jay Rock)


Best R&B Performance

Long As I Live – Toni Braxton
Summer – The Carters
Y O Y – Lalah Hathaway
Best Part – H.E.R. ft. Daniel Caesar – WINNER
First Began – PJ Morton

Best R&B Song (songwriter award)

Boo’d Up – Larrance Dopson, Joelle James, Ella Mai, & Dijon McFarlane, songwriters (Ella Mai) – WINNER

Come Through And Chill – Jermaine Cole, Miguel Pimentel, & Salaam Remi, songwriters (Miguel ft. J. Cole & Salaam Remi)

Feels Like Summer – Donald Glover & Ludwig Goransson, songwriters (Childish Gambino)

Focus – Darhyl Camper Jr, H.E.R., & Justin Love, songwriters (H.E.R.)

Long As I Live – Paul Boutin, Toni Braxton, & Antonio Dixon, songwriters (Toni Braxton)


Best Dance Recording

Northern Soul – Above & Beyond ft. Richard Bedford
Ultimatum – Disclosure ft. Fatoumata Diawara
Losing It – FISHER
Electricity – Silk City & Dua Lipa – WINNER
Ghost Voices – Virtual Self


Producer Of The Year

Larry Klein
Linda Perry
Kanye West
Pharrell Williams – WINNER

Best Remixed Recording

Audio – CID Remix (LSD)
How Long – EDX’s Dubai Skyline Remix (Charlie Puth)
Only Road – Cosmic Gate Remix (Gabriel & Dresden ft. Sub Teal)
Stargazing – Kaskade Remix (Kygo ft. Justin Jesso)
Walking Away – Mura Masa Remix (Haim) – WINNER

Related: 2019 Grammy Awards Nominees