The dance music world is filled with types who like to think their favourite genre is a safe place where everyone is free to be whatever they want to be. This line of thinking is so ingrained into dance music that entire advertising campaigns and slogans are built around it.
There’s just one problem. It’s complete nonsense. The mere idea that the dance music world is a safe space is utterly moronic. If that was seriously the case, Erick Morillo would never have been able to get away with his appalling behavior towards women. And guess what? The dancefloor is no better.
A report commissioned by Ballantine’s True Music reveals the truth. It’s grim reading. A third of those polled confirmed they’d suffered some form of discrimination on the dancefloor. This report isn’t exactly clear on its definition of discrimination – I understand that it’s an entirely subjective term, of course – but the most common appear to be connected to gender or race.
And even worse – if it wasn’t bad enough already – was that 84% of respondents had witnessed this happening. Proportionately speaking, if you got ten clubbers into a room, eight will have seen something. For a scene which prides itself on being a safe space, especially for minorities, these statistics are absolutely damning.
But nothing will be done? The likes of Nick Stevenson, Mixmag’s MD who contributed to this report, will see to that. Solving this problem means taking on a lot of corporate interests, such as sponsors and booking agencies. And these people do not like scrutiny – hence why the likes of Mixmag don’t do it. Too much advertising revenue at stake, you see.
Bookers, booking agencies and promoters like to work in the shadows. The idea of sticking what they do in sunlight in anathema to these people. They have lots of power. They like having lots of power – but they seem to think having lots of power comes with no scrutiny. And luckily for them, the dance music press agree.
They’re happy to play along, and they’re even more happy to play along now. The dance music press is in terrible shape – lots of journalists have left the industry and there’s little money going around. It’s no exaggeration to say upsetting the apple cart could mean potential bankruptcy for some of them.
Most of the problems in dance music today are structural ones. That structure is designed to grab control and maintain control. If you’re in with them with those who control the structure, you can make a lot of money, and they can give you a life of luxury. If you’re not? They’ll ensure you won’t get very far.
And whilst there are so many players in the game who are perfectly comfortable with the current state of play because it means asking awkward questions, not much will change…