And whose side are you meant to be on? Music Business Worldwide publish editorial slamming UK’s “outwardly hostile” attitude towards the major labels – and just end up looking like fools…

Some people aren’t easy to defend, but someone has to do it. That’s why we have solicitors in the world. And it’s apparently in this spirit that Music Business Worldwide decided to publish an editorial late last week accusing the UK of having an “outwardly hostile” attitude to the three major labels.

As evidence for this curious claim, they cite the probe by the DCMS into the record labels. They talk about the threat a Competition and Markets Authority inquiry into their practices, and mention an investigation of Sony Music’s purchase of AWAL.

The gist of this bizarre article appears to be that Britain should be grateful that the majors continue to do business here. Naturally, the fact that abandoning the country where they get 10% of their global sales – with a 6% rise in sales last year – is never going to happen. Such a proposal simply doesn’t make sense.

So why did the normally sensible publication resort to uploading this drivel? Corporate interests seems the most likely. Music Business Worldwide is owned by Penske Media Corporation, who own numerous magazines such as Rolling Stone – who need access to major label artists in order to sell their publications.

And it’s going to look terribly strange if different magazines within the same group are saying entirely different things, isn’t it? Music Business Worldwide dare not bite the hands which feeds it so well…

So you’re just ignoring the elephant in the room? Attack Magazine interview Kevin Saunderson about his E-Dancer project and techno being too white – but have a guess what they DIDN’T ask him…

People occasionally ask me why I give journalists in the dance music world a hard time. The question is even posed directly by some of those journalists. And my answer is always the same – because they’re failing to do their jobs properly. Their duty is to ask questions and scrutinise what happens within the scene.

That job sometimes means asking things which will make some people uncomfortable, but needs must. Yet the writers and journalists in dance music are often reluctant to do the job – mostly because they don’t want to upset the apple cart which pays their wages. And one time they’re especially disinclined is when they’re facing their subjects directly.

Kevin Saunderson – one of the so-called Belleville Three – gave an interview recently to Attack Magazine. They asked him about whitewashing within the world of techno, his new E-Dancer project, racism within agencies and even how he defines Detroit techno. These are all perfectly fair questions to ask, incidentally – but my issue is the one question that the weirdly nameless interviewer didn’t put forward.

Namely, what the hell does Kevin Saunderson think of the situation which surrounds his friend Derrick May? This would have been a brilliant opportunity to ask Saunderson about it, and his reply would have been big news within the scene. But the journalist in question declined to give the question to him.

Talk about ignoring the (balding, 58-year old, mostly out of work) elephant in the room…

“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”…

Shout out to his family! As godfather of EDM (according to ABC, anyway) David Guetta wins the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll for the second year, a reminder of his bizarre tribute to George Floyd…

I suppose a big shout out is in order for Mr Pierre David Guetta on his victory in the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll for 2021. He’s a man who attracts as much scorn as he does adulation – he might be a rich man thanks to very clever decisions, yet he also curiously employs a solicitor who can’t tell when something is satire.

Now, this blog firmly believes mocking David Guetta is like spanking a man in a gimp suit. It only uses your own energy and you suspect the bloke in the suit likes what you’re doing.  So I thought I’d let Guetta spank his own bottom for the purpose of this post.

Cast your mind back to May 25th last year. This was the day George Floyd drew his last breath. He had been arrested by three police officers on suspicion of using a fake $20 bill. Since that fateful day – in which a police officer kneeled on his neck – Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder. The event catapulted the Black Lives Matter movement into the public eye.

The world of music was acutely aware of what was going on – and unbeknown to the rest of us, so was David Guetta. On May 31st, he was doing a show in New York City which was being broadcast online to raise money for Covid-19 relief charities. And to give the man credit, his show raised over £400k for a good cause. But one moment caused notably raised eyebrows.

He announced that he’d made a song “in honour of George Floyd”. And in a moment which made millions of toes collectively curl, he announced “shout out to his family”. But you have to see this in full to appreciate it for its irredeemable naffness…

Words fail me, even now… 

Here’s some good news you won’t see on their pages! Mixmag’s owners Wasted Talent lose £2.4million during 2020 – but in an astonishing twist, they’ve actually halved their losses since the previous year…

This blog is quite the fan of Companies House. Whenever anyone is boasting about their business making lots of money, a quick look on the website can often give you an idea of whether their own accounts back up their claims. And more often than not from experience, the truth is rather more sobering than anything else.

At the year ending 31st December 2019, Mixmag’s owners Wasted Talent made a loss after taxation of £4,828,988. By anyone’s measurement, that’s a pretty hefty loss. Statements by the company made afterwards – and also available for anyone to access on Companies House – reveal the company had £3million of new money put into it during March and April 2020 to help sustain the company through an uncertain period.

And in this blog post, I promised I’d have a look once 2020 accounts became available. That’s exactly what I’ve done – and I have to admit I was surprised by what I read…

During 2020, Wasted Talent made a loss of £2,480,975. At a time when the print magazine has been mothballed, numerous staff placed on furlough, and many advertising campaigns not taking place due to the pandemic, I wasn’t expecting to see a juicy profit from the company.

Yet last year, Wasted Talent actually managed to reduce their post-tax losses to almost exactly half the level it was in 2019. In other words, the company has proved itself more resilient than I expected it would be.

Will I see similar results when I head to Companies House to see the accounts for other dance music publications? Right now, only time will tell… 

Has Chris Morris taken over as editor of Resident Advisor? Publication of a truly weird article about Medieval-themed “neofolk” raves leave readers wondering if they’ve walked into a (particularly highbrow) episode of Brass Eye…

Last year, Resident Advisor ended up in deep trouble. Infact, had they not received their £750k bailout from Arts Council England last year, chances are the company would no longer exist. And that would, of course, be a terrible thing – said admittedly not very many people.

Now, one of the things Resident Advisor frequently tell us is that they represent dance music culture. Dance music culture now covers such a broad range of people and subjects that this aim is – and there’s no easy way to put this – fundamentally impossible for one website to achieve. Yet this doesn’t stop them from trying.

It’s also the reason why current editor-in-chief Whitney Wei got the job. She was brought into Resident Advisor because, according to co-founder Paul Clement, “she will bring a fresh approach as we continue to evolve”. Taken with her own words about “inclusive storytelling”, I take this to mean Resident Advisor wants to start covering things they don’t normally cover.

Now, this blog has no problem with anyone covering stories which aren’t being covered elsewhere. Indeed, it’s partly why I set up Amateur’s House. The trouble with that is in order to do it properly, you need one of two things. You either need journalists who know their subject inside out, or you need journalists who know people who will have the information.

Otherwise, you end up publishing rubbish such as this. From the very beginning of the article, you get the feeling you’re about to read a parody. For example, for “partygoers are reviving radical folkloric aesthetics to cope with an increasingly precarious world”, read as “ravers are putting on Medieval themed fancy dress”.

Having read the article, I assure you it gets no better. And yet again, I find myself asking – what DO the editors at Resident Advisor do with themselves all day? I’d be embarrassed at the thought of even publishing such unreadable drivel on my blog, let alone a major dance music website…

And to think it started so well! Annabel Ross loses the plot over EDC line-up numbers, even trying to drag the CEO into her mud – and a source gives me an insight you won’t find in her ongoing diatribe…

I’m not a journalist – I have no formal training in the field. Whilst I did consider becoming involved in this world many years ago, life took a different path. Mind you, when a professional journalist I actually respect – rest assured there aren’t many – got in touch recently to say he considered me a better one than many of his peers, it makes me wonder.

Anyway, back onto the subject of Annabel Ross. Yes, the utterly charmless lady who concocts allegations of misogyny towards blogs when they dare write something about her friend – and potential employer – she doesn’t like. And then tries to bully people when they won’t lie down and roll over at her nonsense.

Well, on Wednesday, she started having a go at the Electric Daisy Carnival for basically being a rich white men’s parade. Here’s where this gets interesting – Annabel is actually correct, and on the point that festivals must up their game in this area, I entirely agree. But now that she’s on day two of her diatribe, she’s started slipping up.

Because having correctly diagnosed the problem, she now seems to think that it’s somehow other people’s problem to fix…

Now this is a very curious line indeed from this blog’s favourite charmless journalist. Her own website states she has written for numerous music publications and non-music ones, including Billboard – who she cites above – need to “cover it critically” and “ask the hard questions of Pasquale [Rotella, founder and CEO of Insomniac, the company which runs EDC]”.

Not only that, but she’s now trying to drag Rotella into the row by tagging his Twitter profile. There’s been no response at the time of publishing this post from him – and I suspect it’s best he doesn’t. Because Ross is doing the same as she often does whenever she goes after someone – she tries to make it about her. Her bout of attention seeking is best ignored, if not mocked first.

Funnily enough though, I received an email yesterday from someone who shall remain anonymous – but who has links with Insomniac. This person simply said “Whilst festivals need to do more to bring in more women and minorities, a lot of things are beyond our control. For example, many of these are bookings from before Covid which haven’t happened yet. But the idea Pasquale is some kind of sexist is just bull**** – and I’ll be dammed if I’m taking that from some chicken**** journalist.”.

Ouch…

Not sure you’d get away with calling a feature that nowadays! Muzik used to have a column in their magazine for calling people out – dubiously titled “Hang The DJ”…

I frequently deride the dance music press on this blog. I believe they steer clear of certain subjects because it clashes with their commercial interests. I believe they’re terrible at holding people to account when they’ve done wrong, and I believe they don’t do their jobs properly.

And I know there are journalists out there who agree with me. I can see them signed up to my email subscription list – why would they stick around if they thought I was talking rubbish? But one thing I also don’t believe is that there was some kind of golden age to dance music journalism.

It was probably better in the past – mostly because I question if it could be worse – but there was no mythical era when it was amazing. It was always on the more reverential, unquestioning side. And when they did try to call someone’s out, they occasionally resorted to some rather distasteful ways of doing it. Such as this, which the long defunct Muzik Magazine published in 1999…

Somehow, I think the editors at the likes of Mixmag and Resident Advisor wouldn’t approve the introduction of such a feature…


Thanks to the Muzik Magazine bot for this story.