A few weeks ago, the garage house crew were happy. Traxsource had finally given garage its own category on their site after a campaign which has been on and off for the past three years. And the infighting – for a while rife in the genre – appears to have eased off. Amazing what a bit of scrutiny does…
Anyway, this latest move has not gone unnoticed over at Beatport. I understand that the site has now started an advertising campaign across Facebook and Instagram to promote the fact they have their own garage category as well.
Infact, I’ve actually come across it whilst browsing Facebook. Here’s what readers see…
Garage first appeared as a genre on Beatport all the way back in 2017 – so I’m somewhat surprised they’re not making more of this fact in their adverts. Even more curious is the fact Beatport, which is owned by a big American conglomerate, managed this feat ahead of Traxsource, who frequently claim to have a closer relationship with its customers.
Whatever the truth, one thing is clear – there’s obviously money to be made in garage. Traxsource have decided they want a piece of this pie. And Beatport aren’t going to take it lying down…
On December 29th last year, DJ Sneak decided to make a few changes to the way he did business. And one of those was to declare his music would be coming down from digital services. This was taken to mean download and streaming sites, although Sneak never elaborated further.
So since January, I’ve been helping DJ Sneak keep to his promise by regularly detailing how many records he still needs to take down on Traxsource. He had 613 tracks up there when this series first started. And it looks like I’m in this commitment to my readers for the long run…
Either DJ Sneak never had any intention of following through on his promise, or he’s since discovered he’s signed all kinds of in perpetuity contracts over the years. These are contracts in which the master recordings are signed over from the artist to the label – forever. And if that’s the case, it’s going to cost a lot of money to get them down.
A while ago now, I was talking to a friend of mine recalling his experiences from the early days of house music. He said “I first got into house in 1986. I used to work in a record shop and someone came in asking us to import some vinyl from the USA. He played this stuff to me in the shop and told me it was house music. From then on, we used to get as much house music as we could into the shop – it sold like hot cakes!”.
When I asked him how many new releases came out each week in 1986, he told me “Usually three or four”. Which is a million miles away from the house music world of today. Whereas previous generations possibly suffered from having no real choice, the current one suffers from having far too much of it.
A few weeks ago, I recall writing about Traxsource’s Weekend Weapons chart. That particular week had an edition with 275 records in it. And that was what Traxsource themselves thought were the highlights – I shudder to think how many releases actually happened in that 7-day period.
Last weekend’s edition managed to be even bigger, weighing in at 325 records. Which is utterly absurd when you think about it – even someone like me who runs a reviews column at the weekend wouldn’t go through 325 different records to find some worth writing about.
If each track preview was two minutes long, that’s 650 minutes you’d need to listen to the whole lot. If you added in a gap of a few seconds between each one, you’d need a minimum of 11 hours to hear the whole lot. Who on earth has the time to sift through all that?
I’d be absolutely intrigued to find out just how many of those 325 records got listened to on preview, let alone downloaded. I can’t help but suspect the number will be depressing for many a producer…
Here’s a scenario for you. You’ve just spent days, weeks, possibly even months creating a new release. It’s been sent to a record label, and now it’s finally available for people to buy.
Great. Except you’ve discovered that it’s also up on the pirates websites, meaning that people can just go there and download your latest without paying a penny for it.
It’s happened to me quite a few times. So how are they getting hold of all this music? The average pirate site usually has almost all the releases you’d see on the likes of Traxsource or Beatport. Are they buying them legally themselves and then uploading them to file sharing sites?
The answer is almost certainly not. Some of the pirates in the early days might have done so, but that sort of mentality has long gone. Back in the days of blog house, such content was usually mixed in with other things – the pirates now offer no such pretences.
So let’s have a look at the process of getting a song released on the digital stores. The process can vary slightly from store to store, but they typically follow something very similar. It’s also worth pointing out from the outset that most retailers will not deal with artists directly in this process – it must be done through a distributor.
The label submits the song to the distributor, providing all the necessary metadata and cover art in the process. The distributor then sends them on to the stores, who duly put them on preorder if instructed to do so, then release them.
Somewhere in this process, the files end up in the hands of the pirates. Unless most of the record labels out there are part of some conspiracy where they’re deliberately leaking their records, that rules out the labels. And why would the likes of Traxsource hand over the product to pirates and reduce their own sales?
This leaves the distributors. There is no suggestion whatsoever on my part here that the distributors are engaged in widespread collusion with Internet pirates. If this was true, it would have been exposed long ago – not even our useless, supine dance music press could sit on that information.
In the absence of anything else, that leaves me thinking that the pirates must be taking advantage of a weak point in security somewhere in the chain. This is where the trail in my own enquiries on the subject goes cold.
Answers on this subject aren’t easy to come across either. Goodness knows I’m trying, but it feels like there’s someone out there who doesn’t want the truth to come out!
So, do you know what’s going on? Leave a comment below, or if you’d prefer to speak privately, simply send me an email through my Contact page. Anonymity is guaranteed.