House Music and the Digital Age

House music has always been pushed forward by DJ’s wanting and craving new music. Music that their peer’s haven’t yet heard let alone had the ability to own. Music that is upfront and rare.

As the volume of dance labels and artists increased towards the end of the last millennium, mainly due to the ability to produce very highly polished music on a simple pc, the sales quantity of each release decreased as the market did not increase with amount of new music flooding in. With this change record companies needed to address costs to reflect these lower sales. Label’s looked to technology to help cut the costs of running their business. One major area where this came to fruition was promotions.
For years the DJ’s choice and only option was vinyl, clubs only had vinyl turntables and in the odd instance where they did have CD turntables they were very poor. This changed with the launch of the pioneer CDJ series. DJ’s were suddenly able to do everything they could on vinyl turntables and more but using CD’s. Labels had previously had only one option to press a run of promotional records to send out to DJ’s. The cost of manufacture and shipping to DJ’s was huge. Overnight DJ’s could use CD’s. It’s much cheaper to manufacture and half the price to ship, an added bonus was that music could be burnt straight from a pc where the track had been written and in a DJ’s hands the following day being played to a packed club that evening. For labels and producers this was a fantastic way to promote new music and for the DJ this was bliss new music really quickly – fresh and exclusive! All went well with this new format until the mp3 came along. Suddenly promotional music was finding its way onto the file sharing sites like Limewire and Soulseek. DJ’s who had been sent music on CD or even emailed as mp3’s began sharing this music. The thought process behind people doing this went against all that had gone before as most DJ’s hide their secret weapons rather than sharing with anyone at all. This had a knock on by taking the control the labels had of who had their product when and where away. Also potential revenue began being lost and to a section of the music industry where every sale counts this was frustrating and hugely detrimental.

Dance music releases usually only have a shelf life of around 8 weeks. There are obvious exceptions to this rule but 95% of releases are played in clubs and sell for this length of time and that’s it. File sharing screwed this up by both the sales and also the structure of the chosen few influencing bigger DJ’s not having something they can fully get behind during the promotional stage of a release. Therefore less people got to hear it, less are influenced and less potentially buy it. The industry has never really recovered from file sharing but more recently the sale of mp3’s and specifically dance music mp3’s has boomed and this has helped to a certain extent slow the decline and with time the scene could once again flourish. The one problem dance music has encountered with sales of mp3’s is price but that is another story.
Source: http://www.articlecircle.com

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