As Traxsource release their 2021 In Review graphics to artists to tell them how they did on the site this year, are they relevant in the dance music scene today – or just a pointless vanity badge?

It’s that time of year once more. The dance music scene is mostly winding down now for the winter. Clubs may well remain open – at least where Covid restrictions permit it – but as Christmas approaches, many producers retreat back into their studios to start making what they hope will be next year’s hits.

And naturally, it’s also the time of year when Traxsource release their Year In Review graphics for the DJs, producers, singers, labels and everything between on the site. These little badges basically contain information like how many charts the entity in question has has their music featured on, the number of top 100 entries and so on.

In the interests of transparency, here’s mine. Not too bad seeing I’ve only released a handful of things this year…

Anyway, one question I see asked every single year is why anybody should care about this information. It’s nothing more than a vanity badge that producers can stick on their social media pages, right? It doesn’t have any effect on how many gigs you’ll get in the future or how many labels will come knocking on the door, no?

Speaking as someone who has released music for five years – and I’d never say never to returning – my view is they are important. A great paradox exists in the music industry for me – despite the fact we live in a digital age, finding out how many streams or downloads or whatever a song has had remains stubbornly difficult. So I welcome any kind of information like this that Traxsource can provide.

It’s also difficult to keep going at times when you’re making music. Sometimes, you get periods where the ideas don’t come as freely as they usually do – and things like this can result in disillusionment. So knowing that there are DJs and other people out in the world listening to and playing your music is a useful thing to help push through those difficult times.

Yes, some people clearly use these as vanity badges. The square size of the photo makes it perfect for sharing on the likes of Instagram – but so what if they do use it as a vanity badge? In a world where thousands of new songs appear every day, let them have their moment to be proud of what they’ve achieved.

There isn’t much else to keep you going sometimes, trust me…

After Traxsource give garage its own category on the site, their rivals at Beatport are keen to remind us they have one too – and are plugging it heavily online…

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…

Did your takedown requests get lost in the post? DJ Sneak – who promised to take his music off digital stores in January – still has hundreds on Traxsource…

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…

Because at the last update, 596 tracks were on his profile. As of this morning, the number is 599. And the number has never fallen below 572.

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.

Sneak has been contacted for comment…

Victory! The garage house crew shall have their rightful place at the Traxsource table after campaign spearheaded by Danny J Lewis for a genre category of their own…

Oh what a difference just a few years can make. Around three or four years ago, the garage house sound started to emerge from London and quickly spread. The best of the genre paid homage to the house and garage of days gone by, yet wasn’t afraid to push the envelope with new ideas.

Around two years back, a campaign started to get Traxsource to give garage house its own category. It didn’t happen. According to a source who’s closely associated with Traxsource, the campaign failed because the scene came across as disjointed and the music was poorly defined.

The garage house crew didn’t give up. They regrouped and went back to the drawing board. And this week, Danny J Lewis started a new campaign to get garage house recognised in its own right as a category on Traxsource. I reported on the campaign on Tuesday afternoon.

A little over 48 hours later, I’m very pleased to report – well, see for yourself!

And what a glorious sight it is indeed. The compromise appears to have been to call the category “garage” instead. As long-time producer Grant Nelson said on Tuesday, “it could service everything from garage house to speed garage and other new school 4×4 UK garage and also what is classed as classic garage from back in the day”.

Posting on the renamed Traxsource Garage group on Facebook, Danny J Lewis celebrated the news saying “This is truly a chance for our scene to grow and an opportunity for so many of you to develop your sound in a safe place. I encourage all of you to push your capabilities, support your peers and turn this thing into something massive for us all. There are so many people who have contributed in both big and small ways but each have made a difference. Let’s make this a landmark moment and totally maximise on the opportunity.”.

Credit too, of course, must go to Marc Cotterell – the boss at Plastik People. His Essential Garage weekly chart, published every Monday, started giving the scene the attention it deserved and frankly, needed in order to develop and grow.

There are, of course, many other names worthy of a mention. Expect a longer article about this over the weekend…

Got nothing else to do all day? Traxsource’s most recent Weekend Weapons chart has 325 different tracks in it – and it would take almost 11 hours to preview the whole lot…

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…

Do they have a toddler bashing buttons on a keyboard at random, or do you have to be friends with the boss? The mystery of how you get onto Traxsource’s highly coveted Weekend Weapons list explored

During my time as a music producer, I felt there were a number of topics which I couldn’t discuss – mostly because I’d be stepping on too many toes, some of them quite unfairly. Now that’s no longer the case, I’m free to write what the hell I like – and the mysterious ways which Traxsource operate are something I’ve always fancied talking about. So here goes!

Every single Friday, Traxsource releases its own curated list called Weekend Weapons. The list has been in existence for some years, but gained more importance on the website over 2020. Traxsource know that the majority of users on their site check the recommendations of others, hence why they provide these lists – and they know that inclusion can help make or break a record.

The only thing that’s still a mystery to me is how the hell you actually get onto Weekend Weapons. Speaking from my own experience making music, I can honestly say Traxsource did absolutely nothing to help push or promote what I was doing. A few of my releases appeared on the pre-order charts, yet they never gave them a nudge using Weekend Weapons or any of their other curated lists.

And quite a few producers contacted me to complain about such matters whenever I started talking in a very limited way about the site. I wasn’t able to give them a voice, something which irritated me no end – indeed, it was one thing that led me to launch Amateur’s House. There are a lot of people out there in dance music whose voices simply aren’t being heard.

Traxsource are notoriously secretive about how they put these lists together. Guides from the site which I saw whilst making music mention a few things about how it’s a good idea to tell them about releases a few weeks before they happen – but this doesn’t seem entirely a good indicator of decent music to me. If I’m interpreting that correctly, a label could therefore pitch mediocre music but end up on the list anyway because they were well organised.

Another question is just why the lists are so long. This weekend’s list contains 275 records, which is frankly ridiculous. Who’s going to buy that many records in the space of one week? Who’s going to trawl through a list that size to find records? I know some DJs are very dedicated to their craft, but sifting through 275 releases and possible remixes too? Seems a bit much to me.

Allegations of friends scratching each other’s backs were sent to me more than once as well. I don’t know how much of this is true, but I do know Traxsource were of no help whatsoever in helping promote my music. The site frequently talks about how they like to back new music, yet their banners are forever filled with names such as Low Steppa, David Penn and whoever is perceived to be in vogue at that moment. They certainly don’t make it easy for new music to shine.

It’s just as well I run my own reviews column, isn’t it? I only feature stuff that I really like. Unlike Traxsource who just seem to bring an animal or a toddler high on sugar to bash buttons on a keyboard at random – I don’t honestly know how else they compile such a random chart as Weekend Weapons…

Why do I get the feeling he wasn’t being entirely serious? DJ Sneak’s Traxsource Freedom Day is now sometime in 2024 as number of records on the site goes UP, not down…

At the beginning of the year, DJ Sneak decided to make a vow to himself and his fans. He said he was going to have his music removed from the digital stores. Since then, I’ve been helping – although he might not see it as such – Sneak, real name Carlos Sosa, to keep to his promise.

It’s been a slow process. Now, I understand that acquiring rights back to masters isn’t an easy process – especially when it’s highly questionable if some of the many tracks sampled by Sneak on his productions over the years were cleared. It’s usually whoever owns the master who gets into trouble if the copyright holder objects…

Anyway, when Sneak started on his quest back in January, he had 613 productions up on Traxsource. It fell to a low of 572 in May. And today? It’s actually back up at 596.

That means his Traxsource Freedom Day – the day he’s free from the obviously evil duo of Marc Pomeroy and Brian Tappert – isn’t due until around the spring of 2024.

This removing your music is going great, Carlos…

1+2=0? DJ Sneak’s bizarre new strategy to remove his music from digital stores by adding MORE tracks onto the list

This blog has been doing a public service at the request of its readers over the past few months – although I suspect the protagonist here would prefer I didn’t. I’ve been keeping an eye on DJ Sneak’s vow to remove all his music from the digital stores.

How’s it going? So far, not great. His projected Traxsource Freedom Day – that is, the day his music will all be gone from Traxsource – is currently scheduled just before Christmas… in 2023. Hardly the actions of someone who seems to think he’s leading a musical revolution.

However I get the impression that Sneak’s boycott of the digital stores is either not going to plan, or he just wasn’t serious about it in the first place. Why?

Well, I notice he’s put up two new tracks recently. Here they are. Removing records from digital stores by adding new ones? Yes, this seems like a coherent strategy…