When Defected does something, there’s usually a reason why. Label boss Simon Dunmore doesn’t seem to me to be the type of person driven by sentimentality – and everything the machine does is a new cog which fits in somewhere to keep it all turning over smoothly.
This makes good business sense, not to mention reduces costs from things like duplication. For example, the MK back catalogue was purchased many years ago because Dunmore correctly predicted his type of house music would soon make a comeback. Or Glitterbox’s launch was to play and release the type of music which didn’t fit on the main label.
But since it launched Sondela, it has been something of a mystery where it fits. The label was clearly launched as an attempt to get Defected into a more African influenced market, but their treatment of Sondela just raises eyebrows. Their material is almost never featured on the highly successful Defected radio show, nor do they get much of a push from their bigger counterpart.
The label’s release schedule is even notably different – whereas the main label typically has a new release out every two to three weeks, Sondela sometimes only put one song out per month. It’s no wonder I posed a question a few months ago of whether Defected had made a rare misstep.
Well, Simon Dunmore’s very busy January continues uninterrupted with the news Sondela has managed to secure a monthly show for the next six months on BBC Radio 1…
Sondela has a residency on BBC Radio 1! 1 exclusive mix a month for the next 6 months! showcasing the more chilled side of electronic music from the motherland— Sef Kombo (@SefKombo) January 25, 2022
This was kicked off by @DjeffOfficial
Hope you enjoy! @Sondela__ presents The Wind Downhttps://t.co/3CxQhYndjx
Much of the dance music world might welcome this news – but I’m not entirely sure I agree. Many years ago, Pete Tong was frequently – and not entirely fairly, it has to be said – accused of using the Essential Selection to promote music from London Records, the label which he worked for at the time.
Yet now we will have a show on a publicly funded radio station giving free publicity to one of the biggest house music labels in the world. It may be the kind of publicity which Defected can only dream of – and I don’t blame them in the least for jumping at the opportunity.
But I can’t help but feel uneasy about this collaboration between a big house music label and a radio station funded out of the licence fee. Doesn’t this give Defected an unfair advantage over other labels whose bosses aren’t as well connected? I’d be curious to know what they think…