No matter what “business” you work in, there is typically a dark side. Something about the practices of the business, maybe the way they treat the environment, their employes or just their attitude towards their customers. Maybe the shadiness is from the owners or the business practices, the willing to lie to sell the product. If you are lucky and work in a field or business you love and have a certain loyalty too, maybe it is easy to over look these things, maybe if you are super lucky you don’t experience them at all.
Now that I have had both feet firmly planted into the electronic music business, specifically the Deep House side of things, I have found there are very few dark sides. They are there though, just scratch away a little and some of the things you learn are mind boggling… at least they were to me. I came into running a label through love. Pure and simple. No intention of paying all my bills through it, just the desire to break even if possible and enjoy the work and pleasure of sharing what I enjoy with others. I assumed that for the most part, in such an underground genre, this was the same thing that was behind many labels. I have to say, the labels I love and enjoy the most are in it for the right reasons.
In a genre where selling 50 tracks in 5 days gets you in the Top Hundred, it is very easy to see running a Deep House label is never going to buy a mansion on a hill. Especially when between distribution and online digital shops have already taken 50-70% of the profit off the top before either you or the artist sees a dime. What I was not anticipating was the shadiness of some who were willing to throw a wrench in that little system. As many people who consider themselves true underground Deep House fans will tell you, rarely is the Top 100 a true reflection of the best in Deep House (the only exception being Traxsource, which I hear less grumbles about then any other online shop). The main reason for this is that labels and even some artists are so obsessed with this “status” symbol of Top 100 charts, they are willing to cheat the system. Want to get into the charts? Enlist the help of your friends or coworkers and have them buy your track over and over again… pay people to buy your track… lie about the track… rip off other artists that have gotten into the Top 100… then go and spam everyone and their mother. Email them, spam their facebook wall, whatever it takes.
Whooooaaaaa… This was not the world I thought I was walking into. Call me idealistic (I won’t mind, I pride myself on wanting to make and leave the world a better place) but I thought it was all about the 4×4 beat and the love of the groove and sway of people on a dance floor. Now, not everyone does this, I truly hope it is the minority of people who engage in this sort of thing actually. What I forgot to consider when I started this label with Alvaro was how obsessed people could be about this fabled thing called “Fame”. How quickly people forget it is about the quality and substance of the music, how it makes you feel, and start to focus instead on how many times the producer has topped the charts, who they have remixed for and had remixes from and who they have DJ’d alongside of. Does it really matter if the music doesn’t make you dance your ass off or grab ahold and not let you go? For me it does.
That is why, simply (or well not so simply) you won’t ever catch DeepWit Recording or DeepWit Uncovered engaging in this sort of practice, or the other shady practices about in the scene. I am not going to enlist anyone to buy a track from us and pay them back under the table. Or purchase the “1000 Friend Packages” for our soundcloud and facebook, making us appear more “popular” then we are. Or paying any “big name” artist for a subpar track, simply for their big name. We have too much respect for the music, the artists and the fans.
Almost a year now from our first release with Cadatta… looking back I have learned so much, not just about some of the shady business practices but also about the real love and appreciation for music that is out there. I just have to look back at our time spent in Athens, Greece, look at all my new friends I have made and all the smiles they have brought to my face to know that at the heart of it all Deep House is where it is at. The place that no matter how far the label may range, no matter how many years or sublables later, we will always come back to this genre and the real people in it.
- Gleaming Insights into the Electronic World (deepwitrecordings.wordpress.com)