Category Archives: Money Spinners

Jeff Mills is doing an online concert this week from the religious Greek island of Delos “in a concert of ritualistic power” – but how much money does it cost for the Wizard to offer his brand of sacrament?

Pomposity and grand language can be used to make events look almost any way you’d like. If you or someone you know has been blessed with the abilities of a skilled orator or a scribe with a seemingly endless capacity for word salad, it’s possible to make something look like almost anything else.

Such as the latest gig in the diary of a certain Mr Jeffery Eugene Mills. This coming Thursday, a show will be broadcast online straight from Greece – or to be more precise, the island of Delos. This island is described on Wikipedia as “one of the most important mythological, historical, and archaeological sites in Greece” and has a total population of just 14.

Well, Mills will be there later this week as part of a show with the Alexander Socrates Onassis Foundation – founded in 1975 after the death of an enormously rich Greek shipping magnate in honour of his son, who perished in an airplane crash two tears earlier. The foundation loftily claims its “mission” is to “create the conditions, explore the ideas and trigger bold discussions that shape and shake society”.

And as expected with almost anything to do with Jeff Mills, the description of what the event is about is so circumlocutory that it’s painful to read. Some stuff about “ritualistic power” is mixed in there with an invitation to “celebrate a renewed zest for life”. From what I can read of it, the following is what happens.

Mills and two other people called Prabhu Edouard and Jean-Phi Dary go to a beautiful spot on this beautiful island. They then make up a load of music on the spot, then they leave and collect a wad of money afterwards – it’s unclear how much Mills is being paid for his show, but his typical fee is comfortably in five figure territory.

After that, Mills heads to Athens, enjoys the best of Greek hospitality and food for a bit and then heads on the plane back to Miami seeing all that “ritualistic power” making its way to his bank account. The show itself goes out at 9pm Athens time – or that’s 11am Miami time. Perhaps Derrick May will be watching – it’s not like he has much in the diary at present…

Update – this article originally said Jeff Mills lives in Detroit. This was incorrect – he actually lives in Miami. Apologies for the error.

Nothing to do with it costing a small fortune, then? Night Time Industries Association push the message that illegal raving is on the rise due to Covid restrictions – but this isn’t the entire story…

When I was around 15 years old, I was sat in English class one day – and the task that day was to compare and contrast arguments for making women’s boxing legal. One of those arguments that by keeping it illegal, it would only push the activity into the world of the unregulated underground.

I don’t recall Michael Kill and Sacha Lord of the Night Time Industries Association being present that day, but they must have had the same lesson at some point. Because, with one or two minor tweaks, this is essentially the argument they’re using now, if this Mixmag article quoting the two men is anything to go by.

Night Time Industries Association CEO Michael Kill claims restrictions will “see a ramping up of house parties and illegal events”, and those who “don’t agree with COVID passes”, saying they will “channel it into different settings”. This is presumably a reference to house parties and illegal raves.

And Sacha Lord – also no fan of vaccine passports – says they “kill the spontaneity of going out. People will still go on the big night out, but I think we might see them stay local and then, say six times a year, go for the big one they’ve bought tickets for and planned months in advance.”.

Do they raise a valid point? Almost certainly. Like others, this blog is uneasy with vaccine passports – mostly because I don’t think they work. As a Spanish court pointed out a few months ago, they can lull people into a false sense of security and potentially increase transmission. The fact almost no Covid clusters have been traced back to nightclubs also undermines their case.

But I can’t help but think the Night Time Industries Association are being disingenuous here. Now, I admit to being a little bit rusty in this area, because I haven’t been on a night out in many years. Living in a rural area and having three small children tends to have that effect, apparently.

From what I remember, however, nights out can be incredibly expensive. For starters, if you don’t have something decent to wear, you’ve got to fork out there. Then you’ve got to actually get there – and seeing most nights out involve alcohol, this requires either using public transport, taking a taxi or getting a mate to give you a lift.

Once you’re there, you might need to pay admission at the door. For example, tickets to a recent Warehouse Project show were £29.50 online and almost certainly a little more if paying on arrival. You then have to pay for drinks – prices start at an eye-watering £2.50 for a 500ml bottle of water. If cocktails or shots are more your kind of thing, expect the cost to rocket very quickly.

Afterwards, you might need some food to soak up all that alcohol and reduce the effects of tomorrow’s impending hangover. Oh, and you need to get home at the end of the night – which in most cases means a taxi, as public transport doesn’t run that late into the night in many areas.

Now, I’ve noticed when doing the weekly shop that some prices in the supermarkets have gone up over the years. So it seems inconceivable to me the same hasn’t happened elsewhere – and since everyone has to eat, I’d confidently wager that taxi fares and the rest have also gone up. Tickets for nights out certainly have, mostly due to big name DJs having avaricious appetites for fattening their bank balances.

I have to be clear here. This blog has no time for illegal raves. Whilst some are undoubtedly well run, far too many are badly managed and are used as fronts to fund criminal activity. But when a legal night out seems to cost a three figure sum, is it any wonder the cheaper illegal scene is making moves?

The legal industry really is its own worst enemy sometimes…

Now who said downloads were dead? Producers reveal to this blog exactly how much they made on Traxsource recently – and there’s still money to be made if you play your cards right…

There’s no money in downloads anymore. It’s all about streaming now. People don’t want files cluttering up their hard drive. These are some of the things I’ve read and been told over the past few years. What isn’t so clear is whether any of these statements are actually true.

Well, it turns out there’s still some life in the old dog yet. Early this week, I was contacted by a established self-releasing producer whose name I couldn’t possibly divulge to tell me he’d received $323.25 on his most recent payout. I suppose it’s better than a kick in the backside – but how does it compare with other producers?

I contacted a few others, including a number of names who featured in the various Best Of charts at the end of 2021. None agreed to speak to me publicly, and a few of the responses were just downright rude. Special mention goes to the DJ who says “Your blog is s*** and I’d never f***ing read it”, despite being subscribed to my email list.

But a few were a little more forthcoming. One producer who’s had a few of his tracks at the top of the charts says he made $2000 in the most recent payout. Another told me “It was about $800, I don’t remember the exact number” and yet another sent me a screenshot from his bank statement confirming receipt of just under $1200.

Obviously these amounts are nothing like what was potentially on the table back in the vinyl days – but a four figure sum of money certainly isn’t to be sniffed at. So what’s the key to making some money out of your downloads?

One of the respondents tells me “It’s all about controlling as many rights as possible. Set up your own publishing company and sign all your music through it. Own your masters and set up your own label – and never sign anything away for free. Make sure you get at least something out of a licensing deal.”.

And the one thing you shouldn’t do? He says simply “If you see a contract which says in perpetuity, f***ing run a mile”…

Not bad for someone who died this week! Carl Craig is the latest announced for Defected Croatia 2022 – and it won’t just be Unkle Carl representing Detroit…

This has been quite the eventful week for Carl Craig. It started with Craig complaining about a post on this blog with the juvenile “Haters gonna hate” caption. Then it emerged he had died – only for the man himself to confirm later that he most definitely wasn’t dead.

Anyone made of less tough stuff than the Detroit DJ and producer might have been easily forgiven for deciding to go back to bed and sleep until next Monday. But regardless of the fact he’s the kind of person to back a losing horse, he’s also the eternal optimist – and it looks like persisting with this week has paid off.

Yesterday, Defected announced that Carl Craig was the latest DJ they were bringing out to their festival in Croatia later this year. Dames Brown and the blog blocking Ash Lauryn are also there to represent the house and techno sounds of Detroit. Rumours are that Moodymann will also make an appearance – no official confirmation of this yet, though.

I wrote a while ago about Defected promoting the sound of Detroit, and how it was essentially a money making exercise – Defected didn’t get to where they are today without knowing what will pay the bills. Well, it certainly will be for Unkle Carl and the rest of the Detroit contingent booked to play…

Thinking of using Beatport Link’s streaming service on your next DJ gig, are you? Er, you might have to rethink that plan – and not just because of rubbish wifi at the nightclub…

A while ago now, your favourite blog spoke about Beatport Link. There appears to be money to be made in streaming – certainly not for the artists, but plenty for the labels and plenty for the streaming platforms themselves. Hence why Daniel Ek is worth billions and the average songwriter is broke.

So it’s no mystery why Beatport are getting into the streaming game. Indeed, I strongly suspect a number of other digital dance music stores are looking closely at how they get on. But the question I posed, because I simply couldn’t work it out, was – who is Beatport Link actually aimed at?

Well, a quick look at the terms and conditions of Beatport Link’s service reveals a clue. It turns out it doesn’t cover you for using it in nightclubs – that requires a public performance licence…

This leaves one or two interesting dilemmas. Such as how this policy would be enforced. Let’s say a DJ uses Beatport Link in a nightclub and it turns out this venue has no public performance licence. How would Beatport know the user had used the service improperly?

It also results in a situation where you could use Beatport Link to practice your DJing at home – but later potentially discover you don’t have a copy of a certain track you were hoping to play. Strictly speaking, you can’t actually use Beatport Link to record a set to post on Soundcloud – because they don’t have the licences required for this purpose. Again, how would Beatport stop it?

The simple truth is they can’t – and they probably know it. Either way, I just don’t see this streaming service becoming dance music’s own Spotify…

If you have to ask, you definitely can’t afford it! So how much DID those Brian Eno – he who dismisses NFT users as “little capitalist arseholes” – multi-colour turntables sell for in the end?

Recently, I had a look at my readership statistics over the past few weeks. I was curious to know whether this blog suffered any kind of drop in the numbers over the Christmas and New Year period – and I was somewhat encouraged by what I saw.

Traffic was down around 75% on Christmas Day – hardly a surprise, given I took the day off – and was around 25% lower on December 26th. But after that, the number of visitors went back to roughly their normal levels. And one topic I covered then was NFTs – and a certain Brian Eno’s opinion on them.

As I wrote at the time, no price was listed for them – meaning they work on the JP Morgan premise of “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it”. But nonetheless, one reader got in touch over the weekend to let me know what happened after they made an enquiry with a view to buying one of the turntables.

He sent the email during the Christmas period and received a message confirming the lady answering them was away from the office and not due back until Tuesday 4th January. Which as far as starts go isn’t exactly encouraging. Still, he waited for January 4th to come and then he got his answer.

The reply revealed they had all sold out – a fact still not reflected on their website at the time of publication. They also reveal the last ones sold at £24,000 including VAT and then asked were they still interested if “someone does not fully commit and pay”.

So if you wondered how much people were prepared to pay for what’s essentially a glorified turntable, anything up to £24,000 is the answer. To quote Thomas Tusser’s Five Hundred Points of Husbandry – and not for the first time lately – “a fool and his money are soon parted”…

So how bad DID things get for Resident Advisor in 2020? Companies House statements reveal a £575,000 loss for the year – yet the number of employees on the payroll actually went up…

This blog is not typically known for being gentle on Resident Advisor, dance music’s self appointed answer to a question no one asked. Indeed, I’ve questioned the £750,000 bailout they got in October 2020, and I’ve queried why things like plague raves and Dominick Fernow don’t get covered on the site, to name but two.

I’ve also had plenty of questions aimed at editor-in-chief Whitney Wei – a person who has impressively managed to make the website even more boring since she took over. But today, I can begin to answer a question which I’ve pondered a few times – namely, just how bad is the financial situation at Resident Advisor?

Thanks to official records submitted to Companies House, a picture has now emerged of what the pandemic has been like for the “front left” website. And the figures don’t make for nice reading. Because as of December 31st 2019, Resident Advisor Limited made a decent profit of £26,789.

One year to the day later, this had become a gargantuan loss of £576,685. Yet despite such losses, the company was still able to pay out £65,120 in renumeration for its directors – down from £88,657 the year before. And the average number of employees on the payroll bizarrely increased – from 33 in 2019 to 35 last year.

And on the ticketing side, the figures are even more grim. Resident Advisor Tickets made a £293,489 in 2019. The pandemic resulted in the figure, as of 31st December 2020, becoming a truly eye-watering loss of £914,146. Increasingly, it’s becoming a pretty safe bet that if Arts Council England had declined to bail out Resident Advisor in 2020, the company would have most likely collapsed during 2021.

However, the statements also reveal good news. Citing the “global vaccine programme”, they now say restrictions have eased off enough in “key markets” that the business “has returned to profitable activity levels”. So if you wondered why they’re currently on a hiring spree, now you know.

But as for the figures on how they did during 2021? I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for my assessment – the figures won’t be available until early October…

Larry The Loafer is back! BPI put out report saying 2000 artists get over ten MILLION streams per year in Britain – so can boss Geoff Taylor explain some other things?

It’s something of a mystery to me exactly who the representatives of the record labels, the British Phonographic Industry, actually represent these days. In recent times, their voice has been entirely absent from debates over how fair streaming is – and the favourite stooge of the labels has also failed to defend Lucian Grainge from entirely deserved criticism of his obscene £150million pay during 2021.

This has all led to bizarre statements from boss Geoff Taylor about it being “hard to get [messages] across above the loud voices across the kitchen table” – apparently oblivious to the fact it’s his job to shout the loudest. Still, he’ll be celebrating his 15-year anniversary as the organisation’s boss in March – so someone, somewhere is bafflingly still happy with his performance.

Anyway, the BPI had quite a moment earlier this week, when someone actually suggested they do their jobs. And they have – by getting their message out at the start of the year before anyone else got going. One such claim being circulated is that around 2,000 artists are likely to achieve over 10 million streams this year within the UK alone. Which sounds impressive, until you think about it.

For starters, all these artists won’t be British – and before anyone accuses me of jingoism, it’s their job to represent British interests in the music industry. What the BPI appear to be saying here is that people across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will this year listen to a total of 2,000 artists over 10 million times. That’s a lot of listeners – but where will all the money generated be going?

The likes of Ed Sheeran and such might well bring benefits to some UK-based people – but the majority of these, in an increasingly global music market, will not. Then again, the message “UK listeners will help to make lots of foreign artists make lots of money” doesn’t carry quite the same patriotic ring to it, does it?

Accompanied with this revelation is, in the BPI’s own words, “for an artist,  ten million streams generates at least the same royalties as 10,000 CD sales”. Curiously omitted, however, is the fact that back in the pre-internet era, selling just 10,000 copies of a CD would almost certainly mean being dumped unceremoniously by the majors. Yet today, this is somehow lauded as a success.

Also omitted is what the BPI are actually saying in this statement. In the physical era, the labels would have the expense of pressing up all those CDs, printing labels, acquiring cases, paying distributors to get them around the world and so on. In the digital era, none of those expenses exist. And since labels behave as if those costs still exist, artists earn even less money.

The BPI really must think we’re gullible idiots if they think we’ll accept this nonsense…