The least surprising news you’ll read today? At least 19 people caught Covid at Berghain – but good luck tracing the thousands who were there!

A while ago, I had a few complaints from regular readers that this blog had been placed in an adult category by a few web shields – and it took a while to contact these various tech companies to get this resolved So I have to watch my words with this post – but a quick Google search will bring up details for the more perspicacious of you.

As we all know, German club Berghain is primarily about gay culture. And that culture can be expressed in a, shall we say, very direct way sometimes. I make no judgement on this – I’m simply stating that almost anything goes at the club. And yes, for some people, this also includes what I shall simply call horizontal refreshment.

It’s safe to say many of the activities – horizontal and otherwise – involve dispensing with the finer details of social distancing. And whilst some of them may indeed involve masks, these are typically not the sort you might normally wear in polite company.

So I wasn’t terribly surprised, with all that in mind, to discover through the German media that 19 cases of Covid have been linked to the club. According to the Berliner Morgenpost, some 2,500 people had to be contacted. They were advised to do lateral flow tests – or PCR tests if they showed symptoms.

Berghain declined to comment when contacted by the newspaper. Which was a somewhat more dignified response than a certain nameless nightclub had when this blog approached them…

So much for talk of DJs reducing their gargantuan fees! Time Warp USA returns in November, but you’ll have to pay $201 just for your ticket – and is seeing Richie Hawtin really worth THAT much?

Cast your mind back to the early days of the pandemic. The scene started having discussions which aren’t normally had – mostly because there was nothing else to do. Talk soon turned to the enormous fees being demanded by the higher echelon of DJs – and I’m probably not the only one who noticed this was a debate in which those very highly paid DJs stayed conspicuously quiet,

There was a reason why. Namely that they’ve come to enjoy being paid big money – $40,000, maybe $50,000 per appearance. More in some cases and with the right agent negotiating on your behalf, a six figure fee was a distinct possibility.  Not bad for a few hours work.

There was talk by some about there being some kind of “reset” within the scene – where the aforementioned big bucks DJs would apparently reduce their fees to something more sensible. But not surprisingly, the DJs in question never agreed to drop their financial demands.

Evidence of this arrived in my inbox last night, courtesy of one of this blog’s wonderful readers. Time Warp USA is taking place from two nights, starting on November 19th. It’s happening in New York City, in a currently undisclosed location. Which makes booking a hotel a bit awkward, because you could end up in entirely the wrong part of town – but hey, why consider the needs of people actually paying for the tickets, eh?

The lineup is even more business techno than Amnesia Ibiza’s offering this weekend. If you’re looking for hours of droning, mostly tuneless tech-house which makes your ears hurt, this could be the perfect opportunity for you. There are even a limited number of tables, allowing your painful ears to be accompanied by an arse numb with boredom.

However, in order to accommodate the massive fees for the DJs – which are second in size only to their egos – you’re going to need deep pockets. When you first visit the DICE website to pay for tickets, it tells you it’ll cost you $107.47. When you click the “Buy Now” button, however, the price suddenly jumps up to £201.19 for a ticket that covers both days.

The $107.47 price refers to general admission on the Friday under Tier 1. And in a twist which just screams of wanting to take all your money, you can also buy access to the backstage area. It’s $232 for either Friday or Saturday, or $366 if you want access on both days.

They don’t even try to mask their desperation to make money these days…

The UK nightclub linked to a coronavirus cluster by the health authorities – and they’re threatening legal action on anyone who reports the details…

The British government might well be pretending that the pandemic is over. But here in the real world, most of us know otherwise. Over 43,000 new cases were confirmed across the UK yesterday. And like many, I find myself asking where all these cases are coming from.

Well, one nightclub in the UK – I’m afraid I can be no more precise than that – is wondering the same thing. They held an event a few weeks ago – as most nightclubs do – and all went well. There was no trouble on the night, a good time was had by all and the bar did a roaring trade. Management patted themselves on the back – until a phone call came in around ten days later.

It was from the public health authorities, claiming they had identified a large coronavirus cluster in the area – and information supplied by test and trace teams suggested it originated from this particular nightclub. As I understand, the owners of this particular club are known in the area for being rabid anti-vaxxers – so they didn’t take the allegation particularly seriously.

As far as I can see, this particular story hasn’t been reported anywhere previously. So this blog decided to send them an email to ask if they had any comment. Shortly afterwards, I heard back from their solicitors – threatening me with libel proceedings if I was to publish the story.

Which was terribly nice of them. But what was the one thing this threat didn’t contain within it? A denial of the allegations being made. A source with connections to the club informed me the owners are also threatening legal action against the health authorities over the matter…

For legal reasons, comments are unavailable on this story.

Wednesday Whisper #23 – the DJ threatening a libel suit over anyone printing bullying allegations (which he isn’t denying!)

Which DJ, based in the north of England, has been making increasingly desperate attempts to stop a former member of staff from speaking to the press about several incidents of bullying? The DJ in question is occasionally featured in more mainstream media and has been in the business for many years.

For some years now, it’s been an open secret that he’s not easy to work with. But things culminated last year when a number of his employees left their jobs within a short time period. And one of them cites a number of incidents of bullying at the hands of the DJ.

But things are getting increasingly out of control over the matter. The victim has contacted a few journalists in the dance music world about the story – but none have yet run it. Why? Because the DJ is threatening libel proceedings against anyone who does, including the victim.

The DJ’s lawyers have sent out a letter which explains their position. Curiously, no denial of the allegations is made at any stage in the letter…

“He’s changed, he’s a more humble guy now”: the bizarre words of a friend who’s been trying to line up an interview to welcome Derrick May back into the dance music fold…

The news coming from my sources in Detroit get more and more surreal with each passing day. And the latest one is possibly the strangest yet. Derrick May’s friends have been talking about how he could rehabilitate himself in the dance music community – and it’s hard to tell whether they’re being serious or not.

According to a source, who confirms May was not present for the discussion, he said “A couple of us got together about a week ago and the topic Derrick came up in conversation. He’s been boasting about having a busy weekend on the way, and someone joked that he wasn’t going to have many.”.

He went on: “So another guy asked how May was going to come back from all this. And the idea came about that he should do an interview with some sympathetic journalist. But talk soon turned to jokes about how terrible an idea that was”.

Only it turns out one person in that room didn’t get the hint. Apparently, he’s been contacting every person in the journalism world to talk about the prospect of a rehabilitatory Derrick May interview. Which, let’s face it, is an highly amusing prospect.

The sight of May crying crocodile tears whilst saying how sorry he’s pretending he is for the way he’s treated women in the past – whilst not actually admitting to any of the allegations, of course – is one which would give me several days of content alone. But this person clearly hasn’t thought about how this interview would be received, nor had a single thought about what the victims would make of it all.

Whether May knows anything about what his friend has been doing is unknown. But is this plan even remotely feasible? I put the question to a former editor of one of the dance music magazines.

Speaking strictly off the record, he simply said “Er, there isn’t a f***ing chance it would happen. I don’t know who’d honestly be the most stupid if this went ahead”…

As the first batch of the Ibiza Spirit in Cancun lineup is released, Amateur’s House crunches the numbers – so will Annabel Ross be any happier with this festival?

Whenever a festival announces its lineup these days, a few things are inevitable. A flurry of people are going to respond by saying “woo hoo, take my money!”. Other people check the line up and go “nope, not for me”. And then you have the latest trend in the dance music world – which is to go through the whole list to see how many women and minorities are in it.

So I thought I’d have a go myself. The festival I’ve decided to look at is Ibiza Spirit, which is due to take place in Cancun, Mexico between February 19th and 26th next year. The first batch of the lineup has been announced. So do they fare any better than the frankly abysmal numbers of Electric Daisy Festival?

Well, 48 acts are listed on this flyer…

Breaking it down, there are 11 women listed – Alisha, Anfisa Letyago, Chloé Caillet, Cincity, Desiree, Francesco Lombardo, Heidi, Julie McKnight, Lauren Lane, Layla Benitez and Nicole Moudaber. Which means 22.91% of the lineup is female.

And as for non-whites? This is obviously subjective, because I don’t know exactly how everyone on the list describes themselves. With that in mind, I counted Black Coffee, Cincity, Desiree, Jesse Calosso, Kings Of Tomorrow, Julie McKnight, The Martinez Brothers, Themba and Todd Terry. A total of 9 out of 48 – or 18.75% of the lineup.

Let’s see how long it takes for Annabel “Charmless” Ross to appear – it doesn’t usually take long. If the boss of Ibiza Spirit is on social media, you might want to ignore your mentions for a few days in case she turns up

Defected’s Simon Dunmore reminds us how cool and underground it still is by, erm… pointing out they’ve got 20% publishing on the latest chart-bothering release by Elton John…

Simon Dunmore, the boss at Defected, gets some stick on this blog. His hypocrisy when condemning others for remixing their archive when his own labels engage in the same practice is but one example where he falls short.

And yet, I also have a certain degree of respect for him. He left the security blanket of the majors to set up the independent Defected at a time when the majors were busily trying to crush Ministry of Sound, which was eating away at their share in the dance market. He’s also taken considerable risks over the years and completely transformed Defected.

So much so that describing Defected as a record label now does them a disservice. They’re more of an events company with a record label attached. Over the years, the company has also selectively invested in different back catalogues – for example, they bought much of MK’s some years ago when the price was low.

Nonetheless, there’s something I find very curious about this building up of back catalogues. It seems like a bit of a lottery to me – pay money and buy lots of things, then hope some of it soon starts making money for you.

Not that Dunmore is worrying. Because he tweeted this last weekend…

Yes, Defected has a 20% publishing stake in Elton John and Dua Lipa’s current release. And all because of a tiny section of the bassline of a Chicken Lips song being in it.

Underground house music and all that…

They’d have been stuffed without DICE, wouldn’t they? Boiler Room made a whopping £11million loss up to October 2020 – and still no word on how much founder Blaise Bellville is making out of the deal…

Last week, I was looking on Companies House when I discovered a curious notice saying Boiler Room’s accounts were late. Surely some mistake? One email to the press office confirmed accounts had already been filed – Companies House simply hadn’t processed them yet. It was an automatically generated notice on the website.

This blog spoke yesterday – with the dissecting of Hannah Wants’s businesses – about finding out the real impact of the pandemic on dance music’s bank accounts, hence why I was looking for Boiler Room (UK) Limited. Well, those accounts are now online and they go all the way up to October 31st last year.

And they make grim reading. In 2020, Boiler Room made an accumulated loss of £11,877,734. Now, given they got a bailout last year of £791,652 from Arts Council England, the negative figure might not be surprising – and indeed, this is something they reference within the same document.

However, one look at the October 2019 figure – a few months before the pandemic – reveals they made an accumulated loss that year of £10,661,293. And going back through their other financial statements, the company appears not to have made any profit since 2016. They’re all in here if you’d like a look.

So since Boiler Room hasn’t made any money for eight years, why did Dice buy them? Well, either founder Blaise Bellville has charms and powers of persuasion not heard of before, or Boiler Room has something else going for it. Phil Hutcheon of DICE speaks about “The combination of Boiler Room with the distribution and technology of DICE”, but remains vague on detail.

And as for how much Blaise Bellville will be earning out of the deal? A source who’s been involved in a number of business acquisitions in the past says “He’ll be making something out of it, but unless DICE see gargantuan possibilities out of the acquisition, it’s unlikely to be the sort of headline figure your readers suspect it is”…