New talent versus old farts – who wins?

When the coronavirus pandemic started around March last year, clubs in most of the world closed down overnight. Many of them haven’t opened since, and England’s hope of reopening them by June 21st remains in serious doubt, to say the least.

This meant that a lot of DJs, who you previously had to pay sometimes extortionate amounts of money to see play, had to go online. They had to the navigate the fallacious platforms available to continue being able to play in some form. It has helped to keep a culture going in at least some form. No one’s stopped making music after all, have they?

Some of these so-called bedroom DJs have actually done well. Whilst a fair few sound like they’re recording their sets on a mobile phone in the pub toilets, there are some who are really making the effort – and they’re being rewarded with some pretty substantial audiences. Better in many cases than the pros who have years and years of experience as DJs.

If house music was the meritocracy that some would have you believe, these people would now be getting offers to do some DJing in front of audiences in the conventional way. New talent should be nurtured for a scene to evolve, develop and continue into the future.

Unfortunately, that won’t happen. And this is why.

Dance music is filled with stuffy old farts at the top who are so desperate to protect their own position that they won’t give anyone outside their own little bubble a chance. This includes promoters who are too gutless to take a chance on new talent. It includes DJs who haven’t had a new hit in years and can barely mix a pudding, let alone two tracks together.

And it includes club owners who aren’t interested in booking names which might mean they have to actually make an effort to get people into their damn clubs. They tell us that they’re just giving people what they want – the experience of the past year gives away this lie.

Just look at the flyers going around for 51st State Festival and all the others. Plenty of the aforementioned stuffy old farts from the DJ protection racket in there. Nothing new, nothing different.

And you wonder why the higher echelons of dance music are so homogenised and boring? The fact is that unless you’re in with the stuffy old farts, they don’t want to know. They see you as a threat. Someone new with new ideas and a different approach will show up how tired and lame they’ve got.

And that just won’t do, will it? Thank heavens that I have no aspirations whatsoever to join this snake pit…

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