Quantize Recordings is a label set up back in 2012 by long-time DJ and producer DJ Spen, real name Sean Spencer. He’s been around since the mid-1980s and was involved with the Basement Boys in the early 90s. The label was set up to promote soulful house and typically has a new release out every 1 to 2 weeks.
The label’s releases are frequently promoted heavily on Traxsource and often dominate the soulful house charts on the site. And Spen’s own association with Quantize is frequently referenced – many of the label’s release feature the words “DJ Spen Presents” at the start of the title. Exactly why is unclear, but the label is clearly aware that the name DJ Spen means something.
However, like other labels that have become successful over time, not everyone is entirely happy with them. And one of those who has expressed his dissatisfaction is Frank Blythe – who actually has a release out with Quantize right now. Indeed, it featured in my Six On Saturday column at the weekend before I became aware of the latest controversy.
Last Friday, Blythe put a post up on Facebook – pictured here in its totality. And he is not at all happy with how Quantize are managing his latest release, which feature legendary singer Sybil Lynch. He says “You sign your track to a major label in the hope that the label will support and promote your hard work, only to find out they don’t give a flying f*** about your music, but just want the vocal to promote their own mixes”.
Blythe then goes on to complain his mix has been pushed down the list to fourth position, and that this is one reason why newer producers struggle to break through on digital stores. Quite serious accusations – but are they true?
A quick look at Quantize reveals a pretty mixed response to this allegation. For example, recent releases by MicFreak, Jesse Saunders, Kevin Hedge and David Morales show the original mix clearly placed at the top. Yet releases by John Khan, Ann Nesby, Kenny Hamber and Ronnie Herel have remixes by Spen himself and other label favourites such as Reelsoul at the top, with the original at varying positions afterwards. But the fourth position given to Blythe’s original of “All The Places We Will Go” does seem on the lower end of the scale.
So, what’s the thinking behind this? A source who’s been releasing music for decades agreed to speak to me on condition of anonymity about this. And he said “Big remix packages are a relic from the vinyl era. Now, most people only listen to the first two or three tracks. And if they don’t like the first one, they tend to skip it totally. So I can understand why Frank is annoyed – but labels are there to make money, and they obviously think putting Spen’s name higher up will bring in more listeners”.
At the time of writing this article, the lead version is at number 66 in the soulful house chart. Quite the mystery given that Quantize’s promotion of this has been extremely limited. Once again at the time of writing, there was a post about the song on the label’s Instagram page. However, there’s nothing up for the nearly 14,500 followers on Facebook. Twitter has nothing and nor does their website.
Neither party has responded to my requests for comment at the time of publication.
This blog believes in declaring things openly when actual or perceived conflicts of interest occur. So with that in mind, I was a music producer for some years and was commissioned to do one remix through Blythe’s currently dormant label 4th Quarter Music. I don’t think it makes me biased – but you can judge that one…