Tag Archives: money spinner

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…

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…

After authorities confirm clubs in Ibiza can open in April, the season looks set to be dance music’s longest ever cash-in – but is this “just one last fart from a dying corpse”?

So the dance music world is currently getting very excited about the news Ibiza’s nightclubs will be open for business again this year. Events are already scheduled for April, with rumours swirling around the 2022 season is going to be the longest one ever in the history of the world – or something similar.

Now, this sense of anticipation is rather understandable in the circumstances. Nightclubs have had a terrible few years in Ibiza, with the last two seasons effectively being almost entirely a write off. So people being keen to get back into the swing of things on the island after some two years of living with various restrictions does make sense.

However, this blog would be doing you a disservice by joining in the frenzy. I think a few words of caution need to be mentioned. Firstly, much of this reopening is very much dependent on Omicron basically being the last big wave of the virus. It’s certainly possible it could be – but I’m no virologist. And I suspect most of those reporting this story aren’t either.

Secondly, I think DJs, managers, promoters and the rest need to take a look at England as a cautionary tale. When Boris Johnson allowed nightclubs to reopen in July last year, they were incredibly busy for the first few weeks. Then after that, they’ve suffered from falling attendances – down by as much as 40% in some cases. Who’s to say Ibiza will be immune from this?

Thirdly, there are economic realities to consider. Only this week, the UK announced the cost of living had risen by the highest amount in some 30 years. Other countries are experiencing similar things, partly due to the economy readjusting to increased demand as restrictions ease off. With the cost of living set to continue being a problem, how many people will have the money for a holiday in Ibiza?

And fourthly, over to my industry insider. He got in touch with me last night and simply said “Ibiza isn’t the cash cow it used to be. I was there in 2019 with a few friends and a round of cocktails for five of us cost over €200. It’s no wonder Croatia, Brazil and places like that are where the future lies. Still, at least the Ibiza corpse gets to fart one last time”.

Hey, I just report what he says…

Are they both REALLY on the same side here? Pioneer showcases virtual reality DJing on their Instagram page – and it’s just as boring as watching real life DJs doing their thing…

Last Saturday, I posted a little article all about the Metaverse. It’s something most people don’t really understand yet, and I include myself in those ranks. Truth be told, I suspect the true capabilities of the Metaverse aren’t even known to us yet – be it the good ones and inevitably, the bad.

But I do know virtual reality is going to be part of this, opening up the prospect of seeing your favourite DJ without ever leaving your house – and possibly without them leaving theirs. And this is something which sellers of DJ equipment – amongst other things – Pioneer have noticed too.

This week on their Instagram page, they featured this awfully curious looking video, featuring at least four different people doing a DJ set. And what I can’t help but suspect is a blatant attempt from Pioneer at parody, all four DJs are wearing sunglasses and trying to look moody whilst playing blander than bland tech-house…

The reaction from the comments section is quite telling – it’s almost completely negative. Most respondents seem to hate it, saying there’s no substitute for DJing in front of a real life audience. And they may well be right in that. But they’re missing something here – and they’re not going to like it.

The reason Pioneer are getting involved with this is money. They’re a business. They know which way the wind is blowing on this. Virtual reality presents them with opportunities to sell equipment to DJs who want it and subscriptions to DJs who can’t necessarily afford the equipment. It also means they can make DJing significantly easier to get into.

They make no secret of it, either – this was their response to one person who expressed criticism…

Which might prove a problem for the more established DJs in the long run. Let’s say you’re based in London and have been booked for an event in New York. They have to pay to fly you out there, for a hotel and so forth. But a virtual DJ based in Sacramento – all the way on the other side of the USA – needs nothing of the sort. He can do the job from his own house.

These developments have massive implications for DJs in the future. And I honestly don’t believe DJs yet realise it…

As flavour of the month Honey Dijon is pictured with Madonna in the studio, which one is REALLY going to benefit the most from this get together? For once, this blog is unsure…

Madonna is one of those musicians who I have mixed opinions about. The one hand thinks she’s accomplished a lot in her career and managed to remain relevant when a lot of other names disappeared as quickly as they arrived. The other hand just wishes she’d keep her clothes on, but that’s a matter of personal taste.

One of the ways she’s remained relevant over the years is by watching what the trends are in music and latching onto them. She started doing this in the 1980s by letting the likes of Shep Pettibone remix her work. This followed in the 90s with the likes of Masters At Work, David Morales, Junior Vasquez and The Thin White Duke.

Now in the 2020s, she seems to have resorted to modern day names in dance music, being photographed the other day in the studio with none other than Honey Dijon – a DJ who is what she is and is unashamedly proud of it. And this is something this blog commends entirely.

Honey Dijon is also rather good at publicising herself. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this – especially in this digital era we live in. But it does raise an interesting question. Namely, who’s latching onto who this time around?

On the face of it, Honey Dijon is hanging onto the coat tails of a much bigger, more famous star, right? Er, I’m not so sure. Because as I explained earlier, Madonna is terribly good at finding what’s current and attaching herself to it. And right now, Honey Dijon is certainly one of those names on the rise.

I think the jury’s out on this curious friendship, although I’m already confident I’ll want to listen to the music that comes out of this collaboration – understood to be remixes of older Madonna records. And if there’s only one thing we’ve learnt on this Wednesday evening, it’s this.

The garage house movement will well and truly be accepted as part of the mainstream when Madonna is pictured on social media next to the likes of Danny J Lewis, Marc Cotterell or Demarkus Lewis…

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”…