Category Archives: Business

Er, you do realise you sell MP3s, right? Traxsource show rare fail in their social media marketing by posting pictures from an Aussie producer whose first love seems to be vinyl…

You might not be aware of this, but Traxsource was set up by two gentlemen called Marc Pomeroy and Brian Tappert. They started the site in 2004 and are still at the helm today – but the history of the two men goes back much further than their 18 years at Traxsource.

They’ve known each other since at least 1993 – the two men used to form a duo called Jazz-N-Groove. Between 1993 and around 2001, they became well known in the house music scene for their remixes – Kim English, Crystal Waters and Jocelyn Brown are just three of the names whom they’ve been asked to stick their signature sound to. They also provided Defected with their first ever release – “Can’t Get Enough” under their Soulsearcher alias.

So the two gentlemen will be well versed in vinyl – it’s what they would have known and worked with during the 1990s. And many who started out in that era still have an understandable love of wax – but there’s a time and a place for everything.

And the Traxsource social media pages are probably not the best place to express that affection…

Traxsource was founded specifically in 2004 to provide a solution to a problem – vinyl sales were down, and DJs could not acquire digital copies of many records legally. Hence why Traxsource was created as a legal alternative to piracy. You could pay and be guaranteed top quality files or go to the pirate sites and get a dodgy vinyl rip – that was the choice.

But vinyl has never been in the Traxsource plan. So to showcase these turntables and plants – as easy on the eye as these pictures admittedly are – through their official accounts just seems downright weird to me…

Do they want to be on the wrong side of history? The dance music press are slagging off the Metaverse – but it’s going to be part of the future, whether they like it or not…

Last week, this blog ran an article about Pioneer getting into the remote DJing game – where people can collaborate with each other on a DJ set and never actually meet. I mentioned it was likely we would see more of this from the Metaverse and that DJs needed to seriously think about its implications.

I happen to think all this is part of the future. I don’t think the technology is entirely there for all the possibilities, but I believe anyone who tries to pretend this isn’t coming soon is deluding themselves. The truth is there could be large swathes of the next generation coming into dance music who have never stepped foot in a nightclub – and maybe even have no desire to.

That in itself poses very difficult questions for the scene. Togetherness and unity in dance music was traditionally formed on the dancefloor and record shops. The second of those is gone due to the rise of digital technology – and if nightclubs don’t work out their next move, they could be heading the same direction.

A serious music press would be interested in discussing this subject. Yet I see very little taking place – so far, the most Mixmag can conjure up is an article dismissing one such event as “the worst rave of all time”. They also seem to conflate it with other issues, such as NFTs and cryptocurrency.

Yes, some of the events held online are going to be rubbish – in much the same way some nightclub excursions will be. But no one dismisses all nightclubs because they had a bad experience at one, because that would be ridiculous. Yet here are Mixmag hinting at precisely this.

In the early 2000s, the world discovered the internet couldn’t be stopped. And it still can’t now – we are where we are. The rise of working from home also raises interesting questions in this regard. Will people basically become hermits doing most of their social interaction in a virtual world, or will there be an offline backlash where people go out more often as a result?

These are important questions which deserve to be debated. I will, of course, do what I can to help thrash out the arguments – but one person talking isn’t a debate, it’s a monologue…

That’s yet another thing this country’s short of! As figures show Britain has lost 3000 nightclubs in 11 years, the Comical Ali dance press shows little sign of asking what’s going on…

Whatever has happened to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland over the past few years? We’ve been short of all kinds of things – lorry drivers, Covid tests, petrol, and evem ginger nut biscuits at one point after flooding in the north of England. And now, yet another thing has to be added to the seemingly endangered list.

That thing is, apparently, nightclubs. Some number crunchers have been examining figures from the Office of National Statistics and have worked out their numbers are in freefall. In 2010, 10,040 nightclubs were registered across the UK. At the last count, that number was down to 6,985. That’s 3,055 nightclubs which have disappeared in that period – a drop of 36%.

There’s little doubt that’s grim – and I’d be surprised if this figure doesn’t fall further. This blog has been contacted by a number of clubs who say their financial situations are dire, to say the least. But the end of the report contains this line, which has been clutched onto for dear life by the music press…

“With 6,985 registered clubs in 2021, from a high of 10,040 in 2010, it’s entirely possible that the UK will soon have less than 5,000 clubs, especially if COVID disruptions continue and capacities do not reach their maximum potential in the years ahead.”

No evidence is explicitly presented to back up this strong claim – although if current trends continued, the number would be reached by 2028. Which would be terrible news for the culture and a damning indictment of the country which was the first to truly fall in love with dance music.

That said, the lack of evidence for this statement isn’t stopping the dance music press from going predictably apocalyptic. Perhaps they could explore questions such as why so many have closed, and what is making the UK such as unfriendly place to set up a nightclub. Unless I’m very much mistaken, that’s their job – and as much as I try, I’m only one guy.

Another one to file into the “keeping an eye on it” category…

So what ARE they basing their decisions on, if not the evidence? Welsh government forced to admit it has no idea how many cases of Covid originate from nightclubs

We all know what the state of play has been for the past two years. When Covid hit the UK in March 2020, the whole country went into lockdown. Nightclubs were closed, just like almost everything else did at the time. Given that we knew next to nothing about Covid and how it was spreading, this wasn’t a great surprise.

But whilst the likes of clothes shops and hairdressers got to open up again later, nightclubs remained shut until last summer. England was the only part of the UK not to shut them again in response to Omicron, and I’ve been deeply suspicious of this decision – how were Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland coming to a different conclusion to England on almost identical evidence?

Well, a gentleman called Tom Fletcher decided he wanted to know more about what his local government in Wales were basing their decisions on – and he sent off a Freedom of Information request down to Cardiff. How many Covid cases originate from nightclubs? It’s a fair question and you’d imagine they’d have a good idea, right?

Not exactly…

So “this information is not available” – there it is in black and white. The Welsh government has literally no idea how many people have caught Covid-19 after attending nightclubs. Which begs a question – exactly what were they basing their decision to close an entire industry on, if not the evidence on the ground?

It looks more and more to me like they were working on assumptions – such as that the virus could spread more in a space where people were closer together. And whilst this presumption isn’t entirely wrong, it doesn’t take into account things like ventilation in nightclubs.

I’ll be continuing to keep a close eye on this one…

Could you bring back David Bowie from the dead as a hologram? Just another of the prospects that the Metaverse could soon bring us – and anyone making music today should worry…

These days, it seems the best time to make money from your music is if you’re very old – or even better, already dead. Such a sentence might well sound ridiculous on the face of it, but a quick look at the trends in the music business today confirms it.

Look at the number of publishing companies and record labels buying the rights to decade old music – in house music, even the likes of Defected are doing it. Look at the amount of music being streamed online that’s called catalogue material. And look at the number of vinyl LP reissues of material from many years ago.

The investment is all going into old music, at the expense of new material. We’re now seeing an entire industry which seems determined to destroy itself – exactly what happens when all the old music has been milked dry and there are no new cash cows in the pipeline? The Honest Broker covered all this in a lot of detail recently.

But one particular section of this post intrigued me – and this was the bit about deepfakes and holograms. This is yet another possibility that the Metaverse offers. Never got to see the likes of David Bowie and Freddie Mercury in concert when they were alive? Through virtual reality, a realistic experience could be created.

The fact someone’s dead has never stopped the music industry from trying to make a profit out of them. Whenever a popular artist passes away, the vinyl reissues or Best Of compilations are never far away. Software could now monitor footage from concerts filmed whilst they were alive and replicate it very successfully. Deepfake technology means this could be even more lifelike.

Anyone who never saw Freddie Mercury in concert might well get very excited at this prospect – not to mention anyone who owns the rights to his music in any form. But for new musicians, this could be yet another hammer blow. Not only would they have to compete on streaming platforms, they’ll also have to compete with their hologram concerts too.

Isn’t it time a serious conversation was had about the possibilities of the Metaverse? This blog certainly thinks so…

The Flying Lotus used the pandemic to make changes which brought him a Grammy nomination – what a contrast to the lazy so-called innovators of dance music…

I’m going to start this post with a passage from The Bible, of all places. The book of James, chapter one, verses two to four state “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”.

It’s a good lesson in life. Character is built during tough times, not the easy ones. And the pandemic over the past two years has been one of the toughest periods of history for quite some time. Living under all kinds of restrictions – where things you could do and previously took for granted weren’t there anymore – has taken its toll.

A lot of the best music that we know comes from hard times – look at the number of songs which are about relationships breaking up or about death, for example. So the past two years should have brought about a lot of innovation within music – with many of the usual revenue streams out of action, there was never a better time for taking a risk. Nothing to lose, potentially a lot to gain.

But what has happened? Very little. A friend sent me an article recently about a producer called The Flying Lotus. I’ve heard the name, but know little about him – but he spoke last year to Vice and talked about the changes he’d made to stay afloat during the pandemic. And not only did they work, they led to a Grammy nomination.

Compare and contrast with the dance music world which this blog covers. The difference could not be more stark. Instead of pushing the envelope and trying something different and new, most producers responded by becoming even more conservative than they were before. And this is something which applies across the board.

Whether it be newbies who are trying to make their mark on the digital stores or veterans of the scene, the story is the same. For example, look at Carl Craig – a producer who undoubtedly did show innovation back in the 1990s. Instead of showcasing his latest innovations, he responded with a remix contest for a track he released back in 1989.

What’s innovative about getting a bunch of people to rework a decades old track? What’s forward thinking about endlessly trying to rinse your own archive? Even Craig’s own friend, Alan Oldham, can see “it’s all about what the new stuff”.

The same story can be seen in the charts, which are filled with remixes of decades old records. Dave Lee, Dr Packer and Michael Gray might be doing nicely out of this trade, but that’s no reason the rest of the scene should go the same way. Rehashing old glories is obviously easier than creating new ones, but there are only so many oldies which can be dusted off.

If a global pandemic doesn’t encourage producers to get off their backsides and make something new, I don’t honestly know what will…

Hankies at the ready! As dance music’s banishment of Derrick May continues, the man himself has been complaining he’ll never get to achieve one of his life goals…

Spare a thought – the smallest one you can possibly conjure up, ideally – on this Saturday evening for Derrick May. Thanks to all those pesky women who’ve made all kinds of very unpleasant allegations against him – never actually denied, by the way – his career is an awful lot quieter than it used to be.

Sure, the dance music community has failed abysmally to continue speaking out against him – bar a few exceptions such as journalist Michael James and this blog – but they have at least responded by no longer booking him. Which at least tells me not everyone in the dance music world is awful, if not much else.

One person who certainly won’t be getting in touch with May anytime soon is the extremely well-connected Pete Tong. Despite Tong speaking a few times over the years about how much he admires May as a DJ, the Essential Mix is one place that May has never properly appeared.

My sources in Detroit have told me this is because May previously didn’t have enough time to record a mix, due to his incredibly busy DJ schedule. I’m reliably informed he has been asked to appear at least three times, and the problem on each occasion is lack of time.

May did previously appear on an Essential Mix special in 2018 to commemorate the show’s 25th birthday – where he did a 45 minute set. But I’ve been told a few times now after the 45 minute mix was broadcast, May was keen to do the full 2 hour set, hoping to do it no later than 2020.

It’s now 2022 and Derrick May’s Essential Mix has still not appeared. One source in Detroit tells me May is feeling “dejected” about the possibility this won’t happen now. He said “Derrick’s achieved most of what he wanted. But an Essential Mix in the country where he became a big star was one of few he hadn’t got. And he’s pretty much accepted it’ll never happen now”

As I said earlier, I do hope the thought you had to spare was miniscule…

Way to make a guy feel old just as the weekend’s getting started! Frankie Knuckles would have been 67 years old this week – and which BBC radio station mentioned this? Radio 2…

If you go back far enough into the history of house music, you’ll eventually come across a time when the BBC were quite hesitant to get involved with the scene. In the UK, house music saw its first exposures to British audiences on pirate radio – I believe the first show to play it in Britain was The Jackin’ Zone, hosted by Jazzy M from London in 1985.

The BBC’s youth orientated Radio 1 didn’t get behind it until 1987, when Jeff Young was hired from their local London station to do a show called The Big Beat. But they didn’t get fully behind house music until January 1991, when Pete Tong arrived at the station with The Essential Selection – a show conceptualised by music journalist Eddie Gordon.

I sometimes forget that house music isn’t in its infancy anymore. The era where David Morales, Frankie Knuckles and so forth dominated the airwaves are long gone. House music’s 40th birthday will be in just a few years time. So there was always the question of how things would be treated as time went on.

Had he still been with us, Frankie Knuckles would have turned 67 years old on Tuesday. But the occasion wasn’t commemorated at all by Radio 1 – the station made no reference to it at all on their social media platforms. And as far as I’ve been able to establish, it wasn’t mentioned on the air either. Do they suspect Radio 1’s target audience of 15 to 29 year olds wouldn’t be familiar with who he was?

Instead, it was left to Radio 2, who published this

When I was growing up in the 90s, I used to think Radio 2 was a station for over the hill types. And now, not only do I listen to Radio 2 in the car, but I see Frankie Knuckles being honoured by the station.

I must be getting old. Happy weekend…