As Defected’s Simon Dunmore reveals he’s retiring from the touring DJ world, how long until one of the last barons of house music hands control of his empire over to the next generation?

Last summer, I received a few emails alerting me to a whisper going around that Defected boss Simon Dunmore was going to announce his retirement this year. After much thought, I decided not to run the story – mostly because I couldn’t quite get things to stack up and more specific details like dates weren’t forthcoming.

Well, it appears Dunmore himself has been thinking about such matters. Yesterday morning, he announced on his social media pages that 2022 will be his last year as a touring DJ – and although Dunmore doesn’t do a huge amount of DJing these days, I suspect more can be read into this news.

Because the truth is that Simon Dunmore is going to be 60 years old in November. He joined Cooltempo all the way back in 1989 at the sprightly age of 26, joined AM:PM in 1994 and opened Defected Records in 1999 – where he’s been ever since. And the success of the label undoubtedly has much to do with Dunmore’s business acumen and the ability to spot a hit record.

But the problem with any business is the time eventually comes to hand over to the next generation. So when that fateful day comes, who could take over? An immediate handover appears highly unlikely, with Dunmore tweeting “it’s now time for me to give back & invest my time by passing on my knowledge and experiences”.

Any person who takes over at Defected is going to have their work cut out. There are almost no other companies like it – the modern day Defected is essentially an events company with a number of record label attached. So perhaps the senior team within the Dunmore empire – such as Classic’s Luke Solomon or Defected managing director Wez Saunders – will be best placed for the top job.

Other rumours I’ve previously heard suggest Dunmore is considering keeping it in the family. For example, his two sons Lucas and Louie form DJ duo The Dunmore Brothers – but an industry source tells me he believed they were “at least a few years away from being able to run a company the size of Defected”. When you combine the events company, the sub-labels, merchandising and publishing operations on top of the label, it’s a lot to get to grips with.

But be in no doubt – moves are clearly underway to ensure a successor is in place for the day Simon Dunmore decides he wants to spend more time in Ibiza enjoying fishy lunches and BBQ dinners

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