December 29, 2009 by DJ Elroy
It’s good to see someone else making this same point I’ve been trying to get across to so many people these past few months… Great read for anyone in the dance music biz, check it out! ~ djElroy
words by Steve Mizek
One fantastical if popular belief about the music industry is that artists live off of their record sales, allowing them to quit their dayjobs to focus on making tunes. But even before the advent of freely shareable mp3s began eating away at record sales, this wasn’t actually the case, especially in the realm of dance music. A more realistic dribble of royalties is often not enough to pay a bill or two, and except for the most established musicians who command big fees, the few upfront record advances earned are usually small potatoes. The majority of fulltime artists make their money performing live where their flat fees land right in their pockets without having to cut in anyone else.
Getting booked, however, can be far more difficult than just showing up. Many times even local venues require DJs to be somewhat established in the scene before putting them on a bill — not necessarily an unfair practice for businesses needing knowing bodies to fill their dance floors. The demands only increase the further afield a jock aims, and at some point the quickest way to leapfrog past a decade spent paying dues becomes having your own music released. Although producing and performing live are commonly intertwined ambitions, the once onerous technical requirements for producing music and DJing used to separate the dabblers from the dedicated. A variety of easy to procure software (for free, even) has since laid waste to these barriers, providing everything needed to produce and perform except patience.
Even getting those tracks on a label has grown easier with time, the fallout of a hundred labels blooming each year, many without attachments to physical goods or stringent quality control. Failing that, determined producers can instead start their own net-label with only an Internet connection and blog. With many preconditions for releasing music fading into the past tense, it makes me wonder how an antiquated system for selecting talent still stands strong and what consequences this new environment has had on the dance music industry.