December 4, 2010 by DJ Elroy
Interesting news this week:
I know it’d be better if I didn’t comment on this — after all, I know both owners and have played both their venues. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a hot topic around town… I don’t want to step on any toes, however, so I’ll stay neutral and play a little devil’s advocate here…
To sum up the article: Denver nightclub mogul Regas Christou (Vinyl, The Church, Bar Standard, 2AM, etc) is suing Beta Nightclub, “its owner [Brad] Roulier, Colorado-based digital download service Beatport (also co-owned by Roulier) and New York-based artist- management service AM Only” for allegedly holding “an unfair monopoly on A-list DJ bookings in Denver dance clubs.”
Christou asserts that Roulier is using Beatport as leverage to get exclusive access to the to jocks. An “if you play at any other clubs but mine, we won’t sell your music on our site” type of thing… Christou has filed suit for over $1 million in losses. And there is the matter of a $50k “loan” to get Beatport off the ground that Roulier allegedly accepted…
Here’s some background: Roulier worked for Christou for several years, during which time Christou’s nightlife empire had a near monopoly itself in the region. There wasn’t a concern then that no other clubs could get the A-list talent back then, was there?
Then in 2007 Roulier and Christou split. No comment on that. But Roulier took the contacts he’d made (and those he’d had prior) and started a new club. Happens all the time in business; people want to take their clients with them. Not saying it’s the most scrupulous thing, but it happens.
The twist is Beatport. Apparently some artists will only play at Beta Nightclub, and Christou alleges it’s out of “fear of angering Roulier” that they play there. If the allegations are true, it’s dirty. But it’s business. Could it be that Beta is simply willing to pay more? What DJ wouldn’t take the higher-paying of the job offers?
There may be something illegal going on, but how can you prove it? You’d need to get some DJs to make a statement. But who will? DJ Rap? Maybe. The article mentions a few other DJs as well, but are any of them willing (or even interested) in getting involved? Even if strong-arm tactics were used, would any of these “impressions of intimidation” be more than hearsay in court?
Obviously there is more to the story than this lawsuit, and it should be just as obvious I’m not going to go on record to make any type of statements. But there is a bigger story here, and some history that neither party should be interested in digging up…
Buy how will this affect the Denver electronic dance music scene? This won’t put Beta (or Beatport) out of business. So far it’s being tip-toed around by the local movers in the scene… We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.
And on a side note, check out some of the comments on the bottom of the article… I guess dance music is still further “underground” than I thought. Ignorance abounds!