Tag Archives: dance music press

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…

Resident Advisor announce a Zoom call as part of their wellness series – but isn’t this sudden concern for mental health just virtue signalling?

Last weekend, this blog ran an article about Resident Advisor’s current series on wellness. I wasn’t exactly nice about it – and for good reason. The contrast between this blog’s hilst series of excoriating articles last month on the MDL Beast Soundstorm controversy and their insipid current series is something I find striking.

Well, the series must go on – and their next idea is a 90-minute Zoom. The discussion will be “Winter Of Care: Alternative Tools And Strategies To Support Ourselves And Each Other” – a title so long you’ll need a lie down after you finish saying it – and takes place at 5pm UK time next Monday.

Let me be emphatically clear here. No one is saying for one moment that mental health doesn’t matter. It matters more now than ever. I have no issue with anyone addressing mental health – indeed, it’s a subject which comes up occasionally on this very blog. But when Resident Advisor gets involved, this poses a problem.

You see, they like to portray themselves as the representatives of an entire culture. And during the pandemic, Resident Advisor has failed miserably to cover it properly. They could, for example, have used their position to campaign for better support for out of work DJs and all those being affected by Covid restrictions and closures.

But they didn’t. They were far too concerned with saving their own position to care about the culture they claim to represent. Such a campaign would have helped the mental health of many in the industry far more than a month of occasional articles about the terribly vague notion of “wellness”.

Resident Advisor could quite easily use their position to help improve the mental health of those in the industry. They have a large social media reach, they’ve been around for a long time – and they’re an increasingly well-resourced operation. But they don’t – their main priority appears to be selling tickets, for which they typically receive about 12.5% of the price.

Am I being harsh here? Possibly. But the reality is if you position yourself in a particular way, don’t be surprised when people try to hold you to those standards…

After Resident Advisor’s £575k loss for 2020, staff numbers actually went up and payments to directors only declined 30% when company revenue was down by 95% – so what on earth was going on?

This blog is a solo project, recently described by Michael James as a “dynamic, tireless, takes-no-prisoners one-man show”. And though I’d like to think this commentary is correct, I’m the first to concede that even my critical eye occasionally misses things.

Here’s one such example. Just before Christmas, I visited the Companies House website to see when Resident Advisor’s accounts had to be declared. I’ve been curious for a while to see just how bad things got during 2020 for the company – and accounts up to New Year’s Eve 2020 had to be submitted by December 31st 2021.

Their publication was ultimately delayed by a few more days due to the Bank Holiday weekend in the UK at the start of this month – but I finally got my article published on January 7th. The figures revealed Resident Advisor made a loss of £576,685 during 2020, down from the modest £26,789 profit of 2019.

I also commented on the fact “the company was still able to pay out £65,120 in renumeration for its directors – down from £88,657 the year before”. I didn’t think much of this at the time, partly because I had other posts which needed preparing that day. But now I’ve had a rethink.

And as a result, I’m feeling pretty angry. By Resident Advisor’s own admission, they lost 95% of their income when the pandemic came along. They also made a number of what co-founder Nick Sabine described as “Covid-forced redundancies”. Yet the number of staff on the payroll increased from 33 in 2019 to 35 in 2020.

But the bit which really annoyed me was the payments made to the company’s directors. Who on earth deemed it appropriate that directors receive any kind of payments at all when a company has lost 95% of its income? Did no one at Resident Advisor wonder how it would look when this came out?

The truth is it would always have come out. Aside from the possibility of someone leaking this information out of the company, it was always going to be declared in statements to Companies House – so it leads me to believe one of two things happened. One, no one considered how it would look to be making payments to directors when sacking staff and reducing the hours of those left.

Or two, they knew exactly how it would look and didn’t care. Resident Advisor have been contacted for comment, but haven’t responded ahead of publication…

In the middle of a Covid wave, Resident Advisor begin a series all about wellness and what ravers should eat – is this their idea of dance music culture that British taxpayers forked out £750k to save?

This blog is sometimes accused of not being very kind to the dance music press. And by and large, this charge is correct. I think many of them are largely staffed by middle-class types who failed their lifestyle magazine exam. Many of them also fail to cover the real issues which affect the dance music world – mostly because being out of touch means they don’t know what they are.

Easily the worst of the lot has to be Resident Advisor. This is essentially a ticketing company which masquerades as an online dance music magazine. Most articles on the website are designed to basically get you to buy something, usually from themselves – yet they somehow have the barefaced cheek to call themselves the voice of dance music culture.

And as I reported only recently, they’re absolutely shameless about helping out their own – editor Whitney Wei failing to declare that Caroline Whiteley was a colleague at previous employer Electronic Beats and is also a friend of hers was just the latest case in a long list. Make no mistake – Resident Advisor cares only about Resident Advisor.

In October 2020, they persuaded Arts Council England to spend £750,000 of British taxpayers money bailing out the company. A quick look at the accounts of the company – as this blog did recently – confirms Resident Advisor would almost certainly have gone bankrupt without this money.

So what’s happened at the company since then? The most noticeable changes include writing more things about Berlin than they used to – despite the company’s head office being based in London. The time stamps on their stories also suggest they’ve recruited a few writers from the USA to fill up their so-called news section. Oh, and they hired Whitney Wei from Electronic Beats to be their new editor-in-chief.

A source who worked at Electronic Beats when she was editor says of Wei that “Whitney is good at what she does, but she cares about some things more than others. The way she does things used to inspire the aspirational types like her, but irritated a lot of other people. She has a pretty high opinion of herself”.

Another person was, shall we say, less polite, saying “She’s a spoilt rich kid type. Look at her on Instagram, always posting about what clothes she’s bought today or what country she’s in this week. Good editors understand what their audiences want – and to be honest, Whitney doesn’t. Unless Resident Advisor’s audience is now largely socialite types in New York, of course.”.

Which brings me on to Resident Advisor’s latest wheeze. They’ve decided to spend January concentrating on the subject of wellness. As part of this, Wei herself has written another overly long article on the subject which again could do with some serious editing – as well as a piece talking about what clubbers should eat.

In the middle of a difficult period of the pandemic – with nightclubs shut across much of Europe, questions over DJs accepting gigs from events funded by highly dubious regimes, and questions over what the future holds for dance music – it speaks volumes that Resident Advisor has decided to concentrate on a campaign about keeping well.

A former Resident Advisor staffer despairs, telling me “This is complete b*****ks. If we’d have even mentioned this idea to the editors in the past, they’d have laughed at us. This is the sort of crap you’d expect to find in a lifestyle magazine. It just looks to me like jumping on a bandwagon.”.

No further comment…

Mixmag said in June 2020 their print edition would be back “next year” and it’s now January 2022 with no magazine in sight – so what on earth is going on?

Some people harbour the impression I have a problem with Mixmag. This is because to an extent, I do. I believe there are issues they downplay or refuse to cover at all – and these are either because of inherent bias in their own staff or worrying that advertisers won’t like it.

But this said, I will happily defend the right of Mixmag to exist. And when they do get things right – the time Funk Butcher took over an issue comes to mind – they mop the floor with the competition. However, I think Mixmag has been somewhat drifting over the past two years.

The reason, I suspect, is the lack of a print edition. Previously, Mixmag ran a hybrid operation of print and online – the website was used for getting news out, whereas print focused more on features. But the pandemic put paid to that – temporarily, according to Mixmag owner Wasted Talent’s MD Nick Stevenson.

Originally in April 2020, they confirmed publication would be suspended for three months. Then at the end of June 2020, this changed to saying Mixmag would see print again in 2021. Yet it’s now January 2022 and there’s no sign of the magazine gracing the shelves once more.

So what’s been going on? Well, Mixmag recently launched a print edition in Spain, for starters. They’ve also been expanding their online presence and I have noticed an increase in the number of staff. I understand they took on a weekend editor lately, presumably having realised the internet doesn’t switch off at dinnertime on a Friday.

What they don’t appear to have been doing is recruiting writers, journalists and such to work on a print edition. Curiously however, services such as this one continue to exist online where you can subscribe to the physical magazine – but with no return date in the diary, anyone who paid could be waiting a long time.

Looks like DJ Mag’s monopoly on the dance music magazine marketplace will remain undisturbed for quite a while longer…

It’s official: Electronic Beats are without a deputy as Caroline Whiteley announces she’s jumping ship – just as this blog said two weeks ago – so will her old friend Whitney Wei have a job lined up?

Time now for a follow-up to a story which this blog originally published on December 30th. It was about the impending resignation of Caroline Whiteley from Electronic Beats and her friend Whitney Wei failing to disclose that Whiteley is a former colleague and friend for a Resident Advisor article.

I can officially confirm that Whiteley has left Electronic Beats – mostly because she confirmed it herself last Wednesday. In an Instagram post, she writes she’s quit because she wants “to focus on my own writing and editorial projects”. The notoriously insecure world of freelance awaits – or does it?

A source inside Electronic Beats tells me a number of people working in the company were surprised to hear the news that Whitney Wei was leaving to take a new job with rival Resident Advisor. It’s not clear whether Whiteley was amongst them, but her own LinkedIn page reveals she did a stint for Resident Advisor from 2014 to 2018.

The very same place where Whitney Wei is now in charge as editor-in-chief. The two worked at Electronic Beats together for a time and I understand the two used to get on very well. Could a new job from Resident Advisor – who are on a hiring spree at the moment – be on the cards?

Whiteley isn’t saying much at present on the subject, other than she’ll have more news on the future “soon”. And so long as Whiteley doesn’t tell her entire contacts list about it via email before making the news public – again – it looks like it’ll stay that way…

Incidentally, hello to the two journalists at Mixmag who have subscribed to the blog over the past 24 hours using their official work email addresses. Nice of you to join the other dance press people who pretend they’ve never heard of the blog, yet read everything posted on it…

And to think someone got paid to write this! Billboard publish a piece about pop singer Billie Eilish’s hair – so what inspiration could the dance music press take from this article?

As someone who runs a blog with an average of five posts per weekday – slightly less on weekends – I do understand the pressure that people are under to keep the fresh content coming in. And whilst most days aren’t a problem for me, I won’t deny I get the odd day where stories are a bit thin on the ground.

Billboard appear to have had a similar day last week, deciding to commission someone to run an article about pop singer Billie Eilish. I don’t know much about her, other than she seems popular in certain quarters at the moment – but the specific subject of the article was what raised eyebrows.

It was all to do with the different hairstyles Eilish has had over the years – as if somehow a woman changing the style of her hair is somehow considered unusual. To the best of my knowledge, Billboard haven’t done a similar article about any men in music – but this gave me an idea, if not the mostly gormless staff in the dance music press these days.

For instance, Mixmag are currently running a story about some dismal new song Pete Tong has put out. What a wasted opportunity. Perhaps a more interesting article would have consisted of showing his past haircuts – along with a few others that don’t exist thanks to the wonders of computer technology.

Or Resident Advisor could invite Carl Craig to do an interview. After asking him to confirm that he definitely isn’t dead contrary to hoax reports online, they could publish a photo album showing all the various do-rags he uses despite having as much hair as a potato.

In the meantime, DJ Mag could respond with a 500-image collection of all the hats Louie Vega has worn over the years. Chicago’s 5 Magazine could ask Sterling Void to show them all the places where he used to buy crack rock. Defected could even run social media pieces asking what happened to boss Simon Dunmore’s hair.

Well, given most of them are shameless fans of clickbait, they might as well up the effort in their offerings…

Is there something you’ve forgotten to tell us, Whitney? Resident Advisor’s editor-in-chief writes a painfully long piece for her site – but all is not as it seems with one of the contributors…

In 1987, British comedy Only Fools and Horses broadcast a scene at Peckham’s market. Del Boy was trying to sell these back massagers and used the machine on lovable Uncle Albert to show what it could allegedly do. Albert, who told the crowd he’d had a bad back for years at the beginning, was now dancing merrily.

After an unconvinced member of the crowd suggests the two know each other, Del Boy responds with “No, we’ve never met before, have we sir?”. To which Uncle Albert unhelpfully replies “No Del, we haven’t”.

And right now, I’m wondering if a similar conversation needs to take place over in Berlin. Because yesterday, Resident Advisor’s shiny new editor-in-chief Whitney Wei finally wrote something for the website – an end of year article. She’s only been there since the summer, after all…

You’re more than welcome to read the entire article, if you wish. I’d advise a large dose of modafinil before doing so – for an editor, Wei seems surprisingly incapable of editing herself. But the contributions of one person whom she features in her article deserve a little more attention.

Caroline Whiteley is being interviewed in this article as if she was a third party. Which is a little strange – just six weeks ago, Whiteley wrote an article for Resident Advisor. The same Resident Advisor whose editor-in-chief is now writing as if she’d never met her before.

But that isn’t all. You see, Whiteley is currently the deputy editor at Telekom Electronic Beats – the previous employer of a certain Whitney Wei. According to Whiteley’s own LinkedIn page, she started working at Electronic Beats in December 2019, meaning there’s a considerable overlap in the amount of time Wei and Whiteley both worked at the company.

At the time, Whiteley’s own boss would have been Wei. So the two clearly know each other – a detail which RA’s editor has mysteriously failed to include in her own article. And there’s one more cherry on the top of this deeply unsavoury and nepotistic cake.

This blog has had it confirmed by two different sources that Whiteley is leaving her job at Electronic Beats. She has put the word out to her friends in the industry that she’s on the lookout for new opportunities and freelance work. A number of PR agencies have received her e-bulletin, along with some of the other dance magazines.

The attention from this article certainly won’t do her job seeking prospects any harm, nor will the publicity from posting it to Resident Advisor’s 613,000 Instagram followers. Others, however, in the dance music scene might not take so kindly to such shameless use of insider connections…